Global Campus to provide access to staff

By Erik Allgood

The Board of Trustees has decided to restructure and establish independent accreditation for the Global Campus, an online extension of the University that launched just last year.

Lee Kantz, marketing director for Global Campus, said establishing independent accreditation will allow students enrolled in Global Campus to work with individual University staff members and be able to seek out professionals who are most qualified to create these online programs from all three University of Illinois campuses. In the past, students would work with entire academic programs instead of working with individual staff members.

The program receives close to $10.7 million in total expenditures from the University, according to Special Assistant to Global Campus President Chet Gardner. That money comes from a combination of state support, tuition and a credit line from the University.

“I don’t anticipate any change in funding.” Gardner said.

Kantzsaid they have been limited in their ability to produce programs because their prerogative has been to partner with the University’s academic programs. However, the academic programs have not been able or willing to create online programs of study for Global Campus.

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“So far, it has been hard to partner with these programs because they have not made us a priority. These people have full-time jobs, and it is very hard to pull a professor away to put all of this labor into an online program of study for Global Campus,” Kantz said.

After this separation, it will still be the University of Illinois’ Global Campus, but it will no longer have to rely on academic programs to recommend, mentor and hire staff. Kantz said that there will be a transitory period where Global Campus answers to the University instead of to individual academic programs.

Kantz said he believes it is unfair to say the program is unsuccessful at this stage.

“It’s a start-up, and just like any start-up in the corporate world, there is a build-up period,” Kantz said. “Success is not available instantly.”

Some are saying that the program has not yet accomplished what it was originally intended to do.

“Global Campus only has two baccalaureate programs, and they are both very expensive,” said Dean of Academic Affairs Charles Evans. “This program is intended to provide access. If it’s not what they want, and it’s not what they can afford, then it’s not access.”

Kantz said that Global Campus is currently negotiating with “dozens of programs” to try to add new majors to the program and that at any time Global Campus is speaking with “hundreds of different prospective students.”

Kantz made it clear that the University of Illinois Global Campus is certainly more demanding than most other online programs.

“There are a lot of low quality players in online education,” Kantz said. “We don’t want the University of Illinois to turn into the University of Phoenix.”