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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 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 burdon@pobox.upenn.edu.

Actions Taken by the Senate Executive Committee

Wednesday, March 18, 1998

1. Items from the Chair's Report.

a. The chair reported that following SEC's request that publication of the University budget in Almanac be resumed, President Rodin has written her that it will be published in the July Almanac. Responding to a SEC member's request, the chair agreed to inquire about resuming the practice of placing a copy of the audited University budget in the library.

b. A letter was sent to the deans from the chair encouraging faculty to participate in the Student Committee on Undergraduate Educations's "take a professor to lunch" program. Dean's replies have been very supportive of this activity.

c. The chair drew attention to a request from Professors David Brownlee and Michael Katz (Almanac March 17, 1998) that the Faculty Senate and University Council take up their proposals to guarantee privacy of e-mail generated by faculty, staff and students. It was suggested the two proposals be taken up next year.

d. The chair reminded SEC of the remaining meetings this academic year: April 1 regular meeting; April 25 special meeting to discuss reports of the Committee on the Faculty and the Committee on Students and Educational Policy; and May 6 regular meeting.

2. Report of the Past Chair on Academic Planning and Budget Committee and Capital Council. Past Senate Chair Peter Kuriloff reported that the Academic Planning and Budget Committee has begun examining the issues involved in developing the budget. In particular, it has discussed how allocated costs are understood and rationalized. The committee also discussed the smaller than expected tuition increases at competitor schools as well as the fact that at least two highly endowed institutions (Princeton and Yale) have increased their cholarship allocations. These events will put increased budgetary pressure on Penn.

Capital Council had met several times since the last SEC meeting to discuss several issues, including budgeting for the Perelman Quadrangle, building a new coach facility and new laboratories for the School of Veterinary Medicine.

3. Partial report by the Senate Committee on Administration.

a. Committee chair Professor Louis Girifalco introduced Frank Goodman, chair of the subcommittee on strategic planning. Professor Goodman summarized the subcommittee's report (to be published in Almanac April 7, 1998), noting the group had been asked to examine the process used and the faculty involvement in developing strategic plans in the twelve schools. The subcommittee agreed early in its factfinding to omit the Medical School from this effort for now due to its size and complexity. The subcommittee chair noted that time and person power limitations did not allow a comprehensive number of contacts, most pointedly in the largest schools. Findings on the schools will be in the subcommittee report to be published in April. It should be noted that the subcommittee recommended each school develop procedures for full input and discourse on strategic planning drafts and final documents. Such procedures for broad input of faculty views should include collective input as well as interviews with individual faculty. A SEC member raised concern that an effort to provide opportunity for faculty expression ought stop short of requiring any binding vote which may prompt less informed, more parochial input. Another SEC member stated the report focused heavily on individual feedback and that this emphasis might preclude collective and representative discussion.

SEC voted to accept the report with the proviso that the subcommittee chair modify it to combine two of the four recommendations and to clarify that both collective and individual faculty input are important in the strategic planning process.

b. On behalf of Professor Henry Teune, chair of the subcommittee on recognition of service to the University, Professor Girifalco presented the subcommittee's recommendations. A SEC member stated that recognition of service had to be taken seriously at the Provost's Staff Conference level, particularly at the point of tenure decisions and at the school and department levels at the time of annual review. Other SEC members believed that it was difficult to quantify service and to structure reward for Faculty Senate and University service and that it was better to create a benevolent climate.

The report was referred back to the subcommittee for further elaboration and requested the committee chair to ask the subcommittee to report back at the April 15 SEC meeting.

c. The subcommittee report on faculty course evaluations was deferred to the next meeting.

4. Informal discussion with Medical School Dean William Kelley. Upon invitation of the chair, SEC members raised issues including: safeguarding research interests in a national climate of profit motives; the purchase of three hospitals and the financial impact on the University; growth in non-standing faculty categories; and the current numbers of standing faculty-clinicial educators in the Medical School exceed the 40% cap on clinician educators. Dean Kelley also presented his vision for a new model of health care which is in process and which he believes will revolutionize health care delivery. SEC thanked Dean Kelley for providing an opportunity for SEC members to discuss matters of concern and for the bird's-eye view of his strategic plan.

5. Nominations by the Senate Committee on Committees. Committee chair John Keene presented the proposed nominations to various Faculty Senate committees and other University groups. SEC discussed and expanded the nominations. A ballot will be distributed to all SEC members.


Return to:Almanac, University of Pennsylvania, March 24, 1998, Volume 44, Number 26