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PUBLICATIONS Inside Illinois Vol. 24, No. 7, Oct. 7, 2004

Herman asks senate, SEC to study impact of Chief Illiniwek

By Sharita Forrest, Assistant Editor
217-244-1072; slforres@illinois.edu

Interim Chancellor Richard Herman said that he expects academic year 2004-2005 to be a year of progress and achievement for the Urbana campus. He spoke during the Sept. 27 meeting of the Urbana-Champaign Senate, the first Senate meeting of the academic year.

Herman said that for the first time the Urbana campus, tuition has outpaced state-allocated funds as a source of revenue. Since the other two UI campuses are not similarly dependent on tuition, Herman said, “We have a special interest in seeing that tuition rates are set at a reasonable level that allows us to both maintain and enhance the quality of this institution and preserve access … for all qualified students regardless of ability to pay.”

With that in mind, Herman said the administration will decide tuition rates for the next fiscal year earlier than in the past and will present recommendations to the UI Board of Trustees in November. Crediting the support of students and strong advocates in the General Assembly with helping attain “a realistic tuition increase” for AY 04-05, Herman said he is optimistic the campus will receive similar support for setting the AY 05-06 rates.

Administrators have been consulting with student advisory groups and other constituencies on campus, and town hall meetings will be held as well to discuss the issue, Herman said.

With regard to the recently released report from the North Central Association after its visit to campus last April, Herman asked the senate and the Senate Executive Committee to design and conduct a comprehensive study of the Chief Illiniwek issue and its impact on educational effectiveness at Urbana. Herman asked the senate to complete its examination as promptly as the subject matter allows so that the board of trustees can consider the resulting conclusions in its deliberations.

While freshman enrollment has increased by 440 students this year, to 7,248 students, enrollment of freshmen who are African-American and Latino declined this year, Herman said. Although these figures coincide with a national trend, Herman said that the campus must be more aggressive and effective at recruiting minority students next year.

Abbas Aminmansour, chair of the educational policy committee, reported that a group was formed to examine the guidelines for establishing the academic calendar and requested that faculty e-mail their suggestions and recommendations to the senate committee for consideration.

Michael Grossman, chair of the Senate Executive Committee, reported that Aminmansour developed a Web site for the Educational Policy Committee, accessible at www.arch.uiuc.edu/aa/ep, to disseminate information on matters under the committee’s purview. Other Web sites will be developed to disseminate reports, Grossman said.

Belden Fields, emeritus professor of political science, and Tom Anderson, professor of educational psychology, said they were very disturbed by information about possible changes in course delivery at UIS contained in Ken Andersen’s report on the May 21 meeting of the Illinois Board of Higher Education’s Faculty Advisory Council. The report indicated that a grant proposal had committed the Springfield campus to offering all degrees online, to requiring every student to take an online course to graduate and all faculty members to teach at least one online course. Fields and Anderson expressed concerns that these commitments were made without conferring with faculty members and without considering the potential adverse impact they might have on faculty workloads and educational quality.

Linn Belford, chemistry, said that he recalled seeing a news article recently that may have said that UIS Chancellor Richard Ringeisen had “backed off” and issued an apology to the faculty about this matter.

Andersen said that senators concerned about the issue and wanting further details should contact Anne Draznin, the UIS representative to the FAC.

In other business, the senate:

  • Approved revisions to the undergraduate curricula in theater in the College of Fine and Applied Arts that included splitting the theater technology and lighting concentration into three separate concentrations – lighting, scenic technology and sound – and establishing a “theater general” curriculum code for all incoming freshmen, who then would apply and be accepted into one of the degree concentrations in their first or second year.
  • Approved a proposal that enables departments to assign differing titles to various course sections in instances where special topics are addressed in specific sections, where sections are variations on a central theme or where the listing of specific section titles on student transcripts is required by reviewing agencies. This change, which is enabled by the Banner system, will put section titles under departmental control and will include more descriptive and informative course information on transcripts.
  • Approved a proposal to include concentrations in the degree-awarded section of student transcripts along with information on the degree conferred and academic major and minor.
    Approved nominations for membership on the Academic Freedom and Tenure Committee, the
    Educational Policy Committee and the Military Education Council.
  • Met in executive session to consider nominations for honorary degrees.
Herman calls for a ‘new order of excellence’
Saying that public universities are entering “a new financial environment” and a decade of turbulence that will create “a new order of excellence for the first time in 50 years,” Interim Chancellor Richard Herman outlined his vision for ensuring that the Urbana campus emerges as a pre-eminent institution during the coming decade.

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