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 email@example.com.
Actions Taken by the Senate Executive Committee
Wednesday, November 8, 2000
1. Chair's Report. Faculty Senate Chair Larry Gross read a letter
he sent Nobel Laureate Alan G. MacDiarmid on behalf of SEC. He extended
SEC's unanimous expression of congratulations for the signal honor Professor
MacDiarmid received and the well-deserved recognition of his important work.
He also expressed SEC's gratitude for the reflected glory that Professor
MacDiarmid's presence sheds on the entire University.
Last month a SEC member suggested TIAA-CREF contributions be credited
to an individual's account the 15th of the month when market prices are
low rather than the current practice of crediting them the 1st of the month
when prices are high. It was reported that the Internal Revenue Service
requires employers to promptly credit contributions to individual's retirement
funds and not hold on to them. The University Council Committee on Personnel
Benefits will look into the matter further. A SEC member inquired why participants
in TIAA-CREF are required to have more than one account. The Chair reported
that Human Resources has promised to publish answers clarifying the questions
raised on this matter.
Professor Gross noted that the Senate Committee on Administration is
reviewing a proposed revision of the Financial Disclosure and Conflict of
Interest Policy for Research and Sponsored Projects.
Institutional Review Boards (IRB) are becoming increasingly elaborate
under Federal pressures. This arises in medical research but creates unwarranted
requirements for much social science research. There are plans to establish
a separate IRB for social science research projects.
2. Past Chair's Report on Academic Planning and Budget Committee and
on Capital Council. Past Chair Phoebe Leboy reported that Academic Planning
and Budget devoted its last meeting to hearing about and discussing the
progress of capital construction projects. The Capital Council scheduled
for October was cancelled.
3. Election of Ninth Member of the Senate Nominating Committee. Nominations
were made and the votes were taken. (At left).
4. Discussion on the Proposed Revised Policy and Procedures Relating
to Copyrights and Commitment of Effort for Faculty. The Chair recalled
that the matter has been on the table for several years. It arose particularly
around issues relating to software and intellectual property and changes
in Federal copyright law, in particular the Digital Millennium Copyright
Act. That law put greater ownership in the hands of the corporations rather
than in the hands of the creators of intellectual property. About five years
ago a University task force worked on the issues and produced a report that
concluded faculty own their creations. The report was thought to be at variance
with University objectives and was set aside. A new Provost's faculty committee
was established last year. A member of the previous task force, copyright
expert Penn Law Professor Robert Gorman, was consulted on the current proposed
changes to the Penn policy.
Professor Gross read a revision requested by the President concerning
faculty petition regarding ownership. It raises the determining official
for this action to the level of the Provost (V.E.1.c.).
Provost Barchi explained that the changes describe University ownership
in exceptional cases: certain categories of sponsored research, works for
hire, and use of substantial University resources. Further, the definitions
are open to reinterpretation and adaptation. The Provost pointed out that
a new part of the policy is commitment of effort with the core mission of
the schools. Schools can add new core items and adjust existing core items.
He said that any conflict of faculty work with the core school mission would
be resolved by the school faculty and the dean. The provost emphasized that
the academic missions are the province of the schools and their faculty.
A SEC member asked whether a faculty member giving a guest lecture at another
university would require permission of the dean. The Provost stated no but
the dean's permission would be required to give a course while on leave
at another university. SEC recommended a clarification by inserting "substantial"
in section V.E.2. It was also suggested that "Faculty" be capitalized
in the last sentence of the same section.
Discussion ensued on faculty access to avenues for appeal. It was recommended
that a new section V.E.5 be added to read: "This policy does not preclude
a faculty member's access to existing appeal mechanisms, such as the Committee
on Academic Freedom and Responsibility, the Faculty Grievance Procedure,
or the Provost."
These revisions were moved and seconded. SEC adopted the revisions without
dissent with one abstention. (CLICK
5. Selection of Five Faculty to the University Council Committee on
Committees. Nominations were made and a ballot was distributed.
6. Interim Report from 1999-2000 Senate Committee on the Economic
Status of the Faculty. Professor Gross noted that Committee chair Ed
Boe does an enormous amount of work on behalf of the committee and the Faculty
Senate. He emphasized that substantial strides have been made in obtaining
increasing amounts of data from the administration. Professor Boe began
by announcing that a written draft report from the 1999-2000 committee would
be available for SEC next month. He reviewed the outline of the committee's
efforts each year and then presented an overview of the draft report.