University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign Senate

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September 27, 2004

University of Illinois
Urbana-Champaign Senate

HE.04.12 Report on the IBHE Faculty Advisory Council Meeting, April 23, 2004.

The FAC met at the downtown Campus of DePaul University.  The morning was largely spent interacting in separate interviews with two Illinois House Representatives.

The first was John A. Fritchey, Democrat from the 11th district.  B.A. in economics U. of Michigan, Law Northwestern, House member since 1996. Said Illinois spent itself into a hole, only made worse by 9/11.  Financially Illinois is in big trouble; we need a systemic change.  Legislators tend to think in legislative cycles, need to think long-term. We need to fund early education.  We need a tax swap of higher income tax from 3% to 5 % (yield $1.5B) and reduce property taxes 25%—a swap both economically and morally sound.  We have an education crisis in “handcuffing our institutions of higher learning.”  We are 46th lowest in income tax—raise to 5% would make us 36th or 37th.  Believes we can cut the budget to a degree and not cut services.  A progressive tax is also on the table as is a tax on services. He said a temporary tax increase would kill the swap so he opposes one. Said Jones, Madigan and Governor will make the final decision this year. Budget will be very fluid for the next few years.

Fritchey said a common voice is needed for higher education.  The public does not differentiate administration and faculty—sees it as a unit and its views of administrations are negative. Legislators are not hearing from the public on education. Many Democrats are up in arms about what the national administration is doing.  Urged faculty to communicate, get to editorial boards, make noise, build coalitions—need to use sound bites.  Suggested FAC meet with legislators of the region, not just the district where the FAC meets. “What you’ve got to understand is that you are in a parade of orphans right now.”

The second legislator, Ken Dunkin, Democrat, the 5th District met briefly with the group. He seemed surprised when told that most faculty were not at the level of UIUC professors and that many professors make less than high school teachers.  Said the money was not there for meeting the needs of education. He challenged the group to tell him where to take the money from to fund the IBHE budget.  He doesn’t think the Governor has the money for his proposed budget either.  Said the legislature would adjourn on schedule, as the Democrats don’t want to give the Republicans the power they would have over the budget if they do not meet the May 21 deadline for passage of the budget. Need to reconfigure higher education to be more effective and need better outcome measures.  He asked about the correlation of money and quality.

IBHE Liaison Gary Alexander talked about the issue of BHE approval of out-of-state institutions offering B.A. degrees using community college facilities and the concern over Old Dominion offering a Ph.D. in Illinois without a campus residency requirement.  He said the issue is one of quality, not method of instruction.  The Board has an ad hoc committee on distance education due to report at the October meeting.  BHE review and approval is bound by the law: can only evaluate those with a physical presence in Illinois who seek approval.  No one on the BHE staff has an expertise in judging the quality of on-line degree programs.  If the BHE failed to certify programs meeting the requirements, they could be sued for restraint of trade under the interstate commerce act.  The BHE has no say over programs “beamed” into Illinois if they do not have a physical presence in Illinois.  It may be time to reexamine our entire process for certification of degree programs.  He reiterated private institutions unlike the public institutions do not need to show a need for a program.  Asked about posting a list of fraudulent degree granters Alexander said it was impossible to keep up with the growing number and also the possibility of a lawsuit must be considered.

In the abbreviated business session (no time for committee meetings) several drafts were reviewed including a letter drafted by the public policy committee for the chair, Allan Karnes, to mail to appropriate legislators.  Statements on accreditation and integration of technology in classrooms were reviewed and suggested revisions offered.  The reworked statements will be presented for action at the May FAC meeting. 

Paul Keys, Provost at Governors State University asked for two members to advise relative to his work on the Productivity, Priorities, and Accountability Committee of the IBHE.  The representative of National Louis asked for support of a statement opposing the alteration of the MAP program that provides lower funding for the higher tuition private schools.  The UIS representative complained that an announcement was made that all programs would be available on line without any input or consultation with the faculty.  No action was taken on the two concerns. The BHE was asked to establish a listserve for community colleges and private institutions to follow issues and actions of the FAC.  No action was taken.

Ken Andersen
UIUC Senate FAC Representative