By Craig Chamberlain Faculty productivity, a new academic calendar and criteria for cultural centers dominated the agenda at Monday's first regular session of the 1994-95 Urbana-Champaign Senate. Productivity has been an issue of concern for several years, and especially since the start of Priorities, Quality and Productivity (PQP) initiative of the Illinois Board of Higher Education. In response to PQP, the Senate Council in 1992 established a Task Force on Productivity. After two years of work, the task force presented its final report, "The Campus as Classroom," for approval Monday by the senate. The report first outlines faculty responsibilities as they relate to the UI's mission of teaching, research and public service - and to teaching, broadly defined, both inside and outside the classroom. It then suggests measures for improving instructional effectiveness. Too many people equate productivity with effort - measured in hours in the classroom, etc. - said Emanuel Donchin, representing the task force. "What we really need to focus on is the outcome," he said. "It's 'What does this effort produce?' and 'To what extent is this effort consistent with our mission?' and 'To what extent are we executing our mission in a cost-effective fashion?' " Every educational program must deal with three variables: the number of students enrolled, the amount of resources available and the quality of instruction. Part of the problem in discussing productivity with critics outside the university, Donchin said, is that "they believe that all three variables are free [not restricted]." In reality, only two variables can be free, he said. Setting any two determines the third. Academic departments should determine the quality of instruction, Donchin said, and they can do that by specifying the teaching models for specific programs - in other words, descriptions of how departments can use resources to educate students. "We're proposing that by making explicit and clear the teaching model, we're basically stating our price tag for quality education. And that leaves to the state or the university the freedom to choose between resources and enrollment." Since the type of instruction varies from program to program across campus, the report calls for individual departments to determine appropriate teaching models, as well as criteria for measuring instructional effectiveness. With relatively little discussion, the report was approved by a voice vote and will be passed on to Provost Larry R. Faulkner for implementation. After receiving substantial input from the senate in meetings last fall, the Committee on Academic Calendar returned for more on Monday with a new recommendation for changing the policies governing the academic calendar, starting with 1996-97. The change is being considered because the on-line, direct registration system, due to be operational by late next spring, will remove the need for on-campus registration. In the proposal put before the senate last fall, the committee suggested moving the start of classes up two days, from Thursday to Tuesday, and including a Friday off as a fall break. As a result of objections at that meeting, however, Morgan Lynge, chair of the committee, said on Monday that the committee was now recommending a calendar that moves the start of fall classes back two days, from Thursday to Monday. The new policy would start classes on the Monday 12 weeks before Thanksgiving week - and on Tuesday when that Monday is Labor Day. Spring semester classes would begin three days earlier than under the current policy, on the Monday eight weeks after Thanksgiving week. Though concerns were raised about the adjustment required by students, senators generally praised the policy, especially because it will provide more full weeks of classes. The new policy will be presented for a vote at the Oct. 3 meeting. Also looking for input rather than a vote, the Committee on General University Policy presented its proposal outlining criteria for the establishment of cultural centers. Asked to consider a request by Asian-American students for an Asian-American cultural center, the committee found that no specific criteria governed the establishment of existing cultural centers, said Wesley Seitz, chair of the committee. The committee chose to work on criteria rather than consider the specific case, he said. "What we're saying is we should have criteria, we should not create a center on a whim." The main tenants of four proposed criteria: * The group being considered for a center should be among those identified as underrepresented on campus. * The center "should serve to enrich the campus intellectual environment by providing the campus community with a broader appreciation of the culture of the group being served." * The center "should lead to an improved climate among various groups represented in the campus community." * The center's programs "should be oriented toward addressing a demonstrated problem of retention of an underrepresented target student population." Seitz acknowledged that the first and fourth criteria would not favor establishment of an Asian-American center. The committee's thinking, however, is that "a center need not satisfy all four criteria, but it should address all four criteria," he said. Discussion on the criteria ranged from arguments by students in favor of an Asian-American center to concerns by several faculty members about the means of funding new centers. Seitz, who was not seeking a vote, said he would take the proposal back to his committee for further discussion. In comments at the start of the meeting, Chancellor Aiken quickly identified topics of ongoing concern for the campus or academia in general. Among them were diversity in administrative and faculty appointments, the status of women on campus, child care, technology transfer, college affordability, the campus's public image, and "town and gown" relations. He noted that several appointments over the last year have brought greater diversity to the Chancellor's Cabinet and some key administrative posts. He also noted that a survey last year comparing UI faculty to the available talent found that only about eight of 80 departments showed a "significant departure" from what was possible in minority representation. For female representation, however, the problem was more severe, with 38 of 80 departments significantly out of line from what was possible. It is an area that will need more work, Aiken said. He also expressed optimism for the success of the university's $1 billion campaign, which will move from its quiet phase to its public phase with an announcement in October. Through contacts with alumni, "I am impressed with the deep reservoir of goodwill for this university," he said.