PUBLICATIONS Inside Illinois Vol. 27, No. 10, Nov. 15, 2007
Academy on Capitalism and Limited Government Fund
Chancellor: Panel should develop new agreement
Sharita Forrest, Assistant Editor
Chancellor Richard Herman has recommended an advisory committee develop a new memorandum of understanding between the UI Foundation and the new Academy on Capitalism and Limited Government Fund.
The foundation signed an agreement with the donors on July 20, 2006, to create and administer the fund endowment for the purposes of promoting scholarly research, teaching and public outreach in areas related to free market capitalism, individual freedom and responsibility, limited government and those concepts’ societal roles.
In recent months, faculty members raised concerns about the structure and purpose of the academy and its potential impact on academic freedom and institutional autonomy at the UI.
Law professor Thomas Ulen chaired the ad hoc committee the chancellor appointed to review the agreement. The committee’s nine members were nominated by the executive committee of the UI faculty senate. Herman asked members to study whether the academy and its goals were in keeping with the university’s policies and mission.
The committee’s report, dated Oct. 29, indicated concern about the original memo of understanding and the academy fund’s governing document. The report said the documents could be construed as indicating the donors’ intent to propagate a particular ideology that the donors may feel is underrepresented in academia, “(b)ut it is not the proper function of a university to advance a donor’s ideological agenda, whatever it might be.”
The committee also had concerns about the influence of the ACLGF’s governing board and recommended that the memo be amended to preclude an operational role for the board in academic and educational matters that are the university’s jurisdiction.
Following discussion of the report at the senate’s Nov. 5 meeting, the senate passed a pre-filed resolution presented by Belden Fields, chair of the Senate Committee on Equal Opportunity, which was renamed the Committee on Equal Opportunity and Inclusion by a revision to the bylaws approved at the same meeting. The ACLGF resolution, which was endorsed by the Senate Executive Committee, re-affirmed that the university would retain exclusive authority for decisions such as curricula and course development, establishment of majors and minors, scholarly appointments and other matters under its purview. “The senate requests that President B. Joseph White and Chancellor Richard Herman make clear to the founders, board members and others affiliated with the fund … that there will be no compromise on those issues,” the resolution stated.
In its report, the committee wrote: “The academy created by the MOA of July 20, 2006, is premised on the desire to encourage intellectual diversity and civil debate. … Although the committee concludes that the specific manner in which that goal is to be achieved is inconsistent with the fundamental principles governing the university, the committee earnestly hopes that these donors will decide to contribute to intellectual diversity and civil debate within the university in ways that are consistent with these principles.”
Sharita Forrest, Assistant Editor
The Urbana-Champaign Senate spent a good portion of its Nov. 5 meeting discussing a report from the advisory committee appointed to review the activities and structure of the Academy on Capitalism and Limited Government Fund. In his opening remarks, Nicholas Burbules, chair of the Senate Executive Committee, thanked the advisory committee and its chair, Thomas Ulen, law, for a “detailed, carefully reasoned and prompt report.”
Burbules expressed appreciation to Chancellor Richard Herman for working with the senate in establishing the advisory committee and “for taking a clear and unambiguous public stance in favor of the senate’s central role in academic matters at this university.”
“While I know that there is disappointment that he was not able to release the original MOA in full, I believe that his release of key portions of the MOA and his release of this report go a long way toward establishing the kind of transparency and access to information that are needed if shared governance is to have any real meaning,” Burbules said. “The fact that the advisory committee report is critical of some of the ways in which the original MOA was negotiated and agreed to, and that the chancellor released it anyway, should persuade everyone that he is doing everything possible to remedy an unacceptable situation.”
Later in the meeting, Peter Loeb, mathematics, asked Herman if campus administration had input into the content of the annual employee ethics exam mandated by the Illinois Legislature. “It seems to me that as it’s now structured, given the number of people involved, the ethics exam is an unethical waste of the taxpayers’ money,” Loeb said, adding that the content was irrelevant, unnecessary and “self-congratulatory nonsense.”
Herman responded that the exam, which he and Loeb both said they had completed, was vastly different from the previous year’s exam “so perhaps there is some hope to change it.” Herman added that he has received proposed changes from several people, and about 86 percent of people at the Urbana campus required to take the exam this year had completed it so far.
Numerous proposals by the Senate Committee on Educational Policy were passed by the senate, including a proposal setting forth guidelines for the granting of multi-institutional graduate degrees in collaboration with foreign institutions. The guidelines outlined a rigorous review process with multiple levels of review for proposed programs, including a review by joint task forces appointed by the disciplinary colleges in consultation with the Office of the Provost and the Graduate College.
Abbas Aminmansour, chair of the educational policy committee, presented a prototypical student transcript showing the annotations that the Graduate College proposed adding to distinguish programs completed through the Global Campus from programs completed at the Urbana campus. Using the “campus” field in the Banner system, the annotation “Global Campus Urbana” would be used to signify programs offered through the online degree program, and “Urbana-Champaign” would signify courses based at the Urbana campus. The senate also approved a proposed academic calendar for the Global Campus for the terms spring 2008 to fall 2009 and a proposal establishing a master of education degree with a concentration in “eLearning” to be offered by the College of Education through the Global Campus.
The senate approved a proposal to rename the department of speech communication in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences to the “department of communication.” In response to concerns raised by senator Henry Hill about redundancy and confusion if the College of Communications were to decide not to change its name, Aminmansour said that Ron Yates, dean of the college, was aware of the departmental name change and did not express any concerns about it. Additionally, the educational policy committee currently is reviewing a proposal from the College of Communications to change its name to “College of Media Arts and Sciences.”
News Bureau, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
507 E. Green St., Suite 345, Champaign, Illinois 61820
Telephone 217 333-1085, Fax 217 244-0161