University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign Senate

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Urbana-Champaign Senate Meeting
October 18, 2010

A special meeting of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Senate was called to order at 3:15 p.m. in the Deloitte Auditorium of the Business Instructional Facility (BIF) with Interim Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Richard Wheeler presiding and Professor Kenneth Andersen as Parliamentarian.

Senate Executive Committee Report

Senator Joyce Tolliver (LAS), Chair of the Senate Executive Committee (SEC), welcomed President Michael Hogan and thanked all for taking time out of their schedule to be here today.

Senator Tolliver indicated that questions generated at the October 11 Town Hall Meeting* about the proposed changes to the University Statutes and General Rules have been posted to the Senate website and forwarded to the President.

Tellers for today’s meeting are Senators Nicholas Burbules (EDUC), David Olsen (BUS), and J. Douglas McDonald (LAS).

Committee of the Whole

The Senate approved a motion to enter a Committee of the Whole for purposes of discussing proposed amendments to the University Statutes and General Rules.

The first question pertained to how the university and campuses will be changed by these proposed statutory amendments.  President Hogan replied that the Board of Trustees wants to re-establish their vision for the university and the three campuses by reducing redundancies and administrative overhead.

Professor Emeritus H. George Friedman (ENGR), member of the Senate Committee on University Statutes and Senate Procedures, asked the President to comment on concerns that academic departments which exist on each campus of the University may be merged or eliminated to reduce duplication.  The President responded that the Board has talked about “complementarity” among the campuses, with duplication primarily referring to back-office operations (purchasing, etc.).

Senator J. Douglas McDonald (LAS) stated that when back-office operations are consolidated, they usually become unresponsive.  President Hogan replied that many major universities have combined back-office operations with considerable money-saving results.  He added that the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) has seen their non-academic costs rise four times as fast as their academic costs and that the Board is concerned about this.

Senator David Olsen (BUS) was troubled by the possible removal of a campus designation on degrees/transcripts.  Senator Olsen felt that each campus serves a different clientele and a degree simply from the “University of Illinois” did not convey an accurate representation of a student’s academic record.  Dr. Hogan indicated that the Board did not want to “undifferentiate” the campuses.

Senator Tom Overbye (ENGR) believes his department’s business office works very well and that he would not want to see those office functions centralized.  The President replied that such a move would be a campus matter.

Senator Mark Steinberg (LAS) asked President Hogan to define “cultural transformation”, adding that it appears to mean greater centralization and uniformity.  Dr. Hogan responded that there is a difference between uniformity and standardization. He added that there also a difference between the campuses having authority and autonomy – each has the former and not the latter.

Senator Colin Wraight (LAS) expressed concern with the President’s statement that the percentage of the University’s funding from state appropriations could drop to about 10% in a few years (it is currently at about 17%).  Senator Wraight wanted to know how adding “Research” to the portfolio of the Vice President for Technology and Economic Development would improve the campus research function.  Dr. Hogan replied that the person with this title would help with cross-campus collaboration.

Senator Kathryn Oberdeck (LAS) asked how a change in the chancellor’s title would affect this position’s role in the governance system of the university.  The President indicated that the relationship between university administration and the campuses would not change.

Senator Mark Roszkowski (BUS) expressed the view that undergraduate programs have been short-changed by the administration and that any savings realized from the proposed restructuring should support undergraduate programs.  President Hogan agreed that undergraduate studies bear the brunt when state support declines.

Professor Emeritus Friedman was struck by the disparity between the mechanical and the conceptual changes as proposed.  The President replied that he did not view these amendments as substantive, but he understood how those who have spent their careers at the University of Illinois could be apprehensive about these proposed changes.

The Senate rose and reported for purposes of exiting the Committee of the Whole.

The meeting was adjourned at 5:15 p.m.

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