IBHE appoints NIU professor

By Nissin Behar

The Illinois Board of Higher Education has appointed an NIU math professor to serve on the 1989 Committee for the Study of Undergraduate Education.

IBHE Executive Director Richard Wagner chose Robert Wheeler for a committee spot at Tuesday’s IBHE meeting at Elgin Community College.

Twenty-two people were chosen to serve on the committee. Among them are representatives from the city colleges of Chicago, community colleges throughout Illinois, Board of Governors of state colleges and universities, and Illinois State University at Normal.

This year, the committee will be asked to address issues concerning academic preparation for college, feedback to high schools, student progress, retention and graduation.

Some projects include improving student preparation for college-level work and smoothing the transition from high school to college.

Additionally, the board has requested the committee examine and recommend changes to make more data on these issues available for high schools and universities. The 1986 committee recommended that colleges and universities provide feedback to high schools on the progress of their graduates in college.

A report on retention and graduation patterns at Illinois public universities was presented to the board at its September meeting at Western Illinois University in Macomb.

The 1989 committee will examine the results of this report. According to the study, about 55 percent of freshmen at state public universities in 1980 graduated by 1988. Less than 30 percent of blacks and hispanics graduated by 1988, either from the school at which they began their higher education or one to which they transferred.

Clara Fitzpatrick, Board of Regents member, said the 60 percent graduation rate of non-minority students compares to the national average. The Board of Regents governs NIU, ISU and Sangamon State University in Springfield.

Eighteen percent of black students who started at NIU in 1980 graduated by 1988. More than 35 percent of hispanic students at NIU did the same.

The board established the committee on the study of undergraduate education in November 1985 to examine issues related to the quality of undergraduate education.