REPORT OF THE JANUARY 18, 2007
BOARD OF TRUSTEES MEETING
A breakfast meeting of senate observers, Chair of USC and trustees Frances Carroll and Kenneth Schmidt was convened on January 18th. Major topics of discussion were the Chief issue and the U of I Global Campus. Trustees stated that the Chief issue will be “resolved” this year and encouraged those present to listen carefully to the comments made by Chair Larry Eppley at the meeting today. The discussion on the Global Campus took up bulk of the time. Trustees and those present exchanged views on ways of ensuring quality in the courses, curricula and degrees offered by the Global Campus. Trustees were informed of the recent activities and discussions between the faculty, students and administration. Faculty present reiterated their support for online education and stated that they hoped that the Global Campus will succeed.
This being the first meeting of the year, was also the Board’s Annual meeting. Trustee James D. Montgomery of Chicago was introduced as the Board’s new member. Also, elections of new officers of the Board were conducted. All officers of 2006 were re-elected including trustee Eppley who was re-elected unanimously as the Board’s Chair for 2007.
Chair Eppley started the meeting by identifying the major issues he felt the Board will be addressing during 2007. He specifically pointed out implementation of the University Strategic Plan, resources necessary to implement the Strategic Plan, June launch of the Capital Campaign, Global Campus and the Chief issues as major topics of discussion for the year. He listed reduction of energy costs, state funding, research funds, and efficiency of existing resources as means of managing available resources for the University. On the Chief issue, trustee Eppley stated that he expected the Board will reach the desired consensus during this year and remove the University from the NCAA list. After Chair Eppley, Chancellor Sylvia Manning recognized the accomplishments of certain faculty and student at UIC.
President White updated the Board on the status of discussions on the Global Campus with faculty and students. He pointed out that the Global Campus is one of the five major initiatives identified in the University’s Strategic Plan. White discussed the three M’s: Mission, Mastery and Money as the goals of the Global Campus. He identified that the University’s Mission of providing access to high quality education as a major motivation in establishing the Global campus. White described Mastery as the opportunity for the University to impact the future of higher education by becoming a leader in on-line education through innovation. He pointed out the Money aspect of the Global campus as a new potential source of funding for the University and called that an important goal as well, particularly in light of the limited resources we are facing.
USC Chair Terry Bodenhorn reported on the ongoing discussion between senates and the administrations on the Global Campus. Bodenhorn reviewed the discussions that took place at the December 6 and January 8th retreat of faculty/student leaders and the administration on the specifics of the Global Campus and pointed out the agreements reached at the January meeting. A number of trustees asked questions about ensuring quality, checks and balances, significance of strong faculty support for the Partnership, required resources, business plan and guarding against failure as we further explore this partnership. Student trustee Sarah Doyle also reported as a participant in the December 6th and January 8th meetings. She stated that students are very excited about the prospects of the Global Campus, but want to be sure that we maintain quality deserving of the name of the University of Illinois.
Dr. Chet Gardner, Special Assistant to the President on Global Campus, also reported on the latest development on the Partnership plan. Gardner presented plans for the timeline as well as enrollment and finances of the Global Campus (copy of presentation available in the Senate Office for review). Trustee Robert Sperling asked questions about lessons learned, risks and failure stories and inquired if Dr. Gardner had spoken with institutions who have previously tried similar initiatives and failed. Gardner pointed out that he had discussed the issue with NYU and observed that their failure was due to the fact that they did not aggressively market their online education assuming that it will automatically attract students and succeed. Chair Eppley asked what happens if we put the resources planned for the Global Campus into our regular programs and what the rate of return would be. Gardner pointed out the long term benefits of the Global Campus and the potential for significant revenues in the future. President White stated that he plans to bring the Global Campus Partnership plan to the Board in March for a vote.
The Board went into executive session after lunch. Following that session, the Board Buildings and Grounds Committee convened in open session followed by Budget and Audit Committee and Finance and Investment Committee. Copies of reports by these Committees are available in the Senate office for review. The Board also approved its regular agenda. Agenda items approved included the following: approval of Honorary Degrees to be offered to William D. Nix and Genshitsu Sen in May 2007; appointment of Walter Knorr as the University Vice President/Chief Financial Officer; appointment of Dr. James A. Weyhenmeyer as the Interim Vice President for Technology and Economic development; a number of curricular and degree related proposals previously approved by appropriate senates; amending U of I Senate Constitution to include three Academic Professionals in the UIC Senate; Intergovernmental Agreement with the City of Chicago to facilitate the city’s application to the US Olympics Committee; University funding for renovation of Lincoln Hall; and a legal settlement.
The meeting ended with reports from Professor Elliott Kaufmann from the UIC Senate and student trustees.