Chancellor Phyllis M. Wise plans to reach out to critics of a proposed venture with Carle Healthcare System that would create a campus-based medical college.
"I want them to poke holes in it and tell me what's wrong with it," she told members of the Senate Executive Committee at its May 19 meeting. "Internal input is critically important," Wise said.
In April the campus released the findings of a feasibility study that officials commissioned to determine if such a venture was possible.
Wise said the study shows that "Illinois and Carle each would bring unique strengths to a different model for a college of medicine."
The report said such a partnership could thrive by building on the campus' strengths in engineering and technology - especially in light of the ever-growing importance of medical research and a "severe" national shortage of physicians.
"(The feasibility report) argues for the fact it would be good for the whole campus," Wise said. "It would train physician-scientists to shape the future of health care delivery, practice and technology. It would grow the state's biotech sector and serve as an international magnet for innovation and scholarships. Investment and new jobs would flow into Illinois at a faster pace."
Wise said the affiliation with Carle would not be tantamount to the university taking over the Carle health care system. She said the partnership also would not affect the local property tax base.
"We don't want to own the hospital; there is no intention of buying Carle," she told SEC members. "We want a partner with a clinical enterprise. If we do it right, it will help UIC, it will help us, it will help Chicago and it will help Central Illinois."
Wise said the next development step would be to commission a financial feasibility study and to initiate conversations with accreditors to determine the many regulatory requirements that would have to be met.
- Bill Adams, a visiting senior adviser to the university president, reported on progress in the implementation of recommendations from the recently completed review of University Administration.
He said leaders were moving "aggressively" to implement the review's 47 "comprehensive" recommendations and have reported much progress to President Bob Easter.
"By the fall we will have the bulk of these things done," he said.
Of the recommendations, Adams said the "landscape changer" is the initiative that calls for annual budget and performance reviews of each UA unit. Oversight is provided with a 15-person committee that has representatives from all three campuses.
"They're taking this very seriously," he said, noting they have already solicited reports from the administrative units. "I think a lot of good work is going to come from this. It says the UA folks really work for you."
- A senate committee on campus operations submitted its initial report to the SEC, expressing general goals for the campus in relation to deferred maintenance.
The report noted that while the overall Facility Condition Index had improved since 2007, funding amounts to tackle long-term maintenance projects had fluctuated from $45 million to $13 million during nearly the same period. Spending for 2014 is earmarked at $25 million.
The report suggests developing a system to conduct more regular assessment of campus maintenance, stable funding to address those needs, and the use of student fees and the extension of Academic Facilities Maintenance Fund Assessment to fund them.
The report also recommends involving the U. of I. Foundation in fundraising for renovation work, consideration of using naming rights to raise funds and a greater dependence on energy-efficient work to help recover construction costs.
- Roy Campbell, the SEC chairman and a professor of computer science, announced that he will form a committee to study the yield of in-state students applying for the U. of I. He said he'd like to see strategies developed to increase faculty involvement in the process of in-state student recruitment.