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December 3, 2007

University Senates Conference
October 24, 2007


University Senates Conference (USC) met in Chicago at the Student Center West with President White and Vice President Rao in the morning, and Trustee Larry Eppley during lunch.  Discussions focused on the university's budget and support for faculty.  A business meeting of USC followed in the afternoon. 

The meeting with President White anyd Vice President Rao included discussion of the following:

  1. Capital budget for the University.  President White indicated that he was optimistic about state funding for university capital projects, but that he did not have any concrete information at this time.  He pointed out that construction projects are helpful to the state’s economy.
  2. Resource SummitDetails are being finalized for the December 6 meeting on resource allocation and its effectiveness.  Senate leaders were included in the invitation to attend.  The focus will be on best use of limited resources, and the outcome will be 5-6 task forces to address specific issues.
  3. Global Campus.   USC pointed out some potential conflicts of commitment in terms of overload teaching and its ramifications.  This will be discussed more at a future meeting.  VP Rao reported that the first meeting of the Global Campus Academic Council included an open discussion of topics.  She will provide regular reports at USC meetings.
  4. Support for faculty.  VP Rao indicated that creating a small expense fund for every tenure system faculty would require approximately $6M.  She will poll CIC institutions for their practices and will then set up a small committee to further consider options.  In a related discussion, the bureaucratic requirements imposed on faculty often make it difficult to accomplish their teaching and research.  VP Rao will explore the issues once they she has been given specific examples.

The meeting with Larry Eppley, Chair of the Board of Trustees, focused on ways to improve the image of the university within the state, and the need to improve salary increases for faculty.  It was pointed out that a 2.5% salary program typically results in a 1.5% salary increase for most faculty, with higher increases being distributed to a small proportion of the faculty.  Trustee Eppley said he was aware of these concerns but reassured the faculty that their work is highly regarded by the Board. 

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

  1. Approval of the September 25, 2007 minutes and classification of Senate minutes.
  2.  Recalculation of USC membership. USC decided to implement the recalculation of its membership based on faculty FTE for the next year’s elections.  This may result in one more member for UIUC and one fewer for UIC, with UIS remaining at 3 USC representatives. 
  3.  USC Statutes Committee.  USC nominated two members from each campus for the 2007/2008 Statutes committee:  Mike Grossman and Nancy O’Brien (UIUC), John Wood and Gerry Strom (UIC) and Kathryn Eisenhart and Denise Green [to be confirmed] (UIS).
  4. GR-40.  Proposed Revisions to the General Rules, Article III (Intellectual Property) and Article V, University Property).  The Senates have been asked to review the policy statements, and these documents will be forwarded to the relevant groups. 

The meeting adjourned at 3:20 p.m.

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