BOR plans schedule for recommendation reviews

By Peter Shuh and Lesley Rogers

The Board of Regents has created a tentative game plan to begin reviewing the seven programs cited for elimination by the Priorities, Quality and Productivity initiative.

In the second phase of its PQP initiative, the Illinois Board of Higher Education recommended 30 programs state-wide as “educationally and economically unjustified.” This designation is forcing the university governing boards to either take a stand in defense of their programs or send them off to the chopping block.

The Regents are responsible for governing NIU, Illinois State University and Sangamon State University. This means the board will have to reply to the IBHE’s recommendation of NIU’s eliminating doctorate programs in geology, economics and special education in addition to four programs at ISU.

During their Academics and Student Affairs committee meeting, the Regents set up a tentative schedule to review the IBHE’s recommendations.

The Regents will receive a background paper on those programs targeted by what they are referring to as PQP’s “phase two” in March or April. In May or July the Chancellor’s Report will provide recommendations on the PQP-cited programs.

“It is quite a notable level of activity and we have to credit the universities. The IBHE identified a much, much reduced schedule for this year,” Regents Chancellor Roderick Groves said.

Groves said there was growing agreement between the Regents and the IBHE in regard to the programs the universities decided to keep in their 1993 Productivity Reports.

“There seems to be a movement in the direction toward consensus,” Groves said. “This is not going to have a level of controversy at all like last year. We hope to move toward a greater understanding this year.”

Groves said he was pleased the IBHE had returned only seven programs to this year’s hit list but added that he had hoped by this point in time the IBHE would be done with the program elimination process.

“The bad news is the IBHE was not prepared to move quite that fast,” Groves said.

IBHE Executive Director Richard Wagner has announced on several occasions that the IBHE intends to make PQP an ongoing process.

In January, the Regents will ratify the remaining steps NIU needs to take to fulfill the actions listed in its 1993 Productivity Report.

NIU Provost J. Carroll Moody said, “The actions will be done in the next 10 days. We have one program that will not be finished in that time—they are very busy switching the curriculum to another degree.”

Groves said he hoped to see the first phase of PQP business completed before the Regents moved on to phase two.