19 Sep The Senate Caucus – Committee Profile
**Know Your Contract Trainings Friday 9/20/19**
Applied Health Sciences Building, Room 315, 10 – 11:30 am
College of Nursing, Room 202, 12 – 1:30 pm
- The Senate Caucus is a newly formed effort by UICUF to inform discussion in the University Senate on issues affecting faculty
- The group was formed in response to the administration’s position in bargaining that certain issues are more appropriately addressed by the Senate through the Statutes
- Senators can get involved by emailing Milos Zefran. UICUF members are encouraged to run for Senate, and communicate with Senators on issues affecting them day-to-day
Unions are always most visible during contract negotiations, but UICUF does so much more than bargain our contract. Dedicated faculty volunteers work on a variety of committees and efforts year round to promote safe, satisfying and enriching working conditions at UIC, to deal with workplace issues, and of course, to enforce our contract.
To give our members a better idea of all the ways UICUF is working for them every day, we will be showcasing the various committees and their work throughout the Fall Semester. Each segment will introduce a new or existing UICUF committee, discuss their work and goals, and let you know how you can get involved.
Without further ado, our first feature is on the newly established Senate Caucus!
What Is The Senate Caucus And What Does It Do?
The Senate Caucus is a group of Senators who are also UICUF members, specifically dedicated to discussing and educating other Senators on issues that affect faculty in our bargaining unit. It was formed, in part, as a response to the Administration’s frequent refrain during our last contract negotiations that certain issues were outside the scope of a labor agreement, and could only be addressed by the Senate through the UI Statutes. While we don’t entirely agree with this logic, it has prompted an interest in making sure that the Senate is at least aware of these issues when they do come up.
The University Senate has always been a fulcrum of shared governance, and UICUF appreciates their independent role in defining policy in areas like curriculum and tenure. The Senate Caucus is not a political party, or a mechanism to whip votes in the Senate. It’s intention is to bring forward and educate on issues in the Senate, and to keep UICUF members informed about Senate proceedings on issues of note. We strongly encourage UICUF members to interact with your representatives, and share your own opinions on key issues.
What Is The Senate Caucus Working On Right Now?
The Senate Caucus is brand new, but it already has a long list of agenda items to address. Key points include:
- Increasing the maximum length of NTT appointments
- Improving processes for protecting academic freedom and tenure
- Opening access to sabbaticals for NTT faculty
- Addressing the structure and uses of student evaluations
- Creating “Teaching” titles to replace “Lecturer” and create an associated third rank for affected faculty
While there is no particular order of priority for these laid out at the moment, we hope to keep members informed if and when each issue does come up. Given the long list, we anticipate the Senate Caucus will have plenty to do this year, but if you want to put forward other ideas, we again encourage our members to be in touch with their College’s Senators.
How Can Members Get Involved?
Senators who want to be a part of the Senate Caucus can contact Milos Zefran (Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering) to be invited to the Caucus listserv. The Caucus will meet in person once per semester to discuss issues.
UICUF members who are not Senators can get involved in several ways. First, we highly encourage you to run for Senate if you are able. There are seats open every year, and even some seats unclaimed at the time of this writing in certain Colleges. Of course, not everyone can commit to being a Senator. The Senate meetings themselves are open to non-Senators if you just want to drop in (see our Calendar for dates), but in most cases, the best way to interact with the Senate is to be in contact with your College’s Senators about issues that matter to you!
We issue regular updates via email, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and on our website. We encourage everyone to like and follow us on social media. If you want to contribute your story, pictures, video, or other content related to the activities of the union, email us at UICUnitedFaculty@gmail.com. With your support, we are making UIC an even better place to work and learn!