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April 13, 2004


SPRINGFIELD - The Illinois Board of Higher Education voted Tuesday to undertake a fresh look at questions of productivity and accountability at colleges and universities, including the fit between institutional missions and academic programs and the issue of faculty productivity.

The Board created the Committee on Priorities, Productivity, and Accountability with a five-pronged mission.

Vice Chair Thomas Lamont will chair the committee, which will divide its work into two phases, the first to examine productivity issues at public universities, the second to look at the rest of higher education. The committee will:

  • Review the match between each public university's mission and the array of academic programs it offers.
  • Examine the nature and scope of faculty work at the public universities in light of the institution's mission and focus to better understand and define faculty productivity.
  • Scrutinize state-level regulatory and other reporting requirements for ways to streamline the process.
  • Explore current accountability measures at the state and campus levels to determine what works, what needs improvement, what can be eliminated, and what might be added.
  • Prepare recommendations to the Board of Higher Education for consideration in the FY2006 budget cycle, and for the second phase of the study.

Named to the Committee by Board Chairman James L. Kaplan were: Guy Alongi, Chairman of the Illinois Community College Board; Ken Anderson, who serves on the Board's Faculty Advisory Council; Gary Grace, Executive Director and Dean of the University Center of Lake County; Lou Hencken, President of Eastern Illinois University; Paul Keys, Provost at Governors State University; Scott Guziec, Superintendent of School District 103 in Lincolnshire; and Board members Jerry Blakemore, Sam Gove, Alice Hayes, Dea Meyer, Proshanti Nandi, Gil Rutman, Lucy Sloan, Steven Taslitz, and Chairman Kaplan.

On a related matter, the Board approved recommendations from a committee formed last August to explore opportunities for universities to save money through group purchasing. In all, public universities spend about $1.5 billion annually on goods and services. The so-called "best practices" committee found several existing group purchasing arrangements, including:

  • The Illinois Public Higher Education Cooperative (IPHEC) - In existence since 1978, IPHEC purchases such items as office supplies and insurance. In fiscal 2003, public universities spent $42.4 million on IPHEC purchases, saving approximately 20 percent, or $10.9 million.
  • University Health System Consortium (UHC) - The University of Illinois and Southern Illinois University saved about $6 million in FY2003 on purchases of medical/surgical, pharmacy, and clinical specialty products.
  • Midwestern Higher Education Compact (MHEC) - Public universities saved about $500,000 on property insurance last year.

The Board accepted the committee's recommendations to publicize and encourage use of IPHEC at the state and campus levels, to identify areas for increased purchasing through IPHEC, and to expand participation in IPHEC purchase contracts to community colleges.

Board members endorsed the final report of the Committee on Statewide Capital Policies and Priorities establishing principles and policies for determining the capital spending priority list that is approved annually and presented to the Governor and General Assembly. The report recommends, among other criteria, that each campus have a long-range master plan to guide institutional capital requests; that the Board's priority list will promote campus missions and statewide goals; that the Board will rank high those projects that protect the state's investment in higher education facilities; and that life, health, safety, and emergency needs will receive a high priority.

The Board approved new associate degree programs at William Rainey Harper College, Richland Community College, Illinois Valley Community College, and Lincoln Land Community College. In addition, Board members granted requests for new operating and/or degree-granting authority for six independent institutions - Chicago School of Professional Psychology, DeVry University-Illinois; Franklin University, International Academy of Design and Technology, Old Dominion University, and Robert Morris College.


Don Sevener



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