Senate of the Urbana-Champaign Campus

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October 6, 2008

University of Illinois
Urbana-Champaign Senate

HE.08.14. Report on the Illinois Board of Higher Education Meeting, June 3, 2008.

Items relative to UIUC:
Bachelor of Arts in African American Studies (LAS) approved.
Matthew DeRosa, UIUC Student honored for his service on the IBHE.
$343,400 HECA grant to U of I and Parkland College to ensure transfer students’ success.
$76,500 HECA grant for a Teacher Data Warehouse (includes Chicago State and EIU).
$156,923 HECA grant to UIUC & cooperating institutions to improve web accessibility for people with disabilities
$49,000 for students in the work study program.
Grants (amount unknown) for 12 new and 26 continuing UIUC students in the Diversifying of Higher Education Faculty Program.

The BHE meeting at the Prairie Heart Institute of St. John’s College in Springfield opened at 9:25 a.m. with a welcome.  They offer a B.S. in nursing providing education for the last two years toward the degree.  Students (2/3rds traditional) are largely drawn from a 50 mile radius of the school.  They have a high graduation rate with most graduates settling in central Illinois or St. Louis area. (Four of the top 10 Springfield employers are health related.)

Chairwoman Hightman said the BHE budget strategy this year was great step forward with the legislature adopting the stage 3 level recommendation.  This will provide a 4.1% increase including special additions.  It was a risk to adopt this strategy since it took people outside their comfort zone by making the BHE an advocate for higher education as some legislators had called upon it to be.  Many legislators praised this budget approach.  She called upon everyone to continue the work to ensure that the recommendations hold and be approved by the governor.

Hightman reported that the next public agenda task force meeting is June 20 at Robert Morris College in Chicago.  At the last meeting several individuals noted the need for additional ideas for themes including one focusing on quality of life issues.  Seventeen forums have been scheduled June 9-24 at community college sites around the state to gather ideas on economic and educational themes.

An extended presentation focused on efforts to deal with the increasing nursing shortage that exists and is projected to exist for 20 years.  Various approaches are being tried with the state investing dollars in supporting programs to increase the availability of nurses through the cooperation of community colleges, hospitals and four-year institutions.  Among problems are the great shortage of nursing faculty, high attrition rates of qualified nurses, and inability to get into basic courses prerequisite to entry in a nursing program.

Dave Tretter of the Federation of Illinois Independent Colleges and Universities made an extended presentation.  The oldest private college association in the country, it has 56 members ranging from small liberal arts colleges to research institutions and medical and professional schools.  Independent non-profit institutions enroll 27% of Illinois college students vs. 25% in public universities and 43% in community colleges and enroll similar numbers and percentages of minority students. They offer 43% of the bachelor, 60% of master, 75% of first professional, and 51% of  Ph.D. degrees in Illinois. Last year they provided almost a 6 to1 match for student need based state aid.  He stressed that the high tuition/high aid model has not worked—tuition rose but aid did not keep pace.  He called for direct funding of students (ensuring access to the education of their choice) and a move from the focus on inputs to outcomes.
Other advisory committee reports were brief.  John Bennett introduced himself as the new Faculty Advisory Council chair. The student representative expressed concern about transferability from community colleges to the four-year institutions; the need for state funding of veterans’ education rather than  putting this on the back of institutions; and opposition to community colleges offering bachelor’s degrees.  Terry Bruce on behalf of the community colleges expressed great appreciation for the new BHE budget approach that “gave us a hunting license” to communicate successfully our needs to legislators.

Agenda items approving new degree programs and a range of grants were approved—many pending approval of budget legislation.

The legislative report noted adoption of several bills by the legislature:

The bill authorizing Harper College to offer baccalaureate degrees in two fields did not pass but NIU will offer completion programs in these two fields at Harper.

Ken Andersen
UIUC Senate FAC Representative