The following statement is published in accordance with the Senate Rules. Among other purposes, the publication of SEC actions is intended to stimulate discussion among the constituencies and their representatives. Please communicate your comments to Senate Chair Vivian Seltzer or Executive Assistant Carolyn Burdon, Box 12 College Hall/6303, 898-6943 or email@example.com.
Actions Taken by the Senate Executive Committee
1. Items from the Chair's Report.
a. SEC members were informed about a student effort to create a house for community service activities modeled after Writer's House, with the Office for Student-Community Involvment as a central part of the hub. Interested faculty should contact the planning committee at comhub@dolphin.
b. The Senate Committee on Conduct has elected Hermann Pfefferkorn (geology) as chair. (See Almanac October 31, 1989, for committee procedure.)
c. Responses to the chair's column (Almanac October 7, 1997) on intellectual property have expressed alarm at the possible changes in copyright policy. Constituency representatives reported the various views raised in their departments and schools. There are questions of ownership, legality, and royalties. SEC agreed there should be continued efforts to educate the faculty about what is involved. It was suggested that: a condensed version of the chair's column be made available; illustrations be provided that connect faculty writing, publishing, software, courseware and laboratory work to possible policy changes; and real instances of the University's provinces be obtained from the administration. SEC asked that the report of the previous task force on copyright policy be distributed to SEC along with relevant documents. SEC consensus was that the matter has some urgency for all faculty and that faculty should take an active role in revision of the policy. SEC instructed the chair to write the provost about these concerns as well as to stress the need for an extended period into the next academic year to consider any proposal from the administration.
d. Several items on benefits redesign received from the provost have been forwarded to the Committee on the Faculty.
e. The Senate Committee on Academic Freedom and Responsibility was charged with looking into a report of changes in tenure at the University of Texas.
f. It was announced that a petition calling for a special University Council meeting before the November 6-7 trustee meetings to discuss the recent outsourcing of Facilities Management was being circulated to Council members. There was consensus that Council is meant as a forum for discussion of issues of University interest.
2. Academic Planning and Budget Committee and Capital Council. Past Faculty Senate Chair Peter Kuriloff reported that the committee has been working on several themes: 1) how to increase Penn's attractiveness to undergraduates we are competing for; 2) how to retain students once they are at Penn; 3) how to develop a broader-based fundraising; 4) how to decide in which information technology to invest.
Capital Council has not met but there were mail ballots on various changes in building plans, including which plan to do in a hurry.
3. Faculty Liaisons to Trustee Committees. Jere Behrman and Larry Gross, Academic Policy, and Anthony Tomazinis, Facilities and Campus Planning reported on their experience and role as faculty liaisons. It was emphasized that a knowledgeable faculty member serving as liaison can provide information and interpret important change in proposals relating to the faculty that are approved by the trustees. A recommendation was made that faculty who are appointed as liaisons be individuals who have served on SEC, preferably SEC members. A SEC member suggested that trustee resolutions concerning faculty matters come to the Faculty Senate first to check accuracy before coming before the trustees for a confirmation vote.
4. Senate Nominating Committee. SEC voted by paper ballot for the ninth member of the committee. The full membership appears below.
5. Report of the Senate Committee on the Faculty. Committee chair William F. Harris II reviewed recent work of the committee.
a. Employment of More than One Family Member. The committee had studied the Provost's proposed revised policy (to be published) and their revised document was before SEC for discussion and approval. They support a revised policy and several additional changes in the Provost's proposal. The main concern was potential conflict of interest and the extent of proper administrative oversight. The committee recommended the following revisions: 1) defining the family differently by adding to the definition "and former marriage" and "partners as defined under benefits coverage"; 2) requiring the department chair, rather than the individual faculty member, to report on steps taken to insure adherence to the policy; and 3) calling for the reporting to occur "periodically" rather than "annually".
