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April 28, 2008

University Senates Conference
March 28, 2008


University Senates Conference (USC) met in Chicago at the Student Center West with President White and Vice President Rao in the morning.  Discussions focused on financial aid for students, resource issues, domestic partner benefits, the Global Campus, multi-institutional degrees, and support for faculty.  A business meeting of USC followed in the afternoon. 

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

  1. The Global Campus (GC).  VP Rao indicated that the GC Academic Council was meeting monthly.  Based on comments and questions at the preceding day’s meeting of the Board of  Trustees, there is consideration of listing all online course offerings for the University on the Global Campus Web page, even though the fee structure and schedules differ for each campus and the GC.
  2. Financial Aid and Resource Issues.  President White was sympathetic to concerns voiced by USC about the need to insure a high level of financial aid to offset tuition increases, and is open to ideas.  In general, the President believes that the resources need to be carefully scrutinized in all areas.  He noted that 75% of costs are associated with people, with 25% on operations.  Productivity is one measure that is likely to be considered in assessing resources in all areas.
  3. Domestic Partner Benefits.   USC concerns about reports of denial of domestic partner benefits by some supervisors was brought to the President’s attention.  He is committed to employees having access to benefits, and encouraged anyone affected to bring specific situations to the attention of administrative staff.
  4. Multi-institutional Degrees.  VP Rao indicated that documentation was being prepared for the Board of Trustees to review. 
  5. Support for faculty.  VP Rao continues to explore creating a small expense fund for every tenure system faculty.  In addition, she responded to concerns voiced about the bureaucratic requirements that seemed excessive in expending travel funds, acquiring basic office equipment, and so on.  Many of these regulations are state mandated or in keeping with requirements for financial auditing.

The business meeting addressed the following matters:

  1. Approval of the February 19, 2008 minutes and classification of Senate minutes.
  2.  Future USC Meeting Dates. USC discussed whether to retain a three year meeting schedule or a single year meeting schedule.  There was support for a yearly schedule, with videoconferencing used during the winter months, and possibly scheduling some meetings the day before or after Board of Trustee meetings.
  3. Nominating Committee.  A Nominating committee consisting of Barclay Jones (UIUC), Pat Langley (UIS), and John Wood (UIC) was appointed for the 2008/2009 year.
  4. ProQuest Dissertation Deposits.  Kathryn Eisenhart (UIS), Nancy O’Brien (UIUC) and Karen Chapman-Novakofski (UIUC) will get more background information about this topic to bring to USC.
  5. Campus Reports.  The Chancellor search at UIC has progressed to the interview stage.  At UIUC Vice Chancellor reviews are being conducted according to the annual procedure.  At UIS there are student enrollment and retention concerns that may affect revenue.


The meeting adjourned at 1:45 p.m.

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