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Fall 2012 Illinois Academe - President's Report

By Michael Harkins

In April, Concordia University in River Forest hosted the Spring meeting of our Illinois Conference. The meeting was well represented by our chapters and membership. During our morning business meeting the Board and officers voted funding for 10 grants to help our Chapter members attend the 2012 National AAUP Summer Institute at Roosevelt University in Chicago. The grants covered registration for commuters. We awarded all grants. I attended the Institute and fully participated. As a participant I was particularly impressed with the course by Howard Bunsis, current AAUP Treasurer and Rudy Fichtenbaum, current AAUP President covering Institutional Financial Analysis. The opportunity to understand how to analyze institutional audited financials and comprehend fiscal priorities was outstanding. I would encourage all future Summer Institute participants to take this course. In these economic times it is critical that we examine how our institutions report actual expenses and revenues.

I also had the opportunity to attend AAUP Senior Consultant Ernie Benjamin's workshop covering key academic contract clauses. This session covered specific language and clauses for contracts and handbooks. His presentation provided significant depth with multiple examples. The due process discussion concerning tenure and non-tenure track appointments was timely and relevant. I will ask Ernie to share his expertise in an upcoming issue of Illinois Academe.

As National plans for the Summer Institute 2013, I would ask that all Illinois Chapters consider sending a faculty member. At our fall Conference meeting I will ask our Board to again consider providing grant support to our Chapters.

Over the past year, the Illinois Conference officers and Board have continued to advocate on behalf of our members and faculty throughout Illinois. Our website is continually updated, our committees are active and daily we respond to calls and emails for assistance. Our goals include adding new chapters and members, service existing chapters, and protecting academic freedom, tenure, and shared governance. Our officers and Board members are ready to visit Chapters and conduct specialized workshops on topics relevant to your faculty. This fall the Illinois Conference will be hosted by North Park University in Chicago on Saturday, November 3, 2012.

In closing, I would like to acknowledge and thank the officers and staff at the National office. As the officers and Board of the Illinois Conference have engaged in the issues and challenges confronting higher education in Illinois this year, we have relied on National for expertise. Our National officers have been with us at every turn as our faculties have faced adverse situations. This cooperative and collaborative approach has worked in the best interest of the faculty we serve. Let us all continue that approach.