The Academic Senate approved a statement Feb. 28 asking administrators and the UI Board of Trustees for more participation in the planning of modifications to the university's management structure.
"Members of the Senate Executive Committee and University Senates Council have expressed our desire to the president for a more thorough, and above all, more genuine consultation process," said senate chair Joyce Tolliver prior to the vote.
In a nearly unanimous vote, senators agreed to send the statement to university leaders and asked for further dialogue prior to future administrative changes.
The statement says there are differences in interpretation by the administration and faculty leaders over UI's governing bylaws. And it says faculty leaders have concerns over how the power structure of the three-campus university affects the Urbana campus in particular.
"We need to have the conversation on how to interpret them," Tolliver said of the bylaws after the meeting.
Some senators said they were unhappy with several recent administrative actions, including the addition of vice-president positions - which they say were approved with "perfunctory" consultation of the University Senates Conference and are not supported by recommendations of a recent administrative review.
Tom Hardy, University Relations executive director, said the recent addition of six vice presidents was following the review's recommendation to "more efficiently and more effectively" run operations.
He said while the administrators would be receiving pay adjustments, "These people are taking on new responsibilities."
He also said power structure guidelines are "very clear" as far as the university's chain of command and that the rules had been followed.
Tolliver called the recent addition of the university-level administrators a "marked departure" from the administrative review's recommendations. She said it was an example of "top-down administration" that goes against the UI concept of "shared governance."
The senate statement also expressed worry that the new chancellor and Urbana campus will be hampered by the administration's interpretation of the UI power structure. Much of that concern stems from deciding who will represent the Urbana campus at national organizations.
President Michael J. Hogan addressed the Senate Executive Committee Jan. 31 and said the addition of "vice president" to the chancellors' titles reflected already existing rules - and that past changes of that interpretation had led to the governing deficiencies unearthed in the admissions scandal.
He said the chancellor's statutory definition, as opposed to delegated authority from the president, would remain basically unchanged. He also said the three-campus structure is meant to promote collaboration and reduce duplication.
Tolliver said the senate statement was designed to produce more discussion and that it was not an "anti-president" document.
She said she was "delighted" at news that board of trustees chair Christopher G. Kennedy had agreed to help formulate "a mechanism for discussion" among faculty members and trustees.
Doug Beck, chairman of the vice president/chancellor's search committee, said the search is progressing well, with a "short list" of as many as 50 candidate recommendations being readied for consideration.
"We're already aware of several outstanding prospects," he said. "We're expecting to further narrow the field around the beginning of May."
He said advertising for the search had already begun following the completion of a "white paper" prepared in consultation between the committee, the president and a search firm, and that the ad was being placed in diverse publications.
Beck said senators could continue to comment on the process as it unfolds.
On Monday senators pulled an item from the agenda dealing with an administration proposal calling for the elimination of curricular programs in the Institute of Aviation. The item was pulled due to a final public hearing set for March 8 and the closing of the public comment period on March 10.
Senators approved a proposal to formally establish the Institute of Genomic Biology, which was given "temporary" approval status in 2004 by the Illinois Board of Higher Education. The institute is being reviewed under the Stewarding Excellence @ Illinois initiative.