Meeting of the Illinois Board of Higher Education Faculty Advisory Committee September 17, 1999 - Rockford College, Rockford, Illinois.
SYNOPSIS: Douglass Day, IBHE Deputy Director for Policy Studies and Diane Gilleland, IBHE Deputy Director for Academic Affairs, reviewed the IBHE agenda and issues for the coming year. Specific concerns, such as the filtering down to individual departments and faculty of the 5% salary increase (the "three plus one plus one" program) which was granted to all public universities this year, were discussed extensively. The afternoon session concerned itself with a discussion of issues that the IBHE Faculty Advisory Committee would undertake for 1999-2000 and how to structure the subcommittees to reflect these issues.
MORNING SESSION: Douglass Day, IBHE Deputy Director for Policy Studies and IBHE Liaison to the Illinois Board of Higher Education Faculty Advisory Committee (IBHE/FAC), provided a brief review of the history of the IBHE for new members of the Advisory Committee. He noted that the IBHE attempts to be an advocate for higher education in Illinois and to mediate the differences in perception between the Legislature/Citizen perceptions and the Academic Administrators/Faculty perceptions. Citing the tension between Legislative/Citizen priority of teaching and the Academic priority of teaching and research, as well as service, he suggested the need to be sensitive to the differing emphasis that may result in frustrations in effectively communicating between the two groups. He noted that the Legislature recognizes the importance of research, but they are concerned that teaching not be forgotten in the process.
In part this difference can be explained, he asserted, by the need for legislators to solve problems on a short term agenda, while academics may respond to a long range planning perspective. These differences in perspective may lead to difficulties when issues such as faculty productivity are discussed.
One of the examples cited of the IBHE as an advocate for higher education in Illinois was the 5% salary increase obtained under the "Three plus one plus one" program. Recognizing that it would be difficult to obtain salary money above the inflation rate, the IBHE proposed a matching program to increase the basic 3% increase for salary in the State Budget. The "Three plus one plus one" program provided an additional 1% increase in faculty salaries at public universities if the institution matched it with 1% from its internal budget. All public universities did the match and thus an overall 5% salary allocation was made a reality for all public universities in Illinois. Many members of the IBHE/FAC expressed surprise at learning about this salary program, since they and their units did not receive a 5% increase. Others expressed concern that the money went to only a small group of faculty and administrators and that the majority of faculty did not benefit. A few reported that their administrators denied knowing anything about the program and insisted that only 3% was allocated for faculty salary increases. The IBHE representatives were clearly taken back that many faculty were not made aware of the program and that in some cases, only a few faculty may benefit.
It was noted that the allocation was for faculty salaries, not administrative salaries. While it was recognized that it was appropriate for each campus to determine how salary increases should be allocated, those who worked to obtain these funds would be disappointed if the money went for administrative salary increases and not faculty salary increases. IBHE/FAC representatives present noted that on some campuses the money was targeted for salaries for "Critical Faculty." It was suggested that in the future the IBHE should require that faculty on each campus through established faculty governance channels be involved in defining the "Critical Faculty" to be targeted for salary increases.
The issues and priorities of the IBHE in terms of the components of The Illinois Commitment document were discussed, noting that The Illinois Commitment is the guiding document for IBHE programs this coming year and in future years, including budget planning. The IBHE is considering using The Illinois Commitment as the basis for evaluating requests for IBHE grant money this year.
One of the major elements of The Illinois Commitment document is concerned with "access." Although considerable advances have been made in this area, noting that Illinois has the 2d or 3d largest State Scholarship program and the 2d largest system of Community Colleges in the United States, Doug Day emphasized that there was still much to accomplish in this area.
The IBHE has established an Access and Diversity Committee to look at additional efforts that can be undertaken.
Other areas are Information Technology (IT), recognizing the need to train more people in IT related professions. Also the relationship with elementary and secondary education in the state was noted by Dianne Gilleland as being a very important element in IBHE planning. An IBHE committee has been established on K-16 concerns and it is anticipated that much attention will be focused on this area at both the State and Federal level.
The affordability of higher education in Illinois continues to be an issue. The College of Lake County is one effort to make physical and economic access more available to one specific area. There are needs elsewhere in the state that undoubtedly will be explored this year.
The issues of quality of education and ways to measure this through program assessments will be a top priority. Dianne Gilleland noted that before taking her current position with the IBHE, she had been hired as a consultant on program evaluation in Illinois and was looking forward to the implementation of some of the recommendations she had made as a consultant to the IBHE.
The first year of the "Results Reports" based on The Illinois Commitment have been submitted by public institutions. The report from the University of Illinois was noted as an especially good example of how that University was able to present outcomes meeting the goals of The Illinois Commitment document. It is hoped that the "Best Practices" examples will relate to program reviews and other performance measures, leading to more effective assessment of the quality of higher education in Illinois.
AFTERNOON SESSION - THE IBHE/FAC BUSINESS MEETING: The Advisory Committee reviewed the issues raised by the representative of the IBHE and discussed how to structure subcommittees to work on recommendations and policy statements relating to these issues. After considerable discussion, four subcommittees were suggested: 1) Budget, 2) Access and Diversity, 3) Assessment and Quality (including P-16 issues), and 4) Technology (including issues of pedagogy in distance education and faculty staffing issues). Each Committee member present submitted his/her first and second choices for subcommittee membership. The officers of the Advisory Committee will review the choices and make subcommittee assignments prior to the next meeting of the Advisory Committee. The Committee voted to post its approved minutes on the Web in the future.
Submitted by Terry L. Weech, UIUC Representative to the IBHE/FAC, 9/28/99.