IBHE to discuss four areas of PQP

By Jerry Lawrence

The Illinois Board of Higher Education is scheduled to discuss four areas being evaluated under the controversial Priorities, Quality and Productivity initiative today at a meeting in Chicago.

The IBHE will discuss reports on recent trends in higher education, research and public service at Illinois public universities, state support for intercollegiate athletics at public universities and university off-campus coursework.

The report on trends in higher education expenditures states that between the 1989-1990 and the 1991-1992 academic years, “At public universities, expenditures for undergraduate education declined during this period, while expenditures for graduate instruction at the master’s level, organized research, and public services increased.”

The report shows the overall increase in the spending of state funds by public universities on departmental research increased by 17 percent while the supply of state funds to the universities increased by a mere 0.6 percent.

The report states that the spending of state funds on academic instruction increased by 2.6 percent.

The report on trends concludes, “Increases in expenditures for graduate instruction, research and public service were financed through increased charges to students and parents and increased student financial aid requirements. A central question in the (PQP) initiative must be whether or not these patterns reflect the state’s priorities in the future.”

The report on research and public service states that data shows there are still “opportunities” to reallocate resources from research and public service to undergraduate instruction.

The report also states public universities should re-examine their research and public service priorities and identify productivity and quality improvements to be made in those fields.

The report concludes by stating the IBHE will do its own evaluation of the same programs and will “identify opportunities for future productivity improvements and reinvestment opportunities.”

The report on intercollegiate athletics strikes a similar note for university sports programs by recommending, “Illinois public universities should consider various productivity improvements to assure that they are offering high quality, cost-effective intercollegiate athletics programs.”

The report on off-campus programs points out four areas regarding off-campus course offerings that should be evaluated by universities.

Geographic distribution of off-campus courses, potential duplication of off-campus courses, priorities and capacity adjustments as well as opportunities to consolidate and/or share resources with other institutions should all be part of the evaluation process, according to the report.