Board of Trustees to discuss College of Medicine and budget cuts Thursday

By Maggie Sullivan

The Board of Trustees will meet Thursday for the final time this academic year to discuss the Carle-Illinois College of Medicine and budget cuts, among other recommendations.

It will be the last Board of Trustees meeting for President Robert Easter, where he is expected to receive the title President Emeritus. Timothy Killeen will succeed Easter, and he will assume the position on May 18th.

The Governance, Personnel and Ethics committee of the Board of Trustees discussed cyber security issues and reform for the State Universities Civil Service System at its April 23 meeting.

The committee recommended the board allow out of state recruiting for civil service positions. Michael Hites, senior associate vice president and executive CIO for the Administration Information Technology Services, said the recruitment would be important to universities, such as those close to the Illinois border where the metropolitan area spans into other states.

Hites also gave a presentation on the University’s cyber security system.

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He said some high-risk items the University needs to protect include intellectual property, research data, credit card information and donor data. Hites said the University fights security problems through staff training, software protection and legal services. Currently, the University’s cyber security status is good and up to date.

Maureen Parks, associate vice president of the University Office for Human Resources, presented recommendations to reform the State Universities Civil Service System. Parks said she also presented the recommendations to the merit board.

She said the State Universities Civil Service System is rooted in a statute from the 1950’s, and several of the procedures have not been updated since that time.

Parks said members of the Merit Board, chaired by Trustee James Montgomery, are interested in the recommendations. Rep. Carol Ammons, D-103, is in support.

The Healthcare Systems committee met April 23, where it recommended the approval of several purchase recommendations and the establishment of the Doctorate of Philosophy in Biomedical Health Informatics at the College of AHS in Chicago.

The committee gave a presentation on the history of collaboration on a novel anticancer drug between the University campuses. There was also an update on the search for a Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs, a report from the Chief Medical Officer and a compliance report.

The Audit, Budget, Finance and Facilities Committee will recommend the Board of Trustees vote to maintain the University’s fiscal year 2015 operating budget, despite Gov. Bruce Rauner’s 31.5 percent proposed budget cuts in state appropriations to the University.

“We don’t know how the budget process will go,” said Edward McMillan, committee and board chairman. “We hope that it will get resolved by the end of May, but we’re not sure that’s going to happen.”

The University’s total operating budget for fiscal year 2015 was $5.6 billion, according to the Fiscal Year 2015 Annual Operating Budget Executive Summary. The committee hopes to submit a final budget to the Board of Trustees by the September meeting.

The committee will also recommended increasing the budget for renovations of Everitt Laboratory from $50 million to $55 million.

Geoffrey Lisle, representative for BSA Life Structures, the company completing the renovations, said the project requires an additional $5 million to fulfill its mission of providing an active learning environment while also accommodating a traditional learning style, depending on the preference of the professor.

The committee also endorsed and will recommend naming the University’s newest residence hall Wassaja Hall, in honor of Carlos Montezuma, the first Native American student to graduate from the University.

The hall will begin housing students in the fall of 2016, and if approved, will bear Montezuma’s birth name Wassaja, which means “to beckon” in his native language.

B. Joseph White, president emeritus, spoke as the leader of the task force President Easter appointed to address concerns about the establishment of the Carle-Illinois College of Medicine. White said the task force, with the help of Dean Dimitri Azar of the Urbana regional College of Medicine, determined the Urbana regional college of medicine should be consolidated into the Chicago, Rockford and Peoria regional medical campuses and will recommend a plan for consolidation to the board.

“In no case do we have multiple versions of the same professional school on any of our campuses, and I don’t think we should,” White said.

White said the last operating year of the Urbana regional college of medicine would be 2021-2022, to accommodate the current medical scholars who are enrolled in the eight year program.

Finally, each campus gave academic unit review reports to the committee in order to determine how to handle Gov. Bruce Rauner’s proposed 31.5 percent budget cuts in state funding. However, Karen Hasara, committee chair, said the reports did not provide substantial information to make the best decisions. She asked each campus to gather more information for the September meeting.

The committee will also recommend appointments to the faculty, administrative, professional and intercollegiate athletic staffs; appointments of faculty fellows of the Institute for Humanities in the College of LAS in Chicago; and the establishment of a Doctor of Philosophy in Biomedical and Health Informatics in the College of AHS in Chicago.

Additionally, they will recommend the elimination of the Bachelor of Science in teaching of chemistry in the College of LAS in Chicago, and the elimination of the Bachelor of Science in horticulture in the College of ACES in Urbana.

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