Report from Today’s Meeting

UPI invited department chairs to meet and discuss the budget crisis and prospects for reorganizing the university to better meet challenges of erratic funding from the state.

I first want to thank everyone for joining the discussion today. Thanks to everyone too for their work throughout the year on behalf of the university.

Vice President Tim Barnett and Constituency Rep Nancy Matthews led and recorded a discussion that will lead to a fuller statement of principles for reorganizing and helping foster the mission and pedagogy of the university. For continuing work together, two lines of activity were identified:

A committee is forming to bring together and further refine examination of budgeting and revenue at the university. The idea is to bring together financial research and perspectives from across groups and make it available for reflection in one place. NEIU/ UPI Treasurer Lisa Wallis, with help from Local Vice President Steve Frankel, will coordinate this group. If you are interested please contact Lisa at L-Wallis@neiu.edu or lisawallis@gmail.com

We began formulating our principles in the day’s conversation, and Nancy and Tim will collect our thoughts thus far and circulate them. We will meet again soon to elaborate and develop this first draft into a statement for further consideration. More soon.

Off-campus, we will continue to remain active this summer: supporting and bringing a higher ed perspective to a Fight for $15 March, Tuesday, May 23, 4:00-6:00 p.m., Daley Plaza. And we will build on and continue our legislative visits.

Stacy Goguen got me on task right after the meeting. In her office I wrote the IFT Legislative Director. He will send us a list of which members are in which districts so we can coordinate strategic visits.

Lastly, one of our points of discussion today was an appreciation of the position our chairs occupy. It is important to have members of the administration in our departments. We recognize that this decentralized dimension of the university’s organization is precious, more efficient, and we will all work to protect this structure.

Many have said they were thankful for the meeting of minds today. I’m not just thankful but also impressed! We are a smart people! It was great to be gathered and thinking together today.

I hope everyone who can will bring those smarts to the last Forward 150 session tomorrow, Friday 5/1, 9:30-11:30 in the Cafeteria.