ISS committee discusses concerns on University proposed College of Medicine

By Charlotte Collins

To create a space for student voices and dialogue within the proposed College of Medicine’s plans, the Illinois Student Senate created an ad-hoc committee, which released a report on student opinions and recommendations.

On Feb. 9, the academic senate approved a resolution for the College of Medicine, which will next be voted on by the Board of Trustees.

ISS President Mitch Dickey selected a group of students from the senate to discuss and provide input on the development of a possible College of Medicine on campus. The group included ISS Vice President-External Matt Hill as chair and 12 other senators.

“We really think that it is something that is going to drive this university to the next level,” Hill said. “I think we played a critical role in making sure the student voice was heard by others to vote on the College of Medicine.”

The report examined the stakeholders of the proposed college, including students, Carle Foundation, the University and the state.

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    Kaylee Barron, committee member and graduate student, said one of her concerns moving forward is Carle’s stakeholder status, as the city of Urbana has voiced concern over the hospital’s tax-exempt status. Barron said she worries about the “community response and if the community would be happy that the university was tied to a hospital that was tax-exempt.”

    Despite past issues between the hospital and Urbana, Barron said she doesn’t see Carle’s support in the proposed college as a barrier to the University’s relationship with the community.

    The report states the college is expected to bring more funding through federal grants to the University from the National Institutes of Health. The University is only a moderate benefactor for the institute, as it lacks a medical school, the report states.

    Additionally, the report found that current Ph.D. and master’s degree students will not be disrupted by the new college, as students from the University of Illinois at Chicago’s program located at the Urbana branch will continue to complete their degrees in Urbana.

    However, ad hoc committee members questioned the college’s curriculum plan, which states lectures will occur online only. Members questioned how often the online lectures will be reused.

    “Undergraduate students who disliked the online portions of general chemistry at Illinois raised this concern,” the report stated.

    It recommended to update lectures every few years and gather feedback from students on the online portions of their classes.

    Additionally, the report also questioned if other medical institutions, such as Provena Covenant Medical Center and Christie Clinic, would be able to take new residents from the college.

    Collin Schumock, sophomore in LAS and member of the ad hoc committee, had a unique perspective in the committee as the son of a pharmacy professor on Chicago’s campus.

    The Chicago campus has voiced opposition to Urbana creating a separate college, and instead wanted to work with Urbana’s College of Engineering to create a Translational BioEngineering Institute.

    Schumock said he was originally skeptical of the University’s proposed College of Medicine, as he believed the Urbana and Chicago campuses would have to compete for resources and funds.

    However, the proposed college in Urbana would not receive funding from the University’s General Reserve Fund, but instead receive funding solely from Carle Foundation and donors.

    Schumock said he believes if the College of Medicine at UIUC builds in a different direction than UIC’s medical program, the campuses should have no problems operating successfully in the future.

    “It’s vitally important that UIC and UIUC work together going forward on this,” Schumock said.

    Charlotte can be reached at [email protected].