DEVELOPING: Trustees discuss potential online University program

By Beth Gilomen and Drake Baer

CHICAGO – The University’s Board of Trustees meets today to discuss the recently revised plan for the Global Campus Partnership.

The program would create a primarily online academic unit of the University system. University President B. Joseph White said the mission of the Global Campus is to provide access to high quality education for non-traditional and continuing students.

“The nation is ready for a paradigm change in the options for higher education,” White said.

Thus far, the trustees have focused on the financial ramifications of the proposed plan.

Potentially, the Global Campus could serve 9300 students in 31 academic programs by fiscal year 2012. In order to do so, Chet Gardner, special assistant to White, said the University would need to make an investment of $14 million through a line of credit.

    Sign up for our newsletter!

    Board Chairman Larry Eppley asked if this money could be better allocated in traditional access funding. Specifically, the number of residential students who could be served via programs like financial aid, versus the number of students who would be served by the Global Campus. White and Gardner did not yet have specific information available to answer his question.

    White responded to questions of the distribution of financial gain from the endeavor, saying that if the current payout structure is followed, the majority of the revenue will go to faculty benefit and retention.

    Trustee Robert Sperling said he was concerned about the possibilities of the project because not enough information has been given yet about the concrete operational structure of the program.

    “We’ve got a mystery to look into here, and we have tax payer’s money at stake,” Sperling said.