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2/12/07 UIUC AAUP Policy Committee Summary

Present: Abbas Aminmansour, Geneva Belford, Linn Belford, Clyde Forrest, Bettina Francis, Harry Hilton, Lew Hopkins, Cary Nelson, John Prussing, Arthur Robinson, Robert Spitze, Leslie Struble, Donald Uchtmann, H. F. Williamson

Meeting with Provost Katehi

At 11 a.m., Provost Katehi was our guest for a meeting with the Policy Committee. Uchtmann welcomed her and the members of the committee introduced themselves.

The Provost thanked us for the invitation and summarized her own background as a student, faculty member, and administrator before taking her position here. She has been impressed with the quality of the programs at UIUC and the desire to do better. She realizes that there are many challenges and appreciates the great support she has been provided. She has been impressed with the role played by the Senate here, particularly in comparison with its role at Michigan and Purdue. She then discussed the following issues: the current status of the Strategic Plan, the current budget process and her plans of improving it; the Budget Process; the promotion and tenure process and the committee she has set up to advise her on this; the four planning committees she has established, and the role of the diversity committee.

In the discussion which followed, Robinson went over a number of concerns he has about the promotion and tenure process in light of his long-time service chairing the Chapter’s Academic Freedom and Tenure Committee. Robinson described his concerns with the evaluation process; the appeals process, particularly the role of appeals committee at the College level; the role of the Faculty Advisory Committee; the work which the AAUP committee does; and problems which have arisen with regard to obtaining outside letters for the promotion package.

The Provost thanked Robinson for his comments and noted that her staff are reviewing the promotion and tenure process and considering issues such as mentoring and the flexibility of the process. In follow-up comments, Linn Belford noted that College appeals committees can work if they are set up effectively and Hilton described the promotion and tenure workshop that the AAUP has hosted in alternate years and invited the Provost to be the key speaker at the 2008 workshop.

Nelson noted concerns that we have about the role of faculty governance in the development of the Global Campus Initiative/Partnership (GCP) and the status of the instructors hired to teach in the program and how well they will be paid. The Provost noted that she hopes that we will create a strong partnership between the campus and the GCP. She feels it is important to support and participate in the GCP but to realize that the programs may not be 100% compatible with out campus mission. She feels that the Senate has played an important role in determining where this compatibility will occur. She concluded by (1) citing research on the importance of the on-campus educational experience (2) noting that we cannot ignore the possibilities offered by new web-based learning technology. The Provost thanked us for the opportunity to join our meeting and Uchtmann thanked her for coming.

After the Provost left, there was agreement that the meeting had gone well and that we should invite the Provost and/or members of her staff to meet with us annually. Robinson will prepare a summary of his remarks for the Provost.

Meeting of the Policy Committee

  1. Review of the minutes for January 22, 2007 and the Summary Report for January 22, 2007: These documents were approved.
  2. Global Campus Initiative/Partnership. The discussion continued with emphasis on (1) how well we feel the faculty governance has worked so far; (2) our concerns about the status and salaries of the instructors hired for this program, and (3) the importance of there being a continuing role in the governance of the program once it has been approved by the Board of Trustees.
  3. Revision of Chapter By-Laws. Williamson discussed the most recent revision in the by-laws. The principal changes were in the statement of purpose and the draft of a set of procedure guidelines for communications. He noted that the final draft will be prepared once he has a chance to work with Andersen on the document. It was noted that our role in protecting tenure should be included in the statement of purpose.
  4. Chapter Web Site: Nelson reported that he hopes to have the site “live” by the end of April.
  5. National Office. Nelson reported that they are continuing to work on improving membership records and finance.
  6. Selection of Nominating Committee: A nominating committee of Williamson (chair), Hilton, and Spitze was approved. In a related matter, Uchtmann noted later in the meeting the importance of thinking about individuals we might add to the Policy Committee. He asked each individual to think about potential candidates.
  7. Academic Freedom and Tenure Committee Reports. Robinson reported briefly on the two cases he is handling. He has talked with a staff member in the Provost’s office regarding one of these individual. The second individual will be taking a position elsewhere.
  8. Program Committee Reports. Hilton noted that he has started the planning for the next tenure workshop be scheduled for early in the spring, 2008 semester