By Craig Chamberlain New UI President James J. Stukel got mixed reviews from faculty members when he brought his message of goals and better management to the first meeting of the 1995-96 Urbana-Champaign Senate on Sept. 11. In his first remarks to the senate as president, Stukel outlined and expanded on the goals he has been discussing in public and print since before taking office Aug. 1. He also explained how he hoped to bring about those goals and make other changes in the way the university does business. In response, faculty senators praised some of his plans but voiced concerns about the degree of businesslike thinking in Stukel's approach, what level of faculty input would be sought in a revised planning process, and the degree to which he will be an advocate for the university to state and business leaders. Stukel said that among his chief goals is improving the university's service outreach to the state, mostly through partnerships and linkages with government, business and community groups. Among these are constituencies "that have been supportive of us in the past ... but who are not as supportive as they once were," he said. He also talked about the need to maintain and strengthen the quality of undergraduate education, as well as that of graduate and research programs. But he spent much of his time outlining changes he is implementing in the university's approach to planning and management, and attempts to make the university's operation more coordinated and efficient. One step in this effort, he said, is a reworking of the University Planning Council, and the creation of four management groups built around different combinations of top-level university and campus administrators. The four groups will deal with academic affairs, business affairs and human resources, government relations, and technical development, he said. The previous planning council structure, with universitywide meetings that involved a "cast of thousands," was an inefficient way to deal with many issues, Stukel said. University Planning Council meetings continue, but are mostly campus-based. The new management groups also are designed to improve communication and coordination between university administration and the three campuses, he said. Among the issues Stukel is asking the four groups to consider: the viability of "responsibility centered budgeting," already being studied on the Urbana-Champaign campus; looking at closing some courses with low enrollments, especially if not central to the curriculum; setting up a system of benchmarking the UI's business operations relative to other institutions; converting to a "paperless" campus within the next three to five years; and reducing the layers of management in the bureaucracy. He also noted that the group dealing with governmental relations will include the chancellors from all three campuses. Involving the chancellors more directly in relations with state officials is a departure from tradition, Stukel said, but he believes the chancellors can be valuable as advocates for their campuses and programs. Throughout his comments, Stukel made clear his concern for greater efficiency and accountability, especially on the business side of the university's operation, and he noted that his agenda in these areas was "very aggressive." "It is a new era, it's a new time," he said. "Almost every resource that we have we have to use wisely, we have to use with a great deal of discipline. Those institutions that can meet the changes [ahead] will rise… Those institutions that refuse to change and want to continue doing business as usual will fall behind. That is guaranteed. This is a president who will not allow that to happen. My view is that we must take chances … we have to do things we have never done in the past." Achsah Guibbory, professor of English, was the first to note concern about the emphasis on a business perspective in Stukel's comments, especially where that might apply to education. She asked about what the opportunities would be for faculty involvement in the planning process. Richard Schacht, professor of philosophy, followed with a question about how Stukel felt about the "bottom-up" decision-making process that is favored on much of the campus. Stukel responded by saying that the activities of the management groups were open, and faculty would be involved in the academic affairs group and could be involved on the business side. In answer to Schacht, Stukel said his view was "to push things down, not pull things up." Martha Friedman, professor of library administration, was the most direct. "I'm concerned about a great many things you said," she said. Asking about the opportunity faculty would have in the decision-making process, Friedman also questioned whether Stukel was playing a strong enough role as an advocate for the university and whether he was listening too much to outside critics. "How are you representing us to the chatterers in Springfield?" she asked. "Sometimes [they] are just plain wrong." Stukel said he stressed the value and excellence of the university at every opportunity, but he added again that times have changed. "There was a time when the University of Illinois had instant support," he said. "I'm here to tell you that that is no longer the case."