* Let’s revisit that Amanda Vinicky interview of Gov. Bruce Rauner…
BVR: We need to shrink the bureaucracy in our university system. We have an expensive overhead, pension, work rules, restrictions. Just like inside state government, we need to shrink that bureaucracy. We need to put our money in our schools, in our teachers, in our students, and we need the state to step up and do a better job supporting our schools. We also need to eliminate the redundancy in our schools. Many of them offer the same majors and options, and we have too much overlap. We need to help streamline our university system.
AV: Was that the plan all along? To force mergers, administrative layoffs, consolidate programs?
BVR: No, not at all. I’ve wanted a balanced budget with proper university funding for more than two years now. It’s outrageous the general assembly has not passed a balanced budget. […]
AV: If you want some of these programs to consolidate, some of these universities to “shape up,” why hasn’t that been done? If not now, when?
BVR: There are negotiations underway with our Board of Higher Education, and universities talking about how they can streamline their overhead, how they can work together and specialize in certain majors. Those discussions are going on right now and I’m optimistic that they can lead to even better school options for our students, and more value for taxpayers.
OK, first of all, the budget he proposed in 2015 included a 31.5 percent cut to higher education.
Secondly, as a product of elite schools, I’m not sure if the governor understands the usefulness of and need for non-elite universities. Lots of kids whose families can’t afford to send them to top-notch schools need the state’s “directional” universities to help themselves move up the ladder of life. And a lot of those students attend the directionals nearest their parents. So, yeah, there’s curricular overlap, but there’s good reasons for that.
* Rauner’s right about overhead costs, though, and Southern Illinois University claims it’s about to announce a revamp…
Southern Illinois University President Randy Dunn said that his Carbondale campus is developing a “financial sustainability plan” that will be released around July 1.
“Everything within the magnitude of operations, we’re going to be looking at,” Dunn said. “Potentially making reductions or closing certain operations. Everything other than tenured faculty would be available for reorganization, restructuring, removing.” […]
“We may look like a different institution. We may have to let some programs go and reconfigure others. We may not have as many people. Staffing will change. But from the standpoint of a 150-year history being lost, that’s not going to happen.”