November 5, 2007
University of Illinois
HE.08.02 Report on the Illinois Board of Higher Education Meeting, October 2, 2007.*
Items specific to UIUC: Approval of Bachelor of Fine Arts in New Media
The BHE met at SIU-C. Chair Hightman indicated that in future meetings they would receive more formal presentations by the various advisory committees. Jerry Blakemore, former BHE member, is the new chair of the Diversity Higher Education Faculty Program Board. The governor has approved the P-20 Council creation (Public Act 095-0626). College readiness and remedial work will be on their agenda. The BHE is trying to move forward on the unfunded effort to develop a masterplan for higher education. Bill passed legislature but was not funded.
The FAC delivered its report on College Student Mental Health motivated by the alarming increases in mental and emotional health problems of college students. Three areas of particular concern associated with BHE’s role are stress related to lack of readiness for college work, the transition to college, and rising levels of student debt. Recommendations included adequate funding of college counseling centers, increased emphasis on adequate college preparation including reform in teacher preparation, adequate funding for higher ed to lessen student debt and efforts to increase faculty awareness of signs of student emotional and mental difficulties.
The IBHE adopted a strategic plan for the BHE itself. (Available on their website.) (They have apparently abandoned The Illinois Commitment although some elements survive in the goal statements.
The BHE strategic plan incorporates the following:
- “Mission: Access to an affordable, high-quality, postsecondary education to meet the needs of all Illinois residents.
- “Vision: Strengthen the state’s economic and social fabric through success in postsecondary degree completion for all residents.
- “Four goals to guide the agency’s policy, budgetary, and legislative focus:
- Affordability—Help ensure that college is affordability to all Illinoisans.
- Attainment—Improve education attainment through a seamless P-20 system of high-quality teaching and learning, through an increased focus and outreach to nontraditional students, and through stronger emphasis on preparing graduates in high-demand workforce areas.
- Diversity—Work to increase access and success in a more diverse college student body and faculty ranks, including those with disabilities.
- Efficiency—Promote efficiency and accountability in higher education operations.”
Recommendations of the Institutional and Program Approval Working group were adopted. Initially focused on out-of-state proprietary institutions it has broadened its concern over time and may affect public institutions.
The various requests for program and degree granting approval were adopted.
A presentation set the context for the fy09 budget development. (The Board will consider budget recommendations in February.) Total state funding for higher education operations and grants is 8.7% greater in fy08 that in fy93 adjusted for inflation. However, most of that has been in support of the retirement system and need-based financial aid to students. Excluding pension funding, state support declined 9% between fy02 and fy08 and declined 6.3% for the public institutions during that time. Capital projects funding has declined sharply since the early 2000’s. The backlog in deferred maintenance at public universities and community colleges in fy07 is estimated to be over $2.8B. In terms of average public college faculty salaries, Illinois is at 94.3% of the medians of its comparison groups, some institutions higher some lower in terms of their comparison groups.
General Revenue funds are projected to increase 2.8% in fy08. The growth is not large enough to meeting the needs of fy09. (Pension funding for SURS is due to rise approximately $110M over the sum appropriated this year and $115M more the following year.)
The next meeting will be December 4 at Northeastern Illinois University.
FAC to the IBHE Representative
* Due to a schedule conflict your representative was unable to attend. This report is developed on the basis of the agenda and reports of those who attended.