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April 1, 2011

PUBLIC AGENDA OVERDRIVE

IBHE to review progress on accelerated implementation plan for state higher education blueprint

SPRINGFIELD –  In an effort to ignite implementation of the Illinois Public Agenda for College and Career Success, Dr. George W. Reid, the new executive director for the Illinois Board of Higher Education (IBHE), initiated a “mini-strategic plan” two months ago to accelerate action on key goals. On April 12th, the Board will receive a status report on progress being made on key goals of the Public Agenda.

“The 90-day Agenda, under the leadership of Dr. Reid, is a demonstration of the Board’s commitment to ensuring that the Illinois Public Agenda makes a difference for students, for our colleges and universities, and for the State of Illinois,” Carrie J. Hightman, IBHE Chairwoman, said. “While the Public Agenda is a 10-year roadmap to erasing the achievement gap and accomplishing other vital goals, the Board is anxious to see progress in such important areas as higher education funding and student success.”

The IBHE will meet at 1:00 p.m. April 12th at the Naperville campus of Northern Illinois University.
The “90-Day Agenda: Increased College Readiness and Completion, Toward Performance Funding,” has a target completion of mid-May and  emphasizes four short-term goals:

  • College readiness. The agency’s academic affairs division is working with the Illinois Community College Board and the Illinois State Board of Education to engage higher education institutions in the statewide rollout of Common Core Standards and measures that will define what it means for a high school graduate to be college-ready.
  • Performance funding. The IBHE budget and planning department is working with key lawmakers and legislative staff to enact a measure directing the Board to incorporate outcomes-based funding in the higher education budget, beginning in fiscal 2013. Senate Bill 1773 and House Bill 1503 have passed committees and are poised for consideration by the respective chambers. Each would require metrics based on student completion and success as the foundation for funding public colleges and universities.

  • College attainment. The agency diversity and outreach division has partnered with several public universities to identify students who have dropped out of college and to help them find ways to return to the classroom.

  • Communications. The external relations staff is working to develop user-friendly templates and signage for spreading the word about the Illinois Public Agenda – the significant findings and urgent goals to address issues of attainment, affordability, workforce readiness, and economic development – to various stakeholders throughout the state.

“We know that the Public Agenda will not blossom in full bloom in 90 days, or 900 days,” Hightman noted. “But this mini-agenda and the abbreviated timeframe will be a powerful testament to the need for and the value of the Illinois Public Agenda for College and Career Success.”

As further demonstration of ways in which the Public Agenda is taking root in the higher education landscape, the Illinois Community College Board will brief Board members on the success of the College and Career Readiness initiative it oversees. The project, now operating in seven community colleges, aims to identify and correct academic shortcomings of high school students before they graduate and therefore stem the need for remedial coursework when the students reach college.

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