Senate of the Urbana-Champaign Campus

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Full Text of Index Cards - Issues, Comments, Questions, Concerns
January 23, 2006,


Seminar on Shared Governance

Concerning matters such as appointments of new deans, changing academic organization, evaluation of administrators, and consultation of faculty: Administrators often are unaware of governing bylaws and statutes.Some college and departmental bylaws are in conflict with each other and/or with the
University St
atutes.So violations are inevitable!What can we do to remedy this?

Most faculty members are no longer willing to participate in the institutions of shared governance, e.g., the Senate.

Closing (or “merging”) departments whether in sheer defiance of university bylaws (Genetics and Development – 20 years ago) or by cajoling faculty to leave & then citing “too small” (TAM this year) or…(fill in the blank?)By the time these actions get to the Senate, they are done deals. “Too late” to prevent them!

Is C.B.O.C. structure working.Since it operates in highly “closed door” manner, is it working well?It is influential in establishing campus budget request.

How can faculty better express their interests to state decision makers – up to Board?Direct to Senators, Legislators?

What faculty committee has the responsibility for asking that a Dean be appointed after a search?

What arguments are provided to resist faculty representation on the BOT?

Why no representation of faculty on Board?What, historically, has been the argument against this?

Corporate inspired framework that guides policy discourse, goals and values of the university.“Strategic planning” towards what end?And as an end, shall it be achieved by any means, in that students are “customers” and faculty are “university products”.This is a powerful shift in the basis of intention, and very little discussion of its meaning and consequences.

The lack of responsiveness of the BOT to the UI faculty.The lack of consultation of faculty in setting university priorities.The failure of the BOT to provide the resources needed by the university.

How is it that the
Strategic Pl
an has decreed three foci for research at the university, excluding at least half the faculty’s interests?Related, but more broadly, why are the educational decisions of the university being determined by the potential for-profits?

Several Senate committees are not well enough informed by the relevant administrators to make intelligent contributions, e.g., Admissions Committee.(Admissions done secretly – only results shared with Senate).Need to change this.

Great variability in process used to introduce and implement organizational changes, e.g., some faculty are allowed to vote on proposed change, other faculty are not allowed to vote.

Central campus administration does not follow UI Statutes, e.g., 5th year review of deans and dept. heads.

For many years, a small coterie of individuals ran the Senate, and focused on a predictable set of issues.How can “the old guard” be sidelined except for consultation and memory to allow fresh blood and fresh issues to surface?

Competition of for-profit higher ed.Shared governance is experience – will it be continued as public support wanes?

Could the Statutes be amended to allow a ¾ majority of the Senate to veto a Board of Trustees decision?Would this be advisable?

BOT needs to share governance with faculty, via BOT membership.The will of the UIUC Senate ought to be binding on administrators, not advisory.

How can we encourage greater faculty involvement in shared governance?How can we convince administrators to reward this important service?

How did dean of LAS get appointed as permanent dean w/no job announcement and limited advertising concerning this position?

How to free up faculty time (e.g., more staff support) so they can do research, teach, AND function in a university democracy!

Engaging newer/younger faculty in the governance process & overcoming their somewhat justifiable impression that it is all a sham, and that they are better off pursuing their own teaching, especially when untenured colleagues who speak up on departmental governance controversies are “engineered” out of tenure decisions.

Securing more respect & attention to certain infrastructures of governance, i.e., spending time following Robert’s Rules of Order, issuing minutes & posting them where they remain for inspection. – Nothing was more absurd than the Sept. 2005 Senate discussion of the General Engineering and Mechanical Engineering changes where we were told there was no time “to do it right” (secure the required votes) and that it was not necessary to secure consultation because big daddy (i.e., the Provost’s office) had been asked to define whether faculty votes were needed.And no one questioned the farce of the Senate ignoring the fact that their raison d’etre was being undermined.

Concern about shared governance – in an environment that seems to value the input of stakeholders, how can boundaries be maintained so that faculty are protected from pressure by non-academic taxpayers?

What can be done to invigorate faculty governance, in an era when (a) the administration frequently treats faculty views, and esp. SEC, as irrelevant (failure to consult in hiring of Provost), (b) the Board doesn’t give due regard to faculty (disregard of Faculty Senate on Chief issue), and (c) faculty themselves are so busy w/new requirements (grants & other external funding), that they themselves don’t participate.

There seems a conflict between confidentiality of personnel discussions and consultation with faculty regarding decisions on appointments.Nothing happens if a faculty “advisory” committee is ignored.What do we do?