April 24, 2006
University of Illinois
HE.06.10 Report on the IBHE Faculty Advisory Council Meeting, March 24, 2006.
The FAC met on the UIS campus. Senate President Emil Jones who was scheduled to meet with the FAC cancelled saying the legislature had fallen behind due to the storms that hit Springfield.
UIS Chancellor Richard Ringeisen welcomed the group. He noted the growth of full-time undergraduate students with the 100 honor students admitted to the Capitol Scholars Program in fall, 2001. They will be joined this fall with 180 to 200 more freshmen. FTE enrollment is 2,857 with 4,393 head count. Maximum enrollment ultimately will be around 6000 students. There are 177 full-time faculty of which next fall 40% will be in first or second year at UIS. The campus has expanded with student residences, a recreation center and with University Hall, which opened in fall, 2004.
University Hall is state of the art in terms of technology. The goal is to be in the top 5 public liberal arts universities in the nation with a maximum of about 6,000 students. The campus is still working at defining itself with a major commitment to on-line instruction. Many on-campus students take some courses on line. The campus sees itself as providing access to a rich variety of programs including non-traditional adult students.
The on-line classes have allowed the campus to grow in ways not possible if limited to on-campus students. For example, a philosophy program is possible only because of the extensive number of on-line registrations supplementing the campus enrollment. Resources are a major problem for them as for all of higher education. One push is to urge faculty and staff to invest in the campus. The state has uncoupled higher education from elementary and secondary and we have endured cuts that are the worst in the history of higher education including those taken at the height of the depression. State must recognize education is a public good, not just a private good.
Gary Alexander, BHE liaison, said they are working to rebuild the concept of the relationship of all of education K-16. There is a growing focus on the issue and cost of remediation of unprepared students. A significant concern about textbook costs that is coming out of the legislature propelled by student concerns. The BHE is reviewing the goal and process of the HECA grants. There is no information on the budget front. Unclear if there will be a capital budget this year. The budget will be a last-minute item as the legislature adjourns.
Burks Oakley, UI Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs, described the impact of on-line instruction, a major emphasis at UIS. He noted on-campus enrollment was falling compensated by on-line enrollment. The Pew Trust grant had a major impact on progress to develop on-line instruction. His key point was the great value of on-line instruction in providing access for the many individuals who cannot pursue an education in the traditional manner. He agrees it is not the same experience as the traditional on-campus student has but better than not being able to obtain access to an education. Goal is to take individuals where they are and move them forward on the educational track.
Lynn Murphy, BHE, staff member (major assignment is reviewing proprietary schools) is studying criteria and the processes used for reviewing on-line programs. The goal is to ensure an adequate level of quality no matter the instructional method. Does not seek legislation specific to on-line instruction. She noted that quality and legitimate providers come for approval but others do not. But they hide the fact they are not approved to operate in Illinois and many offer fake degrees. The BHE has developed a consumer protection section on its revised website (www.ibhe.org). The website provides some guidelines and questions and has a link to the Oregon website that contains further information.
The FAC adopted a statement opposing the $1,000 tax credit for freshmen and sophomores on the grounds it is not adequately funded in the long-term. Further, it ignores need benefiting the wealthiest students as well as the neediest. The needy have a significant burden of meeting the tuition payments before they get the credit. A better action is to give the funds to the public colleges and maintain lower tuitions.
The group briefly discussed the impact of technology on higher education and posed the question of whether resident students are becoming much more like on-line students given how they are using technology. The impact of technology on the resident campus experience should be studied.
The meeting adjourned at 2:35 p.m.
UIUC Senate FAC Representative