UI trustees discuss issues of diversity, from top to bottom

By Craig Chamberlain

The UI is mostly succeeding or mostly failing in its efforts toward
diversity. And the means toward improvement, if and where it's needed, must
begin at the bottom, or the top, or many places all at once.

It all depends on one's perspective, and there was a wide range of
perspective on display at the UI Board of Trustees meeting April 11 in
Urbana.

The discussion focused on a report on trends in minority representation at
the UI during the 10 years leading up to the fall of 1995, presented by
Sylvia Manning, UI vice president for academic affairs.

According to Manning, the university made significant progress in several
areas over the decade, but there was also much room for improvement.

Among the highlights, she noted, was a dramatic increase in Latino
enrollment at both of the major campuses - almost doubling at UIC, from
1,465 to 2,755, and more than doubling at UIUC, from 581 to 1,456.

Enrollment of Latinos and African Americans in graduate and professional
programs was also up significantly at both major campuses, Manning noted.
Undergraduate retention rates also had improved over the 10 years for both
groups, she said, from 15 percent to 31 percent for African Americans at
UIC, and from 28 percent to 45 percent for Latinos on that campus.

The retention rate for all UIC undergraduates rose from 34 percent to 46
percent during the same period.

But the retention rate needs further attention, Manning said, as does
faculty recruitment. Though the number of faculty in underrepresented
groups has risen at both UIC and UIUC over the last 10 years, their
representation among the total faculty remains very small, she said.

At UIC, the number of African-American faculty members rose from 37 to 54,
and Latino faculty numbers went from 38 to 51. At UIUC, the numbers rose
from 24 to 52, and from 23 to 43, respectively. Despite the increases,
African Americans now represent only 3.1 percent of the combined faculty
from all three campuses, and Latinos only 2.7 percent.

The problem of recruiting minority faculty members is a problem shared by
universities nationwide, Manning said, because the pool of candidates is
small. The aim of several programs at the UI and at many other universities
is to increase that pool by encouraging minority students to attend college
and go on to graduate school.

"We all, in a sense, have to do our share to create this pool of graduate
students" from which faculty can be recruited, she said.

But according to trustees Judith Ann Calder, D-Glencoe, and Gloria Jackson
Bacon, D-Chicago, not enough has changed and not enough will change until
there is more diversity among the university's top administrators. This was
more important than many of the programs in place on both campuses, they
said.

"When we lay out the list of the top 100 jobs of the university, it isn't
going to be a diverse list," Calder said. That has an effect because that
is where the decisions are made, she said. "We cannot control all of these
numbers [for student, faculty and staff representation]. We have it within
our power, though, to control the top of the organization. =8A We have
program after program after program, and a lot of them are Band-Aids."

Bacon focused on the fact that, despite increases in Latino undergraduates
at UIC, the number of African-American students had decreased by 100 over
the 10-year period, from 1,798 to 1,698. Total undergraduate enrollment was
down by 55 over the same period.

"You're going to see a continuing decline because the doors are not opening
in a certain way," Bacon said. "For the most part, this institution remains
fundamentally white-male controlled, and until you make some other changes
so that people coming in see something different, it is not going to
change. And I don't care how much money you spend."

UI President James Stukel, formerly the UIC chancellor, took issue later in
the discussion with some of Bacon's conclusions, noting that the dramatic
increase in Latino numbers at UIC was due in large part to the willingness
of the Latino community to work with the campus. "And the Latino record at
UIC is spectacular by any measure that you want to use," he said.

That cooperation did not happen, for one reason or another, in the black
community, Stukel said. "As a matter of fact, many African-American
community leaders told me directly when I was chancellor that we worked
against you, we tried to direct students to other universities."

Trustee Judith Reese, R-Chicago, near the end of the discussion, took issue
with some of the criticisms of university efforts, saying she had listened
to too many of them in past meetings over her seven years on the board. "No
matter what they [administrators] do, no matter how hard they work, no
matter how many programs they start and how much they fund them, it's never
enough," she said. "They know that they're going to come in here and be
beaten up."

