BOT approves five new academic programs, approves preliminary budget

Cassie Buchman, Staff Reporter

The Board of Trustees approved five new programs and approved a preliminary FY18 budget at its meeting Friday.

Paul McCann, vice president of business affairs, said the university is asking for preliminary approval of the budget because numbers from Springfield have not been firmed up at this point.

This is the best guess on what a budget might look like in FY18 since Eastern is required under statutes to have a budget to operate, he said.

The FY18 budget takes into account the $35.6 million proposed by Gov. Bruce Rauner for a state appropriation, a tuition level of $42 million and $64 million of non-appropriated fees to come out to a total budget of about $142 million.

The state appropriation projected in the budget is about a 15 percent decrease from what Eastern received in FY15.

The five programs approved were a bachelor’s of science in exercise science, sports management, construction management and engineering technology and a master’s of education in curriculum and instruction.

Provost Blair Lord said in recent years to try to aid and recruit students, the university has seen more degree program initiatives.

Exercise science and sports management are both concentrations already in kinesiology and sports studies.

Exercise science would focus on preparing for students in careers such as cardiac rehabilitation, physical/occupational therapy programs and personal training programs among others.

In sports management, students would learn about the sports industry regarding things such as ticket sales, retail management, becoming a marketing coordinator or sports information director. The only other public institution with a program like this is the University of Illinois.

The engineering technology program is one of three new programs that will replace the applied engineering and technology program. At the last board meeting, the board approved digital media so the approval of construction management and engineering technology will complete the process.

Engineering technology will aim to prepare students for positions in industrial, manufacturing, laboratory and general production engineering technology and supervision as well as graduate work in engineering technology and business, according to a board report.

The program in construction management will teach students about construction management in residential, commercial and industrial areas.

The master’s in curriculum and instruction will be an online-only program, for teachers who are already employed.

According to the board report, the courses in the program are designed to promote the integration of theoretical knowledge with practical application in the classroom.

The board went through the first reading of a proposed change to board regulation §I.F.3.

These changes include a strikethrough on the lines that require a signed written request to the president at least ten days before a meeting with the name, phone number or email address and  mailing address of the person who wants to speak and name of group represented and summary of the presentation.

Instead, it adds a line stating that an individual must “contact the Board Secretary prior to the beginning of the Board meeting and provide their name and the subject of their comments.”

Eastern’s general counsel Rob Miller said the change would relax some board regulations as they apply to speaking at board meetings and keep regulations current with existing case law statutes and attorney general opinions.

Cassie Buchman can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]