Herman stresses diversity at Senate

By Online Poster

Chancellor Richard H. Herman encouraged a renewed focus on academics and research in a presentation of the 10 main goals for his Strategic Plan to the Urbana-Champaign Senate Monday afternoon.

The chancellor also stressed the importance of a diverse campus and study abroad opportunities, which allow students to develop leadership in a global environment.

Herman said he is satisfied with the progress that has been made in reaching out to faculty from various colleges.

“In order to realize our dreams, we must drive this rather rapidly,” he said during the speech. “At this point, we are about 30 percent done (with the entire plan).”

Richard Schacht, professor of philosophy and a member of the Senate, expressed concerns about the substantial amount of funding needed to carry out the plan’s ambitious goals.

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“The monies needed over the next four or five years are substantial,” Herman said in response to Schacht’s question. “Ultimately we will have to choose where we invest.”

Following Herman’s remarks, the Senate passed its agenda without debate.

Among several educational policy revisions, several new programs of study were added, including a minor in study of the Islamic World to the college of LAS.

The Senate next passed a proposal to change the University Code requiring candidates for a bachelor’s degree to obtain their first 90 hours or last 30 hours of class credit at the University. Requirements have been changed to 60 hours of University credit with at least 21 of these hours obtained in 300 or 400 level classes.

Several members of the Senate expressed concern that the proposed change would prevent students from taking classes online or at community colleges.

Herman responded to these concerns with the assurance that the University will do its best to communicate with community colleges to ensure that students receive all the credit they are entitled to.

A revision to the Senate’s standing rules also was proposed and approved after some debate at Monday’s meeting.

Before the revision, the Senate’s statutes ambiguously required “advice of the faculty” when an academic unit was formed or changed. According to the proposal, the phrase has been interpreted in several ways.

The revision requires faculty of the affected department or college to vote on the action. The vote will serve to inform the Senate, but would not necessarily be fatal to a proposed change.

The Senate could choose to overrule the faculty’s vote and proceed with the change.

Schacht said he was concerned that this could be an unreliable measure of whether or not a change should be passed.

“Some people in my department are very nervous about mergers,” he said. “Their vote could be ill informed because of their fears.”

The Senate ultimately passed the proposal.