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9/6/23 Policy Committee Minutes

    Present: Hadi Esfahani, Robin Kar, Richard Laugesen, David O’Brien, Robert Parker, Dana Rabin, Carol Symes, H. F. Williamson

    The meeting began at 12:34 p.m. with Kar presiding.

    1. Introductions. Kar welcomed the attendees and asked them to introduce themselves. He noted that there were no guests attending this meeting.
    2. Review of the Minutes for May 4, 2023 Meeting of Policy Committee. A motion to accept the minutes with the addition of H. F. Williamson to the attendees was made, seconded, and approved.
    3. President’s Report.
      1. Kar welcomed the attendees and thanked them for their service. He noted the importance of the AAUP especially as we face increased attacks on academic freedom and tenure, the cornerstones of higher education in the United States and around the world. He discussed his leadership style, noting he likes to lead by listening and drawing on the experienced of the group.
      2. Kar and Symes reached out to Nick Jones, University Executive Vice President, to determine where we have shared interests regarding shared governance. This could lead to a presentation in a more open setting such as a Chapter meeting.
      3. He suggested that as a result of this discussion one possible theme for the year could be to work with the administration to develop a shared vision of how to make the University of Illinois an exemplar of shared governance and academic freedom.
      4. O’Brien noted that we should emphasize our good record of working with the administration including the survey we conducted co-sponsored by the Provost’s office. In a related matter, he noted that another union campaign for the faculty is being considered, but this should not mean that we cannot work with the administration on these important issues.
      5. Kar and Symes also reported on their attendance at the new faculty orientation. They thought that it went quite well. In particular, they emphasized the service aspect of the Chapter noting that these individuals may need our help in the future. Kar noted that a number of specialized faculty asked whether we serve them and how. He replied that we do serve them in the broad sense, but that there is a NTFC chapter that is focused on the needs of specialized faculty.
      6. Kar concluded his report with a discussion of the format he might use for future reports including the possibility of having a written report prior to the meeting. It included the procedure we might follow to keep track of the articles about threats to academic freedom nationally. Kar suggested that we not try to maintain a comprehensive list, but that we do cite critical articles via email or placement on the website.
      7. O’Brien raised the issue of how to maintain the Chapter website now that Leslie Struble has resigned and his actions to find a new individual to take it on. There was a discussion of what the next steps might be in this process.
    4. Schedule for Fall Policy Committee Meetings:
      1. Regular Policy Committee Meetings: Williamson briefly discussed the process for determining the fall schedule to meet individual schedules as well as possible. The remaining fall meetings will be at 1:30 p.m. on the following Wednesdays. We assume for now that they will all be held electronically.
        • Wednesday, October 4 (1st Wednesday);
        • Wednesday, November 1 (1st Wednesday)
        • Wednesday, December 6 (1st Wednesday); Reading Day is December 7
        • NOTE: The date of the November Policy Committee meeting was subsequently changed to the indicated November 1.
      2. Meetings with Administrators and Chapter Meetings: None has been scheduled so far.
    5. Review of Annual Chapter Meeting and Program on May 9, 2023
      • The speaker, Patricia Okker, the former President of New College, was well received She discussed how we must reach out to new constituencies to frame the advocacy for academic freedom such as students. Parker noted that it is not too early to start planning for the 2024 Annual Meeting.
    6. Discussion of Continuing Chapter Committees for 2023-2024.
      1. Policy Committee. Kar again thanked the members for their participation and asked that they consider who else would be good candidates for membership.
      2. Chapter Committees. There was a brief discussion of which committees we might establish. Discussion of the committee structure will be a item for a future meeting. Previous Chapter Presidents O’Brien and Parker noted the importance of the Academic Freedom Committee given that working with faculty who contacted them on these issues had been an important activity during their terms.
    7. Old Business
      • Kar noted that these items listed on the agenda will appear on future agendas with the awareness that there will be no new activity in some months.
    8. New Business
      • Kar noted that these items on the agenda also will appear on future agendas with the awareness that there will be no activity in some months. The two of particular importance are: (a) Search for New Webmaster and (g) Promotion and Tenure Panel.
    9. Adjournment. There being no further reports the meeting adjourned at about 2:30 p.m. As noted above, the next meeting will be at 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday, October 4, 2023.