25, No. 20, May 4, 2006
U-C Senate discusses Campus
Sharita Forrest, Assistant Editor
voiced concerns about the priorities outlined in the Campus Strategic
Plan – and their potential impact on institutional quality and campus units’ budgets
- when the Urbana-Champaign Senate met April 24.
Richard Schacht, chair of the General University Policy Committee and Jubilee
Professor of Liberal Arts and Sciences, presented the GUP’s response to
the January 2006 version of the Campus Strategic Plan. The response questioned
the plan’s focus on being No. 1 in published rankings, an emphasis that
the GUP believed could harm academic quality. The GUP also was concerned that
the three strategic initiatives outlined in the plan were so narrowly focused
that they excluded much of campus and could have a “distorting influence
upon many units” if
they were to attempt to tailor faculty efforts to “benefit
by association with these initiatives.”
Charles Zukoski, vice chancellor for research, said that while much of the plan
focused on research, many of its goals were associated with education as well
as the university’s missions of economic development and community service.
Of particular concern to the GUP were the fiscal reallocations outlined by the
plan and their potential impact on campus units. The GUP recommended conducting
a cost-benefit analysis and that the campus “proceed with all new initiatives
and goals only on an as-feasible funding basis, with new commitments and investments
being made only as resources can be obtained externally or gathered internally
without detriment to existing quality.”
The GUP suggested that the plan’s initiatives be regarded as proposals
rather than commitments and that administration “not be wedded
to them as our top priorities,” Schacht said. “We need to
continue to reflect upon our priorities for investment. … The
rushed pace over the last year has not allowed some people to be consulted.
We should slow down and take time to decide what to pursue” and
how to allocate funding.
The GUP suggested that a process be developed for deans, department executive
officers and faculty members to advise Provost Linda Katehi and Chancellor Richard
Herman on identifying and prioritizing campus goals and initiatives.
Katehi said that administrators intend to gather input from the campus community,
including determining the assessment tools that will be used to measure the initiatives’ success.
However, the university’s budgetary constraints “will require some
difficult decisions along the way,” such as reallocations, said Katehi,
who encouraged senators to submit comments about the plan to her.
Senators suggested that the campus streamline the faculty promotion process,
provide more support for research in the arts and include faculty members from
the College of Education in planning the integrated health initiatives.
After discussion, the senate members voted unanimously to endorse the recommendations
and concerns proposed by the GUP.
Linda Beale, chair of the University Statutes and Senate Procedures Committee
and professor of law, presented several proposed amendments to the USSP that
were approved, including an amendment requiring programs or other units being
used to provide tenure homes for tenured or tenure-track faculty first be approved
in accordance with the senate procedures by which departments are approved. A
tenure home is the academic unit that provides the specific standards for promotion
and tenure decisions affecting a faculty member and whose tenured faculty comprise
the group eligible to vote on promotion and tenure decisions within the unit.
Beale noted that 30 tenured or tenure-track faculty members hold appointments
in 10 units that have not been approved in accordance with senate statutes.
The senate also approved revisions to the USSP governing multi-year contracts
and dismissal procedures, which allowed appointments of up to three years for
certain academic staff member positions and required written notice of non-reappointment
in the final contract year, except for appointments that were not salaried, were
part-time or conditional upon non-appropriated funds. Academic staff members
being dismissed for cause would be afforded hearings before the provost or the
provost’s designee. Each campus chancellor would develop implementation
procedures with the advice and consent of their campus senate that would include
establishing a binding ceiling on the proportion of multi-year contract appointments
and assigning oversight responsibility to an appropriate senate committee.
In other business, the senate approved:
prefiled resolution sponsored by Mark Roszkowski, professor of
business administration, calling for the university to take action
to eliminate the Unofficial St. Patrick’s Day
celebration, prevent other alcohol-related events from occurring
on regularly scheduled instructional days and establish a commission
of students and faculty staff members to advise Herman on promoting
campus safety and eliminating disturbances.
- a proposal for
the creation of an institutionally supported student policy debate
team, which was remanded to the SEC for disposition.
- a revision
to the U-C Senate Bylaws releasing the chair of the Committee on
Educational Policy from academic duties for one-half time appointment,
similar to the release-time provision provided for the SEC chair.
The provost agreed to provide the funding for the appointment.