April 2019 Minutes

April 2019 Monthly CAP Meeting
Date: Wednesday, April 10, 2019
Time: 1:15 PM
Location: Illini Union – Illini Room C

Attendees: Richard Gegg (1), Brent West (1), Amy Hovious (2), Mindy Spencer (3), Micah Kenfield (4), Ann Jones (5), Charlie Mitsdarfer (5), Lisa Merrifield (6), Carl Baker (6), Betoel Escobar (7), Chantelle Thompson (7), Brian Brauer (8), William Schlaack (9), George Gottschalk (9), Nancy Walsh (10) , Jeff Stein (11)

Excused Absences: Randy Sandone (2), Maggie Jarvis (3), Victoria Huart (8), John Scott (11)


  1. Call to Order
    • Meeting was called to order at 1:15 PM
  2. Guest Speaker – Chancellor Robert Jones
    • Chancellor Jones graciously provided remarks and answers to pre-submitted questions to the Council of Academic Professionals
    • In his opening remarks, Chancellor Jones addressed the following points:
      1. The Council of Academic Professionals represents a truly vital constituency in our shared governance structure. Academic Professionals are integral to the success of the University as a whole.
      2. Our staff, and our university as a whole, weathered the recent budget crisis well and were able to preserve operations through a difficult time. Students still received financial aid, employees still received paychecks, and the campus remained open.
  • Since then, we have taken strides to recover lost ground and return both our budget and our international reputation to the upper echelon it deserves.
  1. We are a university with amazing momentum. We have good relations with all areas of state government, the largest total student population, and one of the most diverse incoming classes in university history.
  2. Through the Illinois Commitment, we are seeking out the best students statewide and telling them to focus on their studies without worrying about their finances.
  3. 91% of our graduating class of 2018 has “found their first destination” – be it graduate school, a job, or something else – within six months of graduation.
  • Campus is already almost 60% of the way to its goal of raising $2.5 billion, providing us more positive momentum.
  • Even though there may be some inconveniences, the amount of construction and new buildings is a clear indicator of how we’re succeeding.
  • Chancellor Jones shifted the conversation to discuss some of the changes coming from a Human Resources perspective
    1. The Human Resources team have done their best to reduce the impact of the Civil Service reclassification over the last several years, and are continuing to do their best to work in our best interest in the best possible way.
    2. Regardless of whether someone is classified as Civil Service or an Academic Professional, they are all Illinois Professionals and equally valued by campus.
  • Chancellor Jones then concluded by reviewing and responding to questions
    1. “Where is campus standing from a public engagement perspective?”We have outstanding faculty and staff doing public engagement work, but there is no institutional strategy at this time to build public engagement. We are working on a new model for engagement to make sure we’re reaching out to communities and helping them solve the problems they think are important. While the structure is not yet finalized, it is critical to what we do and a new and effective model will be implemented as soon as possible.
    2. “What is the current status of the overhaul of the sexual harassment policies on campus and the relevant task forces?”The Provost and the System are both examining best practices through task forces and will have more work coming out soon. Additionally, Chancellor Jones is involved with a number of major national organizations. We are now one of thirty inaugural signatories to a commitment to fight sexual harassment at an institutional level.

      Chancellor Jones also recently met with several other university presidents and Hank Paulsen, former Secretary of the Treasury, to engage with this critically important issue from a top-level perspective.

  • “There are major efforts to improve our faculty-to-student ratio. Are there similar efforts underway to improve the staff-to-student ratio as well?”As part of our strategic plan, we’re working to hire some of the best and brightest faculty in the world. In order to attract them and retain them, we need the best and brightest staff in the world to allow them to carry out the work taking us to the next level of excellence. While there’s no specific number in mind yet, we are focused on ensuring that our staff are included in our future efforts.
  1. “How else are we making up ground from the reputational hit from past budget challenges?”Faculty salaries have slipped in comparison to our peers. In other areas we have also slipped. While we are working hard to work with the state, we are not allowing state funding to become a bottleneck. We are moving aggressively toward bringing in new funds from numerous other sources to let us keep momentum.

