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November 3, 2003

University of Illinois
Urbana-Champaign Senate

HE.04.02 Report on the Illinois Board of Higher Education Meeting, October 7, 2003.

The IBHE met from 9:10 to 11:50 a.m. at Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville. Chair James Kaplan opened the meeting with several announcements: He is in discussion with the Governor and Office of Management and Budget on next year's higher ed budget. When the economy improves the state will be able to make a commitment to higher ed. A committee on productivity and accountability of higher ed is being formed, thus reviving the PQP process. Then, SIU President James Walker and SIU-E Chancellor David Werner welcomed the group.

IBHE Director Dan LaVista congratulated UIUC on the two Nobel Prizes saying they spoke to Illinois' past support of higher ed. The September 29 conference at UIUC on the impact of the Michigan decision on minority admission was noted with special praise for Chancellor Cantor's passion and deep understanding of the issues in stressing the importance of social contacts among diverse students and that diversity advanced higher education goals.

Advisory Committee reports were relatively brief. Allan Karnes, FAC representative, noted the decline in faculty salaries and compensation in the public higher ed institutions versus their comparison groups and asked the IBHE to take appropriate action to reverse this trend as soon as budget concerns allow. He called for faculty and other stakeholders to be on the committee that revises The Illinois Commitment, for creative activity and research to be given more prominence, for adding a 7th commitment as the FAC and faculty have urged. The budget cuts are having a negative impact on educational quality, particularly with increased enrollments.

The Student Advisory group requested membership on all pertinent IBHE committees. The Community Colleges' representative spoke of their role in preparing people for health professions, problems in funding programs, and the AA degree in teaching. The private institution representative spoke to the elimination of grant funding in some areas and suggested 95% of the funding support present programs with 5% available to shift. Three private schools spoke in opposition to elimination of funding for students in such areas of optometry, dental assistants, and chiropractic students. However, the recommendations of the Committee to Review Health Professions Education Programs was adopted with changes noted in a later agenda item.

The agenda was interrupted to hear a representative from the Dept. of Commerce and Economic Planning who called upon those present to work with the Governor's new program for regional economic development and its 10 regional directors. She stressed the need for developing "a highly qualified work force because Illinois would be behind the 8-ball if it did not."

The compilation of the Illinois Master Plan Policies for Higher Education was adopted and will be on the IBHE website. The Committee on Capital Policies and Priorities is being reactivated. The Institutional Results Reports featured a community college, a 4-year public, and a private school presenting demonstrations of efforts to fulfill The Illinois Commitment.

The proposal for reviewing The Illinois Commitment was adopted. The Board will serve as a committee of the whole undertaking the review with input solicited widely. IBHE member Sam Gove reiterated his concern that development of civic leadership be included.

Allocations in the State Matching Grant Program to help meet research universities' need for matching funds for federal grants were approved. UIUC will receive $2,356,079. Private institutions received 46.7% of the $9.5M allocated. The presentation stressed that research "benefits and improves the quality of life for citizens of Illinois every day." (A statement paralleling the FAC plea for addition of a 7th commitment.)

A $200K grant was made to WIU to plan a renovation of a donated building although the question was raised whether a new building would be less expensive. When planning funds are appropriated a project usually moves up on the capital priority list. An October 14 legislative hearing in Chicago on prioritization of the capital budget will include IBHE testimony. Chairman Kaplan stressed that IBHE can only make recommendations to the Governor and Legislature who make the decisions.

A proposal modifying the rules of the Health Services Education Grants Act Program was amended to keep all current categories and establish funding on a year-to-year basis with funding of some areas deleted this year. Students currently receiving aid will continue to do so.

New programs of instruction were approved for community colleges, public universities and independent institutions. Board members requested they be informed when programs are deleted.

In the public comment sessions Sue Kaufman, representing the University Professionals of Illinois (UPI) of IFT/AFT and AFL/CIO stressed that the IBHE report (see Appendix) shows fy'03 salaries and compensation undid all the gains since 1999 in comparison with benchmark schools. Also, using 100 as a value for institutions at the median of comparison groups misleads the public. Every 4-year public institution is behind the median of its peer group. Further, the peer groups established in 1985 should be reviewed given the changes in higher ed and differences in regions, standards of living, urbanization and missions. She asked the IBHE to work with the UPI in creating a committee to study salary and compensation issues. (No mention of non-unionized faculty representation.) Leo Welch of the Southwestern Illinois College Faculty Union noted that the increases in community college salaries last year fell below the cost of inflation and average increases in Illinois per capital income and starting in fy'99 dropped in comparison to other states. IBHE figures still show community colleges above the median of the comparison group but he said the current normative group is not valid.

As the group prepared to adjourn an announcement was made establishing a committee to review the efficiency of the Illinois Articulation Agreement.

Ken Andersen, FAC Member and Senate Observer