Senate of the Urbana-Champaign Campus

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October 1, 2007

University of Illinois
Urbana-Champaign Senate

HE.07.13 Report on the IBHE Faculty Advisory Council Meeting, May 18, 2007.

The FAC met at Kankakee Community College.  President Jerry Weber discussed three issues: First, the state’s failure to fund the mandated free tuition and fees for veterans. (The shortfall is $15M for higher education.).  Second, the decline in state support for higher education with the governor’s focus on K-12 education. He stressed issues related to the sale of the state scholarship loan portfolio and failure to guarantee future support for needy students.  There is a risk of the governor sweeping up funds to use for other purposes. Many grants that helped with facilities and other needs have been wiped out.  The 40-year old College is now into development to raise funds to compensate for the lack of state funding, raising nearly $1M to date.  Third, he spoke to the need for higher education to focus on global warming both in curricular emphases and in planning and retrofitting campus facilities.  His college has embarked on a “Journey to Sustainability.”  Sustainability is defined as meeting the needs of the present while not compromising the ability to meet future needs.  The college has joined in the Illinois Universities Climate Commitment, created a Sustainability Committee and put environment issues into the curriculum.

Dean of Learning Services Julia Walsh discussed problems posed by and efforts to meet the needs of students who are not prepared for college-level work.  She stressed the expense involved as well as the necessity of meeting the needs of these students.

FAC member Albert Fernandez of Shimer College discussed the effort of his college to develop an M.A. program to enhance the preparation of in-service elementary teachers in two tracks: humanities and science.  The pilot program funded by a grant will be offered initially in Loveland, Colorado, with Shimer College faculty (based in Chicago)
commuting to Colorado to offer the instruction in intensive weekend sessions.

The business session in the afternoon focused on efforts to implement the proposal to form regional discussion groups to address issues in teacher preparation.  A committee was established to draft a statement on student mental health issues and a draft of a paper dealing with higher ed and contributions to quality of life and the public good was briefly reviewed.

Ken Andersen
UIUC Senate FAC Representative