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. Chair's Report: Faculty Club Update. The Chair emphasized the importance of the discussion at the last SEC meeting and the action taken as a result (Almanac January 26, 1999), noting that the administration has been quite responsive to the faculty's concerns. They have accepted SEC's recommendation for a 3-year grace period before any steps are taken to terminate the Club's use of the Inn at Penn space, should the Club's revenues decline 20% from 1998-99 figures. It has been clarified that the Club has control over its space between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. during weekdays. A new paragraph has been added to the Transfer Agreement stating that the University recognizes the importance of having a Faculty Club. Another concern had been that the operator of the Inn at Penn is not a party to the Transfer Agreement or the Management and Operations Agreement. The Senate Chair has been assured that the agreement between the Faculty Club and the operator will include the two agreements, as an appendix, insuring the operator's adherence to standards the agreements set out, but it is unclear whether this change has been made. A SEC member who is a member of the Faculty Club Board of Governors was asked to follow up on the latter point.
2. Past Chair's Report on Academic Planning and Budget Committee and on Capital Council. The Academic Planning and Budget Committee has met every week since the semester began, several times with the new Provost. The Capital Council meeting set for January 24 was cancelled and the next meeting will be in one month.
3. University Council Committee on Committees. Nominations were made to complete faculty appointments to the committee.
4. Faculty Fundraising for Undergraduate Scholarships. Professors David Williams and Warren Seider presented an outline of the proposal. They had asked to meet with the Faculty Senate Executive Committee to discuss the idea and determine whether to move forward with it. Professors Williams and Seider served as co-chairs of the 1997-98 University Council Committee on Admissions and Financial Aid, where the proposal originated. That committee had been charged to interact with, and monitor the progress of, the Vagelos Committee's efforts to raise $200 million over 5 years for undergraduate scholarships. Some SEC members spoke in favor of the proposal while others spoke against it. SEC members requested information on details including: how contributions would be solicited; who would receive the scholarships; whether donations and donors' names would be kept confidential; and, whether there would be undue pressure to contribute.
It was moved and seconded to refer the matter to the Senate Committee on the Faculty for a speedy, informal examination of the questions raised by the Senate Executive Committee during its discussion February 3, 1999, and report back to SEC as soon as possible. The motion was approved unanimously.
5. Faculty Club Employees. At its previous meeting, SEC had requested information regarding the future of the approximately 35 Faculty Club employees, including 10 who are not in the union, after the transfer of the operation to the Inn at Penn. (The Inn will employ 250 people.) Vice President Jack Heuer described the arrangements worked out for non-union employees at the Club and the offer made to unionized employees at the Club. (See Almanac January 26, 1999, for John Fry's letter containing the details outlined by Mr. Heuer.) In particular, interview rights originally offered have been improved so that of those interviewed, 70% will be offered jobs. Mr. Heuer reiterated that although the union has not responded to its proposals, the University is committed to continue to bargain in good faith with the union to reach a fair and equitable agreement for the employees.
6. Informal Discussion with the President and Provost. President Rodin stated that she would address the most important academic issues for the year, as requested by Faculty Senate Chair John Keene. President Rodin pointed out that the appointment of the new Provost, Robert Barchi, is itself one of the most important academic initiatives, noting that he and she share the same priorities for the University. Among the issues President Rodin discussed were: leadership of the schools; extensive fundraising efforts; building plans; developments east of campus; and, the banner year in admissions. She also noted aggressively targeting interdisciplinary programs and that a new brochure would be available soon that she would circulate to SEC.
President Rodin thanked Professor Howard Lesnick and SEC for their time and effort spent on the Policy on Consultation (Almanac December 8, 1998). She stated that the administration has accepted the recommendation of SEC on the policy and will be promulgating it.
Provost Robert Barchi expressed his pleasure in having the opportunity to meet with SEC. He outlined his goals: (1) enrich the intellectual climate of the University; (2) encourage innovation in education and research; (3) implement and advance the Agenda for Excellence; and (4) strengthen the academic infrastructure of the University. He stressed the importance of integrating academic planning with strategic planning for campus facilities.
Several SEC members, not in SAS, urged that a top priority be to pre-serve the School of Arts and Sciences. One suggested that the administration should take a fresh look at the ways in which costs of undergraduate programs ought be charged. He suggested more should be charged to the University rather than to the schools. Provost Barchi said he strongly supports SAS. He will review the budget's system of allocated costs and subventions to determine whether it should be changed, and to clarify it. A SEC member wondered who pays for undergraduate financial aid; other universities treat it as a university-wide burden, not a school burden. President Rodin pointed out that other Ivies have a larger endowment and Penn has an aggressive campaign to increase its endowment. In response to a SEC member's question, the President said there have been discussions of modifying the "spending rule" and also on changing the University's investment policy.
A SEC member asked where recruitment and retention of current faculty
fit into the University's strategic priorities. President Rodin said there
was no target number for faculty but that she would like to come back to
SEC with some ideas. She went on to say that the commitment to recruitment
and retention includes appointment of 125 chaired faculty positions, investment
in research facilities, other specific expenditures and non-financial aspects.
Provost Barchi added that priorities in the Agenda
for Excellence each contain retention and recruitment; he will push
Almanac, Vol. 45, No. 20, February 9, 1999