SENATE From the Chair

Looking Ahead: The Faculty Agenda for 1999-2000

Greetings from the Senate Executive Committee and the chairs. As you embark on another academic year of teaching, research, administrative duties, and community service, I urge you to let the Senate chairs have your ideas about the changes the University is undergoing and the role the faculty should have in guiding them. Please communicate them to me or Professor Larry Gross at the Senate office (215-898-6943).

In my welcoming letter a year ago (Almanac, Sept. 9, 1998), I discussed the central and essential responsibilities that the faculty has in the governance of the University, and in my 1998-99 Annual Report (Almanac, May 11, 1999), I reviewed for you the many ways in which those responsibilities are being discharged at Penn. I will therefore limit my remarks here to a brief review of some of the major events that have taken place over the summer and of the principal items that are currently on the agenda for Senate deliberation over the next academic year.

As many of you already know, in late July, Professor Peter Conn, who had been chair of the Faculty Senate since May, was appointed Deputy Provost of the University. At the same time, he resigned his Senate position. Following Senate rules governing such a situation, I have agreed to serve as chair until the end of December (and to continue serving as past-chair), at which time our chair-elect, Professor Larry Gross, will become chair five-and-a-half months ahead of time. Also, Professor Rosane Rocher has asked to be relieved of her duties as secretary of the Senate for personal reasons. Professors Martin Pring and Sarah Kagan have generously agreed to follow the same procedure as Professor Gross and I have with respect to the chair, so that Professor Pring will serve as secretary until the end of December, and Professor Kagan, thereafter.

Last year, the Senate Executive Committee resolved a number of matters, as my May 11 report indicated. Several major issues remain, however. First, the question of how best to structure the faculty of the Medical School is currently under consideration by that School's faculty through its Faculty-2000 review process, including how to deal with the fact that clinician educators now constitute more than 40% of the Medical School's standing faculty, contrary to University policy. The Faculty-2000 steering committee expects the review to be completed after the beginning of next year and will be sending its recommendations to the Dean, the Provost, and the Faculty Senate. The former past chair of the Senate, Professor Vivian Seltzer, is serving as liaison to the Faculty-2000 steering committee. Second, a request of the School of Nursing that the policy governing its clinical faculty be revised is currently before SEC. Third, SEC's May 1999 proposal to revise the University's copyright policy was not accepted by Provost Barchi, so that the item remains on the agenda, along with a related focus on policy concerning the development and use of software. Fourth, formulation of the principles governing distributed learning continues to be a matter that will be receiving considerable attention this year. SEC recommended that a series of colloquia be held this year to introduce faculty to the potentials and problems of the approach and to identify major issues. Fifth, SEC must review revisions to the University's Policy on Misconduct in Research. Sixth, SEC will be considering several related issues having to do with cost containment and budget allocation, such as the incidence of the burden of undergraduate financial aid and the principles guiding subventions and cost allocations to the schools. Seventh, last spring, the administration instituted a planning process that is designed to produce a Campus Development Plan for the physical plant of the University by the end of December. I am a member of the Steering Committee for development of the plan and the faculty is well represented on the committees that are beginning to prepare a draft plan. Faculty will have the opportunity to participate in its formulation, and we will keep you informed of the progress of the planning process.

The Faculty Club ceased operation in Skinner Hall in August and has now moved to the second floor of the Inn at Penn. Be sure to stop by to see the new facilities for yourself and try out the cuisine.

Finally, it is my sad duty to advise you on July 13, Professor David Hildebrand died after a long fight against cancer. He had served the Senate in a number of capacities, including as chair in the 1992-93 academic year. Also, Professor Ralph Ginsberg died of injuries suffered in an automobile accident in England on July 31. He, too, had been active in the Senate, most recently as a valued member of the Committee on Faculty with a special interest in copyright policy. Those of us who knew Professors Hildebrand and Ginsberg are deeply saddened by their deaths. Memorial services will be in the early fall.


John Keene, Chair

Almanac, Vol. 46, No. 2, September 7, 1999