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October 6, 2008

University of Illinois
Urbana-Champaign Senate

HE.08.15. Report on the IBHE Faculty Advisory Council Meeting, June 20, 2008.

The FAC met at Concordia University Chicago in River Forest. Gary Wenzel, Arts and Sciences Dean welcomed the group.  The University began with a focus on teacher training for individuals to serve in Lutheran Schools.  Roughly half of the undergraduate enrollment is still in teacher education programs.  It now has four colleges:  Arts and Sciences, Business, Education, and the newly formed Graduate Studies and Innovative Programs.  The Innovative Studies Program has both undergraduate and graduate students. The University has 110 full-time faculty, about 1,100 undergraduates and 3,000 graduate students.  Five years ago it had only 500 graduate students.  The explosion of the graduate program came about by Concordia offering on-site programs to cohorts of graduate students—typically in education who want an advanced degree. (Tuition is discounted as less expense to offer these programs.)  Faculty primarily recruits drawn from retirees of the City College of Chicago who had been offering an early retirement program.  While trying to retain the Lutheran heritage, the school has had to deal with the huge growth of non-residential graduate programs.  Issues include the effort to diversify the faculty and student body, attract and retain qualified faculty, with a greater emphasis on research.   Some students take courses at Dominican University (next door to Concordia) and vice- versa.

Ocheng Jany, IBHE liaison, said the governor has warned university presidents there may be cutbacks.  The budget passed by the legislature gave larger increases to community colleges (5.3%) than to four-year institutions (2.8%) He was unable to respond as to the reason the yearly comparative salary and compensation study has been delayed this year.

The remainder of the session was spent discussing possible topics and organization of the group in the coming year. Possible topics include: working to activate the P-20 Council, follow-up on the teacher preparation paper, communication with legislators, role of part- time and adjunct faculty, graduate rates, underprepared students, and assessment of learning.  The need to revive a committee structure was noted and the value of presentations by experts to assist the group as it develops papers on various topics. Also, the FAC should limit significantly the number of meetings with legislators.

The schedule of meetings and sites for the next year has not been determined.  The new chair, John Bennett of Lake Land College, will undertake that task.

Ken Andersen
UIUC Senate FAC Representative