Senate of the Urbana-Champaign Campus

Academic Calendars Agendas & Minutes Committees Committee Members Faculty Policy Guide Honorary Degrees Meeting Schedule Senate Meeting Videos Senate Members

Minutes
Urbana-Champaign Senate Meeting
February 23, 2009

A regular meeting of the Urbana-Champaign Senate was called to order at 3:15 p.m. at the Levis Faculty Center with Chancellor Richard Herman presiding.

Approval of Minutes

02/23/09-01          The minutes of December 8 were approved.

Senate Executive Committee Report

Senator Nicholas Burbules (EDUC), Chair of the Senate Executive Committee (SEC), provided the following report.

After my SEC Chair report, I would like to turn the podium over to Statutes Committee Chair Bill Maher, to give you a brief heads-up about some proposals his Committee hopes to bring to the Senate before the spring semester is over.

At the door today, please pick up CC.09.06, Nominations for Membership on Standing Committees of the Senate, and CC.09.07, Approval of Nominations for the Athletic Board.

Floor privileges have been requested for Jon Foreman, Associate Dean in VMED, to speak to EP.09.50, Illinois Integrated Veterinary Professional Curriculum.  I move that such privileges be granted (there was no objection.)

At our last Senate meeting, I promised you an update on issues pertaining to Global Campus. Since we last met, the Senate Executive Committee has had several exchanges with President White, including a lengthy conference call with him, Vice President for Academic Affairs Meena Rao, and two Trustees, Trustee Frances Carroll and Trustee Kenneth Schmidt.

In these exchanges, the SEC has pressed several concerns that follow from the decision by Global Campus to pursue independent accreditation. In order to set the context, let me provide some very brief background.

When the decision was made by this Senate to support the Global Campus initiative, two years ago, it was under what became termed the “partnership model.” All Global Campus degree programs needed to be sponsored by, and developed in partnership with, a unit on one of the campuses, because Global Campus itself did not have the authority to grant degrees. This meant three things:

1. Academic quality control was guaranteed by the review processes on the campuses.

2. Partnerships with Global Campus built overall institutional capacity by bringing Global Campus technical and support staff into contact with faculty in partnering units on the campuses.

3. The programs produced by these partnerships complemented, and did not conflict with, other degree programs (whether online or on-campus) offered by the partnering units.

The decision by Global Campus to pursue independent accreditation, SEC believes, puts each of these three conditions at risk. While there is widespread agreement that the partnership model did not work in producing the diversity and number of programs Global Campus wanted, there are very different diagnoses about why that was the case.

In our exchanges with President White, SEC has been very clear that this campus fully supports his mission of expanding access to affordable higher education opportunities for qualified students. But today – unlike two years ago, perhaps – this mission does not depend solely or even primarily on Global Campus. The three campuses, including this one, have robust and growing online initiatives. The totality of their online efforts dwarf what Global Campus has produced.  So it is a fallacy to claim – as has been claimed – that the campuses are uninterested in developing online programs or that Global Campus is filling a vacuum.

What is true is that these new and existing campus programs, by and large, don’t see the need or benefit of doing so under the auspices of Global Campus. If the millions of dollars invested in Global Campus had been used to support campus initiatives, we would be much farther along than we are toward meeting the President’s goal of expanding affordable access to an online University of Illinois degree.

SEC has identified as one major concern the initial “Academic Policy Council” (APC) – the Senate-like entity Global Campus is creating to satisfy statutory and Higher Learning Commission requirements (the Higher Learning Commission is the accrediting body of the North Central Association). Currently the APC is drafting its Constitution and Bylaws. The APC would be, in practice, the primary mechanism for academic quality control, accountability, and faculty governance within Global Campus, and so its composition and activities are a central concern for all the Senates of the University of Illinois.

The SEC has pointed out that only representatives of programs with a direct financial stake in Global Campus are included on the APC; and in some cases individuals with a direct financial stake. Clinical staff employees of Global Campus are members of the APC. The Chair of the APC has been appointed by the Global Campus administration. And all of these members are paid an additional stipend for serving on the APC. None of this is likely to produce the kind of rigorous, independent review that a Senate must provide in our university’s system of shared governance. Indeed, one person on Senates Conference suggested that the APC is more like a Board of Directors than a Senate. (This isn’t a criticism of the individuals; it is a structural problem.)

To remedy this situation, our SEC and the University Senates Conference both unanimously recommended that the membership of the APC be supplemented by one voting member (unpaid) from each of the three campus Senates, to provide an independent voice and perspective and to maintain a closer liaison with the Senates. The Senates Conference meets with President White on this issue two days from now, and we are awaiting the results of that discussion.

