The Academic Senate welcomed incoming Urbana Chancellor Phyllis M. Wise on Sept. 12 at its inaugural meeting of the 2011-12 year.
Wise begins her service as Urbana chancellor and vice president of the university Oct. 1. Until then she is splitting duties between the UI and her current job as executive vice president and provost at the University of Washington in Seattle.
Wise, whose appointment officially was approved by the UI Board of Trustees on Sept. 9, said she is "thrilled" with the new opportunity and continues preparing to take over the UI helm during a "critical time in higher education."
She said her most immediate duties upon arrival would be finalizing searches to fill the vice chancellor for research and provost positions.
"I look forward to having your input on both," she told senators. "I'm looking forward to working with you."
She said the senate is where "shared governance is truly put into action, not just words," and that "a university is only as good as its faculty."
Retiring interim Chancellor Bob Easter said Wise's academic record speaks for itself.
"I think all of you are familiar with her (academic) background," he said. "She's well-known to a number of people on this campus."
"I know we all look forward to working with her," said new senate chair Matt Wheeler.
"We're going to have a lot to do this year."
In addition to her administrative appointments, Wise also is a world-renowned scholar and researcher. While a UW administrator, she kept professorships in physiology and biophysics, in biology, and in obstetrics and gynecology.
At the UI, she also will hold professorships in the School of Molecular Biology, and the department of molecular and integrative physiology and the department of animal sciences.
In other business senators:
- Postponed several business items listed on the agenda, including a discussion of the university's developing electronics communications policy.
Chief Security Officer Mike Corn asked for a senate audience as administrators finalize the policy, which will set new employee rules for at-work Internet use.
Wheeler said the matter was tabled because of "a number of serious issues (that) have come up over the past few days."
He said the policy was undergoing further review.
- Voted to fill three vacant positions on the senate's Library Committee. A hand-counted vote awarded the committee spots to Melissa Pokorny, a professor of art and design; Barry Ackerson, a professor of social work; and Caroline Szylowicz, a professor of library science and the Kolb and Proust Librarian. Szylowicz was nominated in at-large fashion during a nominating period at Monday's meeting and replaced the committee-slate nomination of Lynford Goddard, a professor of electrical and computer engineering.
Monday's Senate meeting was the first to include academic professional employees as voting members. There are eight AP members with voting privileges.
- Discussed changing the voting procedures of the senate, which currently relies on a time-consuming, handwritten voting process to make decisions.
Wheeler said leaders had been discussing the possibility of using electronic "clicker" technology to allow instant voting tallies - a technology being used in many UI classrooms.
"We could do that," Wheeler said. "Getting the unit in the room wouldn't be very expensive."
"I think it would expedite the voting," Easter said.