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Senate Executive Committee (SEC) Report, November 3, 2008

Hello everyone,

Today we have several important items on the agenda. First, there is a proposal from President White to the Board of Trustees requesting authorization for the Global Campus to seek separate accreditation as a degree-granting entity. The proposal is not to create a fourth campus, with a full Senate, but a degree-granting entity with an Educational Policy Council providing academic oversight for Global Campus’s separate programs. This would not affect any existing UI campus-based programs with Global Campus that are offering online programs under their own degrees. It would provide Global Campus with the flexibility to contract with individual faculty, emeritus faculty, and their own Global Campus staff to develop degree programs that do not depend on campus sponsorship or review. As a result, the design of a separate Global Campus academic review process is an integral part of the proposal. You all received a copy of that proposal last week.

You also received a copy of a UI Chicago Senate resolution on the proposal, which was favorable, a UI Springfield position statement, which was more negative, and a proposed position statement drafted by our own Senate Executive Committee. The SEC concluded that, given what we have learned about the development of Global Campus programs through campus partnerships, it did make sense to create a second path for the development of new programs, but still subject to rigorous academic review. The SEC statement, however, while favorable to the accreditation proposal, did raise a number of concerns about the implementation of these reforms, which it wanted included in its advice to the President and the Board of Trustees.

I would like to recommend that following President White and Chancellor Herman’s opening comments we put that SEC position paper on the Action agenda for a formal Senate vote. It is, of course, subject to discussion and amendment as any committee proposal is.

Today, we will also be discussing a resolution from the General University Policy committee seeking to clarify the appropriate scope of political speech and expression on campus.

Finally, we have the first reading of a proposal from University Statutes, implementing one of the recommendations of the Sixth Senate Review Commission, to add Academic Professionals to the Senate. Because they would be selected by campus district, this would mean a net of eleven new members, in addition to the 250 Senators currently elected. The basic justification for this recommendation is that on this campus Academic Professionals carry on a good deal of the academic mission, and offer a unique and important perspective on many academic and other policy issues. We will vote on this proposal at our next, December 8th, meeting.

Nicholas Burbules
SEC Chair