IBHE: UI president should lead state through changes in higher ed

IBHE: UI president should lead state through changes in higher ed

The next University of Illinois president will have to adapt to — and should lead — fundamental changes in higher education, a state education official said Friday.

"The market has shifted, and we have not adjusted," said James Applegate, executive director of the Illinois Board of Higher Education and a UI graduate.

Illinois, as one of the country's most populous states with a strong higher education system, should be leading growth nationally, Applegate told the UI presidential search committee.

But a lack of trained workers is stifling the state's economic recovery, Applegate said. More than 150,000 jobs remain open because of a "lack of talent."

Universities have to find ways to educate adult workers, who don't have time or money for a traditional four-year degree, he said. The state's goal is to have 60 percent of the population earn a college credential; the current number is 42 percent, he said.

Most of the state's population growth in the next few decades will come from its Hispanic population, Applegate said, so schools also need to do more address the rising number of minority and low-income students underprepared for college.

The "Ford assembly line" model no longer works, he said. "We need to meet them where they are."

College affordability has also "taken a dive," Applegate said.

"We are rapidly closing the door to college" for middle- and low-income families in Illinois, at a time when a college degree is more valuable than ever, he said.


News-Gazette.com embraces discussion of both community and world issues. We welcome you to contribute your ideas, opinions and comments, but we ask that you avoid personal attacks, vulgarity and hate speech. We reserve the right to remove any comment at our discretion, and we will block repeat offenders' accounts. To post comments, you must first be a registered user, and your username will appear with any comment you post. Happy posting.

Login or register to post comments

sanjuan wrote on July 12, 2014 at 10:07 am

The items Mr. Applegate says the U of I ought to take the lead in sound like they would free up his time considerably.  Just what does the IBHE really do?  Each state university has its own or a shared board.   A recent past IBHE director has been accused of wrongdoing in office.   Why does this board even exist at this point?   What is its budget?

BTW, New Gazette, your Captcha clues render so poorly on an IPad they are nearly impossible to read.


Lostinspace wrote on July 12, 2014 at 2:07 pm

The director of the IBHE would like to see a trade school rather than a university?  Which skills does he have in mind?  What are those 150,000 jobs (in Illinois?) that require training?

just_wondering wrote on July 12, 2014 at 3:07 pm


These "leadership" posts are all political!

Did you "voters" "constituents" think that these "leaders" were looking out for Illinois, and, more directly, for you and your children! And that they were qualified "educators"? Like head of IBHE? Or ISBE?


Get a clue! Buy a vowel!

They have done NOTHING to help Illinois education over the past couple of decades -  and that's when it mattered - and they wouldn't know how anyway!!!! Illinois is dropping in education rankings. Rapidly!

But it will never change. Madigan controls all. 

Good luck to you my former fellow Illinoisans!