February 19, 2007
University of Illinois
HE.07.06. Report on the IBHE Faculty Advisory Council Meeting January 7, 2007.
The FAC met in Springfield with BHE staff. The representative from Southeast Illinois College noted the heavy liability placed on their institution given its small budget by the refusal of the legislator to appropriate new funds to cover mandated veterans scholarships. BHE staff said this had been discussed at the college presidents meetings with the staff.
Director Erwin said the strategic planning process was continuing but it was a slow process. One issue is the possible use of board standing committees. She touched on a variety of topics: Needed capacity to provide space for students was once a bigger issue, less so now so some funds going to private institutions on a student head count basis had been cut. Higher ed must stress its relevance to get more federal or state dollars and this means stressing, “Education is economic development,” she said. Higher education needs to speak with one voice--it does not. It needs to have a clear agenda shared with the public with appropriate benchmarks. Illinois business leaders say they are not getting the highly trained college graduates they need from the Illinois educational system. Affordability remains a major factor. Erwin is trying to form a Coordinating Council to address the need for a single voice for higher education and be a liaison with business interests. Issues of remedial education are a continuing concern: how do we work with elementary and secondary to ensure we get students ready for college work?
Changes will occur in the IBHE membership in the near future, possibly including its chair. Changes are occurring in Springfield both in legislature and executive departments.
Erwin congratulated the FAC on its paper on teacher preparation and she shared it with the Governor. She urged us to push forward on this issue and encouraged the FAC to be public about its concerns including meeting with key leaders.
No information was shared on the budget. In budget discussions the big three are K-12 education, health care and pensions. Higher education is in the next group of four. To the degree we can help with issues on the first three, money might become available for higher ed. BHE grants will focus on independent measurement of outcomes to ensure accountability.
Debbie Meisner of the BHE staff is leading a group working on teacher preparation. They have approximately $30M to distribute of No Child Left Behind grants. These may focus on professional development schools and more focus on teacher preparation in the mission of at least some institutions.
The remainder of the session dealt with the FAC paper on student debt and other possible papers.
UIUC Senate Representative to the FAC