Meeting of the Illinois Board of Higher Education Faculty Advisory Committee March 26, 1999 -- Olive-Harvey University, Chicago, Illinois
SYNOPSIS: Budget issues were the topic of the morning session. The panel consisted of Mark Wilcockson, from the IBHE, Elaine Hyden, SIUC, and Tom Ryan, Joliet Junior College. Each provided comment on the higher education budgeting process in Illinois from their own perspective. The afternoon business session spent the bulk of the time revising the "Assessment of Tenured Faculty" Document. Nominees for the Faculty Advisory Committee Chair, Vice-Chair, and Secretary were also discussed.
MORNING SESSION: Mark Wilcockson, from the IBHE Staff, reported on the higher education budget process from the IBHE Staff perspective. Wilcockson distributed a handout outlining the budget process that reviewed the differences of the current process from processes in prior years. He noted that the Budget Context document has changed with the focus of the budget process since it is based on The Illinois Commitment document and sets parameters for institutional requests. There also has been an increase in input for all interests in the budget process, as well as an emphasis on measuring results and using performance measures to assess the outcomes of the budget. Members of the Faculty Advisory Committee expressed interest in being involved in the formulation of the Budget Context Document. After much discussion it was decided to try to meet next year in January or February to provide input to IBHE staff on the budget context. Some members of the FAC were not satisfied with this and preferred to have access to a draft of the document before it was finally sent forward. The IBHE staff felt this would not be feasible given the timetable of the budget process in the spring.
Other FAC members took the Illinois Commitment document to task for being too oriented towards vocational and professional education. Wilcockson specifically noted the UIUC Discovery Courses as an example of the IBHE support for general education and not just vocational education. Fred Flener, Chair of the FAC, noted that it takes 50 years for an oak tree to get full growth, but only a few months to grow a squash. He asked if the IBHE and the state recognized the need to have higher education in Illinois produce oaks or squash. Flener said it seemed The Illinois Commitment was more interested in squash than oak trees. Others present shared the concern that The Illinois Commitment seems to have a short term perspective. The IBHE staff indicated they were interested in both the short term and long term perspectives.
The issue of the reward structure for faculty was discussed as it related to budget items. It was noted that the IBHE and the State Legislature have suggested that the faculty need to demonstrate an increase in productivity, which is perceived in teaching more students and a larger number of courses. Some noted that the reward structure needs to be changed. The new Dean of Arts and Sciences at UIC teaches only one course a year because he gives speeches and earns released time. He is reported to have stated when introducing his speech, "this is my five course a year speech" suggesting that research and public speaking can be a substitute for productivity in teaching. In fact, in research institutions such as UIUC, the culture rewards faculty who do research or give speeches and bring in money, not those who teach well. Some suggest that such a culture needs to change and include those who teach well so it would be perceived appropriate for faculty to direct their energy and resources at good teaching and they could be rewarded for that as well. Instead the research university has a reward system that is structured to reward those who teach less and bring in the most money. It was noted that may have to change before the concerns of the State Legislature can be answered.
Elaine Hyden, from Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, presented a series of questions to Wilcockson regarding the IBHE's view of how best to support research in institutions of higher education in Illinois. Wilcockson's response was that research is important, but as the surveys of Illinois citizens done in the development of The Illinois Commitment suggest, teaching is seen as the primary mission of higher education in Illinois by most citizens.
Tom Ryan of Joilet Junior College presented the budget process from the perspective of the community college. He noted the difference between public community colleges and other public institutions of higher education is that the community college obtains the bulk of their funds from local taxes (approximately 40%), not from state taxes (only about 25%). This made the budget process very different than in four year institutions and those with graduate programs. Local tax caps have been a challenge for community colleges when developing their budgets.
In response to a question regarding the interests of private institutions of higher education in Illinois in the budgeting process at the state level, it was noted that in addition to being eligible to apply for HECA and other state grants for specific projects and programs, each private school in the state receives about $180 per underclassman and $380 per upperclassman as a per capita state grant. Many members of the FAC from state colleges and universities indicated they had not been aware of this state subsidy of private colleges and universities.
Vaman Rao from Western Illinois University summarized the discussion by noting three points:
- The faculty need to have still more input into the budgeting process at both the institutional and state level.
- Long-range as well as short-range performance measures of the outcomes of higher education need to be developed.
- The percentage of state education dollars going to higher education has dropped in recent years from a high of 16% to the present level of 11%. He noted the need to increase the percent again to the 16% level.
: IBHE/FAC BUSINESS MEETING: The names of the candidates for Chair, Vice-Chair, and Secretary of the FAC were announced and the election will be held at the next FAC meeting (April 26, 1999). The discussion then focused on ways the institutions of higher education could improve their public relations image in the state and inform the citizens and the legislators what it is the faculty do with their time when they are not in the classroom.
The remainder of the business meeting was spent revising the draft "Assessment of Tenured Faculty" document. The draft was approved as amended by the FAC and the document may be found at http://www.uiuc.edu/orgs/ibhefac/ibhetenure3.htm
The meeting was adjourned at 2:20 p.m. and the members reconvened into the FAC subcommittees on the goals of The Illinois Commitment document.
Submitted by Terry L. Weech, UIUC Representative to the IBHE/FAC, 4/2/99.