February 14, 2000
Meeting of the Illinois Board of Higher Education Faculty Advisory Committee - November 5, 1999 - Elgin Community College, Elgin, Illinois
SYNOPSIS: After a welcome to Elgin Community College by the Vice President of Instruction, the Faculty Advisory Committee (FAC) discussed the impressions gained from the October 5, 1999 meeting with the IBHE at Northeastern Illinois University. The remainder of the morning was spent discussing charges and final organizational structure of the various subcommittees to be established this year. The decision was made to go with the initial proposed committees: Access and Diversity (Chair: Pat Puccio, College of DuPage), Technology and Pedagogy (Chair: Irvin Roth, Chicago State University), Quality, Assessment and P-16 (Chair: Dorothy Beck, Black Hawk College), and Budget (Chair: Terry Weech, UIUC). The afternoon session was spent in subcommittee meetings, with the Committee reconvening at the end of the afternoon to review the proposed agendas developed by each of the subcommittees.
MORNING SESSION: The discussion of the October 5, 1999 meeting, in which the IBHE Faculty Advisory Committee observed the Illinois Board of Higher Education meeting at Northeastern Illinois University, focused on the "Best Practices" presentations from selected institutions.
Some FAC members noted that few of the "Best Practices" reports focused on new initiatives in response to The Illinois Commitment document, but were rather practices which were already in operation. The conversation at the FAC meeting turned to the CEO "top down" model of administration that seemed to be evident in the reports given by the Presidents at the October meeting. Others indicated that this model of administration was representative of their institution's management style. Most expressed concern over the extent to which this model was being adopted by college and university administrators and found the model in conflict with the traditional collegial environment in academic institutions and, sometimes, in conflict with the principles of shared governance of academic institutions. One member of the Committee noted that under the CEO model, those who disagree with administrative decisions are not considered "team players" and are perceived as a threat to the organization. But, it was noted that in academe, the tradition of conflict and divergence in opinions is part of the collegial process of governance.
The concept of the team player is reserved for the playing field, not the classroom or research laboratory. Conflict and open debate are essential to the academic process of shared governance, it was noted. It was the consensus of the committee that concerns about the CEO model of academic administration should be expressed in a report to the IBHE. The representative from Illinois State University suggested that state supported college and university presidents should be reminded that it is their duty to educate their Boards that shared governance exists, and Boards of Trustees and the Presidents, along with Faculty, participate in this shared governance process, unlike the private sector CEO model which usually does not include the concept of shared governance. It was suggested that the Advisory Committee seek a commitment from the IBHE to shared governance in state supported colleges and universities.
Concerns were also expressed over the lack of attention the IBHE seemed to pay to the demographer they invited to speak. The case in point was that after the guest speaker presented evidence that Illinois student populations would, at best, hold steady in a no growth pattern in the coming years, the Board approved the establishment of the new Capital Scholars program at the University of Illinois at Springfield.
Some FAC members felt this was an example of how IBHE decisions were politically based rather than knowledge based, and concern was expressed that with no growth statewide in the student population, as predicted by the guest speaker at the IBHE meeting, some private and other public schools may lose programs to the newly established programs at state supported institutions.
Some characterized IBHE Chair Philip Rock's attitude toward the Advisory Committee reports as dismissive. It also seemed as if all the decisions had been made prior to the meeting and thus any discussion had little impact. It was noted that even though strong arguments were put forth against some of the items on the agenda, there was little discussion of the points made by the Board and even those Board members expressing reservations often voted for the motion. In this context, the FAC raised the question as to why the reports by the representatives from the advisory committees had been moved from the beginning of the IBHE meetings to the end. This was a decision apparently made by Chair Rock. It was suggested that the FAC raise the issue of when the Advisory Committee reports occur in the Agenda with the IBHE.
AFTERNOON SESSION - THE IBHE/FAC BUSINESS MEETING:
To conduct the business of the subcommittees the Faculty Advisory Committee broke up into the four subcommittees. After an hour of subcommittee discussions, the Committee reconvened and received the following reports from the subcommittees:
Report from the Access and Diversity Subcommittee
The subcommittee indicated a need for a clear and persistent faculty voice, if not a vote, on IBHE's Access and Diversity Committee. Because diverse student bodies bring diversity issues with them into the classroom, faculty know those issues from first-hand experience and, thus, have much to contribute to IBHE deliberations on these concerns. The subcommittee felt that the expectations for meeting the needs of such students through the Internet may be naive.
Report from the Technology/Pedagogy Subcommittee
The subcommittee recommended that Illinois Online Network be invited to the FAC meeting in January or February to learn more about progress on a statewide network.
Report from the Quality/Assessment/P-16 Subcommittee
The committee reported that it had struggled with the elusive question as to how best to measure quality. While standardized tests are often used to assess quality, the subcommittee was not comfortable with such tests as the primary measure. They suggested that the Board be asked to accept higher education's focus on developing abilities in: communication, creativity, definition of personal values, critical thinking, living with ambiguity, collaboration, appreciation of diverse cultural achievements, and initiative. The acceptance of such goals should assure quality education.
Report from the Budget Subcommittee
The time line for the IBHE/FAC's involvement in the IBHE budget process was outlined. The final draft of the FY 2001 budget will go to the Board December 14. The subcommittee suggests that the Faculty Advisory Committee meet with the IBHE staff responsible for the budget in January.
In February the Faculty Advisory Committee should begin preparing its input into the FY2002 budget. Faculty should make their budget priorities known by participating in The Big Picture meetings on state college and university campuses starting in September of each year. The Subcommittee recommends that each member of the IBHE Faculty Advisory Committee make arrangements to attend The Big Picture meetings if they are scheduled on their campus. It was noted that these meetings are open meetings, so it is just a matter of determining when they will take place. The Budget Subcommittee also suggests that we raise with the IBHE the issue of salary equity and concerns regarding the ability of public institutions to continue to find funds to match the 3+1+1 allocations.
Further Discussion in the Business Meeting
Discussion shifted to the implications of the "3+1+1." After noting the occasionally arbitrary means used in some institutions to determine "critical" faculty, the following motion was proposed:
Motion: The Faculty Advisory Committee requests that the Illinois Board of Higher Education encourage public universities to seek faculty involvement through each institution's faculty governance structure in defining and/or identifying "critical" faculty on each campus for 3+1+1 and other similar programs. The motion passed unanimously.
The meeting adjourned at 1:30 PM.
Submitted by Terry Weech, UIUC Representative to the FAC/IBHE