Urbana-Champaign Senate holds elections, Wheeler returns as senate chair

The Urbana-Champaign Senate announced its new leadership for the upcoming academic year at its meeting Monday afternoon.

After a week of online voting, Matthew Wheeler was reelected as the senate’s chair. Roy Campbell, director of graduate admissions and advancement for the department of computer science, won the race for senate vice-chair.

“I want to make sure that all the faculty are involved and engaged in the way the University is going to go,” Campbell said. “I think we have a really exciting future, and the difficulty is always to get everyone to participate. I hope I can do that.”

Outgoing University Senates Conference representative Kim Graber, who lost to Campbell for the vice-chair position, said she is confident in Wheeler’s and Campbell’s ability to lead the faculty senate.

“Both (Wheeler) and (Campbell) are excellent leaders, and the senate will be in very good hands with them as our leaders,” Graber said.

Campbell was also elected to take Graber’s place in the University Senates Conference, or USC, along with George Francis, a current USC member. Outgoing senate vice chair Joyce Tolliver was nominated from the floor and elected for membership in the USC. As a newly elected USC member, Tolliver was also selected as the USC delegate that would serve on the senate executive committee, or SEC.

The senate also voted to appoint three committee chairs to serve on the SEC. Academic freedom and tenure committee chairman Eric Johnson, equal opportunity and inclusion committee chairman Harry Hilton and faculty and academic staff benefits committee chairman John Kindt were elected to fill these positions. The other SEC members are automatically appointed.

Those elected at Monday’s meeting will begin serving in their positions next academic year.

Also at the meeting, Chancellor Phyllis Wise requested an exception to the policy stating that a faculty athletic representative serve for a maximum of 10 years. Wise asked that the senate approve an extension of Wheeler’s term as that of a representative.

She said the position is appointed by the chancellor and oversees academic integrity within the Division of Intercollegiate Athletics.

“(Wheeler) is on several NCAA and Big Ten committees that are in the middle of deliberation, and it’s important that we have continuity and an experienced voice at the table,” Wise said.

Wise added that she is new to the Big Ten committee representing the University, and she would like to be able to depend on Wheeler to help her in this responsibility. She requested to add five years to his term with a reappointment every year to allow for flexibility.

The senate voted in favor of Wise’s request.

“It seems to me that the faculty member in this position has to be someone who really understands the balance between athletic excellence and academic excellence,” said senate member Nicholas Burbules said. “I’m sure there are other people on campus who could do this job, but I can’t imagine anybody who understands the issues better than (Wheeler). He is seen as a leader in the Big Ten, and we couldn’t have a better representative.”