January 2017 Minutes

Council of Academic Professionals

Thursday, January 5, 2017, 314A Illini Union

Meeting Minutes submitted by Elizabeth Rockman


Attendees:  Rich Gegg (1), Kristina Miller (1), Amy Hovious (2), Todd Spinner (3), Jessica Beaudoin (4), Andrew Reynolds (4), Teresa Steckler (6), Elizabeth Wahle (6), Betoel Escobar (7), Tanisha King-Taylor (7), Tracy Parish (8), Chantelle Thompson (8), Richard Stokes (9), Elizabeth Rockman (10), Beth Hall (11), Jeff Stein (11), Elyne Cole (ex-officio)


  1. Call to Order – Chair Jeff Stein called the meeting to order at 1:20 p.m.


  1. Review and Approval Previous Month’s Minutes – Amy Hovious made a motion to approve, and Richard Stokes seconded; motion passed.


  1. Guest Speaker Chancellor Robert Jones – Chancellor Jones noted that through his work in Minnesota and Albany, he has always worked hard to advance Academic Professionals’ roles in teaching, research, engagement, and outreach. He said the University will need to make some tough decisions, but the best days are ahead, and specifically cited the upcoming 150 year celebration.  UI needs to position itself to advance the University to the next level of excellence, and AP voices and opinions are critically important as we move forward in a transparent way.  He responded to questions and other issues that were posed prior to the meeting and by the audience:
  • Appreciation was expressed for recent gift days and the announced salary program in the midst of a $190 million deficit, and it was noted that creative measures would be applied with the understanding that the budget crisis will likely not improve soon.
  • Concern was raised about the potential loss of tuition benefit that has been a benefit many consider very important. Chancellor Jones said that it is a critically important program and valuable benefit that he hopes is not taken away, but if curtailed by legislature he is not sure how the UI would find a mechanism to continue.
  • A question was raised about how women will be afforded leadership opportunities, and Chancellor Jones responded that equity and diversity are crucial values that he is very committed to. One reason he has called an equity and diversity analysis is to see if UI is getting a maximum return on this investment.  An external assessment related to centrally managed diversity programs will help determine where gaps are in training and leadership, so that UI can ascertain what to fix and/or find out if we are doing enough.
  • An individual asked about how the University can best bring life to UI accomplishments and greatness. Chancellor Jones agreed our achievements should be out there, and Springfield legislators have recently asked him for the UI stories they need to help.  Robin Kaler is working on this issue and also coordinating a communications group for the sesquicentennial celebration effort.  He said this is an asset UI must invest in, ie., if the UI loses stature in 1-2 years, it could take 10 years to come back from such a loss.
  • Another person asked if, rather than simply following FMLA rules on parental leave, UI could become a leader in this area. Chancellor Jones said this is part of what he had oversight to at Minnesota, since they were autonomous in this regard, and that here there may be some autonomy here as well.  When there is not a climate for raises, it is essential to be creative in other ways to raise morale.    Elyne Cole clarified that while it can sometimes be possible to consider campus needs and do more, we are still a 3-University System, and some decisions need to consider all 3 Universities.
  • It was asked what vision there is for broadening public engagement, and Chancellor Jones averred engagement is crucial to establishing public trust; while UI has good elements, there needs to be a better synergy. A point was brought up about how to engage staff and students.  Chancellor Jones is looking for opportunities related to that after his first 150 days; he will continue to visit stakeholders across campus, and may provide an annual State of the University address.
  • Chair Jeffrey Stein asked how the Council of Academic Professionals should interact with the Chancellor moving forward, in addition to annually coming to a CAP meeting. Because CAP is meant to provide a voice for APs, CAP would like to be more proactive and serve as a conduit for the Chancellor on issues related to APs, whether it be with input to a new strategic plan or the sesquicentennial celebratory events.   Chancellor Jones feels the former strategic plan had a great deal of value and has some more ideas, and welcomes APs’ input; he hopes to attend a CAP meeting more than once a year.


  1. Public comments – None.


  1. Chair’s Comments – Jeff said there was a lot of positive response related to CAP’s support of President Killeen’s IPAC effort, and he asked for ideas for future meetings.


  1. Announcements – None.


  1. Committee Reports:

CAPE Awards Committee – Kristina Miller updated that there are 12 semi-finalists for which CAPE is still receiving letters of recommendation.  CAPE members will review the letters and score each candidate, and CAPE will meet in February to deliberate in person.  CAPE program will not change this year, but next year there will be changes (unless budget improves), as all awards programs are under review.

University Professional Personnel Advisory Committee – None, UPPAC is meeting in February.

Academic Professional Senators – Jeff was at Senate; IPAC was approved, and a resolution came to the floor related to DACA, as a petition was gathered by faculty and students to take a proactive stance to provide a welcoming culture.

Senate, Campus, and University Committees – None.

Procedures and Elections Committee – Tracy noted there no elections, and that Senate elections will take place in March, and CAP elections in April.  There will be a PEC handbook to back-up procedures.

Communications Committee – It was agreed that specific e-mails from districts add value, but they will not supplant the official CAP info e-mails from Communications.  There will be a survey to APs to determine what is needed.  Richard Stokes said that there is a library video kit, and that they will send someone the first time to get us started.

Grievance Officer – There will be no closed session; there are two potential grievances, but they need more follow-up.


  1. Academic Human Resources Report – Elyne had no report on budget beyond what the Chancellor shared. Otherwise:
  • Elyne noted that in an effort to engage APs, there will be CAP representation at the Sesquicentennial Kick-off lunch, which will additionally engage staff, faculty, and the community. Chancellor Jones was disappointed CAP was not represented on the planning committee, whose work has already begun.
  • All employees will receive a communication from SURS as to if they were furloughed in the past how to buy back those days; if employees fall into the category/dates, there is a small window to respond. (This may not include UI employees, as the dates may not go back as far as 2010 furloughs.)
  • CMS is changing vendors to sign up for health benefits, which will replace NESSIE (2FA Authorization does not extend to this software); information will not be provided about health care/benefits, but just how to use the system.
  • Departments decide how to apply the 2% salary merit program, which is not to be applied as an across the board increase. Clarification was sought as to which performance reviews to use, and the most recent is appropriate.  A great deal of research has been done related to mid-year increases, and the timeline is short.


  1. Unfinished Business – None.


  1. New Business – Some constituents were concerned about issues with healthcare. Healthcare will potentially be covered in future CAP meeting, and CAP will use technology to intake stories about impact.


  1. Closed Session – No closed session.


  1. Adjournment – Tanisha King-Taylor made the motion to adjourn, and Richard Stokes seconded; motion passed.  Meeting was adjourned at 3:45 p.m.