FAQ about AP Representation on the Senate

What is the Academic Senate?
Currently, the Academic Senate on the Urbana-Champaign campus is a legislative body comprised of 200 faculty and 50 undergraduate and graduate students and performs and important role in shaping educational policy for our institution that has a strong tradition of shared governance.

For more information please visit the Senate’s website at: senate.illinois.edu.
Senate meetings are also rebroadcast on UI-7.

Are Academic Professionals new to the Academic Senate?
Recognizing the substantive role that Academic Professionals play in advancing the academic mission of our institution, the Academic Senate included an Academic Professional in each of its committees to assist them in their work and represent the interests of the Council of Academic Professionals (CAP) and the AP community. The Council (CAP) solicits self-nominations from the community of Academic Professionals and determines the AP representative that is then considered for approval by the Senate Committee on Committees and the Senate as a whole. So even though up until now, Academic Professionals have not been part of the Senate, they participate in the key functions performed by its Committees.

How did we get here?

A group of dedicated APs worked hard for a number of years with the Academic Senate and in particular with the Senate Committees on University Statutes and Senate Procedures and Senate Executive Committee to get the necessary changes made to the Senate’s Constitution, Bylaws and Election Rules to allow for Academic Professional representation. The efforts culminated when a constitutional amendment was put forward and approved by the Senate on November 9, 2009, creating the Other Staff Representation [see Article III]. Finally, a proposal to change the Bylaws and Election Rules with the rules by which Academic Professionals will get elected was approved on October 4, 2010. [see Senate Election Rules for the Other Academic Staff – D Electorate in ‘SP.10.09–B’]

Who will conduct the elections?

In accordance with the above-mentioned SP.10.09–B , the Senate Committee on University Statutes and Senate Procedures has delegated to the Council of Academic Professionals the authority to administer the elections for the seven (7) AP senators.

How many Academic Professionals will get elected to the Academic Senate and from which CAP districts?
Seven (7) Academic Professionals will get elected to the Senate; the eligible electorate in each of these CAP districts will elect one AP Senator: 2, 3, 5, 6, 8, 9 and 11. Anyone eligible to vote is also eligible to run for a Senate seat.

Why doesn’t every district get a seat on the Senate?
Unfortunately, to get any representation on the Senate, some compromises had to be made. The Senate’s guiding principle was that any academic professional on the Senate must be engaged in and responsible for the educational function of the Urbana-Champaign campus. University Administration (UA) employees, such as those in CAP District 1, the University of Illinois Press, and the Institute for Government and Public Affairs, are not UIUC employees and thus are ineligible to serve on the Senate. Ordinarily, the educational function of the University will involve teaching and research. The Senate felt that districts dominated by high-ranking administrative units, e.g., District 4 (e.g., Vice Chancellor for Research), District 7 (e.g., Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs), and District 10 (e.g., Offices of the Provost and Chancellor) were inherently administrative and should not be included. This is not to diminish the work of any AP; all of us contribute in a meaningful and essential way to the mission of the university. But, at least right now the Senate seeks to include in the electorate only those APs whose work can be directly tied to the academic mission. It should be noted though that staff in these districts/units may still seek to serve in Senate committees (as noted above) and/or as a district representative on CAP.

Who is eligible to vote?

To vote or serve, you must meet the following criteria:

  • Have a nonvisiting academic professional appointment
  • Employed full-time
  • Paid by the University
  • Not a candidate for a degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • Employed in an academic unit, Extension, or the Institute for Natural Resource Sustainability (PRI), i.e., CAP districts 2, 3, 5, 6, 8, 9 and 11 and
  • Engaged in and responsible for the educational function of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Of these criteria, the educational function criterion is the most difficult to define. The University Statutes and Senate Procedures Committee has advocated regular contact with students, which involves teaching or furthering the student’s research. With respect to PRI (District 11), the person must be actively involved in research. With respect to Extension (District 6), the person must be actively involved in teaching.

Who determines eligibility?
Ultimately the Deans of each College (or the executive officer of Extension and PRI) determine who meets these criteria. However, it is anticipated that many Deans will delegate this responsibility to their respective department heads. Colleges are allowed latitude in interpreting these guidelines because it is impossible to have a single set of criteria that is applicable to every academic unit on campus. For example, activities involved in the teaching and research mission of the University might be very different in the College of Fine and Applied Arts (Music, Dance, Art and Design, etc.) than in the College of Engineering.

Are Deans and unit heads eligible to vote?
Deans are already ex-officio members of the Senate. Thus they are not part of the AP electorate. Many department heads are eligible to vote and run for faculty Senate seats; thus, those individuals cannot simultaneously vote and run for AP Senate seats. In other words, you can’t be a member of both the faculty and the academic professional electoral groups.

As an Academic Professional, what do I need to do in order to be prepared for these elections?
You need to be aware of which CAP district you belong to. You can determine that by visiting this page on the CAP website. If it is determined that you are part of the electorate, you will receive more information about the election including directions on submitting a self-nomination. Consider attending our February town hall meeting about the elections. If you do not plan to be a candidate, consider encouraging someone who you think would be a strong candidate. Ideally, CAP would like to see two strong candidates from each district. We would like to see AP senators prepared to make a real contribution to the Senate, represent the concerns of their fellow APs, add their unique expertise and perspective to the Senate, and demonstrate above all that an academic professional presence on the Senate does not detract from faculty and student representation, but in fact makes the institution stronger.

What are the future prospects for APs in the Senate?
As a future objective, we hope that someday the campus’ academic professionals, regardless of district/unit/function, will be included in the Senate electorate. We believe that the composition of this initial Senate electorate is but a first step in securing a voice and representation for APs in the Senate. Efforts will continue to extend this privilege to those APs not currently eligible to participate. For now, we should be encouraged by this significant first step that serves to strengthen the voice and impact of APs in the shared governance process. And, we should strive to make the best use of this opportunity so that it might lead to even greater participation for APs in the future.