Urbana-Champaign Senate members voted to approve changes to language protecting academic freedom at their Dec. 6 meeting.
The change to the University Statutes states that academic staff members have the freedom to speak about any social, political or economic issue to the larger community without fear of disciplinary action by the UI. Academics also have the freedom to address "any matter of institutional policy" - whether as members of the UI or not - according to the document. All speech, however, would be subject to academic standards of conduct, according to the revisions.
Senate members postponed a vote on eliminating the bachelor's degree in aviation human factors, the Professional Pilot Curriculum and the master's degree in human factors in the Institute of Aviation. Although the vote was delayed because there was not a quorum present, some senators felt the delay would give the unit more time to find a new academic home for its programs.
The vote will be taken at the next regular meeting of the senate Feb. 28.
Senate members also accepted additional nominations for the search committee for a new chancellor.
Physics professor Doug Beck will chair the committee. Senators voted online Dec. 13
to select the committee's membership. The composition of the committee was approved at its Nov. 8 meeting.
Faculty members: James D. Anderson, educational policy studies; Nicholas Burbules, educational policy studies; Andreas Cangellaris, electrical and computer engineering; Kim Graber, kinesiology and community health; Anne D. Hedeman, art and design; William Maher, University Library/Archives; Robert Warrior, American Indian studies; and Matthew Wheeler, animal sciences.
Students: Amy Allen, undergraduate student in engineering; Carey Hawkins Ash, graduate student in law and education; and David Olsen, undergraduate student in business.
Dean/director: Ruth Watkins, dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.
Academic professional: Tim Barnes, assistant director of International Programs and Studies.
Staff member: Debbie Kemphues, administrative assistant in the Office of the Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs.
Committee members will advise UI President Michael Hogan in the search for the next campus chancellor. Once the selection is made, Hogan will make a recommendation to the UI Board of Trustees for approval.
Also at the Dec. 6 meeting, senators made an informal recommendation to the Senate Executive Committee to not reconvene the meeting during the week of Dec. 12. The senate's governing documents specify that if agenda business isn't finished in one meeting, the senate is supposed to reconvene the same meeting a week later.
In other business, senators:
- Approved a revision of the undergraduate major in new media within the bachelor of fine arts degree in the School of Art and Design.
- Approved establishing a professional science master's concentration in the master's of science in plant biology degree.
- Approved revising the curriculum and reducing the required minimum hours for the bachelor of landscape architecture degree.