SENATE From the Senate Office

The following statement is published in accordance with the Senate Rules. Among other purposes, the publication of SEC actions is intended to stimulate discussion between the constituencies and their representatives. Please communicate your comments to Senate Chair William Kissick or Executive Assistant Carolyn Burdon, 15 College Hall/6303, 898-6943 or

Actions Taken by the Senate Executive Committee

Wednesday, April 3, 1996

  1. Academic Planning and Budget Committee and Capital Council. Past Senate Chair David Hildebrand reported that the Capital Council had not met since the last SEC meeting.

    The Academic Planning and Budget Committee reviewed plans of the Undergraduate Admissions, Office, the Dental School, and the School of Arts and Sciences last month. The Admissions Office is generally pleased with its progress in attracting a national student body and expects to continue its efforts in that direction. The number of applications is up, allowing for greater selectivity, which in turn adds to Penn's cachet among high school students. The regional admissions offices in California and Texas have resulted in substantial increases in the applicant pools from the West and Southwest, areas that are growing in population and income. The practice of having joint information sessions with representatives from Harvard, Georgetown, and Duke appears to be yielding increased numbers of applicants as well as decreasing costs. The major concern is undergraduate financial aid.

    The School of Dental Medicine, as one of the relatively few private dental schools, has felt compelled to find appropriate niches for its students and has concentrated on developing strength in specialty areas, such as oral surgery or orthodontics. Its student pool, research efforts, and budgets all appear to be in at least reasonable condition. It has had unusual success in adding an international dimension to its curriculum, with substantial numbers of its students opting for training rotations throughout the world. The school's main need is improved facilities and it hopes to build a gateway building to unite the two main buildings and move out of 4003 Locust.

    The School of Arts and Sciences continues to have financial problems. It plans to build on its strength in the humanities and its demonstrated ability to develop interdisciplinary programs and research, while selectively strengthening some other areas. Faculty involvement occurs largely through a planning and priorities committee of senior faculty. The school plans to present its priorities list to its faculty shortly.

  2. Proposed Handbook revision on Renewal of Appointments of Deans. Committee on Administration Chair David Brownlee presented the proposal. Following discussion it was carried over to the May meeting.

  3. Making Penn the Undergraduate University of Choice for the 21st Century. Committee on Students and Educational Policy Chair James Laing reviewed the committee's report (see the report in this issue). The report recommends ways to modify the University's political economy of undergraduate education to remove impediments to cross-school interdisciplinary courses and programs, exploit more fully the strengths of the graduate and professional schools, for distinctive undergraduate programs, and to make Penn the undergraduate education of choice.

  4. Safety master plan. Thomas Seamon outlined the plan (Almanac March 26, 1996). John Fry noted that he has asked for an accounting of how the safety budget is spent and could be better spent. He supports two one-time capital expenditures, a new structure for safety on 40th Street and improved technology. SEC members inquired about the safety budget, pointed out the special need for safety orientation of international students, and full participation of women's groups in the search for a director of victim support.

  5. SAS proposal on Lecturer and Senior Lecturer in Foreign Languages. Frank Warner, Richard Beeman and Eugene Narmour responded to questions raised at the February SEC meeting. They reported that they had met with the chairs of all the language departments who believe the proposal will bring about better continuity and better teaching of foreign languages. SEC agreed the data provided by SAS supported the need for these specialists. In response to SEC concerns, SAS deleted the word "normally" in the statement regarding the cap for Lecturers in Foreign Languages to read "...[the] number will not exceed 6% of the standing faculty...." and for Senior Lecturers in Foreign Languages to read "...will not exceed 3% of the standing faculty...." SEC adopted the SAS proposal.

  6. Informal discussion with the President and Provost. President Rodin described her recent trip to Asia noting the substantial funding for research and higher education in Japan and Korea. Provost Chodorow stated he hopes decisions on the collegiate system will be finalized this summer.

  7. University Council Agenda for April 24, 1996. Potential agenda items were reviewed and SEC members were invited to suggest focus issues for next year's Council.


Volume 42 Number 28
April 16, 1996

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