Faculty Senate discusses DAC, budget

Cassie Buchman, Administration Editor

Provost Blair Lord and University Professionals of Illinois President Jon Blitz addressed the Senate and talked about the Departmental Application of Criteria at their meeting Tuesday.

“The transition to a new president, new directions from the new president and new challenges that the president has faced; it was an eventful couple of months,” Lord said.

Lord said President David Glassman believed he saw a budget deficit in the $12 million to $14 million range, although he did not know for sure what was going on with the state.

“He wanted the budget to balance as quickly as possible and assigned to each VP rather significant target budgetary reductions,” Lord said.

Lord said they started to look at the level of flexibility they had in June.

“There were some ACF contracts that were to be reissued that did not have to be honored if we had insufficient money from the state and enrollment,” Lord said. “It was already very late in the season and frankly, later than I would have liked to notify people that some contracts had to be rescinded.”

This affected 29 positions with 26 contracts being rescinded and three being changed to part-time positions.

“That created no end of chaos for you all, for your chairs and for a number of our students to try to reposition the fall schedules, and it was a great deal of work and a great deal of schedule shuffling,” Lord said.

The contracts ended up being extended due to the Memorandum of Agreement.

They were also extended because faculty members deferred their raise by a year.

Lord said they had to look at civil service employees because of the target cuts academic affairs needed to achieve.

“They have essentially a 30-day notice requirement, but because of civil service rules, there can be no end of ping ponging around through bumping. And that process is chaotic and we’re living through that chaos right now,” he said. “Something on the order of 65 or so civil service employees were identified, not that many in academic affairs. There were actually only 17 who received a layoff notice.”

Because of people who were retiring whose positions would not be filled again and others that had become vacant, there were 30 positions that were identified in the academic affairs and civil service ranks.

Lord said they reached about two-thirds of the target budgetary reductions in academic affairs.

Despite this, Lord said he enjoyed move-in day and Eastern had a wonderful start to the school year.

“In the past, there have been times when we have had a relatively strong active faculty senate and times when faculty senate has been inactive,” Blitz said. “In our difficult time, I find it is especially important for our faculty senate to use its shared governance body to promote all faculty interest.”

Blitz said University Professionals of Illinois is not a shared governance body.

“We as faculty are the university. We have allowed that fact to be ignored and have ceded all power to an administration that probably believes that they are the university,” Blitz said.

Faculty Senate, at their meeting, also discussed items such as a letter from UPC about Departmental Application of Criteria.

Jemmie Robertson, the faculty senate chair, said one thing about the DAC that caught his attention was the inclusion of reflective narratives.

“It did concern me a little bit that the amount of requests for those narratives could become a burden on individual faculty,” Robertson said. “I know in some instances where I wrote those it took a lot of thought to explain the situation clearly.”

Grant Sterling, a philosophy professor, said the issue is the degree to which the department has the ability to look at various forms of evaluation for faculty members and decide which ones are necessary.

“I had a comment once that would not make sense unless you knew what the assignment was,” Sterling said. “So I have on occasion done a short narrative or made specific comments for a specific thing.”

Also discussed was the College of Intercollegiate Athletics, an email from Andrew McNitt concerning Commitment to Excellence Scholarships and concerns over reductions in technologic support.

Cassie Buchman can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]