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April 24, 2000

Meeting of the University Senates Conference
March 27, 2000
Urbana Campus

Executive Session
President Stukel and Associate Vice President Toy Caldwell-Colbert met with the Conference during the executive session, which began at 10:00 a.m., and ended at about noon.

The first item for discussion was Economic Development and the State Information-Biotechnology Initiative. Although there is money in the Governor's budget for the Initiative for the next five years, it is unclear where this money will come from and hence how the Initiative will fare in the Legislature. There was a lively discussion of possible impact on the campuses and ethical issues that arise from close ties to industry. A further budget item that was discussed was potential money for the "faculty excellence program". The highest priority for use of any money we might get under this program is to build back up the Urbana faculty. Urbana is suffering from a 20% faculty deficit - about 9% from enrollment increases and 12% from faculty losses over recent years. A concern about this deficit was expressed in the North Central Accreditation report. The legislature's anxiety to provide "tax relief" in an election year is likely to adversely affect what we get.

There was a bit of further discussion of the NCA report, its concern about the "Chief", and the Board of Trustees' procedure for a Chief dialog.

The Kellogg Commission on the Future of State and Land-Grant Universities has completed its work with a report on Campus Culture. President Stukel and USC Chair Elliot Kaufman participated in a wrap-up session in Washington last week. The Conference (and probably other groups) will be discussing the Commission reports in future.

The next topic for discussion with the President was S3 and the process of costing and prioritizing the recommendations. The process seems to be ongoing, and final decisions will be made by the Policy Council. Finally, the Conference asked about the current thinking regarding the composition of the governing board for the Urbana Research Park. Right now it looks like it will be a nine-person board - two deans, the VCR, two trustees, and four "outside" people. There was some discussion as to whether more faculty representation would be advisable.

At our last meeting, Chet had handed out some material on "performance measures" for us to study - one document from his office, one from IBHE. The conference wished to take up this topic in depth at its next meeting and accordingly invited Assoc. VP Caldwell-Colbert to meet with us. Toy handed out more documents and filled us in detail on where the IBHE is in their process of studying performance indicators and the UI role in the process. It appears at the moment that each university will be developing its own mission-driven measures of how they are doing, what they wish "to be held accountable for", and then will be asked to report on these.

Business Meeting
The business meeting was called to order at 1:10 and began (after minutes approval, etc.) with the usual report of what's happening on the host campus. (Nothing noted would be news to UIUC senators.)

There being no action items on the agenda under old business, the conference then turned to the discussion of the regular information items on the agenda. As usual, they 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). The meeting adjourned shortly after 3:00.

The next meeting of the Senates Conference will be on Friday, April 14, on the Springfield campus.

Geneva Belford
USC Representative to the Senate Council