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 Larry Gross or Executive Assistant Carolyn Burdon, Box 12 College Hall/6303, (215) 898-6943 or

Actions Taken by the Senate Executive Committee

Wednesday, April 5, 2000

1. Chair's Report. Faculty Senate Chair Larry Gross thanked the Faculty Club Board of Governors for assistance in making it possible for the Senate Executive Committee (SEC) to hold meetings in the Hourglass Room of the Faculty Club.

He also thanked those who served so long and with great dedication drafting the Privacy Policy in the Electronic Environment. They were Professors Martin Pring, chair, and Gerald Porter and administrators Dave Millar and Ira Winston. Professor Gross noted that University Council approved the policy, to be reviewed in two years, and President Rodin would accept it. In contrast to the protections that will now be provided for Penn faculty, students and staff, Professor Gross noted a recent New York Times article about an employers' right to read employees' e-mail.

Professor Gross stated that the agenda of the May SEC meeting will include preliminary discussion on the Medical School Faculty 2000 Working Group Reports and Proposals. They are available online at: and SEC members were asked to review them.

2. Past Chair's Report on Academic Planning and Budget Committee and on Capital Council. Professor John Keene stated that the Academic Planning and Budget Committee (APBC) had met three times since the last Senate Executive Committee meeting with presentations from: Michael Masch, Executive Director of Budget and Financial Analysis, on the University's Five Year Capital Projects Review Process, and review of major projects in various stages; and from Vice Provost Paul Mosher on the findings of the external review of the library, and the projects that are in the works. Provost Barchi discussed the situation at the University of Pennsylvania Health System. Dean Alan Kelly discussed the findings of the external review of the Veterinary School and the various programmatic and capital needs of the school. At another APBC meeting that the Past Chair was unable to attend, Vice President for Facilities Services, Omar Blaik discussed the capital approval and development process and the classroom renovation process.

Capital Council met twice and reviewed a number of capital projects and approved some relatively small renovation proposals, such as another phase in the renovations of Van Pelt Library and the Palestra.

3. Nominations for 2000-2001 Committees. SEC discussed and amended nominations presented by the Senate Committee on Committees Chair Larry Gross. A ballot will be sent to SEC members.

4. Informal Discussion with the President. President Rodin raised a range of topics, including the announcement of Seamus Heaney as Commencement speaker and the distinguished group of honorary degree recipients. A SEC member said the list is spectacular. The President thanked Professors Gross and Leboy for their participation and leadership role in the reenergized Penn's Way Campaign. The President and Provost have held discussions with the deans on allocated costs in an effort to create rational formulas and an equitable process across the schools. The Trustees' investment committee is recalibrating the University's investments, as well as the committee, for a more aggressive approach. In response to a SEC member's statement that universities are considered very conservative in their investment practices, President Rodin said the Penn practice is to be neutral from generation to generation so that one is not advantaged at the expense of another. A SEC member asked about Penn's relationship with the new City government and the Mayor's transition team on which the President serves. President Rodin emphasized that it is valuable for Penn to be at the table when decisions are made and that the remaining openings in the Mayor's Cabinet will be complete within the next several weeks.

5. Report of the Senate Committee on Administration. Committee Chair Henry Teune introduced the report (below). Following discussion SEC unanimously approved the report.

6. Recommendation of the Senate Committee on the Faculty on a Graduate School of Fine Arts Proposal for Practice Faculty. Committee Chair Gregory Possehl presented the proposed revisions to the Handbook for Faculty and Academic Administrators, noting that the GSFA faculty had voted in favor of the proposal. The new associate practice faculty rank is recommended to allow the school to draw on the knowledge and experience of rising architects. While most of the new practice faculty would be in the department of architecture, some could be appointed in the other GSFA departments. The Faculty Senate Chair stated that the proposed limit to 30% of the GSFA standing faculty would permit 9 practice professors in the school given the current size of the school's faculty. The number of practice professors in each department may not exceed the number of faculty in that department. Appointments would be for five-year renewable terms and would be without voting rights.

Extended discussion focussed on whether the adjunct rank would meet the needs of GSFA and whether the proposed change would affect the strength of the standing faculty. Another SEC member emphasized that the proposal indexed the number of practice faculty to the number of the standing faculty.

A motion was made and seconded to revise the proposed Handbook change to clarify that practice professors could not exceed the number of standing faculty in each department. It was noted that standing faculty in each department would make the decision to appoint practice faculty. A SEC member observed that two questions had emerged from the discussion: (a) whether as much as 30% practice faculty is necessary, and (b) whether the rank of associate practice professor is necessary. Several SEC members asked whether the proposal should be tabled. No vote was taken. The Senate Chair stated that he would bring the proposed Handbook revision back to the next meeting of SEC.

Almanac, Vol. 46, No. 28, April 11, 2000