Senate of the Urbana-Champaign Campus

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UC.00.04
February 14, 2000

Meeting of the University Senates Conference
January 19, 2000
Urbana Campus

Executive Session
President Stukel met with the Conference during the executive session, which began at 10:00 a.m., and ended at about 11:15. The President expressed considerable optimism about the budget prospects for next year, both the regular IBHE budget and the economic development initiative. He noted that the Board of Trustees is taking an interest in the status of women and has set up a task force to study University-wide data.

There was a lengthy discussion of the President's December retreat, and of technology commercialization, which was a major topic of the retreat. He feels that corporate partners are becoming a necessity for the best academic institutions these days, in order not to lose entrepreneurial faculty in the sciences and engineering. Members of the Conference expressed concern that too close ties with commercial interests could cause us to lose our credibility as unbiased experts with the public; furthermore our control over the academic enterprise could be endangered. In his wrap-up comments at the retreat, President Stukel had noted his original goal of reducing bureaucracy, so the Conference asked how well that goal has been met. He mentioned more efficient procurement and "Nessie" as bright spots, but admitted there was a long way to go.

Regular Conference Business
The business meeting convened at 11:15, and after handling a few routine items, the Conference moved on to discussing two action items. The first was a draft of confidentiality guidelines for members of the Conference. After considerable discussion, it was agreed that a new draft should be prepared for consideration in February. The second action item was Faculty Representation to the Board of Trustees.

The Conference agreed that we should take our best shot at preparing a compromise recommendation that was likely to be acceptable to administration and trustees, and send it back to the campuses in the hopes that we could get approval from all three campuses and thus present a united front on this important issue.

The conference then adjourned for lunch and a meeting with a special guest (see below), following which it returned to the discussion of regular business items. As usual, this consisted for the most part of status reports (e.g., reports on the progress, if any, of various statutes amendments and other policy documents through the various campus senates), and reports on what went on at various other meetings (e.g., Board of Trustees, management teams, USC committees).

There was some discussion of the UIUC Senate Resolution on the University Senates Conference. Concern was expressed that by sending all compromises back to the senates for action, senates could freely change their previous actions,. Transmitting forward the various senate versions together with the USC compromise is what the Conference in fact does already. The Conference agreed to discuss the resolution further at its February meeting. (It was already 3:05, it was snowing hard, and the highways were getting uglier by the minute.)

Special Guest.
UIUC Provost Richard Herman met with the Conference for a while after lunch. He gave us his opinions on some of statutes issues now under discussion; in particular multi-year contracts and sanctions short of dismissal. He noted that he is watching the costs of S3 and the ERP carefully. He also talked about the Urbana Research Park - that it is not a new idea and could be of considerable benefit to the campus, both faculty and students.

Geneva Belford
USC Representative to the Senate Council