Meeting of the Illinois Board of Higher Education Faculty Advisory Committee December 11, 1998
Marriott Renaissance Hotel, Springfield, Illinois
Keith Sanders, Executive Director of the IBHE, met with the IBHE Faculty Advisory Committee in the morning. He reviewed recent developments at the Federal level responding to the commitment to improve K-12 education by making some 2.2 million dollars available for teacher education. He also discussed issues relating to distance education and education for profit enterprises. Dr. Sanders reviewed the status of the Citizens' Agenda and the survey data behind it. A discussion followed covering strategies to improve the budgets for institutions of higher education in Illinois. The business meeting in the afternoon session covered revision of a statement on the Lake County University Center proposal and strategies for responding to the revised Citizens' Agenda.
Keith Sanders announced his intention to lead a statewide effort to attract Federal funds to Illinois for teacher education. He noted that some 2.2 million dollars may be available this coming year from the Federal government for teacher education and he plans initiative to see that Illinois gets a fair share of those funds. With many more K-12 teachers being needed in the near future, he felt that the alliance of higher education with K-12 teacher education efforts was the single most popular educational cause in the State.
In terms of for-profit education enterprises, Dr. Sanders noted that some 15,000 courses are now available for credit on the internet and over 300 degree programs are being offered in this medium. Citing the Web as an important element in the future of education as Gutenberg's invention of movable type was earlier, he suggested that we donít really know the exact extent of the impact. He sees the first target of profit enterprises in education to be the large corporations who are teaming up to offer courses and training. The British Open University had some 90,000 students and is growing. It is about to enter the United States through ties with the Western Governors University cooperative and Florida State University. Ted Marchese's article "Not-So-Distant Competitors" in the May, 1998 Bulletin of the American Association for Higher Education was mentioned as a good source for background on the issues that we will be facing. He emphasized that both access and quality were important variables in the future of web based education, but doubted that there would be any cost savings in the near term, if ever. It was noted by the Chair of the IBHE/FAC that instruction involving only training in skills might be done more effectively by computers, but it is unlikely that those involved with educating and not just training will be replaced by computers.
Dr. Sanders presented in detail the results of the survey conducted for the development of the Citizens' Agenda. He noted that research has been added to the revised draft of the Agenda. While recognizing that we are in a technical and vocational era of education, he insisted that we need to pay attention to broader issues. The survey data suggests that employers and citizens are very concerned with "attitudes" and "communication skills" of graduates. These are skills that go beyond technical and vocational training. He also noted that the Citizens' Agenda goals list the preparation of teachers among the top objectives to be obtained. He acknowledged that curriculum is the purview of the faculty, but that faculty need to be responsive to the goals cited by the Citizens' Agenda. The goal of the Citizens' Agenda process is to obtain a consensus agenda for education. He invited input on the draft Agenda prior to the February IBHE meeting. The IBHE will be asked to adopt the agenda in
February and after that it should be considered "etched in stone" as far as budget proposals and priorities are concerned.
IBHE/FAC BUSINESS MEETING: The business meeting concerned itself with the draft statement on the Lake County proposal, the Assessment of Tenured Faculty document, and the response to the Citizens' Agenda prior to the February meeting of the IBHE. After much discussion a statement of concerns on the Lake County Proposal was approved for presentation at the December 15th meeting of the IBHE. The Assessment of Tenured Faculty document was approved with revision and will be forwarded to the IBHE.
After extensive discussion, the decision was made to divide the FAC into six subcommittees to respond and comment on each of the six goals in the revised Citizens' Agenda. Because of the urgency of responding to the IBHE prior to their February meeting, it was decided to devote the entire January 29th meeting the of IBHE/FAC to developing and refining statements on each of the six Citizens' Agenda goals. The planned discussion of the budgeting process will be moved to the February IBHE/FAC meeting.
Submitted by Terry L. Weech, UIUC Representative to the IBHE/FAC, 1/7/99.