University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign Senate

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April 26, 2004

University of Illinois
Urbana-Champaign Senate

HE.04.11 Report on the Illinois Board of Higher Education Meeting, April 13, 2004.

The BHE met from 9:10 to noon at the Holiday Inn Chicago-Mart Plaza. Chair James Kaplan welcomed two new BHE members: Dr. Alice B. Hayes, former President of the University of San Diego (M.S. from UIUC) to represent the private colleges and Robert L. Ruiz (B.A., UIC). He reported the committee on disabilities has gathered data, is seeking a common metric for reporting students with disabilities and will issue a white paper shortly.   He then introduced Charles Restivo, President of the Illinois Institute of Art, the for-profit host school located on the first floors of the Merchandise Mart. The school, founded in 1916, came under its current ownership and name in 1996 and has experienced rapid enrollment growth since 1998.

BHE Executive Director LaVista briefly reviewed the day’s agenda and noted 36 finalists had been selected for the 4 awards in the Collegiate Art Contest sponsored by IBHE.

Allan Karnes reported on behalf of the Faculty Advisory Council.  He corrected an error in the comments on the budget made in the February presentation. He transmitted a FAC statement on general education that noted transfer problems continue in the Illinois Articulation Initiative and urged that steps be taken to ensure that all students have sufficient breadth and diversity of courses. He called for an emphasis on quality in the Priorities, Productivity and Accountability (PPA) Committee and avoiding any attempt to revise the Illinois higher education system. Programs should align with mission and streamlining of report requirement is needed.

Chairman Kaplan stated that the BHE budget recommendations are “still in my opinion correct” and are being urged with the legislature.  However, the BHE is “aware of continuing budget problems facing the Governor.”

The student representative said Mark Weber of UIC is the student elected to serve next year on the BHE. The proprietary institution representative urged the PPA Committee consult with the North Central Accrediting Agency.  The community college representative stressed the financial problems of community colleges, particularly those facing the City Colleges of Chicago, and called for greater funding for the City Colleges.

Director LaVista presented the item dealing with establishing a committee to review Priorities, Productivity and Accountability (PPA) in Illinois higher education.  The committee was charged to review the missions and focus statements of each public university for appropriateness and as a context for how best to allocate funds; nature and scope of faculty work in light of institutional mission to understand and define academic productivity; examine regulatory and reporting requirements to streamline and reduce costs; examine the effectiveness of current accountability measures and make recommendations on the above for consideration in developing fy06 budget recommendations. Preliminary recommendations due in October, the final report in December.  Ken Andersen was the only faculty named to the committee that consists largely of Board members.

The Higher Education Statewide Capital Polices Priorities Report was adopted.  It calls for “adequate physical facilities” consistent with the institution’s mission and a master plan at each institution.  Priorities include improved energy efficiency; life, health, safety and emergency infrastructure improvements; adjustments over time; utilizing the SRcubed concept; and endorses the prohibition of using state funds for auxiliary enterprises.  Capital projects are to “address a clearly demonstrated need” and a list was provided of relevant factors. The Capital Priority List developed each year will involve several elements including “emergency projects” when people or the daily operation of the institution is endangered, protection of prior investments, completion of an on-going project in a timely manner, ties to the core missions and statewide educational goals, matching funds, priorities of the individual institutions, and priority on the previous year’s BHE list. Finally, the BHE shall support a project not recommended previously when the Governor and General Assembly make an appropriation or authorization.  Dorms at commuter institutions will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

The Board adopted a report urging increased efforts to use the Illinois Public Higher Education Cooperative (IPHEC) to maximize cost savings in purchasing.  Community colleges were urged to use the resource as feasible. (They are not subject to the Illinois Procurement Code.)  The committee will continue to seek other ways of identifying savings.

Approval of new programs brought a debate/discussion about on-line degree programs including the proposal to offer a B.A., M.S. and Ph.D. in Community College Leadership by Old Dominion University using a community college site.  Students in the Ph. D. program have to spend at least two weeks on the Old Dominion Campus.  Degrees awarded would not carry a designation different than if the degree had been earned in residence on campus. 

Dan Layzell presented a mid-term review of The Illinois Commitment’s goals, action steps taken, areas where challenges remain, and a summary of “stakeholder views and opinions” generated through interviews and a web-based survey.  The assessment was positive in asserting the six goals remain “important core priorities” while recognizing teacher preparation, economic development, affordability and the growing diversity of the population are challenges.  Access, accountability and affordability will be key challenges given the current economic and political climate.  The web survey showed differences in responses of educational and governmental respondents. Governmental leaders focused on productivity issues. Higher education people saw accountability requirements as burdensome and redundant in some cases.  Many agreed on a goal of a commitment to “enhance and enrich the quality of life” of Illinois residents.  An overriding concern was that the public, state policy makers and even the faculty are not aware of The Illinois Commitment. Greater awareness of it would be helpful in educating the public and garnering support for higher education.

Ken Andersen, FAC Member
Senate Observer