At the Feb. 20 meeting of the Urbana-Champaign Senate, Chancellor Richard Herman gave an overview of the strategic plan for the Urbana campus, which he said was “not just a roadmap to pre-eminence but to establishing a much greater role for us throughout the world,” especially in China, India and Singapore as well as Europe.
Herman encouraged people to read the plan, which is available from the main UI Web page at www.uiuc.edu, and invited feedback. This spring, Herman, incoming Provost Linda Katehi and Charles Zukoski, vice chancellor for research, will meet with people in the colleges to flesh out and discuss the plan’s components and strategies.
“I think to realize our dreams, and recognizing the chaotic times we live in, we need to drive this rather rapidly. But having said as much, I think it’s about 30 percent done in terms of reaching faculty and staff members and students,” Herman said.
Although many of the initiatives are under way, achieving the plan’s objectives will require increases in tuition, research funding and corporate support in addition to reallocating extant funds. Goals in the university’s upcoming fundraising campaign are being set accordingly.
Senators expressed concerns ensuring access to qualified students despite rising tuition, the budgetary effects of reallocations on campus units and how Illinois might expand its contributions to the health sciences.
Linda Beale, chair of the Senate Committee on University Statutes and Senate Procedures, presented a proposed amendment to Rule 13 of the Standing Rules of the Senate requiring that votes be taken among faculty members at each unit level and reported to the senate when changes to academic units are being considered. “The committee researched the original language in the statutes and the legislative history and found ample support for the view that ‘advice of the faculty’ was understood clearly at that time (as) requir(ing) a vote,” Beale said.
The Educational Policy Committee reviewed transcripts of the original Senate discussions and the practice has been to hold referenda, said Abbas Aminmansour, chair of the committee. “We have one (departmental change) that is under discussion right now. There will be an electronic vote. And we have one that is potentially in the pipeline, and we’ve already informed the college deans that we would expect to see a vote at the department and the college level.”
The senate will consider the results of faculty member votes, but a lack of endorsement by faculty members “would not necessarily be fatal to a proposed unit change,” as “there may be circumstances in which the senate would vote favorably on a change despite negative votes by some faculty units,” the amendment said.
The amendment, which was approved by the senate, is an interim measure that will be in effect while the USSP committee works on changing the statutes, which Beale said would be a lengthy process.
Vernon Burton, chair of the Senate Executive Committee, suggested that the senate consider “recommending strongly” to academic units that they conduct faculty member votes by secret ballot to ensure freedom of expression. Other senators voiced concerns that faculty member votes might lead to results that would not be in the best interests of academic organizations and the campus, and that units might forestall faculty referenda in controversial circumstances.
- Burton reported that the SEC was pleased with the turnout and the discussions during its Shared Governance Seminar on Jan. 23. Burton requested feedback on the information from the seminar that is available on the senate’s Web site at www.senate.uiuc.edu (click on Meeting Calendars under Senate), and on whether the SEC should host similar workshops in the future.
- The committee charged with developing a methodology for a systematic study of Chief Illiniwek’s impact on educational effectiveness at the Urbana campus has submitted its report; however, the SEC and the chancellor will not be launching a study at this time, Burton said.
- The senate approved a proposal that redefined the residency requirements for bachelor’s degrees, eliminating the provision that precluded students from earning credit at other institutions during their first three years and their final two semesters. Under the new rule, students would have to earn at least 60 semester hours of credit at Illinois, including at least 21 hours in 300- or 400-level courses, a change that accommodates new methods of course delivery, such as online courses, and the migratory enrollment patterns of contemporary students. The new rules also revise admission requirements for Guided Individual Study, extramural and online courses.