A second concern, also raised by both SEC and the University Senates Conference, is that a separately accredited Global Campus, pursuing its own natural self-interest, could act not to significantly increase overall online enrollments and institutional capacity, but to jeopardize successful program efforts on the campuses by directly competing with and underpricing them. This concern has been raised repeatedly by campus and college level administrators across the three University of Illinois campuses.

This concern is no longer hypothetical. We know that Global Campus is developing spinoffs of existing partnership programs that it is running without consulting with or involving the original partnering unit. We know that it is initiating its own new degree programs in areas where there are already successful campus online programs. Even more troubling, we know that Global Campus is hiring individual faculty from the campuses to develop new programs for Global Campus rather than for their own employing home unit – indeed, programs that might directly compete with their home unit. If that isn’t a conflict of commitment and conflict of interest, then nothing is.

It is also a serious problem that this faculty recruitment is sometimes happening without adequate administrative approval or consultation with the faculty member’s home unit, which is further eroding the relationship of Global Campus to the campuses.

And, as should be obvious, this is reducing the capacity of the campuses rather than enhancing it.

Frankly, that is what happens when an initiative like this is pursuing its own self-interest regardless of the consequences for the campuses. Some say, Well don’t the three campuses in some sense “compete” with each other? I don’t really think so. But in any event Global Campus is not a campus; it is an academic unit within the University Administration, which belongs to all the University of Illinois. Its original mission was to extend the reach of the university, not to compete for resources within.

To try to address this situation, both SEC and the University Senates Conference have unanimously recommended the formation of a university-level committee, under the Vice President for Academic Affairs office, that looks at these issues of articulation, potential conflict, and unnecessary competition between Global Campus activities and the online initiatives of the three campuses.

The rational goal for the University of Illinois as a whole should be to create a broad, rich, and diverse portfolio of online programs, across Global Campus and the three formal campuses, which to the greatest extent possible complement and do not conflict with one another. Unfortunately, the preoccupation with making Global Campus a success is coming at the expense of the well-being of the three campuses. This is a formula not only for a failed Global Campus initiative, but also for an endless series of fights between Global Campus and the campuses, to the detriment of all.

The proposal to establish such a coordinating committee, not as part of Global Campus, but in the VPAA’s office, is a second initiative Senates Conference will be discussing with President White on Wednesday.

Finally, a draft Constitution has been completed for the Senate-like Academic Policy Council, and its Bylaws are forthcoming. While our Senate doesn’t have a direct voice in that, I can assure you that University Senates Conference is looking very closely at those documents – since once approved the APC would be conducting itself pretty much by its own rules.

I think everyone acknowledges that Global Campus is a unique sort of entity that does not fit exactly within the statutory definition of a campus, and so its “Senate” cannot be exactly like a Senate. Nevertheless, the principles of academic quality control, accountability, and faculty governance are not different, and all of us have a stake in ensuring that these principles are properly served by whatever rules and procedures the APC adopts.

On Friday, the Global Campus’s own Advisory Committee voted 6-0, with two abstentions, to withhold approval of the APC, its Constitution, and its Bylaws.

So, to sum up, the three guarantees that were built into the original partnership model for Global Campus – academic quality control, building institutional capacity, and pursuing complementarity rather than conflict and competition with the campuses – are now in some doubt as a result of the decision by Global Campus to pursue independent accreditation. The SEC and University Senates Conference have made some constructive proposals to try to ameliorate these problems. We have not heard yet what the President’s and Global Campus’s responses will be. Depending on those reactions, we might need to recommend further action by this Senate.

The SEC sees a viable role for Global Campus as part of an overall university strategy for expanding online education, but it is a complementary role, developing programs in areas where the campuses can’t or don’t want to develop programs themselves. The Global Campus is not, and cannot be, the overarching framework for all our online efforts.

One thing is certain: Global Campus and its relation to the campuses is in a very troubled state right now. SEC is determined to try to seek an outcome that allows for the legitimate pursuit of independent interests, to the extent that it does not produce a conflict of interests.

Tellers for today’s meeting are Senators Joseph Finnerty (BUS), Ann Reisner (ACES), and Janet Reis (MED).

Senator William Maher (LIBR), Statutes Committee Chair, spoke briefly about upcoming initiatives of his committee: Bylaws revision regarding membership on the Student Discipline Committee, statutory revisions related to changes in academic organization (i.e., tenure home), and ongoing USSP discussions about the definition of the senate electorate.

