Funding of co-op tops discussion

By Claudia Curry

The Illinois Board of Higher Education will meet today to discuss the approval of fiscal year 1989 grant allocations, which include a $40,000 interinstitutional grant to a multi-university center located in Rockford.

A grant of $60,000 was approved by the IBHE at its July 1 meeting for the establishment of a new cooperative college institution in Rockford led by NIU and including Rock Valley College and Rockford College.

The new Northern Illinois Regional Academic Center will replace the Rockford Regional Academic Center in which NIU was involved with seven other universities. NIU President John LaTourette said the RRAC was founded about 15 years ago and was phased out June 30.

The new center will include programs by Rockford College and Rock Valley College as well as NIU. LaTourette said the new center will begin with programs NIU had established in the RRAC but will have a new objective of “assessing the new educational needs of the greater Rockford area.

“Our primary focus for the next six or seven months will be doing a needs assessment. That is our first major task and we will begin shortly,” LaTourette said.

“At the present time, we haven’t really made any commitment to the exact expenditure of the funding,” he said.

“It is going to take some time to look into all the areas of need at the center, but we have already developed a draft for a study proposal concerning the needs assessment program and it is being presently discussed between the two other (university) presidents and myself,” he said.

This additional funding brings the total FY89 grant allocation for the Multi-University Center up to $100,000.

LaTourette said that after the needs assessment is finished there will be adequate information to help decide what departments at the center need the most funding and upgrading.

The assessment will start with an “analysis of the Rockford area economic structure—its occupational systems and their projections for the future,” he said.

LaTourette said programs and activites at the center will be scheduled accordingly after the needs assessment.

Professional continuing education, featuring short courses and seminars, might be one area of interest for the center, LaTourette said.

Cooperating in the needs-assessment program will be Rockford College President Karl Jacobs and Rock Valley College President Gretchen Kreuter.