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December 8, 2003

University of Illinois
Urbana-Champaign Senate

HE.04.04 Report on the IBHE Faculty Advisory Council Meeting, November 7, 2003.

The FAC met at Northeastern Illinois University. President Salme H. Steinberg welcomed the group noting that the institution's roots were in teacher education with the College of Education still the flagship unit. Minorities are the new majority on the campus with a particularly notable 1% increase in the proportion of Hispanic students each year since 1980. She decried the "budget debacle" as cutting back on the progress of minorities. In discussing the lack of minority faculty we point to the need to increase the number in the pipeline; yet we are shutting off that pipeline just when it is beginning to produce results. She indicated no federal help from being designated as Hispanic serving and essentially none from the state. She argued that one element in resolving the budget crisis is to focus on differentiation of missions arguing we are not all Urbana-Champaign.

The majority of the morning was spent in a teleconference with Dan Layzell, IBHE Deputy Director for Planning and Budgeting. Currently the IBHE is completing its meetings with individual institutions on budget issues. It will summarize them during November, discuss the results with the Board and begin to form budget recommendations. Budget recommendations will be made public at the February Board meeting. The delay will give more data on the economic status of the state and the Governor's intentions.

For the year to date revenues are up 22% due to such things as the bond sale and federal funds transfers so this is not a valid picture. Actual General Revenue Funds are flat with sales tax up and income taxes down. The economic recovery is not yet being seen in Illinois. Moderate growth in 2004 is projected. State agencies are still holding funds in reserve in the event of a rescission with no formal communication on this and no signal to use the reserved funds.

$200M has been lost to higher ed in the last two years with the public universities especially hard hit. The political reality is that K-12 education is given priority, not K-16.

The "IBHE Guiding Principles of FY'05 Budget Development" were listed as:

Initial themes and priorities were described as: Demonstrate good stewardship and fiscal accountability; Increasing compensation; Addressing deferred maintenance needs; Enhancing support for need-based student financial aid; Restoring support for communication college special populations grants and adult education.

In terms of executive/legislative issues: Fiscal accountability continues as a major concern including legislation passed for more precise line item budgets, greater concern for reporting "all funds" income and expenditures and greater governing board oversight of operating budgets. The Governor's Office has great interest in the "all funds' issues including sources of the money, how it is spent, and whether some of it is available to be put to other uses. There may not be new legislation in these areas. Asked why the focus on accountability, Layzell cited the attacks on administrative bloat by some faculty groups that were picked up in the Governor's campaign, the Tribune articles on spending by some U of I officials/board members and concerns about high tuition were major factors.

A focus will continue on administrative efficiencies and cost containment and the concerns about tuition are going to continue to be of concern with the implementation of the freshmen tuition increases under the "truth in tuition" legislation. Asked about the need for significant increases in the money given to the Monetary Award Program to meet these tuition increases, Layzell said that was being studied and money would be needed to meet those sharply increased costs. Universities will need to manage two different systems of tuition and eventually four different levels for undergraduates.

An IBHE committee of institutional representatives is looking at ways to streamline and consolidate purchasing to identify savings. That committee is also looking at the burden of reporting requirements.

The IBHE staff has begun work on the review of The Illinois Commitment including the FAC request to include a 7th commitment. The need for the current goals and suggested means to achieve them will be reviewed. An effort will be made to contact a wide range of constituencies including the general public, business, the institutions and faculty with some focused dialogues and a web survey. A draft will go to the Board next summer.

The afternoon session focused on review of reports being drafted to deal with the call of the IBHE for increased faculty productivity to provide greater cost savings.

Ken Andersen,
UIUC Senate FAC Representative