b. Guidelines on Research in the Community. SEC approved the proposed guidelines from the Provost that had been drafted by a committee chaired by Dean Ira Schwartz. The guidelines will be forwarded to the University Council Committee on Community Relations for review.
c. Faculty Club Plans. Professor Harris posed several questions for discussion, among them: whether the Faculty Senate should create a committee or be concluded by the Faculty Club Board decision. Issues to be looked at include who owns the lease, what is it being traded for and what is its value; and what kind of club the faculty want? SEC agreed that reliable information on the club budget and membership was needed and that the Senate should be part of the ongoing process by appointing two faculty to serve as liaisons between the Faculty Club and the Senate Committee on the Faculty.
6. Statement on Outsourcing. Following extended discussion of a draft statement, SEC authorized the Senate chair to finalize the document incorporating recommendations of SEC members (below).
Under the Faculty Senate Rules, formal notification to members may be accomplished by publication in Almanac. The following is published under that rule:
TO: Members of the Faculty Senate
FROM: Vivian C. Seltzer, Chair
SUBJECT: Senate Nominating Committee
1. In accordance with the requirements of the Faculty Senate Bylaws, notice is given to the Senate Membership of the Senate Executive Committee's 9-member slate of nominees for the Nominating Committee for 1997-98. The Nominating Committee nominates candidates for election to the Offices of the Faculty Senate (chair-elect and secretary-elect), to the at-large and assistant professor positions on the Senate Executive Committe, and to the Senate Committee on the Economic Status of the Faculty, the Senate Committee on Academic Freedom and Responsibility, and the Senate Committee on Conduct. The nine nominees, all of whom have agreed to serve, are:
2. Pursuant to the Bylaws, additional nominations may be submitted by petition containing at least twenty-five valid names and the signed approval of the candidate. All such petitions must be received by Tuesday, November 18, 1997. If no additional nominations are received, the slate nominated by the Executive Committee will be declared elected. If additional nominations are received, a mail ballot will be distributed to the Senate membership. Please forward any nominations by petition via intramural mail to the Faculty Senate, Box 12 College Hall/6303. Please forward any questions to Carolyn Burdon by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone at 898-6943.
October 30, 1997
Members of the Senate Executive Committee are extremely concerned by the tensions that currently exist between various segments of the University community over actions taken by the University administration in outsourcing the Facilities Management Division. This situation may be a dramatic example of a wider problem of disaccord and communication difficulties. We regret that the recent actions to which our community is currently responding were not born out of a process of sufficiently wide consultation.
We recognize that the administration of this University in the end is responsible for its own decisions, difficult as they may be, in regard to the "optimal functioning" of their portion of the University mission. (They are also responsible for taking into account the consequences of their decisions on the remainder of this community.) However, it is essential to recognize that definitions of "optimal functioning" vary. Towards this end, we encourage a climate in which various and divergent interpretations are sought out as widely as possible and considered before any serious actions directly affecting the lives of individual employees and the spirit of this University are taken.
We understand that implementing major organizational changes requires considerable discretion in the nature of consultation with the affected parties. We also accept that broad consultation before the fact cannot always occur on the specifics of such changes. Trust in a sense of our common purpose would suggest, however, that the administration take the senior leadership of the Faculty Senate into their confidence before the fact. In this way, the administration can benefit from faculty views and perspectives.
It is of the utmost importance that the faculty actively participate in a continuing dialogue with the administration. Even more important is consultation on the strategies of reorganization which the University is considering to support its widely accepted Agenda for Excellence. We encourage consultation on at least two levels:
a) in the development of organizational strategies as the process of achieving the overall mission of the University is carried out, and
b) in identifying the human principles involved in operationalizing these strategies. Absent this longer-range consultation, actions like the outsourcing of the Facilities Management Division will be unwelcome and misunderstood surprises for the University community which depress morale and stimulate uncertainty and high levels of anxiety.
Members of the Senate Executive Committee ask that the atmosphere of
trust and shared purpose be reestablished at this University.