September 19, 2005
University of Illinois
HE.05.14. Report on the Illinois Board of Higher Education Meeting, June 7, 2005.
Chair James Kaplan called the meeting to order at 9:05 with adjournment at 11:25 a.m. followed by an executive session, presumably to discuss the Executive Director position. There was relatively little discussion of action items; the majority of the meeting was devoted to reports.
BHE action and informational items affecting the UIUC Campus:
- Legislation enacted to toughen high school graduation requirements that when fully implemented demand an additional year of math, science, and English and two years of writing-intensive coursework in courses where appropriate that may also meet other graduation requirements.
- Renewed funding of the Diversity Faculty Initiative to permit minority students planning on becoming college faculty to continue on or receive new grants. (A number attend the UIUC.)
- The Monetary Award Program received an additional $8M through reallocation and new money which will leverage an additional $3.8M federal funds. The increase does not keep pace with the increase in tuition and fees.
- Several bills with the potential to affect higher education did not pass including SB 1628 to create an independent inspector general for ethics at public universities and HB 476 to restrict naming rights for buildings and programs including named professorships by requiring approval of the state Executive Ethics Commission.
- State pension laws were amended to reduce fy’06 appropriations from $365M to $167M and fy’07 from approximately $432M to $252M; the state Comptroller will set the rate of interest credited on the money purchase formula; employer to cover increased pension costs caused by raises of more than 6% in final years of employment; money purchase formula deleted for new employees; all future benefit improvements must be fully funded with a sunset after 5 years; and a new Advisory Commission on Pension Benefits to report by November.
- Funding for public four-year-institutions is essentially unchanged after removing the SURS allocation.
- Mark Weber, UIUC student, was honored for his BHE leadership and service.
- A report on tuition and fee waivers recommended no regulation of the universities’ ability to offer waivers, particularly for graduate students. The value of waivers has risen sharply in recent years linked to higher tuition.
In opening remarks the chair and Interim Director Lamont characterized the legislative session as “highly successful.”
In the absence of its chair, the Faculty Advisory Committee made no report. Denise Kozlowski, the new representative of the Student Advisory Group, reported they will meet with the Faculty Advisory Council to develop a statement on textbook costs. The representative for private institutions called for greater BHE cooperation and support for its programs, priorities and students.
New programs and degree-granting authority were approved. Several reports were given including one on the diversity of higher education faculty and underrepresented groups in higher education (progress is being made in terms of participation.) Kaplan questioned the variability of the data of students self-reporting disabilities. Issues linked to the capital budget are unresolved. (As yet, there is no capital budget.)
The report of the “Priorities, Productive and Accountability Committee concluded that current mission and focus statements of the public universities are appropriate, university focus statements should be updated again and on a recurring basis, any changes in mission should originate with the institutions, institutions should clarify the relationship of teaching research and service to the individual faculty member and tie rewards to that determination, a web site relative to higher education access and choices including information to provide some protection from diploma mills should be established, and a strategy developed to identify workforce needs and program development in high need areas.
A major portion of the meeting featured a report by Jennifer Presley, Director of the Illinois Education Research Council based at SIU-E, on the first two years of a six-year, longitudinal study of Illinois public high school 2002 graduates, some 113,660 students. Roughly 1/3rd of those graduates were classified as not or least ready for college, a third somewhat, and a third more or most ready. Chicago public school graduates were the least ready. Family income has a key relationship both to being in the more/most ready category and also in college enrollment, no matter how well prepared. Geographical areas differ in the likelihood of students going to a four-year or community college. Teacher quality makes a difference on whether students completing the college preparatory courses are actually prepared for college. Illinois ranks second (only New Jersey is higher) in terms of the number of students going to college outside the state vs. students those from other states attending colleges in the state. Of the four year publics, only UIUC was rated at the A level in competitiveness for admission; most were rated C. Some 24% of the best prepared attend colleges outside Illinois. A major concern is that they may not return. Director Lamont said this was a major BHE concern. We need strong institutions throughout the state to maximize human capital.
The Council’s report on readiness will be published in July, a report on first year enrollments in early fall, and a report on persistence next spring. The reports will be available on the web at ierc.siue.edu.