Senate Executive committee discusses National Taiwan University, College of Medicine

By Abigale Svoboda

The Senate Executive Committee met Monday to discuss future collaboration with the National Taiwan University and the proposed College of Medicine, while setting the agenda for the academic senate’s Nov. 17 meeting.

Provost Ilesanmi Adesida informed the committee about his recent trip to the National Taiwan University, where he attended a workshop and talked with University leaders about future collaboration between the two universities. Adesida said any engagement depends on faculty, and he believes the University will hold a workshop here next year in an effort to build a solid relationship.

He said the University needs to focus on worldwide collaboration with key peer institutions.

“Which institutions, strategically, can we actually collaborate with?” Adesida asked rhetorically in an effort to get the senate thinking about future collaborations.

The committee then discussed the University’s proposal for a College of Medicine, which will not be decided upon until March, after a new University president is announced.

“I think it gives everybody time to put everything together and think about where it is that the whole direction of the University is going, and that’s why I think the president looking at this will actually be beneficial,” said Roy Campbell, SEC chair. “We can pace ourselves and get this stuff in the right time frame and absolutely nailed right.”

The University’s Chicago campus already holds a medical program and proposed to use its current facilities for an= engineering-based College of Medicine. The committee reviewed whether the Urbana and UIC’s proposals are competitive. It was clarified that UIC does not believe the University should have a College of Medicine, but will help when necessary to make it possible. UIC has also proposed creating colleges similar to the Institute of Genomic Biology and the Beckman Institute on Chicago’s campus.

However, UIC’s proposal will have to pass through both campus’ senates.

“From a process point of view, that has no standing. In terms of discussing a proposal, approving a proposal for the statutes,” Joyce Tolliver, SEC member, said.

The committee discussed two items to appear on the academic senate agenda on Nov. 17. A new procedural document, Communication 26, will be introduced, regarding how specialized faculty members in non-tenure positions can be promoted.

University units without a teaching researcher on the tenure track will need to create promotional criteria. However, it is essentially the same process that has been on campus. Communication Nine, the existing procedural document for promotions, will not be amended immediately so departments can make the necessary transition and avoid delaying promotions that are already underway.

Communication 27 will also be introduced, regarding shared governance for academic units. This communication is in its first draft and explains the best practices for shared governance between all faculty units, including sharing all communications with faculty.

Additionally, John Hart, information technology chair, proposed a transparent email system that would allow senate members to continue discussion in between meetings. He said the system would automatically send all emails sent through the senate list-serv to a public, online forum.

Some senators were weary of the idea, raising questions about members entering meetings with pre-formed decisions, because of discussions taking place online. Supporters argued that no business could be transacted online. No motions passed, so everything would still be discussed during senate meetings and people will still be able to attend meetings and voice their opinions.

Gay Miller, educational policy committee chair, advised her peers to ask themselves, “Does it really save time or make better decisions?”

The new online forum is being reviewed by the University’s legal counsel. If a formal proposal is written and approved, senate members suggested running a pilot program, testing the system with the Senate Executive Committee first before making the service available to all senate members.

Abbas Aminmansour, SEC member, informed the committee that a campus electronic communications policy was developed with the IT Security and Privacy committee and is ready to be presented to the Provost. It is a collection of relevant information from existing documents, that will provide one central place for users to learn about University communications policies.

Abigale can be reached at [email protected].