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March 11, 2002

University Senates Conference
February 21, 2002

University Senates Conference (USC) met in Chicago at the Chicago Illini with President Stukel and Vice President Gardner in the morning and Board of Trustee Member Dr. Kenneth Schmidt in the afternoon. Discussions focused on the state's budget situation. A business meeting of USC followed these sessions.

The meeting with President Stukel and Vice President Gardner included discussion of the following topics:

- Budget situation for FY02 and FY03. President Stukel addressed the budget message from the Governor and indicated that the operating budget is grim, while the capital budget is good. The budget is comparable to FY01, and it will be necessary to make every effort to reduce spending where possible.

- Salary increases for faculty and staff in FY03. Given the poor outlook for salary increases, the members of USC again urged that a more precise term be used to discuss salary increases across campuses. Administrators have tended to use the phrase "average faculty raises" in conjunction with percentages such as 6%. This is misleading since most faculty receive raises at the level of 2.9%. It would be more accurate to use a term such as "median" instead of "average" and to make sure that people understand that the higher percentage is based on promotions and critical hires for excellence.

- Status of ST-30, Sanctions Other than Dismissal. This document was sent to the President with an explanatory cover letter. He plans to discuss the implications with his Policy Council before forwarding it to the Board of Trustees.

- Status of UI-Integrate. VP Gardner indicated that due to the budget situation, some aspects of this project have been deferred, such as improved cabling in approximately 100 buildings across the three campuses. However, it is still expected that the student recruiting and admissions module will be implemented in September 2002, and that the financial module will be implemented in July 2003.

- Code of Ethics Committee. A University committee addressing revisions to the code of ethics is working on the prefatory section of the code. This information will be shared with USC and the senates.

The meeting with Dr. Kenneth Schmidt, Board of Trustees member and Chair of the BOT Academic Affairs Committee, included discussion of the following topics:
- State economic situation and its impact on the University's budget. Dr. Schmidt emphasized that the University will need to build its philanthropic base of donors, with a focus on endowed chairs and student scholarships.

- Dr. Schmidt indicated that high priority areas include faculty salaries and retention; core curriculum/general education requirements; K-12 vs. k-16 issues within the state and university; and, issues related to adjunct and part-time faculty and their role in the university.

- Research parks currently exist in three locations: UIUC, UIC, and the center at DuPage County. These are in varying stages of development.

- Improving public relations for the university and its faculty, particularly as it relates to perceptions held by legislators regarding such issues as contact hours and productivity.

The business meeting was brief due to the very productive and somewhat lengthy discussion with Dr. Schmidt. The following matters were addressed:

- Approval of the January 23, 2002 minutes.

- Status of Recalculation of the USC Membership. T. Conry presented a summary of the Executive committee's recommendation, and it was agreed that the current membership numbers for USC will continue. The current allocation is 9 members for UIUC, 8 members for UIC, and 3 members for UIS.

- Status of OT-184, Recommended Principles to be used in searches for major administrative positions. T. Conry will contact the President regarding the status of this document, sent on November 14, 2001.

- Discussion of future guests to address University issues of concern.

- Status of revisions to the Statutes regarding Multi-Year Contracts for Full-Time Non-Tenured Faculty. E. Kaufman, E. Herricks, R. Fossum, and P. Langley will begin working with the administration at each campus to address this issue.

Dates and locations of future meetings were briefly discussed.

Nancy P. O'Brien
USC Representative to UIUC Senate Executive Committee