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March 31, 2008

University Senates Conference
January 25, 2008

University Senates Conference (USC) met in Chicago at the Student Center West with President White and Vice President Rao in the morning, and Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Walter Knorr during lunch.  Discussions focused on the university's budget, support for faculty, and the Chief Illiniwek symbol.  A business meeting of USC followed in the afternoon.  The previous evening, members of USC met with Judy Erwin, Executive Director of the Illinois Board of Higher Education, to discuss state support of higher education.

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

  1. State allocations for the University.  President White responded to USC concerns about a gap between funds needed by the University and allocations by indicating that the University was monitoring the situation closely, attempting to maximize revenue, and spend it wisely.
  2. Resource Summit.  President White was pleased with the Resource Summit and the process being developed to move discussions about resource allocations and needs to the campus level.
  3. Chief Illiniwek trademark.   Concerns about inappropriate use of the Chief Illiniwek trademark if it goes into the public domain were discussed.  The University is exploring ways to maintain its rights so that the symbol does not become disrespectfully used.
  4. Support for faculty.  President White and VP Rao reported that creating a small expense fund for every tenure system faculty was more complicated than expected, but that the issue is still being explored and that the intent to make reduce faculty poverty in research and professional activities is a priority.

Walter Knorr, VP and Chief Financial Officer, discussed his focus during his first year on energy and utilities, the Global Campus, farm leasing issues, and developing a multi-year budget plan to make the budget process more open.  VP Knorr is continuing to focus on state allocations, energy savings, and issues that will affect the University’s responsiveness to budget issues.


The business meeting addressed the following matters:

  1. Approval of the December 5, 2007 minutes and classification of Senate minutes.
  2.  Awarding of Degrees. USC discussed how the U of I has its president award degrees rather than its chancellors, departments or faculty.  This matter will be discussed with President White at a future meeting.
  3.  ST-47, Multi Year Contracts.  UIC has approved procedures for optional multi-year contracts for academic staff.  UIS and UIUC senates are still working on procedures.  There was discussion that for those campuses not making use of multi-year contract options, it is hard to develop procedures.  This will be discussed with VP Rao at a future meeting.
  4. Depositing Dissertations and Intellectual Property Concerns.  Professor Chapman-Novakofski brought forward a concern about copyrighted material published elsewhere (e.g., a chapter of a dissertation being published previously as a journal article) being included in deposited dissertations that are sent to ProQuest for electronic distribution.  It appears that the ProQuest guidelines and agreement form preclude distribution of previously published material.  Due to the need for more information about the issue and its ramifications, there will be further discussion of this matter after investigation at each campus. 


The meeting adjourned at 2:20 p.m.

Nancy P. O'Brien (information supplied by USC Secretary Connie Sailor)
USC Representative to UIUC Senate Executive Committee