February 23, 2009
Report of Board of Trustees Meeting
January 15, 2009; Chicago
The Board released Impact Illinois, a brochure highlighting the importance of the University of Illinois to the economy of the state. Each dollar of state money invested in the university generates seventeen dollars of economic development. This means a total impact of $13 billion and 150,000 jobs.
Chairman Lawrence Eppley announced his intention to step aside as chair of the Board. Trustee Niranjan Shah was nominated and elected unanimously as the new Chair. Trustees Carroll and Vickery were elected to the Executive Committee.
Jaclyn O’Day, Student Body President from Urbana, spoke during the public comments session. She summarized various student concerns, including the importance of lobbying efforts highlighting the importance of the University of Illinois as a state resource; the importance of maintaining and even expanding bus service available to students; and the importance of academic oversight over Global Campus as a special concern of students. The Urbana Student Senate has passed a resolution highlighting these concerns, to be forwarded to the Board.
The UIC Medical Center presented an impressive report on the future of robotic surgery – an area in which they are a national leader – and the future of hospitals beyond bricks and mortar buildings. Health care will become more virtual, more home-based, relying more on nanotechnologies, robotics, and distributed systems. The prototype hospital will be the hub of this distributed and virtualized system. The current UIC hospital building was erected during the WPA period in the 1930’s. CEO DeNardo presented a proposal to renovate the existing hospital and to build a new adjacent hospital soon, and in the future a new high-tech facility as part of a comprehensive building plan, along with a new automated Pathology center. The total plan is budgeted at $660 million. “We’ve been discussing this for five years. We need to start now.”
A subsequent resolution from the Board endorsed this request, and directed the university administration to seek building funds as part of the new federal stimulus/infrastructure program.
The Board reviewed and deferred a decision on a new policy on multi-institutional degrees, which was previously reviewed and approved by the Urbana Senate, along with a specific new program in Chemical Engineering with the National University in Singapore. The Board requested more information before making a decision.
The Board raised a number of questions for the Urbana Chancellor and Provost on the “Blue Water” petascale computer project. The Board requested a detailed business plan on how the initial cost layout would be recouped over time via research grants and selling computer time to private industry.
VP Walter Knorr gave an overview of the budget state for the university, including both covering the short term rescission (which might be as much as 10%of our budget), and a longer term budget reduction for FY 10 and beyond. He also summarized student fees and housing costs for next year for each of the campuses.
The Board reviewed and approved implementation of Global Campus policies, including the formation of an Academic Policy Council and clarifying the procedures for degree-granting authority.
New building and renovation projects were approved for Urbana residence halls, the Illini Union, the Roger Adams Laboratory, the Krannert Art Museum, and Ikenberry Commons.
If an observer’s impression might be noted, it appeared that the Board is becoming a good deal more questioning and skeptical about campus expenditures.