University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign Senate

Academic Calendars CommitteesFaculty Policy Guide Honorary Degree Awards SEC Meeting Schedule Senate Agendas & Minutes Senate Meeting Schedule Senate Meeting Videos Senate Members Senator Guide


Annual Summary of Activities

The University Statutes (Article II., Section 1.) require the constitution of a Senate at each campus of the Uni­versity to exercise legislative functions in matters of educational policy and to exercise other powers and duties. At Urbana-Champaign, the Senate is an elected body of 200 faculty and 50 students which meets at least monthly and at other special times during the year to conduct its business. Chancellor Herman or his designee serves as the Senate’s Presiding Officer. The Senate Executive Committee (SEC), 18 standing committees, and various ad hoc committees assist the Senate in carrying out its diverse legislative functions involving, among other things, academic freedom and tenure, admission policies, student conduct gov­ernance and discipline, public engagement, educational policy, equal opportunity, budget and faculty benefits, general University policy, honor­ary degrees, the Library, the Statutes, and Senate procedures.

Recurring items on Senate agendas include approval of new academic programs, changes to the student code of conduct, recognition of graduating student senators, approval of honorary degrees, approval of academic calendars, revisions to Senate Bylaws and University Statutes, and informational reports to the Senate on meetings of the Board of Trustees, University Senates Conference, and the Faculty Advisory Council of the Illinois Board of Higher Education.

The following highlight the more prominent activities during 2008-09:

Addition of Academic Professionals to the Senate Electorate. At its December 8, 2008, meeting, the Senate considered a recommendation from its Committee on University Statutes and Senate Procedures (USSP) to include academic professionals (APs) in the Senate electorate. Presently, the Senate consists of 200 faculty members, 50 student members, and about 30 ex officio senators (deans, vice chancellors, etc.). After considerable debate, the Senate declined to approve the measure, partly out of concerns over the exact method for selecting AP representatives. However, at its April 27 meeting, the Senate approved a non-binding straw vote supporting the general principle that a specified number of academic professionals be given voting representation in the Senate. This issue was therefore returned to USSP for possible submission of a revised proposal in the future.

Committee of the Whole Discussions. Periodically, the Senate schedules a Committee of the Whole (COTW) discussion at one of their meetings for purposes of hearing about campus and University initiatives in greater detail with an opportunity to ask questions and provide comments. These sessions can serve a valuable purpose in informing faculty and students about issues confronting the University. During 2008-09, the Senate held COTW discussions related to Parking System Review Committee deliberations, ProQuest and Dissertation Deposits, and New Service Models in the campus Library. In addition, the Senate heard presentations from the Provost and her staff about such matters as IT@Illinois and an update on the campus budget situation.

Annual Meeting of the Faculty. As in the past, the Senate arranged for an Annual Meeting of the Faculty, to which all campus faculty are invited. Those that attend hear reports and updates from the University President, the campus Chancellor and Provost, and members of the Senate Executive Committee. There is also an extended discussion session during which questions and comments are welcome.

Multi-Institutional Degrees. At its meeting on December 8, 2008, the Senate approved a proposal from its Educational Policy Committee for a Multi-Institutional Ph.D. Degree in Chemical Engineering with the National University of Singapore (NUS). This was just one of about 75 proposals (including calendars for academic years 2014-2015 through 2018-2019) from the Educational Policy Committee that the Senate approved during the academic year.

Videotaping and Broadcast of Senate Meetings. The Senate continued the practice of having all open sessions of their meetings videotaped and subsequently broadcast on the University’s television station UI-7. Links to video of all Senate meetings since October 1, 2007, are available on the Senate website <>. Also available on the website are Senate agendas, minutes, and reports to the Senate since November 24, 1997, links to Senate, campus, and University governing documents, as well as information pertaining to the duties and membership of Senate standing committees.

* * * * * * * * * * *


Annual Summary of Activities

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 annual reviews of campus administrators, including advising the Chancellor on the annual reappointment of vice-chancellors.

The SEC met monthly during the calendar year to hear updates from Senate committee chairs, the Council of Academic Professionals, and from the Senate’s representatives to the University Senates Conference and the Faculty Advisory Council to the Illinois Board of Higher Education. The SEC also held special meetings as warranted to respond to time-sensitive matters and to meet with special guests who provided more detail about their respective portfolios, including Vice President for Academic Affairs Meena Rao, Vice Chancellor for Institutional Advancement James Schroeder, and Interim Vice Chancellor for Public Engagement Steve Sonka. Regular SEC agendas include reports from the Chancellor, the Provost, and other campus administrators.

University of Illinois Global Campus. At its November 3, 2008, meeting, the Senate failed to approve a statement from the SEC entitled “Proposed Organizational Changes to the Global Campus,” which would have given qualified support to the proposal from the Global Campus to pursue independent accreditation. The SEC then held special meetings on November 10 and December 1, 2008, (with President White) and on January 7, 2009, (with President White, Vice President Rao and Trustees Carroll and Schmidt) to discuss developments relating to the future of Global Campus. Concerns were expressed about the failure of the Global Campus in fulfilling its goals, and negative effects its development was having on the campus. As a result of these and other discussions, President White charged a cross-campus committee with developing a proposal for the dismantling of the Global Campus and its evolution into a new online program initiative that would have stronger support from the campuses. As a result of this report, on May 21, 2009, the Board of Trustees approved a Global Campus Resolution charging the three campus chancellors with developing and presenting their own proposal for campus-based baccalaureate completion programs with Illinois community colleges, and with recommending the reallocation of Global Campus resources.

CIC Faculty Senate Leaders Annual Conference. As in the past, the SEC sent representatives from our Senate to the CIC (Committee on Institutional Cooperation) Annual Conference, which was held at the University of Michigan on October 30-November 1 and was attended by Committee on Committees Chair Kim Graber and Conference on Conduct Governance Chair Joseph Finnerty. The conference covered such topics as academic freedom/First Amendment rights; changing composition of the faculty, public university budget models; outside influences on academic decision-making; and measures of teaching, research and scholarship.

University Board of Trustees. The Senate Executive Committee Chair and the Senate observer meet with the Chair of the Board’s Academic Affairs Committee the morning before each Board meeting. In addition, each year, the SEC participates in one or more invitational luncheons that are sponsored by the Trustees. The SEC has a strong interest in continuing ongoing interactions with the Board.

Meetings with President White. On February 2, SEC met with President White, to discuss issues and concerns related to the Urbana-Champaign campus and the University of Illinois as a whole, including Global Campus, the budget situation, and other matters. President White met again with SEC on June 15 at which time SEC provided its advice on the reappointment of the Chancellor.

Review of the Vice Chancellors. The SEC holds a special meeting in Executive Session each spring to provide the Chancellor with an assessment of the vice-chancellors as required by Article III, Section 1 (g) of the University Statutes. This evaluation begins late in the fall semester with the appointment of an SEC subcommittee. Each vice-chancellor provides a brief annual report highlighting his or her accomplishments in the past year and priorities for the next year and beyond. One vice-chancellor is selected each year to undergo an in-depth review by the SEC subcommittee – in 2008-09, this was Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Renee Romano.

* * * * * * * * * * *

The Senate and Senate Executive Committee appreciate 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.

Respectfully submitted,

Nicholas Burbules, Chair
2008-09 Senate Executive Committee

Joyce Tolliver, Chair
2009-10 Senate Executive Committee

Robert C. Damrau, Clerk
Urbana-Champaign Senate