Accreditation for Global Campus upsets U-C Senate

By Sarah Small

Members of the Urbana-Champaign Senate have expressed disappointment in the Board of Trustees decision to seek accreditation for Global Campus despite the senate’s discontent with the program.

Although University President B. Joseph White only planned to make a presentation about Global Campus at the Nov. 13 meeting, the trustees revised and approved an agenda item to allow the entity to seek independent accreditation.

Before the last Board meeting, White told The Daily Illini he decided not to put the issue of independent accreditation for Global Campus on the agenda.

The concern in the senate was that the decision was happening too quickly, and there was not enough time to answer questions that the senators had about independent accreditation, said Nick Burbules, senate executive committee chair.

“It wasn’t rejection of Global Campus or accreditation; there were just too many questions,” Burbules said. “We didn’t feel our concerns were adequately expressed to the Board.”

He said members of the senate he spoke with expressed disappointment that the Board made the authorization even though the senate made it clear it did not agree with independent accreditation at the time.

“It was just something that happened at the meeting,” said Trustee Dave Dorris. “I think it was expressed by different trustees that (the issue) could be drawn out for months, if not years. Why delay it?”

Currently, a Global Campus degree is recognized through the accreditation of the university that oversees the degree program, said Charles Evans, dean for academic affairs for Global Campus.

If Global Campus becomes independently accredited, programs taught will not be specific to one of the three residential campuses, but rather will be an independent entity of the University of Illinois.

“One of the problems is there is no guarantee that University faculty are not going to be removed from day-to-day control,” said Mark Roszkowski, College of Business professor and senator. “I can guarantee you if this thing gets accredited, the faculty will be removed from it completely.”

Burbules said in the upcoming months the senate will work in cooperation with the president and some trustees to create a letter for the trustees expressing some concerns and suggestions now that Global Campus is seeking accreditation.

“I think it will be constructive, not just a list of complaints,” Burbules said. “The accreditation is happening now, and there’s nothing we can do.”

At the next senate meeting, Monday, Burbules does not expect there to be much discussion, but members like Roszkowski are still opposed to Global Campus.

“UIUC needs to divorce Global Campus in general,” Roszkowski said. “Any kind of online degree program would cheapen the UIUC brand.”