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President's Message

President's Message
Michael Harkins
President, Illinois AAUP

Since our last issue of Illinois Academe, the Illinois Conference has been active in protecting academic freedom and shared governance. Daily our officers and board members speak with faculty and provide assistance and support. Over the past 6 months we have consulted with National on major issues affecting higher education in Illinois. Together, we are able and willing to support and protect academic freedom in higher education.

On October 12 the Conference held its fall meeting at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago. The Museumís Chapter of AAUP hosted and sponsored the meeting. Close to 50 professors from throughout the state attended. Dr. Margaret Thayer, Curator of Insects and Chapter Chair, along with many of the curators including Corrie Moreau (Assistant Curator Insects), Ken Angielczyk (Associate Curator Fossil Mammals), Petra Sierwald (Associate Curator Insects), Rudiger Bieler (Curator Invertebrates) and Janet Voight (Associate Curator Invertebrates) provided tours of behind the scenes collections. These scientists also provided overviews of their research interests and specializations. All of us are indeed fortunate to have world class scholars and scientists here in Illinois at the Field Museum. The collective scientific knowledge and research skills of the 27 curators is unmatched. Thank you all for hosting the Conference and making our day so very special, informative and productive.

The October 12 Conference also featured our National President Dr. Rudy Fichtenbaum, Wright State University, who presented AAUPís Mission in the 21st Century. The state conference will make this presentation available to our members and chapters through our web-site. Leo Welch, conference board member and legislative liaison spoke on current legislative issues emerging from Springfield that involves higher education faculty. Linda Brookhart, Illinois Annuitants, shared the latest status of pensions and health care in higher education. Summaries of these presentations will be added to our website. Professor Jerry Kendall, John Marshall Law School, discussed emerging problems that higher education faculty are encountering with state and federal grants. He provided a checklist of cautions to help guide faculty. The checklist will also be shared with faculty though our web-site.

The Illinois Conference will hold its spring meeting next April, 2014. Topics, date and location will be available before the first of the year. The success of the Illinois Conference depends on the leadership of our Board who serves you, our members. I commend our officers, Committee A, John Wilson, Illinois Academe Editor, and our Chapter Chairs for the time and resources they devote to academic freedom and shared governance in Illinois. Our attendance at each conference continues to grow. New chapters are being discussed. Before the first of the year, two more will be started and several re-activated.

In closing, I would like to officially recognize and commend Dr. Ken Andersen for his service to AAUP at the national and state levels. Ken started the Illinois Conference and served the Conference as President and Treasurer. He represented our Illinois Conference consistently at national meetings for many years. On behalf of all your colleagues in higher education Ken, thank you for giving us the state conference, your leadership, and a strong voice in shared governance.