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October 24, 2005

University of Illinois
Urbana-Champaign Senate

HE.06.01 Report on the IBHE Faculty Advisory Council Meeting, September 9, 2005.

President Sister Margaret Feldner, OSF, welcomed the FAC to Quincy University.  Quincy, founded in 1860, is a Franciscan Catholic liberal arts school with 1100 students. In addition to a wide range of undergraduate programs, it offers pre-professional programs in engineering, law and medicine, a few non-degree programs and master’s degrees in business administration, counseling and education.

Don Sevener, Director of External Relations for the BHE, in updating the FAC on legislative issues indicated BHE expects a flat budget with no increase in state funds for FY07.  He expressed particular concern about the lack of a capital budget for three years given the backlog of needed renovation and repairs of more than $2B at colleges and universities.  The BHE will hold a special meeting shortly to approve the (reduced) HECA grants after learning that the OMB will apply a 2% hold to its grant funds.  The BHE is concerned about the impact of on-line education and quality issues.  Textbook costs continue to be an issue for students.

Judy Irwin will be the next executive director of the BHE. She has experience as a legislator and has worked on educational issues as a legislative staff member. (A public search was not conducted.) Current Director, Tom Lamont, had his contract extended to Oct. 1 at the August BHE meeting.  He is slated to return to his law firm after a two-year leave of absence.

The BHE is planning “A Legislative/Higher Education Summit” on “Higher Education: Why it Matters” on Nov. 9, 2005, in Chicago.  All legislators will be invited, relevant legislative staff, higher education leaders, representatives from relevant state agencies, associations, advisory committees, and business leaders.  The hope is that the day will ultimately yield a legislative agenda in the sense of policy directions.  A key goal is to give legislators a context to understand higher education and the higher education budget.  The day will feature a combination of speakers and panels with significant time for questions by attendees.  Presentations will focus on changing nature of higher education and the workforce, the linkage of K-16 and the implications of high school graduates unready for college or work, the rising costs of higher education and its value economically and socially.

As a basis for targeting the work of a reorganized committee structure the FAC discussed a range of issues that could be addressed: the corporatization of higher education, implications of a two–tiered system of adjunct and tenure-track faculty, accreditation of on-line education, faculty roles and responsibilities, the decline in collegiality, lack of participation in shared governance, declines in attendance at FAC meetings, career and training emphasis vs. a broader liberal education and a focus on civic participation, and the growing impact of scientific illiteracy.

The meeting concluded with agreement to draft a resolution commending the work of Tom Lamont for his work of the last two years as Executive Director of the BHE.

Ken Andersen
UIUC Senate FAC Representative