Town Hall FAQ July 6

“Meet the Chancellor” Town Hall FAQs

From the 7.6.20 recorded webinar, found here.

  1. What are the plans for Fall 2020 in response to COVID-19?
    1. The United in Safety: Return to the Prairie plan contains the roadmap for returning to campus this fall. The plan covers health, safety and course instruction delivery and was informed by students, faculty and staff.
  2. Are masks required on campus?
    1. Face coverings that cover your mouth and nose are required inside University buildings, unless you are working in a private office or in your personal residence space. Masks will be required outside if one cannot maintain appropriate physical distancing.
  3. Will there be on-campus classes?
    1. Classes for on-ground students will be provided via a blended format. This means some will be face-to-face; some face-to-face and online; and some delivered remotely, meaning extensive use of the internet and perhaps a few limited face-to-face classes if warranted.
  4. Given past incidents involving racially insensitive actions by members of the UIS community, what plans do you have for diversity or cultural awareness training for faculty, staff and students and how will we all be held accountable?
    1. If you are aware of any actions that violate our university policy, we ask you to report those actions to the appropriate offices: Human Resources for staff/faculty or the Dean of Students office. The Chancellor was briefed on an incident in the fall and understands that people were held accountable.We make our values clear, we provide a variety of programs, events and experiences that educate, create awareness and involvement and we have systems to hold folks accountable for their actions. Diversity and cultural awareness training and events are currently being planned for the fall. New employees also have to complete several hours of training. If you have specific suggestions, please send them to askthechancellor@uis.edu
  5. Why has UIS spent money on a museum and sculptures, but not repaired the road in front of the Student Union?
    1. Both the museum and sculpture were made possible with gift funds and can’t be used on other items. Road repairs are paid from state funds.
  6. What are the plans for UIS to celebrate the accomplishments of diverse individuals?
    1. When it comes to the environment on campus—the signage, statuary, grounds, public art— there are usually a variety of factors. The key for me is ensuring that we have a campus environment that is welcoming and supportive of our students and employees. This is a year to consider what more must be done to achieve these aims.
  7. When it comes to the environment on campus—the signage, statuary, grounds, public art— there are usually a variety of factors. The key for me is ensuring that we have a campus environment that is welcoming and supportive of our students and employees. This is a year to consider what more must be done to achieve these aims.
    1. Yes, there will be opportunities to outline our desired outcomes — how we should all work together and what we’d like to achieve over the next year. I will be talking with a variety of groups/individuals over the next several weeks. Please if anyone has any immediate ideas, send them to askthechancellor@uis.edu. And to clarify, the goal I have articulated relates to all aspects of disparate treatments based on race.In addition, an Anti-Racism and Social Justice Taskforce is being created. The taskforce will work with university and system leaders, faculty, staff, students, alumni and community leaders to build upon UIS’ efforts that advance our values of integrity, civic engagement, diversity, strategic thinking and accountability through our teaching, learning, research and service.
  8. What are some of the actions you will be taking to accomplish your anti-racism social justice goal?
    1. Over the 12 months to achieve the goal:
      1. Review university policies and procedures and recommend the further review/changes to any policies and procedures that would remove systemic racism from within the university.
      2. Recommend enhancing existing and, where absent, new curricular, co-curricular, and civic engaging programming that would remove system racism from within the university.
      3. Recommend enhancing existing and, where absent, new efforts that would advance social justice related learning, teaching, research and service.
      4. Provide updates to the Chancellor’s Cabinet every three months with suggestions for immediate action items, followed by a final report of strategic action recommendations.
  9. We have excellent food service workers, building service workers and clerical staff that leave the university for better paying positions outside the university. What will you do to retain our employees?
    1. This is a challenge that results from market-based wages, governmental regulation and limited university resources. As a public university dedicated to the advancement of student and community success, the key is to offer good jobs at fair wages and opportunities for growth and development either at the university or in the community.
  10. Through the summer, a variety of different grants and financial help was provided for students in need. Will there be similar support for students through the academic year?
    1. The grants this past spring were made possible by the federally funded CARES program. Congress continues deliberating whether to issue another round of money aimed at students, higher education, or state governments. Government Relations is keeping the System and chancellors informed on the status of this work. As Chancellor, I will advocate with the System, state and federal authorities on behalf of our students and employees.
  11. Many students rely on on-campus jobs. With the reduced capacity it seems inevitable that student hours will be cut. Will students be compensated for this, or will there be a grant program?
    1. I think it is premature to consider a specific impact. Going forward I could see employing students in a variety of ways. We must continue to work with donors and friends of the university to continue to fund scholarships and other efforts to support our students. I will also champion state and federal efforts regarding student debt relief and increased state/federal grants.
  12. What are your thoughts on the update to campus parking? Are there ways for low income students, or students who receive loans/scholarships/grants to receive a reduced price for parking?
    1. We are not requiring students to pay any more than they have in the past five years for parking ($7.33 per month = $88 annually). Although the university has restructured parking operations to a fee based on the lots/area an individual desires to purchase a tag to park in, it is ultimately their choice on what tier of lot they want to pay to park in.It is important to remember that parking is self-supporting. Eighty-five percent of the funding we receive comes from the sale of parking tags. The other 15 percent comes from parking meters, parking violations and event parking (i.e., Performing Arts Center and Conference Center). The funding for the repair and/or replacement of the university’s parking infrastructure must be collected (saved up) before the university can start construction and complete the repairs.
  13. What excites you about being an Interim Chancellor and specifically at UIS?
    1. I am very excited to work with students, faculty, staff, alumni and the community to advance the goals I have reviewed with you today. This is going to be a really tough year, and yet I know that we will work together, we will care about each other and get through it together.
  14. What steps are you going to be taking with Title IX Regulations to strengthen that process and our campus?
    1. I am so disappointed with the Department of Education for the speed at which they are asking us to make these changes in the middle of the pandemic. We have communicated to the Department of Education that it is misguided to rush this, because we are not walking away from our commitment to a campus environment free from harassment, and we are going to be working toward compliance.
  15. Will UIS be open to having an outside facilitator (Crossroads) conduct anti-racism training? Can Civil Service employees attend?
    1. We want to make sure our students and employees have the most helpful professional development experiences and engagements. I also want to be very protective to make sure it is a very impactful quality experience.
  16. What plans do you have for making UIS a more research-oriented university?
    1. I am only here for a limited time. However, I would like to look for opportunities where they arise. I am going to keep a sharp eye when I am with U of I System representatives, elected officials, donors, and others on how we can get resources to perform community-based research possibilities. Faculty are encouraged to send ideas about research ideas that could be implemented within my year tenure.