What trustees didn't really get to, though it sparked the debate, was a
series of questions asked early in the discussion by trustee William
Engelbrecht, R-Henry.

Noting that various groups, including whites and Asian Americans, were
either underrepresented or overrepresented on the UIC campus compared to
the general population, he asked what should be the goal of the board and
the university.

"Is it the goal of this body to correct all of those? I don't know the
answer to that. Is it our objective to make each of those groups that I
just talked about equal to the population? I guess I need a little help."


In other business
 * Stukel stressed the need for advocacy with state legislators in
   supporting the governor's higher education budget, possibly at risk as the
   Illinois General Assembly looks for more money for other priorities.
   The current budget includes a 3 percent increase for UI salaries, which is
   "absolutely crucial if we're going to maintain our competitiveness at this
   university," he said. "If we go through another year of zero percent
   increases=8A that will undo the [last two] years of higher education budgets
   and put us seriously behind the competition."
 * Bill Nugent, executive director of the UI Foundation, updated trustees on
   the progress of Campaign Illinois, the university's $1 billion development
   campaign. "We are awfully close to $600 million," he said, having raised
   about $100 million over the last six months.
 * Trustees heard about university efforts to design and implement a new
   identification card for students, and faculty and staff members. The card,
   designed mostly with students in mind, will offer a range of features, such
   as those offered on credit, debit and phone cards. The program will be
   implemented this fall.
 * On April 10, during the meeting of the board's Committee on the
   University Hospital and Clinics, administrators reported on three
   developments that will affect the UIC College of Medicine and Medical
   Center.

In an update from previous meetings, the board was told by a university
consultant that a proposal to build a $60 million ambulatory care facility
at the UIC Medical Center appears on track for the necessary approval by a
state board.

The state's Health Facilities Planning Board issued an "intent to deny" the
necessary "certificate of need" for the ambulatory care facility in its
meeting April 11. But that was predicted to UI trustees the day before by
Sam Vinson, a consultant hired by the university several months ago. The
final vote by the planning board will likely come at its May meeting, where
Vinson said he "would anticipate an approval."

While pursuing approval for the new center, UI officials also are working
hard to prevent proposed changes at the West Side Veterans Administration
Hospital, located near the UIC medical campus, said Gerald Moss, dean of
the UIC College of Medicine. The college has a long history of affiliation
with West Side, through which the college is given numerous teaching
opportunities, he said.

The arrangement is threatened by a proposal outlined in a 2-year-old
Veterans Administration report, recently revived by a new VA regional
director, which would consolidate area VA surgical services in the Lakeside
VA Hospital, near and affiliated with Northwestern University, Moss said.
The reshuffling, considered in response to increased pressure from the
federal government to trim costs, would make West Side into an ambulatory
and outpatient facility.

UIC also is working on a new relationship with the city of Chicago in the
running of the Miles Square Health Center, according to R.K. Dieter
Haussmann, UIC vice chancellor for health services.
Haussmann told trustees that the city does not wish to continue in the
current arrangement past June 30 and has other potential partners waiting
in the wings if the UI is not interested.

Under the current arrangement, in place since 1991, the health center has
been operated as a partnership between the Chicago Department of Public
Health and UIC, with the city responsible for operating expenses.

Under the proposed new agreement, Haussmann said, UIC would be responsible
for operating expenses, but also would be given additional control over
management functions. It also would be consulted by the city in the
appointment of members of the Facility Health Board, which oversees the
center.

UIC will benefit from the continued operation of Miles Square, Haussmann
said, because it has become an important teaching site for students and
residents in several of the health care colleges. It also has become
important for generating referrals and income for the medical center, he
said.




UIUC -- Inside Illinois -- 1996/04-18-96