Concluding the 21st Century Project...Other Topics
At the Stated Meeting of the Trustees Friday, October 30, Interim Provost Michael Wachter's report included, in addition to the traditional presentation of new appointments, promotions and leaves, the following update on recent activities in the Provost's office.
As part of our strategic planning process, each of the deans comes up for review during the sixth year of their seven-year term. This year, School of Social Work Dean Ira Schwartz is currently up for review. The Dean Review Committee has now been established and will be chaired by Dr. Sankey Williams, the Sol Katz Professor of General Internal Medicine. Dean reviews include eight faculty members, four elected by the school's faculty and four chosen by the University, primarily from outside of the school. There are also two student members and an alumni/overseer representative.
I am pleased to report that the 21st Century Project, as a central, organizing entity, has come to its natural conclusion. Although we are formally "ending" this chapter of the 21st Century Project, the initiatives that it has launched will endure. The project began with President Rodin's 1994 inaugural address, in which she described a vision for the future of undergraduate education at Penn.
This vision included core goals such as:
We have had a number of successful projects emerge from the academic "incubator" the 21st Century provided. I would like to highlight just a few of them today.
21st Century College House: As some of you heard yesterday, the first major success story is our 21st Century College Houses. I can't imagine a more concrete or dramatic example of meeting the Project's goal of "creating an intellectually dynamic and varied living experience" than our new comprehensive College House system.
The Wheel: The second success story, our Wheel programs, offer an unprecedented level of academic support in residence in subjects including math, computing, writing and library research. Others are on the way. The Wheel programs, many of which are delivered in a distributed learning mode, are literally transforming the way we deliver student services at Penn.
Hubs: Another very exciting and enduring initiative is the development of our hubs -- the Kelly Writers House and the Civic House. Like our college houses, these non-residential communities allow us to meet our 21st Century Project goals.
Research: Finally, the Undergraduate Research Resource Center is another terrific success story. The Resource Center is a means to furthering undergraduate research opportunities. We intend to build on that success. In the coming months you will hear more about our continued commitment to expanding our research opportunities for undergraduates, not just in faculty research but in internships as well.
I am very pleased to report that the vision articulated four years ago by President Rodin is well on its way to being met.
We are also vigoriously working to fill the director positions at two of our resource centers--the Institute for Contemporary Art and the Fels Center of Government. I have just announced search committees for each. The ICA search committee will be chaired by GSFA Dean Gary Hack. The Fels Center search committee will be chaired by Political Science professor Jack Nagel. [See below.]
The Faculty of the School of Arts and Sciences has approved a proposal to establish a new Master of Medical Physics degree program that will be administered through the Department of Physics and Astronomy. The new degree program has been endorsed by the University's Academic Planning and Budget Committee and was approved earlier today by the Academic Policy Committee.
This program will meet the needs of students who wish to apply rigorous graduate-level training in physics to problems of medical research and diagnosis. There is an increasing demand in medical fields for specially-trained physicists to aid in research, help develop new technologies, and maintain existing high-technology clinical equipment.
I am now pleased to present for your approval the Resolution to establish a Master of Medical Physics in the School of Arts and Sciences.
Following the Trustees Stated Meeting, Interim Provost Michael Wachter announced the full membership of the search committees named for ICA and the Fels Center:
Almanac, Vol. 45, No. 10, November 3, 1998