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February 16, 2004

University of Illinois
Urbana-Champaign Senate

HE.04.05 Report on the IBHE Faculty Advisory Council Meeting, December 5, 2003.

The FAC met in Springfield hosted by the Illinois Board of Higher Education. A series of announcements opened the meeting. Director Dan LaVista, was unable to meet with the Council due to a meeting with the Latino Legislative Caucus in Chicago and is now scheduled for the February meeting. Douglass Day, IBHE liaison to the FAC and drafter of many IBHE policy documents, is resigning to take a position at Marquette University. Debra Smitley, another Deputy Director, for many years in charge of budgets and recently legislative relations, is resigning to take a position at Illinois State University. Each had served for 18 years on the IBHE staff. Resolutions to be transmitted to the IBHE were later adopted commending their service. Director LaVista was not chosen to head Broward Community College in Florida.

The Council discussed the qualities needed for the BHE staff member serving as liaison. In representing its constituency the FAC often raises issues and expresses views not aligned with IBHE policies. The IBHE is a political body given its structure and roles.

The Board is using the title "Priorities, Productivity, and Accountability" to describe the PQP-like process being established to develop appropriate responses to the challenges facing Illinois higher education. The FAC urged that we must marry the concept of quality to productivity-being more productive with less quality is exactly the wrong direction. Productivity must include improving the quality of the education provided.

After the FAC committees met, the Council held a brief business session. The 25-page response to IBHE Chair Kaplan's request for faculty to identify means to cut costs was officially adopted. (It had been distributed with the Board packet for the Dec. 9 meeting.) A representative of the community colleges, private universities and public universities (Ken Andersen) will meet with Kaplan and hopefully other IBHE members after its Dec.9 meeting to discuss the response. It was agreed the response document was too long; several suggestions were made about using parts of it to reach various audiences such as legislators, the general public, the faculty, etc.

The Council met in the afternoon with Kathleen Kelly, the consultant hired to undertake the process of evaluating the status of The Illinois Commitment for possible changes. She wrote the original document while a member of the IBHE staff. The Council urged the inclusion of a 7th commitment focused on enhancing the quality of life of Illinois citizens since that is the ultimate goal of the 6 existing goals. Numerous objections were raised: to the stress on jobs and economic development as the first goal; that the focus in evaluation is centered on easily measured outcomes rather than learning; a lack of attention to educational opportunities throughout the entire life span; changing demographics mean many people will never fit the standard picture of receiving a degree in four years. Finally, the document has no reality for most faculty-they have never heard of it, do not know its content and the degree to which the IBHE is using it as the basis for many key policy and budgetary decisions.

Ms. Kelly said that those with suggestions and concerns about The Illinois Commitment and needed adjustments could contact her A websurvey site will be established as one means of reaching out for input. She will be contacting many groups for input.

Ken Andersen
UIUC Senate FAC Representative