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President's Semester Report

Fall 2008

TO: Members, UIUC AAUP Chapter
FR:  Donald Uchtmann, Chapter President
RE:  Activities of the Policy Committee, Fall, 2008

This is my fifth report to the members of the UIUC AAUP Chapter concerning our activities during the previous semester.  I have appreciated the support of the other members of the Policy Committee as well as the members of the Chapter during my tenure as President.  I continue to be impressed by the important role that so many members of our chapter play in campus governance particularly as members of numerous important committees.

The Chapter officers met August 26 to prepare for our activities this semester.  The Policy Committee met on September 8, October 6, November 10, and December 8.  Members of the Policy Committee also met with Vice President Walter Knorr on December 8 (see item (1) below).  The members (and guests) who attended at least one of these meetings were: Abbas Aminmansour, Kenneth Andersen, Geneva Belford, Linn Belford, Burton, Connie Caveny, Matthew Finkin, Bettina Francis, Harry Hilton, Lew Hopkins, Harry Liebersohn, Walter Knorr (guest), Walter McMahon, Cary Nelson, John Prussing, Arthur Robinson, Robert Spitze, Leslie Struble, Donald Uchtmann, and H. F. Williamson.

The rest of this report provides a summary of our activities and the discussions at the Policy Committee meetings.  One major activity was our role in the campus reaction view of the statement on appropriate political activities issued by the UI Ethics Office Academy (see item (2) below).  During the spring semester, we plan to meet a senior member of the Provost’s staff as we prepare to hold a tenure workshop in March.  If you would like to have a more active role in our Chapter’s activities, please let me or one of the other members of the Policy Committee know.  We would be pleased to have all of our members more involved in the Chapter’s activities, possibly as members of the Policy Committee or of one of the other committees.

Activities of the Policy Committee
(1)  Meeting with Vice President Knorr.  The Policy Committee regularly invites campus leaders to join us for a discussion of issues important to the faculty and the rest of the academic community.  Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Knorr accepted our invitation to join us at for a meeting in December prior to our regular Policy Committee meeting.  After the introductions, Vice President Knorr thanked us for inviting him to join us and for our service to the University.  He then addressed a number of issues including (a) the budget crisis facing the state this year and next and its implications for state support for the University; (b) the status of the University’s endowment; (c) the importance of faculty governance in activities of his office; (c) the possibility of forming a planning council similar to that which existed during the 1980s and 1990s; (d) the current status of the five-year plan being prepared by his office; (e) the problems facing the University with regard to its capital budget and its 2010 budget.  Vice President Knorr expressed an interest in any proposals that we could provide him on the issues discussed during the meeting.  McMahon was asked to provide the lead for such a response. At the conclusion of this discussion, Uchtmann thanked Vice President Knorr for joining us.

(2)  Policy on Political Activities issued by UI Ethics Office.  The Policy Committee discussed this issue extensively.  Finkin prepared a letter to President White expressing our concerns which the President cited in public discussion of the issue.  Prussing kept the Committee informed of the actions of the Senate General University Policy Committee (GUP) which he chairs.  Thanks in good part to these actions it was felt that a reasonable solution had 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.

(3)  Academy on Capitalism and Limited Government Fund (ACLFG).  The Policy Committee was kept informed of the discussions between the sponsors and the committee set up by the Chancellor and the Senate to work with them.  The final decision of the sponsors is to separate the ACLFG from its association with the campus. 

(4)  Global Campus Initiative.  We have continued to discuss this program particularly now that it has finished one year after enrolling students.  We share the concerns expressed by the Senate and its Executive Committee.  We will continue to monitor this issue and consider whether a policy statement should be prepared.

(5)  Composition of Committees for 2008-9008.  We currently have five committees as follows (chairs or co-chairs in parentheses): (i) Government Relations (Andersen); (ii) Academic Freedom (Robinson and Struble); (iii) Programs (Hilton and Liebersohn); (iv) Communications (Caveny) and (v) Membership (G. Belford and Prussing).  We hope that members of the Chapter will be interested in working on these committees.  If you are, please let me know.

(6)  Chapter Web Site (  We were pleased that our chapter won the award for outstanding Chapter electronic communications thanks to our web site.  The award included a plaque and a check for $100.

(7)  Planning for Next Promotion and Tenure Workshop in March, 2009.   This workshop is the probably the most well-received activity that we have sponsored in the past five years.  We are planning to hold it again on March 5, 2:30-4:30 p.m. with a panel that will include the Provost or her representative and recent members of the campus Promotion and Tenure and Faculty Advisory Committees.  Uchtmann and Hilton have met with Provost Katehi and Barbara Wilson as part of the planning and Wilson will join with the Committee at our meeting in February.

(8)  Membership Drive.  Caveny is leading an effort to attract new members to the AAUP and the Chapter.  This will be coordinated with the activities at the national level and with our tenure workshop.

(9)  National Office.  Nelson, the President of the National AAUP, reported on the activities of the national AAUP.  These include the selection of a new Chief Financial Officer and a new General Secretary and efforts to improve the services provided.