December 9, 2016

APs Nervous About Preservation of Notice Rights

By Susan S. Stevens
IN TROUBLED times, job security is a–if not the–top concern for all Academic Professionals. This security is being questioned.

PRESENT RULES regarding Notices of Non-Reappointment or Terminal “T-Contracts” for Academic Professional employees have been reviewed by University administrators.

WITH THE State deficit crisis, and after two years of partial funding from the State, a key reason for UI to make a change in notice rights would be to save money.

TOP UNIVERSITY spokesman Thomas Hardy in the Office of University Relations at the University of Illinois offered reassurance. “In times of fiscal crisis, a common and logical mantra is that ‘all options are on the table.’ I don’t believe there was any discussion that notice rights would be ‘terminated,’ and discussion of somehow lessening those notice provisions does not appear to be an option at this time.”

APS EXPRESSED concern during a Nov. 8 meeting of UIC’s Academic Professional Advisory Committee. One said notification rights are “one of our most valuable benefits.” Another termed it “a last vestige of what APs hold dear.” Others explained that APs can be discharged without reason or recourse. Notification of Appointments (NOAs) are already in place for 2016-17, so policy changes will not occur this year.

HERE IS what APs have now (contingent upon sources of funds):
·         Six-month notice for employees of less than four years in their post
·         One-year notice for employees with more than four years

A CHANGE to Article IX, Section 11 of the Statutes would need to occur, , following faculty review, Interim Associate Vice President for University Human Resources Jami Painter said.

U of I System President Tim Killeen said at a June UPPAC meeting that he highly values the AP role and is not ignoring it. However, he said, notification periods are long in comparison with other Big Ten schools, and a U of I task force was examining the issue. Painter noted that many other institutions allow themselves to declare financial exigency and shorten notice rights.

APAC CHAIR Colleen Piersen, also Assistant Head for Administration, said that UPPAC members were recently informed that the working group on notice rights had not convened since Spring Semester when it met several times. Moreover, the group was asked only to examine the situation, not take action.  Nonetheless, employees remain concerned as the state continues to restrict funding to institutions of higher education and layoffs and furloughs are considered or implemented at public universities statewide.

UNIVERITY OF Illinois at Urbana-Champaign employees who currently receive termination contracts may be eligible for an internal relocation program ( Maureen Parks, former Associate Vice President for University Human Resourcesin University Administration, said it is a positive approach to the problem. UIC does not have a formal relocation program at this time.

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