Present: Abbas Aminmansour, Ken Andersen, Geneva Belford, Linn Belford, Connie Caveny, Bettina Francis, Harry Hilton, John Prussing, Art Robinson, Robert Spitze, Donald Uchtmann, and H. F. Williamson
The meeting began at about 12:15 p.m. with Donald Uchtmann presiding.
- Review of the Minutes for October 6, 2008. The minutes for this meeting (and the summary report since its content was identical) were approved.
- Planning for Meeting with Vice President Knorr on December 8. Uchtmann confirmed that Knorr would meet with us at 11 a.m. in the General Lounge. He would also be invited to join the “regular” Policy Committee meeting that follows which will be in 211 Illini Union. Policy Committee members will be asked whether or not they can attend so that Knorr can be provided with a list of those who will be there. Uchtmann plans to provide him with a list of topics which might be covered at the meeting. A number of topics were suggested including his views on (a) his position as the University’s CFO; (b) the role of faculty governance in the CFO’s activities; (c) how the capital budget might be managed should funds be provided this year; (d) the relation between the foundation and the University; and (e) how the University will manage in this time of fiscal crisis. The recent statements by President White were discussed such as his stated goal of not compromising the University’s research mission. There were concerns about how we will be able to keep or replace faculty; the effect of the crisis on ICR funds; and the need for being more proactive in Springfield. Uchtmann will circulate a list of proposed topics for review by the Committee.
- Proposed Dates for Spring Meetings of the Policy Committee. The proposed dates were approved. Our first meeting will be January 20, a Tuesday. The remaining meetings will on Monday: February 9; March 9; April 6 (the first Monday); and May 4 (also the first Monday). There was a brief discussion of a possible date for the Annual Meeting. It could be Reading Day (May 7) though we would again have the problem of conflicts with other meetings. Hilton will lead a discussion of possible dates at our December meeting.
- Other. Uchtmann thanked Prussing and the rest of the Committee for effectively handling matters while he was away, particularly those regarding the issues raised by the statement from the UI Ethics Office. He circulated a letter of thanks to Vernon Burton so that we each could sign it.
- Planned AAUP Activities for 2008-2009.
- Membership Drive. Caveny will prepare a list of faculty who have recently been promoted/tenured to serve as the basis for a campaign. This can be coordinated with the list of individuals who attended the last tenure workshop. The rest of the committee includes Prussing, G. Belford, and Williamson. We can check the AAUP web site for strategies on membership development. Nelson sent an email indicating that an offer to new members will be announced soon.
- Spring tenure workshop. Uchtmann and Hilton will meet with Provost Katehi (and perhaps Barb Wilson in her office) as a first step toward setting up the workshop. It is proposed that we change the day of the week. The most recent workshops have been on Tuesday afternoon.
- Committee Membership. Uchtmann notes that co-chairs have been selected for most committees. These include: (a) Government Relations: McMahon to join Andersen); (b) Academic Freedom and Tenure: Struble to join Robinson); and (c) Programs: Liebersohn to join Hilton. As Vice President, Prussing is chair of Membership with G. Belford as co-chair and Caveny and Williamson as key members. Caveny is chair of Communications with Nelson, Belford, and Williamson as key members.
- Follow-up on AAUP Actions regarding Policy on Political Activities issued by UI Ethics Office. The packet included a copy of the exchange of letters between Finkin and President White and the resolution from GUP (GP.09.02) approved by the Senate. It appears that a reasonable solution has been reached. Uchtmann noted that it was important to recognize that the faculty had stood up when this occurred and were able to effect a change. This will help us to be ready if the need to stand up arises again in the future.
- Status of the Global Campus (GC). There was a review of some of the major concerns presented at the Senate meeting regarding such issues as what is required by the Statutes with regard to the GC. It is crucial that there be transparency in the process used to develop the GC and that President White allay the concerns of those who feel a lack of trust in the process. Aminmansour will meet with President White to be sure that the President is aware of his concerns. President White had decided not to present his accreditation proposal to the Board of Trustees at the November 13 meeting as he had originally planned. [NOTE: The Board of Trustees nevertheless added this proposal to their agenda and approved it.]
- Report on Chapter Web Site. Caveny will be working keeping the site current. Williamson will provide her with copies of past Summary Reports and the Standing Rules. She will work with Joe Grohens who created the site. This will also give us a chance to see how much this will cost.
- Government Relations Committee Report: Andersen noted that there are a number of changes underway in Springfield such as the choice of new leaders for both parties in the Senate. He is uncertain what is likely to occur during the veto session which is scheduled to meet three days each this week and next. He noted that SURS Executive Director Dan Slack in his presentations this fall has predicted a brutal spring session. This may have helped him decide to leave for a similar position in Colorado. One result of the budget crisis is that the lag in state payments has become worse.
- Senate Actions. Spitze noted the importance of keeping a strong contact with the UIUC members of the Senates Conference. Williamson noted that the third important item (after the Global Campus and the Academic Freedom/Political Button items) was the first reading of the proposal to add academic professionals as members of the Senate. There was no time for a detailed debate this time, but this may occur at the second reading in December.
- State Conference. Andersen reported that the State is revising its web site and wanted to be sure that we and they are linked.