IBHE to initiate next step in streamlining

By Eric Krol

The next step in the controversial university streamlining process begins today.

The Illinois Board of Higher Education (IBHE) will meet at 9 a.m. today at the College of Lake County in northwest suburban Grayslake. The IBHE will continue its discussion of the Priorities, Quality and Productivity (PQP) initiative.

PQP is a process initiated by IBHE Chairman Arthur Quern last October. The process, which has sent rounds of shock waves through the state higher education world, aims at streamlining state public colleges and universities by evaluating programs on the basis of statistical data. Programs which have been deemed unproductive will be recommended for elimination.

The IBHE will discuss PQP as a committee-of-the-whole at the beginning of the meeting. This format allows for open discussion and debate.

The PQP agenda this time will center around IBHE staff recommendations on productivity improvements. Last week, the IBHE staff issued its list of 190 programs recommended for elimination at the 12 public universities. NIU placed 15 programs on the hit list, including the College of Law and several graduate level programs.

The list raised the ire of many higher education officials because the recommendations were issued before universities were required to submit their own suggestions on productivity improvements.

The IBHE list came out Sept. 28, while the deadline for the university input was Oct. 1.

Along with the recommendations, the committee-of-the-whole is scheduled to look at baccalaureate student graduation rates at state public universities and a list of characteristics which reveals the diverse nature of state public universities.

Also on the agenda is a look at the implementation of the IBHE’s policies on preparation of the workforce. In addition, the IBHE is expected to approve the membership of its various advisory committees.