University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign Senate

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Committee on Academic Freedom and Tenure (Final - Information)

AF.04.02 2003-2004 Annual Report

The Senate Bylaws provide for a standing Committee on Academic Freedom and Tenure (AFT),
whose investigative duties include possible infringement of academic freedom, and allegations of violations of the role of faculty in governance as specified in the University Statutes and unit bylaws. As appropriate, the Committee shall conduct hearings, and shall submit recommendations and reports to the Chancellor and the Senate. The following is a summary of issues considered by the Committee during the 2003-2004 academic year.

Promotion and Tenure Questionnaires. Annually since 1981, AFT has received for examination the Promotions and Tenure (P&T) Questionnaires from the Office of the Provost. This year, the Provost’s Office asked the Committee to consider if academic units needed to continue to submit their P&T procedures each year. AFT recommended that a complete database (including each campus academic unit) of P&T procedures be assembled and posted on a website administered by the Provost’s Office. Once this is established, units only need to update their procedures when changes have been made to these procedures.

After co-sponsoring and participating in a February 17, 2003, Senate Committee of the Whole discussion about the Evaluation of Electronic Scholarly Publications, and meeting with the Provost to discuss campus policy regarding this matter, the Committee surveyed academic units to determine current practices regarding the consideration of electronic publications in promotions and tenure decisions.

The Committee received about 30 responses to its survey from academic units – there was no clear consensus among the units about treatment of electronic publications. The Committee is considering its options.

USA Patriot Act. See the Committee’s detailed response to its charge from the Senate and the Senate Executive Committee to study and report on the implications of the USA Patriot Act for the campus (AF.04.01).

Complaints.The Committee has two open investigations and also received a few inquiries during this academic year; faculty should be aware that the AFT Committee is available for informal consulting at any time.

Senate Committee on Academic Freedom and Tenure
Emily Watts, Chair
Clifton Brown
Elizabeth Hearne
Trudy Kriven
Mosbah Kushad
Larry Ribstein
Billie Theide