    One of our biggest challenges is that more people aren’t aware enough of who we are and what we’re doing. We have the great pleasure of being a part of one of the most impactful institutions in the world, and an insufficient number of people know about us. We are just as good, if not better than, our Big 10 peers, and we’re focusing on receiving the same kind of attention. We’re working to build an intentional, strategic plan to tell our story more broadly.

  1. Public Comment
    • “With the conversion from APs to Civil Service Professionals, there seem to be some significant changes such as losing notice rights and non-carryover paid leave as well as changes to the work schedule?”
      1. HR has been aware of the changes and are very concerned. We are currently in the process of trying to equalize the opportunities for all classes of staff. Many decisions need to be made on a systemwide level, not just on a campus level. As such, some changes take longer to coordinate.
      2. The biggest difficulty is that there is no delay in the implementation of this process to shift benefits, so there may be an initial disparity.
  1. Review and Approval Previous Month’s Minutes
    • Chantelle Thompson moved to approve; George Gottschalk seconded. Approved with no dissent.
  2. Chair’s Remarks
    • Chair Hovious welcomed our newest member, William Schlaack
    • Chantelle Thompson will be stepping down as Grievance Officer and members are encouraged to consider the role.
  3. Announcements
    • No announcements.
  4. Committee Reports
    • Academic Professional Senators
    • Senate, Campus, and University Committees
      1. Senate Committee on Public Engagement
        1. The committee is winding down its efforts, and have created a new set of bylaws that will help lay the groundwork for strong efforts moving forward next year.
      2. USSP
        1. Jeff Stein noted that they’re working on the review of the bylaws for SCPE. There are also some minor tweaks to the rules for public comment and floor privileges at Senate meetings. No other update.
  • University Professional Personnel Advisory Committee
    1. No update
  • HR – Training and Employee Development Advisory Committee (TEDAC)
    1. No update
  • CAPE Awards Committee
    1. The awards ceremony is today. All are encouraged to attend.
  • Procedures and Elections Committee
    1. Micah Kenfield noted that elections are winding down, and there will be several new faces at the next meeting.
  • Communications Committee
    1. No report
  • Grievance Officer
    1. Chantelle Thompson is stepping down, and highly encourages people to consider serving in this role. While the policies and procedures can seem intimidating, HR is a great resource to help on this front.
  • Ad Hoc Committee on Harassment
    1. There will be a group meeting in the next few weeks.
    2. The Provost’s Office has arranged an exploratory group to coordinate with the different groups on campus working with #MeToo and bullying/harassment.
  • There is momentum and more updates at the next meeting.
  1. Academic Human Resources Report Senior Associate Chancellor for Human Resources
    • No budget update at this time.
    • There were some communication challenges with relaying that the AP Development Fund still exists, but applications cannot be accepted at this time due to reaching the maximum amount of funds available, but that the program will continue next fiscal year.
      1. We have currently spent $68,000 with more expenses pending toward a $70,000 cap.
      2. Moving into next year, we may want to consider some options for restructuring the program at future meetings, as well as historically which districts are using the funds most.
  • Mindy Spencer suggested that an ad hoc committee could be a good idea. Lisa Bievenue, George Gottschalk, Nancy Walsh, and Brian Brauer will serve on this committee.
  1. Unfinished Business
    • No unfinished business
  2. New Business
    • No new business
  3. Closed Session (if necessary)
  4. Adjournment
    • Jeff Stein moved to adjourn, Nancy Walsh seconded. Adjourned at 3:08 PM.


Dates and Locations of CAP Monthly Meetings and CAP-Sponsored Events

Date Location Notes and Other Events
April 10, 2019  Illini Room C Chancellor Visit
April 10, 2019 iHotel CAPE Awards
May 2, 2019 TBD
June 6, 2019 TBD President Visit