2012 UIC Leadership Retreat

Theme: What Counts?

Tuesday, August 21, 2012
Student Center West, Michele M. Thompson Rooms

8:30 a.m. Registration
9:00 a.m. - 9:45 a.m.

Welcome and Remarks:
Chancellor Allen-Meares, Provost Kaufman

Suggested background readings

9:45 a.m. - 10:25 a.m. Keynote:  Nancy Cantor, Chancellor and President, Syracuse University

Suggested background readings

10:25 a.m. - 10:40 a.m. Break
10:40 a.m. - 11:10 a.m. What Counts in Washington, D.C.
  • Jonathan Pyatt (Director of Federal Relations, University of Illinois)

  • April Burke (President and Founder, Lewis-Burke Associates LLC)
11:10 a.m. - 12:15 p.m. Panel Discussion on Rankings
  • Sylvia Hurtado, Professor and Director, Higher Education Research Institute, University of California-Los Angeles (UCLA)
  • David Shulenburger, Senior Fellow, Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities (APLU)

Suggested background readings

12:15 pm Closing Remarks
12:20 pm Lunch Reception

Parking will be available at the Wood Street Parking Structure, 1100 S. Wood Street. Parking coupons will be available a the registration desk.

For more information or to arrange for special accommodation, contact Jennifer Sweeney, jennys@uic.edu, 312/413-2194.

About the 2012 UIC Leadership Retreat

Nancy Cantor's Keynote Presentation

Sylvia Hurtado's Presentation

Universities find themselves constantly measured, from within and from without.  Self evaluation is essential to improvement, and the study of sophisticated performance metrics has permeated UIC’s culture. UIC, like our peers, is also reluctantly beholden to prestigious external rankings, the methodology of which we have little say in: by the National Research Council and U.S. News and World Report, to name two. The economic decline of the last decade has added aggressive demands for accountability to the picture, along with a new proliferation of systems for that purpose. For example, the Illinois Board of Higher Education (IBHE) is currently implementing a performance-based funding model, and the University of Illinois has implemented a “dashboard” to measure its three campuses against new peer groups.  

These rankings have real implications for UIC. Consumers use them to select schools.  Federal and state officials use them to drive funding and policy decisions. And we too use them to assess our programs and successes. Yet too often UIC finds our strengths absent from the analysis, or worse yet, presented as weakness. Conventional ranking systems emphasize so-called “traditional  values” such as the financial assets of the institution, the presumed academic attributes of incoming students, subjective perceptions of prestige, and alumni giving. This in turn favors highly selective, self-supporting, older “traditional” institutions. Hidden in these numbers are presumptions that are not apparent to the reader. Alumni giving does not necessarily describe student satisfaction. Graduation rates only cover first-time, full-time entering undergraduates, ignoring the many students who transfer to UIC or attend part-time.  Opaque changes in ranking methodology can alter the position of an institution unrelated to any real change in quality.

It is essential for UIC’s leadership to understand this environment and to press for ways in which our unique mission can be expressed within the language of accountability, both for our own use and for external audiences. The 2012 UIC Leadership Retreat will offer the opportunity for us to pause to consider what is being counted, what should be counted, why we are counting, who is doing the counting, and how we can shape the process.


2011 UIC Leadership Retreat

2010 UIC Leadership Retreat