Front Page


Job Ops


Between Issues


PULLOUT: March at PENN 1998 Calendar

Almanac Homepage

Staff Box

Council February 11:

School Reviews, Funding, Vending and Police

At Council on February 11, Provost Michael Wachter reported on the selection of five Thouron Scholars who will enter the British institutions of their choice under Penn's two-way exchange program.

School Reviews: Dr. Wachter also gave a progress report on the School reviews now under way:
"As you may know, the School reviews were established in 1996-97 as part of the University's Agenda for Excellence. It was written into the Agenda, calling for a rigorous normative protocol for external review and assessment of each school and interschool program every five to seven years. This process is intended to provide the schools with the opportunity to evaluate their long-run strategic plans and to receive input from an external review committee which is made up of distinguished academic leaders from that school's disciplines. These committees are outstanding blue-ribbon commitees. It's great for us to host them and we get enormous help from them. An important part of the process is that it allows each of the schools an opporunity to be thinking in a strategic planning context about what their goals have been and about their success in meeting those goals.
"The reviews we've had so far have included the School of Social Work and the School of Nursing last year, and the School of Dental Medicine this year. We will be doing the Graduate School of Education in the spring. In addition, we have been reviewing our resource centers that report to the Provost's Office: last year we did the Annenberg Center, which led to a new strategic plan there; we are in the midst of doing the Institute for Contemporary Art. In addition, as part of reestablishing the Fels Program, we did a review of that program last year.
"The goal of this entire process is to allow the leaders in the field to get together with the schools, the deans and the faculty, to think about their programs--whether they are cohesive, coherent, effective and true to their mission, and whether they are meeting established school and University goals. I'm extremely pleased to say that the reviews we've had have been enormously successful both in terms of process, and also in terms of the feedback we've been getting from the review committees on how outstanding the schools are and the progress they are making.
"Finally, what this review process does is to allow the schools to think about what are the best and most effective benchmarks that they want to use to measure their own success. We have received good assistance from the review committees on this and I look forward to reporting further on this as more reviews take place."
Funding: President Judith Rodin gave updates on both federal and state funding issues of interest to the University:
"If you heard President Clinton's State of the Union address," she said, "you heard of his intention to increase scientific research funding, including the largest increases ever to both the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation. If Congress follows that, it would be wonderfully good news for research universities including Penn. As Penn's president and as one of President Clinton's advisors in the science and technology, I've tried to play a leadership role in encouraging the President to take this move, and will also play a leadership role in encouraging Congress to pass the necessary legislation."
Arriving at Council straight from Harrisburg, Dr. Rodin reported that the Governor of Pennsylvania has recommended a 3.5% increase in Commonwealth Funds to the Vet School-- the nation's first ranked veterinary medical school and the only one in the Commonwealth. The Governor also proposes traditionally smaller amounts for medical education, the University Museum and Morris Arboretum. The Commonwealth is also being asked-- "in part via a lawsuit from the City of Philadelphia," she quipped-- to increase support for public education, and she pledged her support to the Children Achieving initiative of David Hornbeck and other actions on behalf of the public schools.
She also summed up the documents in the Department of Education's findings on Penn crime reporting (Almanac February 10 and Almanac On Line), noting that Penn reports both in the circumscribed campus-based federal format set by the DOE and in a fuller format--including off-campus crimes the police respond to--through Almanac and Daily Pennsylvanian.
Vending: In opening reports and later in the Q & A, GAPSA representatives raised objections to last-minute changes in the proposed legislation on vending which was sent to City Council last week and is scheduled for public hearings in April. Asked to clarify a statement of GAPSA Chair Sanjay Udani to the effect that agreements made on Monday had been broken, Matthew Ruben said,
"At the meeting in chambers with Councilwoman Blackwell on Monday we all agreed on a dozen issues that represented differences among various proposed ordinances submitted by the Penn Consumer Alliance, the Vendor Association and the Administration. There were a number of remaining issues. However, in the copy that was received by us today-it was faxed directly to the Councilwoman yesterday, in contravention of her explicit direction that it be shown to us first-more than half of those agreements are not implemented in the Administration's revision of the ordinance. In fact, on some of them they have explicitly informed us that they are reneging for reasons which are not explained," he said. He detailed as points of disagreement:
"We agreed to allow the Vending Advisory Board to put decibel limits on generator noise. As far as I know, that revision was not incorporated by the Administration despite the fact that we all agreed to it.
"There was an agreement to require that a Licensing and Inspection Officer be present whenever a Penn or City police officer tried to remove an unauthorized vendor; we were informed that that had been put in but upon reviewing, the language had not been changed from the original, which would have allowed the police officer unilaterally to remove the vendor, which goes against existing law.
"The University administration wanted to review vendors to 'wash' sidewalks where they vend; we agreed to change that to 'sweep' to reflect realistic expectations; that is now the ambiguous term 'clean.'
"Penn agreed to allow parking of trucks for delivery of items to vendors and as far as we can tell there is no substantive incorporation of the discussions around this issue that we agreed upon. Penn also allowed truck vending on 33rd Street between Walnut and Spruce; this is not in the revision, on the claim that our reaction to it was favorable, which is not true.
"Penn also offered to give in to the Penn Consumer Alliance proposal to have five cart spaces on the east side of 33rd Street in front of the Penn Tower Hotel where they currently are; that has now been changed to three carts and moved to the west side....Penn also agreed to give space on the west side of 34th Street near where the back of Meyerson Hall is, and that has been reneged upon with some statement concerning the private area behind Meyerson Hall."
Police/Community Relations: The Undergraduate Assembly presented a forum which referred in some instances to Penn Police activity in relation to parties involving the use of alcohol.
As three speakers set out aspects of the problems and solutions--Maureen Rush as director of police operations, the Rev. Will Gipson as University Chaplain and Tope Kolodoye as chair of the United Minorities Council, UA Chairman Noah Bilenker summed up suggestions-some of them already planned or in progress in some form-that included visits by University police to local high schools to make themselves familiar to neighborhood youth; security tours for incoming freshmen; a form of citizen review board; the forthcoming open house at the new Police headquarters on Chestnut Street; and the establishment of a UA program of awards to campus police.
Bookstore Committee: Chair Robert Regan described problems with staffing his committee under the new procedure which assigns staffing to the unit overseen, and delays in receipt of information requested by his committee-on design issues and on pricing policy. Business Services Vice President Stephen Murray offered to see that the committee's needs are met.
Facilities Commitee: Chair Anthony Tomazinis urged recognition of the difference between consultant in the formative stages of physical planning, and briefing after plans have already been decided upon.

Return to:Almanac, University of Pennsylvania, February 24, 1998, Volume 44, Number 23