Chancellor’s Remarks

The Chancellor turned the podium over to Provost Linda Katehi, who used a powerpoint presentation (www.senate.illinois.edu/090223.ppt) to describe in detail the current campus budget situation. 

Questions/Discussion

Senator Ilia Kapovich (LAS) asked who actually will distribute the economic stimulus funds.  The Chancellor replied that the governor’s office will be involved; the Provost added that GRF from the stimulus will be distributed from the state using a set formula, and that funds from grant sources will need to be pursued aggressively. 

Senator Ronald Toby (LAS) suggested to the Provost that junior faculty need to be aware that their jobs are not at risk because of budget shortfalls.  Provost Katehi indicated she would prepare a message along those lines.

Consent Agenda

The Presiding Officer announced that the following proposals were approved by unanimous consent (Senator Peter Loeb (LAS) requested that EP.09.50, Illinois Integrated Veterinary Professional Curriculum (IIVPC), be moved to Proposals for Action):

02/23/09-02  EP.09.29* Undergraduate Minor in Global Labor Studies
02/23/09-03  EP.09.33* Proposal to revise the BALAS: International Studies to the BALAS: Global Studies, LAS
02/23/09-04  EP.09.34* Proposal to Revise the International Studies Minor
02/23/09-05  EP.09.35* Modify the MSW Degree
02/23/09-06  EP.09.36 * Transfer of the Horticulture Program from Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences Department of Crop Sciences, ACES
02/23/09-07  EP.09.38* Discontinuance of Manufacturing Engineering Minor
02/23/09-08  EP.09.39* Converting the graduate options in Food Science (FS) and Human Nutrition (HN) into concentrations
02/23/09-09  EP.09.40* Advanced Standing MSW Program
02/23/09-10  EP.09.47* Minor Revision to the Undergraduate Agricultural and Biological Engineering Curriculum
02/23/09-11  EP.09.48* Revise the Curriculum for the B. M. in Jazz Performance Concentration
02/23/09-12  EP.09.49* Interdisciplinary Minor in Jewish Culture and Society
02/23/09-13  EP.09.51 * Terminate the Minor in Fiber Science
02/23/09-14  EP.09.52 * Terminate the Individually Planned Curriculum in Agricultural and Consumer Economics
02/23/09-15  EP.09.53 * Veterinary Pathobiology Degree Name Change
02/23/09-16  EP.09.54 * Eliminate the Masters of Comparative Law Degree
02/23/09-17  EP.09.55* Removal of Concentration in Glass in the BFA in Crafts, School of Art and Design
02/23/09-18  EP.09.56* Minor in Hindi Studies, LAS
02/23/09-19  EP.09.58* Interdisciplinary Graduate Minor in Museum Studies
02/23/09-20  EP.09.59 * Change in Wording of Concentration for Ed. M. in Secondary Education
02/23/09-21  EP.09.60* Removal of Concentration for Ed. M. in Elementary Education-Certification

Proposals for Action

02/23/09-22              The Chancellor presented for action EP.09.50* Illinois Integrated Veterinary Professional Curriculum (IIVPC).  Professor Abbas Aminmansour (FAA), Educational Policy Chair, received the Senate’s consent to delete the first sentence under Budgetary and Staff Implications, to wit, “The Provost and the Dean have agreed that appropriate funding levels will be available to deliver this new curriculum in an appropriate and diligent manner.”  Professor Aminmansour then moved its approval.  Senator Loeb expressed concern about the apparent lack of pilot programs in the same vein as this proposal.  Jon Foreman, Associate Dean in VMED, responded that almost all courses in his college are “team-taught” and each faculty member receives appropriate credit.

02/23/09-23          By voice vote, EP.09.50 was approved.

02/23/09-24          Next presented was CC.09.06*, Nominations for Membership on Standing Committees of the Senate, and CC.09.07*, Approval of Nominations for the Athletic Board.  Senator Kim Graber (AHS), Committee on Committees Chair, moved approval of the slates of candidates.  There were no floor nominations and nominations were declared closed.

02/23/09-25          The nomination slates were approved.

Reports for Information of the Senate

02/23/09-26          SC.09.06* January 15 BOT
02/23/09-27          HE.09.05* December 5 FAC/IBHE
02/23/09-28          HE.09.06* January 23 FAC/IBHE

The meeting adjourned at 4:50 p.m.

Robert C. Damrau, Senate Clerk
*Filed with the Senate Clerk and incorporated by reference in these Minutes.