Proposed revisions to policies governing intellectual property, parking and the approval process for graduate concentrations sparked debate at the April 25 meeting of the Urbana-Champaign Senate.
The senate passed a proposal presented by Richard Schacht, chair of the general university policy committee and Jubilee Professor of Liberal Arts and Sciences, that would amend Article III, Section 7 of the General Rules to require the vice president for technology and economic development to seek the advice and concurrence of the chancellors in the administration of intellectual property. Schacht told the senate that administrative realignments had changed the purview and reporting lines of the vice presidency in recent years, and under the current guidelines the vice president need not consult with the chancellors, although he is required to confer with two people who report directly to him and with the vice president for academic affairs on intellectual property matters.
“It seems to the committee that the chancellors ought to be included explicitly in the establishment of such guidelines because these are matters that are very important to the research community or at least to that part of the research community that engages in the production of technology that has significant possibilities for generation of income, marketability and technology transfer for the public good,” Schacht said.
Tom Conry, professor of mechanical and industrial engineering, spoke against the proposed amendment, saying that rather than creating parallel reporting lines for the vice president for technology and economic development, he would prefer to have the chancellors negotiate a policy with UI President Joe White.
Schacht said that the amendment will be presented to the UIC and UIS senates and the University Senates Conference for approval before it goes to the trustees. Schacht said that the senates cannot compel the trustees to take action but said he believed it was important to address the matter with them. “In fact, there isn’t even any regular procedure for requesting changes to the General Rules, so we’re trying to invent one,” Schacht said.
Senator George Friedman, emeritus professor of computer science, said that he believed the amended General Rules contain a passage stating that senate approval is required on intellectual property policies and agreed to assist Schacht in locating that clause so it could be presented to the trustees.
Senators approved a resolution presented by John Lammers, incoming chair of the committee on campus operations and professor of speech communication, that urged the university administration to “seek and commit financial resources to restore and improve the Lincoln Hall building, just as it seeks to improve the UIUC campus with new construction.” The resolution said that the decaying building and its antiquated fire safety system are hazardous and that Lincoln Hall does not comply with provisions of the Americans With Disabilities Act.
Chancellor Richard Herman emphasized that Lincoln Hall is central to the educational mission of the campus, and its refurbishment is the second priority in the capital budget after general repairs and renovations. The state appropriated $2 million for planning the Lincoln Hall project in FY04; the university is seeking $55 million in FY06 to fund the project, Herman said.
Mark Roszkowski, chair of the conference on conduct governance and professor of business administration, presented revised rules governing the use and storage of weapons by students, which he had amended to explicitly state the types of weapons prohibited as discussed at the March senate meeting. However, senators raised objections that the language still might prohibit common household items and sports equipment, putting unwitting students in violation. Peter Loeb, professor of mathematics, suggested that the university appoint a safety officer who would consider whether items could be permitted as exceptions.
Roszkowski urged resolution of the matter, saying that the amended rule would be included in the pocket code, which is due to be printed soon and distributed to students for the coming academic year. After debate, Herman said he would take the amendment and senators’ concerns under advisement.
- The senate voted down a proposed resolution that would have revised parking rules and established rate differentials based on employee income and garage versus open lot parking.
- The senate endorsed proposed guidelines for standardizing the approval process for graduate concentrations after amending them so that the Graduate College is obligated to seek prior approval from the senate and the UI Board of Trustees. Keith Marshall, associate provost, and Abbas Aminmansour, chair of the Educational Policy Committee and professor of architecture, said that it was not unprecedented for the Graduate College to establish concentrations without seeking senate approval. However, some senators said they believed that the process should be consistent with policies for undergraduate curricula.
- Richard Mendola, associate vice president for Administrative Information Technology Services, presented an overview of the UI Integrate Project, the five-year overhaul of the university’s data systems and business processes, which is in its final phases. Although the project was one of higher education’s most complex installations, it was completed on time and on budget, Mendola said. Project staff members are now addressing some of the complaints that have arisen. A $1.5 million recurring allocation will be used for system enhancements such as modifying the human resources module to redistribute the data entry workload and developing new reports for Grants and Contracts, Mendola said.
- Michael Grossman, chair of the senate executive committee and professor of genetics, extended congratulations to Herman for being named chancellor at Urbana and thanked him for the collegial relationship he has fostered. Herman thanked the senate for the advice, support and counsel extended to him and said he would seek that counsel again “as we proceed down the road on the goal of making this the number one public research university in the country.”
- Grossman told the senate that Herman appointed a committee to assist the senate in conducting a systematic assessment of educational effectiveness at the Urbana campus and the impact of the Chief Illiniwek controversy, as recommended by the North Central Association. Lizanne Destefano, associate dean of the Graduate College and a professor of educational policy, will chair the committee, which hopes to complete its study by the end of the fall semester and report the results next spring.
- Grossman reported that at the senate’s April 18 organizational meeting, Orville Vernon Burton, professor of sociology and of history, and John Prussing, professor of aeronautical and astronautical engineering, were elected chair and vice chair of the Senate Executive Committee for academic year ’05-’06.
Senators approved proposed procedures for selecting a search committee for a provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs.