Council of Academic Professionals
Thursday, February 4, 2016, 314A Illini Union
Meeting Minutes submitted by Elizabeth Rockman
Attendees: Richard Gegg (1), Kristina Miller (1), Kathleen Booth (2), Todd Spinner (3), Dustin Yocum (4), Rick Atterberry (5), Wendy White (5), Teresa Steckler (6), Elizabeth Wahle (6), Betoel Escobar (7), Tanisha King-Taylor (7), Shawna Naidu (3), Tracy Parish (8), Mindy Spencer (8), Mike Bohlmann (9), Melissa Madsen (9), Ravi Ramrattan (10), Elizabeth Rockman (10), Beth Hall (11), Jeffrey Stein (11), Elyne Cole (ex-officio)
- Call to Order – Chair Mike Bohlmann called the meeting to order at 1:15 p.m.
- Interim Chancellor Barbara Wilson – Chancellor Barbara Wilson noted that she is not involved in the Search for the new Chancellor, but updated on her top priorities:
- Athletics, as the front porch of the University, is taking a good deal of time, specifically relating to the new Athletic Director Search, which has garnered a lot of attention around the state (even more than the Chancellor Search).
- Budget is clearly a crucial issue, with the UI in the middle of a conflict between two political parties and an ongoing struggle related to unions; UI administrators are in Springfield quite a bit, with the President working along bipartisan lines, and trying to get a bi-yearly budget. UI is not in the same situation as EIU or Chicago State. The predominant argument is that UI graduates students and has an important impact on the state’s economy.
- Diversity remains a national issue, with the Provost calculating diversity support (including the TOP, scholarship, programming, etc.) at $40 million. There will be a new Associate Vice Chancellor for Diversity (to replace Menah Pratt-Clarke’s former position), and will be drawn internally from UI faculty. There is mandatory training on implicit bias for all involved in Search Committees.
- Communications are crucial, and we all need to do a better job with letting everyone know what we’re doing. Chancellor Wilson has “Chats with the Chancellor” with students (most of whom do not read e-mails).
Thoughts and suggestions from CAP attendees and members were as follows:
- Mike Bohlmann noted that he thinks it would be good to have an “elevator pitch” ready to help with the communication issue. Chancellor Wilson noted that we should communicate our graduation rates and work to create citizens of the future, and to talk about how 1 in every $17 in the state is generated by UI.
- Rick Atterberry asked how the UI is engaging local businesses and politicians to advocate for us, and the Chancellor replied that there would be talking points system-wide on the UI website.
- Teresa Steckler asked about rationale for the Associate Vice Chancellor for Diversity being internal, and Chancellor Wilson cited a need for the individual to be knowledgeable about the UI as soon as undertaking the position, as well as have already built relationships and be ready and able to impact change.
- Elizabeth Wahle asked about the UI’s need to reduce administrative overhead, and Chancellor Wilson responded that there are already a number of exercise being implemented to reduce administrative cost; she referred to past efforts such as Stewarding Excellence, and past years’ cuts and collapsing offices. One example cited was that of 37 LAS departments, there are 26 shared services; otherwise, many support systems, such as IT and student services, contribute to our campus’s first year retention rate being 93%.
- Jeff Stein commented that most of that support comes from Academic Professionals, but when there are difficult budget times, APs are the easiest to cut; Chancellor Wilson noted that APS are the backbone to the institution, and everyone plays a role. Mike Bohlmann said that CAP would like to be proactive, and help to be creative about alternate revenue streams and strategic planning about resources, and the Chancellor noted that all suggestions are welcome. Mike also offered that CAP can be a conduit to help with strategies for creative repurposing, rather than elimination of AP positions.
- Public Comment – None.
- Chair’s Remarks – Mike Bohlmann discussed the UI Strategic Planning process, with the draft version being shared with the entire UI community; he noted that the town hall meeting was productive. Elizabeth Rockman asked if APs could be included in the Strategic Planning process (since they were not included in the focus groups that UIC and UIS were), and Mike responded that they could comment on the plan. Jeff Stein asked if CAP should comment as a body, and Mike thought that individual responses were helpful. Kristina Smith asked about the timeline, and Mike said that that would be 2-4 weeks rather than months, and that there was another Steering Committee meeting in 2 weeks.
The President made his annual visit to SEC, and discussed what happens if a budget is not passed; thankfully we do have some cash reserves so are not in the EIU situation, but the situation grows worse.
