University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign Senate

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November 3, 2003

A regular meeting of the Urbana-Champaign Senate was called to order at 3:10 p.m. in Foellinger Auditorium with Provost Richard Herman presiding in the absence of Chancellor Nancy Cantor.

11/03/03-01 The minutes of the September 29, 2003, Senate meeting were approved as written.

Senator Michael Grossman (ACES), Chair of the Senate Executive Committee (SEC), reported the following activities of the SEC and other items:

The Senate Executive Committee will be meeting with members of the Board of Trustees at the invitational luncheon held in conjunction with the November 13 Board meeting in Urbana.

The SEC has recently met separately with Representative Naomi Jakobsson and State Senator Rick Winkel to exchange perspectives on the effects of budget cuts, as well as other pertinent matters.

Last week, the annual Faculty Senate Leaders Conference of the CIC was held on the Ohio State University campus. Agenda items included reform of intercollegiate athletics, higher education's response to the USA Patriot Acts, proactive faculty involvement in shared governance, academic misconduct, the changing composition of the faculty, and strategies for improving relations with state legislators. UIUC will host this conference in Fall 2004.

I urge you to communicate activities of the Senate back to your units - ask to be put on the agenda of your departmental and college meetings, so you can tell the rest of the faculty what we're doing.

If you have not already done so, please pick up a copy of an addendum to CC.04.04, which is available at the table in the lobby.

Grossman announced that the following senators have agreed to serve as tellers: Michael H. Madonick (LAS), H. George Friedman (ENGR), and R. Linn Belford (LAS).

Provost Richard Herman spoke briefly about tuition matters and indicated that after the Board of Trustees considers tuition adjustments at its November meeting, either he or the Chancellor will be prepared to give the Senate an update at its December 8 meeting.

The Provost then turned the podium over to Interim Associate Chancellor for Public Affairs Robin Kaler, who delivered the following prepared remarks:

Thank you for the opportunity to speak to you for a few moments about the role of the Office of Public Affairs on the Urbana campus.

At a world-class institution such as this, those of us in public affairs have one main goal: to ensure that the organizations and people upon whom we depend for support understand the unique role the Urbana campus plays in the state and the nation. We work toward that goal through a variety of activities, including media relations, internal communications, crisis management, and marketing and publications.

We've had several major opportunities to use our media relations skills this year, with faculty winning, among others, a Crafoord Prize and two Nobel Prizes. Our News Bureau staff worked with the winners as they handled scores of media inquiries from all around the world.

We also planned the news conferences and helped with the nearly impromptu receptions.

Earlier this fall, our writers connected two faculty with reporters all along the East Coast to share expertise on the big blackout…what caused it and what ought to be done to prevent it.

Obviously, most of our media relations work happens on a smaller scale, but our writers always work to ensure that they are reaching your key audiences, whether those constituents are in higher education, government, business, or any other field. We connect reporters with faculty who have expertise on local, state, and national issues every day, and we field inquiries from reporters regarding campus policies and practices (sometimes regarding faculty, but also students, staff, interactions with the community, and issues relating to development).

The Office of Public Affairs is also responsible for coordinating the official response to all Illinois and federal Freedom of Information Act requests that come to the campus.

The number of these requests has expanded exponentially in recent years. We respond to hundreds and hundreds of requests for everything from police reports and contracts to policies, statistics, and communications. Surprisingly, the majority of them do not come from the media, but from current and former students and faculty, from contractors and lawyers, and from people who just want to make sure that we're operating the way the law says we're supposed to operate.

Our office also works to provide information to the campus in a number of ways. One of them is the faculty-staff paper, Inside Illinois.

We also maintain the campus calendar of events; and we manage submissions to Eweek, doing our best to keep it from becoming campus-sanctioned spam-you wouldn't believe the number of items we don't accept.

One of the most critical functions of the Office of Public Affairs is to assist the chancellor in crisis management. We handle the public relations aspect of all sorts of issues, and-often-one of us serves as the campus spokesperson as well.

We are well acquainted with being misquoted, and we do our best to make sure it doesn't happen to faculty who are willing to speak with reporters about their work. It's an uphill battle, but we do our best.

We are also called upon to handle a fairly wide array of marketing and public relations projects-some more grand and effective than others. That work includes everything from writing recruiting materials and designing web pages to coordinating the historical marker program and creating the promotional spots for our academic programs, so we can take advantage of the free airtime offered us during halftime of football and basketball games.

