UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS
Senate Executive Committee Annual Report
The Urbana-Champaign Senate exercises legislative functions in matters of educational policy affecting the Urbana-Champaign campus and the University of Illinois (University Statutes, Art. II, Sec. 1). The Senate Executive Committee (SEC) is responsible for initiating and guiding the work of the Senate and for coordinating Senate committee activities (Bylaws of the Senate, Part D, 1).
The Executive Committee maintains liaison with the President of the University to advise on the annual reappointment of the Chancellor; appoints Senate observers to Board of Trustees meetings; provides advice on nominees to standing and ad hoc campus committees; and participates in the annual reviews of campus administrators, including advising the Chancellor on the annual reappointment of vice-chancellors.
The SEC met twice a month throughout the academic year and once a month during the summer to hear updates from Senate committee chairs and the Senate’s representatives to the University Senates Conference and the Faculty Advisory Council to the Illinois Board of Higher Education. Meetings included regular sessions with the Chancellor, the Provost, and other campus administrators.
In addition, SEC scheduled a number of meetings with State representatives, which focused on the University’s standing in the Executive and Legislative branches of State government and on how best to convey to them the needs of the University; SEC also met in special session with representatives from the University Board of Trustees.
In total, SEC met 24 times during 2003-04; the following report highlights the more prominent activities.
University Board of Trustees. To further communication between the Urbana-Champaign Senate and the University Board of Trustees, the SEC met periodically with Board members. These sessions provided an opportunity for more informal interaction with our Trustees and covered a wide range of topics. On October 24, SEC met with Trustees Nate Allen, Kenneth Schmidt, and Marjorie Sodemann. In addition, SEC members attended the Board luncheon associated with the November 13, 2003 and March 11, 2004 Board meetings held on the Urbana-Champaign campus. The SEC continued to express its interest in a formal liaison with the Board through its Academic Affairs Committee and will explore with the Board all possible opportunites to further such communication.
Meeting with President Stukel. The SEC met with President Stukel on February 23 to discuss issues affecting the University as a whole and those relating to the Urbana-Champaign campus specifically: the searches for a new president and chancellor; problems facing higher education; implications of the new IBHE Committee on Priorities, Productivity and Accountability; and the Governor’s position on higher education. Other questions raised during the discussion focused on priorities for capital improvements; decreased emphasis on the value of teaching (vs. research); ways to impress upon legislators the UI’s contributions to the State; and plans for appointing an interim chancellor.
Selection of Higher Administrative Officers. The Committee on General University Policy sought and received SEC endorsement and joint sponsorship of a resolution on search committee selection procedures. The resolution states that, “… due regard should be given to the above considerations [i.e., legitimacy depends upon the significant involvement of representatives of the faculty and other appropriate elements of the campus communities]whenever University and campus higher administrative officers are to be selected, and that, in any such searches, committees similar to those constituted on previous occasions to assist in presidential and chancellorial searches be formed in consultation with the appropriate University or campus bodies, and be closely involved in the search and selection process.” (GP.04.01/SC.04.09; approved by the Senate on 2/16/04)
Consultative Committee to Assist in the Selection of a President. The SEC met in Executive Session with the Committee on Committees to provide advice on nominations to the Consultative Committee. (CC.04.08/CC.04.09; approved by the Senate on 2/16/04)
Search Committee to Advise the President on the Selection of a Chancellor. An SEC report to the Senate on procedures for selecting a search committee to advise the President on the selection of a chancellor was presented for Senate action at its March 29 meeting (SC.04.11). Nominations for the chair and membership of the search committee were approved by the Senate on April 26, 2004. (CC.04.12/CC.04.13)
Meetings with State Legislators. In view of the State’s budgetary crisis and its detrimental effect on funding for higher education, SEC made a concerted effort to convey the needs of the University to the Executive and Legislative branches of state government through dialogue with state representatives. The SEC met on separate occasions with Representative Naomi Jakobsson, Senator Rick Winkel, and Representative Chapin Rose, to discuss among other matters how the campus and University could best initiate and build relations with state officials and how to minimize reductions in state funding to the University.
Deserving special recognition was an extraordinary effort of the Urbana-Champaign Student Senate Caucus on behalf of the University. Student senators initiated a letter-writing campaign that yielded 1,464 letters to state legislators in support of the UI budget.
Evaluation of Vice-Chancellors. As noted above, SEC provides advice to the Chancellor on the annual review of vice-chancellors. Each year, the SEC appoints a subcommittee to conduct a detailed review of one vice-chancellor’s portfolio. The subcommittee reports back to SEC and the results of the subcommittee review are discussed in executive session with the Chancellor. Each vice-chancellor’s office is reviewed in-depth on a rotating basis; this year the review was of the Office of the Vice-Chancellor for Student Affairs. In addition to the detailed review, SEC has instituted the practice of meeting with each vice-chancellor in executive session to explore the role, responsibilities and activities of the office, as outlined in annual reports to the Chancellor.
Public Engagement. On October 27, Rick Schoell, Executive Director of Governmental Relations, and Steve Schomberg, Vice-Chancellor for Public Engagement and Institutional Relations, spoke with SEC about the condition of governmental and institutional relations at the state level, the focus of campus and University activities in public engagement, and strategies for initiating and building relations with state legislators. Issues centered on the changed political landscape in Springfield; the decreased level of state support; and the need to build relationships with members of the current State administration.
Policy Review. The SEC heard from committee chairs, campus administrators and other invited guests when considering recommendations of the following policies and proposals.
Computation of Grade Point Averages (EP.04.07; Senate approved, 3/29/04)
Guidelines for Unit Review (GP.04.02; Senate approved, 4/26/04)
Framework for Intercollegiate Athletics Reform (AB.04.01; Senate approved, 4/26/04)
Information Security Policy (UC.04.07; Senate approved, 4/26/04)
Evaluation of Ability to Work (GP.01.06; Senate information, 4/26/04)
USA Patriot Act (AF.04.01, Senate information, 4/26/04)
Committee Appointments. The Chair and Vice-Chair of the SEC, the SEC itself, and the Senate were asked to suggest names for committee members that are appointed at the campus level. Among these committees are the Campus Promotions and Tenure Committee, the Campus Budget Oversight Committee, the Athletic Board, the Campus Research Board, and the campus Research Policy Committee.
The Senate Executive Committee appreciates the efforts by the faculty, the academic and administrative staff members, and the student senators, who have conscientiously contributed to the welfare of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign through participation in Senate deliberations and service on Senate committees. The SEC also appreciates the efforts by the staff of the Senate Office, who provide excellent support to the Senate, to the SEC, and to the standing committees of the Senate; we could not function without them.
Information pertaining to the duties and business agendas of Senate standing committees can be found on the Senate website <http://www.senate.illinois.edu>.
Michael Grossman, Chair, Senate Executive Committee
Robert C. Damrau, Clerk, Urbana-Champaign Senate