September 30, 2002
University of Illinois
HE.03.02 Report on the IBHE Faculty Advisory Council Meeting, September 13, 2002.
The September 13 FAC meeting at Illinois Institute of Technology began with a welcome to the campus. IIT now has five campuses as well as 50 TV-based instructional sites partnering with companies and community colleges. The institution has changed greatly since founded as the Armour Institute in 1890 to educate immigrant families and its 1940 merger with the Lewis Institute in 1940 to become IIT. Formerly a commuter campus, it now houses most of its 1500 FTE undergraduates in campus housing with new dorms being built along State Street. About 90% of its engineering and science graduate students are international. The heritage of Mies van der Rohe is preserved in more than 20 of the 55 buildings on the main campus with leading international architects contributing many of the more recent designs. The surrounding area is changing with the destruction of many high rise public housing sites around the campus.
The bulk of the meeting was given to orientation of new members and structuring the work of the Council for the coming year by the chair and IBHE liaison Douglass Day. Results of a survey indicated that budget issues were the dominant concern but a number of issues were identified for the various committees. The FAC's evolution and the changing focus of the IBHE over the decades were described. A current focus is on the continuity of educational issues starting at kindergarten and extending through the college graduation including teacher preparation. (Too little attention is given to the graduate programs in areas other than preparation of teachers.) Articulation of community and 4-year colleges' coursework and programs was stressed in the 1990's. Now the relationship of high school work as preparation for college is receiving major attention with the surge of students going on to higher education. Accountability in various forms was a key focus last decade and continues. This year the IBHE will study faculty and staff inclusion of minorities, women, and handicapped and develop measures of success in meeting the six objectives of The Illinois Commitment. Reference to the latter evoked a call for a seventh commitment to "enhancing the quality of life" of Illinois citizens to reflect more validly the mission of higher education. Higher education does not just train people for jobs, it seeks to educate people to prepare them for a lifetime of growth, for multiple careers, and for fulfilling lives with higher education continuing to contribute in manifold ways through the life span.
Dan Layzell of the IBHE asked the FAC for input on the proposed Performance Indicators for The Illinois Commitment. Members expressed concern about the priority given to jobs and the lack of a clear representation of the breadth of goals of higher education in the current 6 goals of the Commitment. Layzell explained that the Performance Indicators document is a draft with the BHE seeking comment.
FAC members were urged to encourage faculty and administrators to respond draft in a web survey at http://www.ibhe.org/performanceindicators/survey/ Also, public hearings are being held on diversity issues September 24, 1:30-3:30 p.m. at UIS and at the Thompson Center in Chicago (Room 9-040) Friday, October 4, 1:30-3:00 p.m. Comments may be sent to Douglass Day at IBHE.
Deborah Smitley of the IBHE stressed the great budget uncertainties of last year and this year. She noted a major turnover in leadership in the executive and legislative branches as well is in the IBHE Board and a new Executive Director of IBHE. Both candidates for governor say that 50% of new general revenue funds will go to education but make no commitment relative to higher education.
Any likelihood of a recision in state funds coming after the fall election is unknown: revenues for the first two months have been on track with predictions. She noted the FY02 increase of 6.3% was reduced by 3.5% in the mid-year recision. This year the final appropriation was down 5.7% from the original FY 02 appropriation without subtracting further the amount taken to cover increased heath care costs.
If we assume from $86.1M to $95.8M were to be made available for higher education next year (3.4 to 3.85 growth) contributions to SURS--must be paid by law--will consume at least $65M. To just return MAP (Monetary Assistance Program of student aid awards) to FY02 appropriation levels would consume $38M. That is all the new money.
ut there are many other needs: every 1% of faculty and salary staff increases takes $15.8M. There are a number of policy initiatives to be considered, new programs to be funded, cost of adult education, replacement or increased funds for Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy, deferred maintenance needs, and restoration of funding for selected programs cut this year. Also, increasing numbers of students are enrolling every year.
Five committees were formed: (current priorities listed)
Budget and Financing: focus on issues of affordability and the impact of any limit on ability to raise tuition, use of differential tuition levels, flexibility of tuition in response to enrollment, data on the impact of funding for private school on public institutions, and the cost of state reporting requirements.
Personnel: diversity with a focus on the BHE hearings, survey, and report; responses to All Faculty Matter!; ratio of and impact of use of full-time/ part time faculty.
Public Policy (new committee): making the voice/work of the FAC heard by the legislature and executive branch, the BHE, and the faculty and institutions of higher education; second, the content to be communicated.
Quality of Education: role and function of faculty, 7th addition of "impact on quality of life" to The Illinois Commitment, assessment, college readiness report card, possibly diversity of missions and student-staff diversity.
Technology: Review of the BHE website and updating of FAC website, assessment of quality, costs and support of technology; access of handicapped; academic freedom and intellectual property and resources and professional development for use of technology by faculty.
Ken Andersen, FAC Chair
UIUC Senate FAC Representative