- Review and Approval Previous Month’s Minutes – Once change was made; that Teresa Steckler was at the meeting remotely. Jeff Stein made the motion to approve, and Ravi Ramrattan seconded; motion passed. Elizabeth Rockman reiterated that everyone should sign-in at the meeting, particularly in light of a new attendance policy being introduced into CAP Bylaws (for those who call in, they’ll need to let Elizabeth know they are on the line).
Report from Academic Professional Senators – Rick Atterberry noted there was some additional discussion on background checks.
Senate, Campus and University Committee Reports – None.
- Communications Committee – Mindy Spencer updated information related to the Chancellor visit. Discussion was centered around communications about CAP. Others discussed doing brown bag lunches, tweeting info about CAP, and other social media. It was agreed to have two brown bag lunches, one north campus and the other south campus, in order to help provide a forum to discuss opportunities to get involved in CAP, as an AP Senator, with CAPE, and/or with campus/senate committees.
- Procedures and Elections Committee – Districts 2 and 9 need an extension for the self-nomination process for Senate, since there were some issues with lists; there will be an extension to all to be consistent. For CAP elections, self-nominations must be done by mid-March. Otherwise, for the brown bag lunches, Mindy volunteered to organize the one for south campus, and Kathleen Booth and Dana Tempel volunteered to help with the north campus program.
- CAPE Awards – Kristina Miller said that finalists would be selected by the committee by the following Monday.
- Grievance Officer Update – Jeffrey Stein and Beth Hall received one contact, and they met with AHR.
- Academic Human Resources Report by the Associate Provost for Human Resources
Budget Update – Elyne Cole said she had no further budget update than what Chancellor Wilson provided.
Academic Professional Development Fund– The APDF has had 73 applications (3 denied for time submitted) for a total of $36,867.50; 3 were declined and $36,017.50 have been funded. Elyne followed up on the question asked last CAP meeting about terminal contract numbers, and noted that so far there are 34 this year for programmatic or budgetary reasons, with older numbers as follows: 120 for AY15, 64 for AY14, and 75 for AY13. The question was asked how many are currently on notice, as the three possibilities are that the contract ends when employment ends, that the contract may end early if the employee takes another job, and there can be an extension of the notice of non-reappointment. Elyne said we may be entering a period where there may be more issuing the notices, and that CAP may help advocate for employees. Jeff Stein said that it would be helpful to add to the question: ie., how many people are currently on a notice of non-reappointment; Elyne asked what would the information be used for, and he responded that a sense of what’s going on would help with awareness of how CAP can help. Rick acknowledged this may be a different conversation since there is not yet an indication that more are being laid off, and asked if there were more retirements at this point; Elyne responded that the numbers do not show that. Mike noted that there was a concern that CAP be part of the conversation while people are being impacted. Elizabeth Wahle referenced when all Extension employees got a terminal contract notice. Mindy Spencer noted it was a morale issue, since APs are easiest to cut; Kathleen Booth clarified that APs are also the easier group to get to do much more work. Elyne asked for more clarification of information needs, and Sandy Jones also asked if CAP wanted info on how many are still on a terminal contract and if they’d been extended or not. Kathleen asked if there could be more information on how many programs were being cut completely, and Elyne noted that information was not available. Theresa Steckler said it would be useful to know how many APs there are on a yearly basis, and Elyne and others referred to DMI campus profile data. Jeff Stein said it would help to get numbers of APs and #’s of notice of non-reappointment per month, so as to ease tensions by being aware and available. Mindy said that the concerns were based around those terminal contracts issued for programmatic and budget, not performance. Elyne reiterated that HR doesn’t know about entire units being eliminated in advance. Tracy Parish said that Campus HR finds out about the notice within 7 days of its being issued, and that it would be helpful to get ahead of the curve if possible. Deb Stone said that it might be helpful to have a fuller discussion of the policies with the Ad hoc Committee on CAP Role in Budget Crisis, and to find a balance of information without going directly to unit heads with questions/concerns.
- Ad Hoc Committee on CAP Role in Budget Crisis – This committee will meet with Sandy Jones in order to clarify what the actual process is before re-submitting a draft report.
- Ad Hoc Committee on Bylaws update – None. Mike indicated this might be ready by the March 2016 meeting.
- Unfinished Business – None.
- New Business – None.
- Closed Session for Privileged Information/Grievances – None.
- Adjournment – Ravi Ramrattan made a motion to adjourn, and Dustin Yocum seconded; meeting was adjourned at 3:35 p.m.