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March 31, 2008

University of Illinois
Urbana-Champaign Senate

HE.08.08. Report on the Illinois Board of Higher Education Meeting, February 5, 2008.*

Item relative to UIUC: Approval of St. John’s Newman Center to establish the “Institute of Catholic Thought School of Theology.”

The BHE met in Springfield.

Rick Pearce is replacing departed Academic Deputy Academic Affairs Office Gary Alexander on an interim basis.

The Faculty Advisory Council Chair stressed the importance of new money for higher education’s operating budgets to reduce the pressures for higher tuition and commended the new budget strategy of the BHE.

The BHE continues to focus on master planning for higher education under the name of “A Public Agenda for Illinois Higher Education” with a consulting firm hired.

Presentations including James Anderson (SUNY-Albany) on “diversity and Academic Excellence” and Jerry Webber (Kankakee) and Bob Mees (John A. Logan) on the “State of Community Colleges Today.”

The BHE has instituted a new approach to budget recommendations.  Some years ago the BHE worked with the institutions to produce an independent budget recommendation to the legislature.  Recently the BHE has recommended a budget essentially developed in consultation with the governor and his budget proposals.  This year the BHE using the rubric of “investment options” laid out a range of budgets from a 0 increase to a 9.2% and stressed what would follow from those levels of expenditure/investment.  (Not all members endorsed the format.)

Ken Andersen
UIUC Senate FAC Representative

*  Because this observer was unable to attend the meeting the report is based upon the agenda and information provided by other sources.