But we have a staff of just six beat writers covering the entire campus. Our publications office has only four graphic designers and three writers.

With such a small staff for such a large and diverse campus, we can't do nearly as much as we would like to be doing, we feel strongly, though, that we're doing everything possible with the limited resources available to give our campus the public face it deserves.

With the recent budget cuts, we've lost several members of our staff, including our only photographer. We could just tread water until things improve financially, but we have bigger plans. Those of you who've been around campus awhile will remember a time when the Office of Public Affairs took a more proactive approach to its responsibilities. My goal is to return to that strategy, as it has proven much more effective than anything else that's been tried in recent memory.

We have already begun working to create systems to improve the quality and flow of information both from our office to colleges and units, as well as from colleges and units to our office.

We are creating a strategic communications plan at the campus level that builds on the unique and diverse contributions of each college and unit.

We will assist communications professionals across campus in creating college and unit-level plans that ensure we are helping them make the most of available resources.

We are exploring ways to use the web to provide more support and services to colleges and units as they handle their communications responsibilities.

And we expect to learn and benefit from the review of our current practices that the chancellor is undertaking. I'm certain the result will be a public relations unit that is much more effective and efficient than the one we have now.

Being in public relations is a humbling experience, and especially so at a place where-while I'm taping a commercial of famous alumni signing the school song-so many scholars are devoting their time and attention to creating, teaching, and sharing important ideas. But my colleagues and I take very seriously the mission of this institution.

We cherish the legacy you are building every day, and we try very hard to ensure that the public perception of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign matches the level of excellence demonstrated by our faculty and students.

Thank you.

There were no substantive questions.

The Presiding Officer announced that since a seated senator objected to the inclusion of the three proposals from the Educational Policy Committee under this rubric, EP.04.01, EP.04.05, and EP.04.10 would be considered under Proposals for Action.

11/03/03-02 Provost Herman presented for action CC.04.04*, Nominations for Membership on Standing Committees of the Senate. Senator John Prussing (ENGR), Chair of the Senate Committee on Committees, moved approval of the slate of nominees on both CC.04.04 and its addendum (CC.04.04A) distributed at the door. There were no floor nominations and nominations were declared closed.
11/03/03-03 By voice vote, the slates were approved.
11/03/03-04 Dr. Herman presented for action SC.04.04*, Approval of Campus Budget Oversight Committee (CBOC) Nomination Slate. Senator Michael Grossman (ACES), Senate Executive Committee (SEC) Chair, reminded members of the assembly that in accord with procedures approved by the Senate, floor nominations are not in order. After the Senate approves this nomination slate, a committee comprised of the SEC Chair, Vice-Chair and the Provost, will make the final selections. Senator Grossman moved approval of the slate of nominees.
11/03/03-05 By voice vote, SC.04.04 was approved.

The Provost presented the following reports for action; Senator O. Vernon Burton (LAS), Educational Policy Committee Chair, welcomed any questions.
11/03/03-06 EP.04.01*, Revision of Undergraduate History Major, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.
11/03/03-07 By voice vote, EP.04.01 was approved.
11/03/03-08 EP.04.05*, Proposal from the College of ACES to Establish a Minor in Environmental Economics and Law in the Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics.
11/03/03-09 By voice vote, EP.04.05 was approved.
11/03/03-10 EP.04.10*, Proposal to Discontinue the Curriculum Preparatory to the Teaching of Computer Science.
11/03/03-11 By voice vote, EP.04.10 was approved.

11/03/03-12 The Provost presented for action SP.04.04*, Revision to the Bylaws, Part D.9 (b) - Committee on Educational Policy. Senator Joseph Finnerty (BUS), Chair of the Senate Committee on University Statutes and Senate Procedures, briefly recapitulated the rationale for this proposal and he moved its approval.
11/03/03-13 By voice vote, SP.04.04 was approved.
11/03/03-14 The Presiding Officer presented for action SP.02.03*, Substitute Motion Bylaws, Language from SP.96.03 (New Senate Committee on Research Policy). Senator Finnerty described the chronology of this proposal and he moved its approval.
11/03/03-15 By voice vote, SP.02.03 was approved.

The Provost presented the following reports for information:

11/03/03-16 HE.04.03*, Report of the October 7 FAC/IBHE Meeting,
11/03/03-17 HE.04.02*, Report of the October 7 IBHE Meeting,
11/03/03-18 UC.04.01*, Report of the September 26 USC Meeting.

The meeting was adjourned at 3:45 p.m.
Robert C. Damrau, Senate Clerk