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.
Actions Taken by the Senate Executive
Wednesday, March 3, 1999
1. Chair's Report.
a. Nominations. The chair drew attention to: (1) the slate of
March 2, 1999) from the Senate Nominating Committee; (2) the ongoing
elections to odd-numbered faculty constituencies; and (3) nominations from
the Senate Committee on Committees on the agenda of this meeting.
b. Faculty Club Update. The chair reported that at a meeting
today, the Faculty Club Board of Governors signed the Maintenance and Operation
Agreement and the Transfer Agreement with the University. He noted that
the agreement with Doubletree will be for 10 years with reviews conducted
during that period and had been revised to (1) extend the grace period
for evaluation of the Club's financial performance to three years; (2)
commit the University to including the two agreements in its contract with
Doubletree; and (3) give the Club control over its space during the hours
from 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays.
2. Past Chair's Report on Academic Planning and Budget
Committee and on Capital Council. Past Chair
Vivian Seltzer reminded SEC of the members of the Capital Council, each
of whom contributes information pertinent to the project under consideration.
In regard to the Academic Planning and Budget Committee, the past chair
reported that meetings have been held weekly and will continue throughout
the semester. Representatives from the relevant offices of the University
provide detailed material. An open spirit of discussion prevails as issues
are considered. Participation by faculty members is energetic.
A SEC member asked about University policy on the selection of tenants
for University commercial property. Following discussion, it was moved and
seconded that: "the Senate Executive Committee wishes to bring to the
University Council Steering Committee, for discussion at University Council,
the issue of how decisions are made on the choice of tenants for leasing
of University real estate." The motion was adopted.
3. Economic Status Committee Proposals. Committee
Chair Erling Boe outlined a proposal to change the committee's approach
to reporting each year and briefly discussed a proposal on continuing and
short-term salary policy issues.
a. The practice has been for the committee to: request data from
the provost; draft a report containing recommendations; send it to the
Senate Executive Committee for review and possible revision and endorsement;
forward the report to the provost; meet with the provost to review the
report and possibly revise it for factual accuracy; and obtain permission
from the provost to publish data that were deemed confidential when initially
provided to the committee; and, publish a report in Almanac.
A new procedure is proposed due to difficulties with the above practice.
These difficulties include working with erroneous factual information or
having differences in interpretation of data and publishing a report without
the confidential data on which the text is based. According to Professor
Boe, most importantly, the Economic Status Committee's function of representing
the faculty in determining faculty salary policy has been only marginally
effective. This is because the recommendations are made in its annual report
and discussed with the provost, who then takes them under advisement. Perhaps
six months later, upon inquiry by the committee, the committee learns of
the provost's decision. There is no opportunity for timely follow-up and
at that point the committee is far along in the process of drafting its
next annual report.
b. The chair of the Economic Status Committee moved that the
committee follow a new procedure: draft a report; discuss it with the provost
to clarify facts and interpretations and obtain authorization to release
to SEC and publish data in the report that might have been considered confidential;
send it to SEC for review; and publish it in Almanac. This report
would contain data on faculty economic status and analyses of those data
by the Committee. It would no longer contain recommendations or policies.
At the same time, a report would be submitted to SEC of the status of past
recommendations for development of faculty salary policy and/or procedures,
and recommendations for (1) pursuing (or abandoning) past recommendations,
and (2) for further development of faculty salary policy and/or procedures.
The motion also proposed to establish a process under which the Economic
Status Committee would work with the Office of the Provost on an ongoing
basis to develop faculty salary policy and procedures, with periodic reports
to, and consultation with SEC, as appropriate, with a minimum of one annual
report to SEC.
A SEC member noted last year's SEC motion at its April 1 meeting calling
for release of more detailed salary information by schools (Almanac
April 7, 1998). Other comments included: concern that the report would
include only successes but would not report all the requests; a request
that data have a gender context; that this year's report address last year's
recommendations and the administration's response to each; and concern
that there is no merit data and concern about who decides merit increases.
Two members of the Economic Status Committee stated the committee had been
provided with data it did not have before. A SEC member pointed out there
is a difference between inequality and inequity and the committee is looking
It was moved and seconded that the annual report of the Senate Committee
on the Economic Status of the Faculty include a report on the successes
and failures of negotiations with the provost concerning past SEC recommendations
on faculty compensation issues. The motion was accepted as a friendly amendment
by the Economic Status Committee Chair. SEC adopted the amended motion
by an overwhelming majority.
The document on Faculty Compensation Policy Issues, that was distributed
with the agenda for this meeting, will be on the agenda of the next SEC
meeting, along with current data.
4. Extension of the Tenure Probationary Period for
Child Care. Committee on the Faculty Chair Harvey Rubin stated
that in response to an inquiry from a faculty member the committee discussed
whether the Handbook section on extension of the tenure probationary
period covers both parents of a new child. The Committee on the Faculty
agreed unanimously that the policy applies to both parents. Some SEC members
believed the current Handbook language states that such coverage
applies, while others felt it was open to interpretation to apply or not.
Following discussion, SEC affirmed that the policy on extension of tenure
probationary period (Handbook, Section II.E.3) provides extension
to both faculty members who are covered by the policy, such as the mother
and father of a newborn child, where they are both non-tenured members of
the standing faculty. SEC agreed that if the administration requested it,
SEC would recommend revisions to the Handbook language that would clarify
A question was raised as to the accuracy of the employment categories
given in Section II.E.3.a. of the Handbook. The matter was referred
to the Committee on the Faculty to review that section and to draft new
5. Nominations for Committee Vacancies. Senate
Committee on Committees Chair Peter Conn presented nominees for various
committees recommended by the Committee on Committees. SEC members amended
the list. A ballot will be sent to SEC members and approval voting will
be used. SEC authorized Chair-elect Peter Conn to select additional faculty
to serve on the committees in the event the rank-ordered list of nominees
resulting from a tally of the votes is exhausted.
A SEC member suggested that additional members be nominated for the
Ad Hoc Biomedical Review Panel on the Research Foundation. The number of
proposals has risen requiring creation of the ad hoc panel. It was noted
that the Faculty Senate had not been invited to submit nominations for that
panel but that the vice provost for research had made those appointments.
Almanac, Vol. 45, No. 24, March 16, 1999
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ISSUES | MARCH at PENN