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February 23, 2009

Report on the IBHE Faculty Advisory Council Meeting of January 23, 2009

The Faculty Advisory Council (FAC) of the Illinois Board of Higher Education (IBHE) met on Friday January 23, 2009 at the Olney Central College (OCC) in Olney, IL. OCC is part of the Illinois Eastern Community College (IECC) district which encompasses an area of 3,000 square miles with a population of 100,000 (all or portions of ten counties); 12,000 students are served. 

The meeting was called to order at 9 AM by Chair John Bennett.  Robert Boyles, Interim Dean of Instruction welcomed everyone to the OCC campus.  Suzanne Downs of OCC gave a presentation on IECC’s breakdown of faculty, students and other demographics of IECC.

Following is a summary of the discussions/actions by the Council.

Ocheng Jany, Associate Director for Academic Affairs announced that the IBHE meeting was scheduled for the upcoming Tuesday in Springfield.  Some FAC members expressed concerns regarding the late availability of IBHE meeting agenda.  In particular, some FAC members expressed disappointment that the higher education budget which was to be approved by the Board on Tuesday had not been publicized yet.  FAC members also expressed concern over the fact that IBHE staff/liaison may not be able to attend all FAC meetings in the future.  This was interpreted by some as possible marginalization of FAC.

A brief discussion took place on P-20 Longitudinal Act currently under preparation.  Staff was unsure of the status of this document in the legislative process.  Among other things, P-20 (pre-school through college) act is supposed to establish mechanisms for collecting and maintaining data on students as they go through their P-20 education.  Students may be tracked, using a unique identifier (not Social Security).  Information collected may be used for shaping policies and practices in the future.

Working Group on Legislative Affairs (Lane Crothers, Chair) and Working Group on Academic Affairs (Tim Scherman, Chair) met in breakout sessions until lunch time.

After lunch and at the request of the FAC Chair, Abbas Aminmansour of University of Illinois gave a brief report on the Budget Town Hall Meeting that had taken place in Urbana the evening of January 22nd.  Following Abbas’ report, Tim Scherman gave a brief presentation on FAC’s new web site and its features.

Les Hyder of Eastern Illinois University presented a motion that the FAC endorse a resolution to be presented at the next IBHE meeting honoring Gilbert Rutman for his service to the Board.   The motion passed with all but one member voting in favor of the resolution (there was one abstention).

A discussion took place on why there are no faculty (particularly FAC) representatives on the IBHE just like there are student representatives.  Chair Bennett was asked by the Council to look into this matter and report to the group at the next FAC meeting for further discussions and possible plan of action.

Lane Crothers of Illinois State University, Chair of the Working Group on Legislative Affairs reported that his group recommends inviting key people to FAC meetings.  He noted that it is important for us to build relationships and give insights into higher education to key people in Springfield including IBHE members.  He suggested John Cullerton as one possibility.

Tim Scherman of Northeastern Illinois University, Chair of the Academic Affairs Working Group distributed outlines of two position papers on assessment and dual credit discussed in his group’s meeting.  Council members were asked to share comments and ask questions regarding these documents with Tim.  A revised version of the documents will be submitted in advance of the February FAC meeting for a possible vote at that meeting.

Council members held a discussion on the FAC presentation at the April 7th IBHE meeting began and brainstormed what should be included in that report.  Lane Crothers agreed to update last year’s FAC presentation to the IBHE and share with everyone for comments.  It was pointed out that we link up academic freedom and operationalizing the Public Agenda.  FAC members were reminded that IBHE Executive Director Judy Erwin asked the group in December to take a leading role in implementation of the Public Agenda.  It was pointed out that this should give us an opening to add other concerns.  The FAC Executive Committee will work on our presentation to the IBHE via a conference call next week and will share their draft with the group for comments.  FAC Chair will have fifteen minutes for his presentation at the April 7, 2009 IBHE meeting.

Under new business, FAC member Becky Wojcik of Governors State University presented the following resolution to FAC for its consideration and adoption:  The FAC of the IBHE appreciates the access it has had to IBHE staff and liaisons during its meetings.  Whereas this access has assisted the FAC in its activity, the FAC respectfully requests that access to staff liaisons be increased or maintained at current levels.  The motion passed unanimously.

Finally, hosts of the meeting at Olney were thanked.  The meeting adjourned at 2:30 PM.

Respectfully submitted,
Abbas Aminmansour