The Urbana-Champaign Senate has authorized its University Statutes and Senate Procedures Committee to consider processes for adding academic professionals to the senate electorate. Meeting as a committee of the whole during the April 27 senate meeting, senators concluded debate with a nonbinding straw vote that supported adding a limited number of APs to the senate membership and authorized the USSP to craft an appropriate election process for the senate to consider in the fall.
The Sixth Senate Review Commission recommended adding APs to the senate in 2007 because APs play an increasing role in delivering instruction and in the UI’s academic mission. At the Dec. 8 meeting, senators debated but voted down a proposal to add 11 AP members from the Council of Academic Professionals districts to the senate electorate.
The USSP wanted to clarify the senate’s position by reviving the discussion, said Nicholas Burbules, chair of the Senate Executive Committee.
The Chicago campus senate has had three APs in its assembly since 2005, and the Springfield campus has had one AP senator since the campus joined the UI system. The Urbana campus senate has one AP who serves on the Committee on Committees.
Several senators supported adding APs to the electorate because their teaching and other work furthers the UI’s educational mission. Sen. Mary Mallory, University Library, said that the 2,200 APs on campus “do very important work that serves the whole campus,” including serving on senate committees that address admissions, educational policy and faculty benefits.
Tom Korder, chair of CAP, said that the senate’s influence extends far beyond academic matters to issues such as benefits and campus operations. Although APs have a voice in the senate, they don’t have a vote, and “we don’t have the same voice that you do,” Korder said. “We have not seen the IT@Illinois presentation. That was not brought to us as an issue to be considered. There are many things like that where they’re brought here for consideration, but we’re not considered at that same level. I just ask you to think about that.”
Several senators opposed AP representation in the senate, including Peter Loeb because he said it “would fundamentally change the organizing principle of the senate” and APs would be elected by employment units rather than academic units.
“It is only through this senate that our faculty has a voice,” Loeb said.
Sen. George Friedman, emeritus computer science professor and a USSP member, said that it seemed clear that APs with teaching responsibilities should be represented in the senate, but administrators should not be represented.
“If you believe that those who teach with these AP types of job titles should be represented, then vote ‘yes’ in the straw vote, and leave us in the statutes committee to figure out how to implement that in a way that will preserve the integrity of this body as an academic body,” Friedman said. “We’re members of the faculty too, you know, on the statutes committee. We believe in faculty participation and governance, which is what the senate represents, what the senate is at its essence. So give us a chance to implement this. Tell us, though, do you want any APs at all?” Either way, the Senate Constitution has to be changed, Friedman said.
Provost Linda Katehi and Sally Jackson, chief information officer, updated the senate on IT@Illinois, an initiative to redesign information technology support on campus so that it is integrated, cost effective, agile and responsive to strategy.
Five concepts for IT@Illinois have been proposed and are available on the Web. Members of the campus community are encouraged to give feedback on the concepts: https://netfiles.uiuc.edu/CIO/www/ITatIllinois/.
In other business, the senate unanimously passed resolutions that called upon the state legislature and Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn not to shift greater portions of health insurance costs to UI retirees and employees and not to reduce pension benefits as Quinn proposed in his budget for fiscal year 2010.
The resolution on retirement benefits indicated that Urbana campus faculty members rank last in the Big Ten in average benefits and 19th out of 21 in the Illinois Board of Higher Education peer group in total compensation and benefits.
Burbules reported that a seven-member committee that he chaired has recommended to President B. Joseph White that all Global Campus programs – and all resources – revert to the units that developed them. The committee’s report, which White is to discuss with the board of trustees May 21, is available on the Web.
Other proposals considered by the senate and streaming video of past senate meetings are available on the Web.