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 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, May 6, 1998

1. Welcome. The Chair welcomed current and incoming members of the Senate Executive Committee. Introductions were made.

2. Report of the Past Chair on Academic Planning and Budget Committee and Capital Council. Peter J. Kuriloff, 1997-98 Past Chair of the Faculty Senate, submitted his report in advance due to his inability to attend the meeting. He also expressed his positive experiences as part of the Senate leadership.

The Academic Planning and Budget Committee met twice since SEC's last meeting. They discussed the University's budget and the capital budget. The capital budget has grown dramatically. School building projects are systematically and methodically tied to school fund raising. Long-term thinking about the annual budget cycle has positioned both schools and central administration to manage growth and projected difficulties more effectively.

Old Business

3. Law School Proposal. A proposal from the Law School to establish the position of Senior Lecturer in the Law School was presented by Professor Robert Hornik, chair of the Committee on the Faculty subcommittee on non-standing faculty. The committee determined that the position will have no affect on the standing faculty in the Law School and recommended SEC approval. The Chair noted that the Law School acted quickly on the Senate's request for information set forth in a newly developed protocol. SEC endorsed the proposal.

4. Economic Status of the Faculty. Committee chair Professor Ed Boe presented a new recommendation for possible inclusion in the committee's annual report. Following extended discussion SEC approved the proposal. The Senate Chair noted that the report will be published in the May 26 Almanac or an early September Almanac, or both. She thanked Professor Boe for his efforts on behalf of the faculty.

5. Update on Consultation. The Chair reminded SEC that University Council had asked the Senate Executive Committee to codify the recommendations on consultation proposed by the University Council Ad Hoc Committee on Consultation (Almanac April 14, 1998). SEC discussed membership for a small committee to draft the codification. It is hoped that the committee will work over the Summer. SEC appointed members to the committee: Howard Lesnick (chair), Daniel Perlmutter, Martin Pring, and Barbara Lowery (ex officio). SEC also authorized the committee to consult with members of the Council Ad Hoc Committee on Consultation.

6. College House Faculty Fellows. Concern was expressed over the use of "faculty" for individuals who are not members of the faculty (Almanac May 5, 1998). A suggestion was made to return to the title "administrative fellow." SEC instructed the Senate Chairs to raise the matter at their next meeting with the President and Interim Provost.

7. Distributed Learning. The Chair drew attention to the Report of the Provost's Committee on Distributed Learning (Almanac April 21, 1998). A SEC member inquired about the degree of consultation in creating the committee and whether it was a subcommittee of the Academic Planning and Budget Committee. It was noted that distance courses have been established in the Wharton School and the School of Nursing awards such a degree in Midwifery. In both schools they have been approved by the faculty through the normal course approval process. Concern was expressed about continued faculty oversight of all aspects of distributed learning. Another SEC member stated that proposals in the committee report flow from each school to the Academic Planning and Budget committee, which is not controlled by the faculty, and then go to the Trustees. Further, contracts on distributed learning are monitored by the General Counsel and the Executive Vice President. A SEC member asked that faculty also consider the good things about distributed learning. It was recommended that the matter be taken up by a Faculty Senate committee.

A motion was made that: "The Senate Executive Committee considers the policy on distributed learning of serious academic concern, and formally requests that no other policy be approved until the Faculty Senate reviews it. Furthermore, SEC refers the matter to the Committee on Students and Educational Policy." The motion was adopted.

8. Chair's Report. The Chair reminded SEC members that two years ago the Faculty Senate voted to abolish the annual meeting of the Faculty Senate and called for the Faculty Senate Chair to give an extended annual report to the faculty. She presented a verbal summary of the report. She stated that it had been a pleasure to work with SEC members who provided insights, refinements and solid information to matters brought forward. In addition, working with such collaborative faculty, for which she expressed appreciation, the Senate committees had worked very hard. Upon invitation, SEC members suggested items for consideration by Senate committees next year.

Outgoing Chair Vivian Seltzer thanked outgoing officers and Executive Assistant Carolyn Burdon and turned the meeting over to incoming Chair John Keene.

New Business

Chair John Keene thanked outgoing Past Chair Peter Kuriloff for the wonderful opportunity to work with him and for his enthusiasm, and he thanked outgoing Chair Vivian Seltzer for her leadership and work to set the ship of the Faculty Senate on course. He also thanked Senate Committee chairs, outgoing Senate Secretary Jack Nagel, and Executive Assistant Carolyn Burdon for the wonderful job they have done. The Chair stated that many issues for next year connect with shared governance and the role of the faculty in the University.

9. Council Steering Committee. Nominations were made for the selection of four Senate Executive Committee members to serve on the 1998-99 University Council Steering Committee. SEC voted by paper ballot.

10. June Meeting. SEC voted to cancel the meeting scheduled for June 3.


Almanac, Vol. 44, No. 33, May 12, 1998

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