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2/18/21 UIUC Policy Committee Summary

    Present: Richard Laugesen, Walter McMahon, David O’Brien, Robert Parker, Daniel Steward, Leslie Struble, Carol Symes, H. F. Williamson.

    The meeting began at about 12:32 p.m. with O’Brien presiding.

    1. Introductions. O’Brien welcomed Symes as the newest member of the Committee. She and the other members of the Committee introduced themselves.
    2. Review of the Minutes for January 28, 2021 Meeting of Policy Committee. The minutes were approved.
    3. President’s Report
      1. Governance Report. O’Brien reported that the staff in Associate Provost Bill Bernhard’s office are scheduled to send out the report next week and discussed the requests concerning the preparation of the cover letter.
      2. Meeting with Trustees. O’Brien confirmed that he, Rick Laugesen, and Robert Parker would be attending the meeting at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, March 9 with President Killeen, Vice President Wilson, and Trustee Don Edwards. There was a discussion of whether we want to present a list of topics for the agenda ahead of time and what those topics might be. Possible topics that were suggested included praise for how well campus leaders have handled the COVID- 19 pandemic particularly with regard to academic governance and the problems occurring at other campuses, concerns over possible problems over censorship policies established by the company Zoom, discussion of the governance report, and hope that Statutory changes requested by the USC should be advanced to the Trustees.
      3. New Policy Committee Member(s). O’Brien noted that Dana Rabin has also agreed to join the Policy Committee. Also, Carol Tilley will attend a future meeting as she considers whether she can join.
      4. Communication with the Chancellor. O’Brien presented the replies from Chancellor Jones to his concerns about censorship of university meetings by Zoom and the use of state Open Records Acts to gain access to letters of support in tenure and promotion cases as has occurred at Texas A&M University. Laugesen suggested that the University could consider establishing its own technology handling University-related meetings. Struble noted that it was important that the administrators were aware of our concerns about such issues.
      5. AAUP Webinars. O’Brien noted that the AAUP will be offering two webinars next week.
        1. Advocacy Chapter Management: A Practical Guide on February 24. Two or three members of the Policy Committee plan to attend.
        2. Shared Governance and Contingency on February 25. One presenter is Shawn Gilmore from our campus who will discuss AAUP recommendations for the equitable inclusion of non-tenure track faculty members in governance.
      6. Academic Freedom. O’Brien shared the websites provided by Parker concerning legislative interference in University teaching in Georgia and Arkansas. Parker also discussed the email sent by Michael Berube to the national AAUP membership reporting on his investigating committee’s analysis of the crisis in academic governance that has occurred in the wake of the pandemic. A review of what is occurring across the country has led them to conclude that “we are in the midst of the worst crisis in academic governance in decades.”
    4. Schedule for Spring Meetings.
      1. Policy Committee Meetings: at 12:30 p.m. on March 11 (second Thursday); April 8 (second Thursday); May 6 (first Thursday, this is Reading Day)
      2. Officers’ Meeting with President: 9 a.m., Tuesday, March 9
      3. Promotion and Tenure Workshop: Thursday, April 1, 2021
      4. Annual Meeting: Tuesday, May 11, 2021
      5. Promotion and Tenure Workshop: April 1

    Action Items

    1. Planning for Promotion and Tenure Workshop: Thursday, April 1, 2021. O’Brien will work with Hilton to get a copy of the Program for the meeting. This will provide the basis for our helping the Provost’s office publicize the workshop. This will include contacting our own Departments and Colleges to be sure our younger colleagues are informed.
    2. Planning for Annual Meeting: Tuesday, May 11, 2021.
      1. Program. The key step between now and the next Policy Committee meeting will be to determine who will join Vice Provost William Bernhard and Hadi Esfahani on the panel on shared governance. Suggestions included individuals such as Harriet Murav or Antoinette Burton who can report on how these issues are handled in their units and possibly someone such as Robert Parker who could report (at least briefly) on the differences between departments with heads and those with chairs and the process for changing from one to the other.
      2. Report from Nominating Committee. Williamson reported for him and John Prussing that the nominees were: President: Robert Parker; Vice President: Richard Laugesen; Secretary-Treasurer: H. F. Williamson
    3. Report from Ad Hoc Chapter Website Review Committee. Struble and Steward are the ad hoc Committee set up to review the Chapter website. Struble noted that she had “inherited” the page set up originally by Cary Nelson. They asked that anyone interested working on the site let them know.
      1. Goals for the Site.
        1. Setting up a new section for membership issues such as joining the Association
        2. Providing information on the two, parallel AAUP Chapters on our campus and a link to the NTFC site
        3. Revising the site with one goal the ability to maintain it more efficiently and a second to make the appearance a better fit for smaller devices such as cell phones.
      2. Next Tasks.
        1. Reviewing where the site might be hosted in the future
        2. Reviewing which tools would make it easier to manage the content
        3. Considering hiring someone to manage or help manage the site in the future.
    4. Reports
      1. Treasurer’s Report
      2. Report from our Liaison to the NTFC Local #6546 Chapter
      3. Other
    5. Adjournment. The meeting adjourned at about 1:34 p.m. As noted above, the next meeting will be at 12:30 p.m. on March 11, 2021