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 John Keene or Executive Assistant Carolyn Burdon, Box 12 College Hall/6303, 898-6943 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
1. Informal discussion with President Rodin and Interim Provost Wachter. President Rodin reviewed activities since last May including: the appointment of Dr. Eduardo Glandt as Interim Dean of the School of Engineering and Applied Science; the 5-year review cycle of SEAS and the Law School; movement on the Agenda for Excellence and strategic priorities; creation and operation of a new K-8 public school on the Divinity School site in partnership with the Philadelphia Board of Education, the Teachers' Union and the Graduate School of Education; and the renovation of Van Pelt Library.
Interim Provost Wachter urged the Senate Executive Committee to bring its concerns to him and promised to respond fully. In response to questions from the Chair, he reviewed: the status of the new College House system; developments covering distributed learning; school 5-year planning; and employment benefits review, noting there are no current plans to restructure the retirement package.
2. Academic Planning and Budget Committee and Capital Council. Past Chair Vivian Seltzer reported that the first meeting of the Academic Planning and Budget Committee is scheduled for next Tuesday. She was unable to attend the first meeting of the Capital Council.
3. Clinician educator issues. SEC initiated discussion on the issues regarding clinician educators (CEs) in the School of Medicine. Committee on the Faculty Chair, Harvey Rubin, presented various components of the problem and SEC members raised questions. A SEC member recalled that in the 1970s, the Faculty Senate endorsed, and the trustees subsequently approved, the category of clinician educator in the associated faculty with a 20% cap. Later they were made members of the standing faculty, and subsequently the cap was raised to 40%. The issue was: does the standing faculty want to be controlled by clinician educators? At the time, CEs' primary professional activity was patient care. They did not have the same interest in educational matters, as tenured faculty. The CE track was to be considerably different from the tenured faculty, but over time that has changed. Today, their number constitutes 58% of the Medical School's standing faculty, well over the 40% cap provided in the Handbook. The scholarly activities of CEs are more directed towards applied or clinical research and reviews of existing information, while tenured faculty's scholarly activities are more concerned with the generation of new knowledge in the laboratory. In addition, appointments to and promotions in the clinician educator category in the Medical School have become more difficult. Several principles bear on these issues: clinician educators are required to generate income to cover 80% of their salary; associate professors are expected to have a national reputation and professors an international reputation; they do not earn tenure; the governance issue of Medical School clinician educators constituting one-third of the standing faculty of the entire University; and, rights, responsibilities, and privileges under academic freedom and tenure. A SEC member noted that the tenured faculty are also being encouraged to bring in the same significant portion of their salary as the CEs.
A SEC member asked why there should be a difference between clinician educators and tenure track faculty. The SEC member went on to say that the 40% cap arose out of concern by the tenured faculty of being overwhelmed by a different kind of faculty. This question may call for reevaluation of tenure and promotion but that is not what the Senate leadership was planning to ask the Committee on the Faculty to study this year.
Another SEC member stated that the Medical School standing faculty want to examine the questions raised by SEC and to determine what a clinician educator ought to be. Other comments included: the clinician educator appointments are made in four other schools so that the Committee on the Faculty should examine all schools with clinician educators.
It was agreed to continue discussion on these difficult issues at the next meeting.
4. Senate Ad Hoc Committee on Codification of the Committee on Consultation Report. Senate Committee Chair Howard Lesnick introduced the Proposed Policy on Consultation the Committee prepared at the beginning of the summer. He stated that the decision had been made that codification of the Consultation Report should be done by a faculty committee, in a form that was appropriate for inclusion in the Handbook for Faculty and Academic Administrators. After the policy has been approved by SEC, the Senate will forward it to the administration for review and inclusion in the Handbook. A brief discussion followed.
The report will be placed on the agenda of the next meeting for a vote.
Almanac, Vol. 45, No. 3, September 15, 1998