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December 8, 2003

University Senates Conference
October 28, 2003

University Senates Conference (USC) met in Springfield at the Public Affairs Center with President Stukel and Vice President Gardner in the morning, and Ms. Mary Beastall in the afternoon. Discussions focused on the university's budget situation, the tuition process, and the status of domestic partner benefits. A business meeting of USC followed in the afternoon.

The meeting with President Stukel and Vice President Gardner included discussion of the following:

- IBHE Big Picture Meeting. President Stukel and USC Chair Pat Langley reported on the university's budget meeting with IBHE staff. The position taken by IBHE is discouraging since it is apparent that there are no clear external advocates for higher education. Directions appear to be taken from the leadership in Springfield.

- Tuition Planning Group. Now that the tuition for the current year is in place, planning is in process for next academic year. Administrators have been advised that they need to present a carefully reasoned proposal for increases. Consultation with students is ongoing.

- Non-Tenure-Track Academic Staff. VP Gardner indicated that proposals to review the use of Non-Tenure-Track Academic Staff for instruction were received favorably by the provosts. Maintaining a balance between judicious use of such personnel while not damaging the tenure system will be discussed further, with possible institution of campus-wide committees to address these issues.

- Multi-year contracts. Discussions with VP Gardner indicated that this topic was inextricably linked to the issue of Non-Tenure-Track Academic Staff and discussions would continue about both topics.

- IGPA Task Force. A report was issued by a task force that reviewed the role of the Institute of Government and Public Affairs on the three campuses. Many of the recommendations designed to promote IGPA's value to university administrators and the state will be implemented.

- Administrative Services Review. VP Gardner distributed an updated list of items in the review of administrative practices that still need consideration

The meeting with Mary Beastall, Director of Human Relations and University Equal Opportunity, focused on domestic partner benefits. She provided a chart of benefits that are available to UI staff and faculty, as well as those that are not. The discussion was helpful in opening a dialogue, however it is clear that there is great reliance on narrow legal interpretations of available benefits.

The business meeting covered a number of different topics. The following matters were addressed:

- Approval of the September 26, 2003 minutes.

- USC representatives. USC appointed Carol Massat (UIC) to the University-Wide Human Resources Committee.

- Review of operating procedures. USC requested that its Statutes Committee review the USC Organization and Functions document for possible revisions and updating. One possible change is to alter the title of USC Secretary to USC Vice Chair, which more accurately reflects the duties of that position.

The meeting adjourned at 2:50 p.m.

Nancy P. O'Brien
USC Representative to UIUC Senate Executive Committee