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 Executive Assistant Carolyn Burdon, Box 12 College Hall/6303, 898-6943, or

Actions Taken by the Senate Executive Committee

Wednesday, May 2, 2001

1. Chair's Report. Professor Gross noted two faculty members active in Senate affairs who recently received awards: SEC member Ivar Berg, the Ira Abrahms Award for Distinguished Teaching and Committee on the Faculty Chair Charles McMahon, the Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching. He thanked outgoing Past Chair Phoebe Leboy for returning to the Faculty Senate as Past Chair for 2000-2001 and providing the precision and wisdom that characterized her previous service as Chair and Past Chair.

2. Past Chair's Report on Academic Planning and Budget and Capital Council. Professor Phoebe Leboy reported that the Academic Planning and Budget Committee has been meeting weekly to discuss updating the Agenda for Excellence and explore possible new academic planning initiatives.

Capital Council met to review updated plans for the new Melvin and Claire Levine Hall for Computer and Information Science, and has two additional meetings scheduled.

Old Business

3. Dental School Proposal to Modify the Definition of Clinical Faculty. The proposed revision would allow full time clinical faculty in the Dental School to practice on campus. It is similar to the School of Medicine and School of Nursing proposals adopted last year. The proposal provides a cap on clinical faculty at 20% of the standing faculty. There is no limit in any one department; and it is expected that the clinical appointments would be for the most part in Restorative Dentistry. Professor Gross stated that last year the Committee on the Faculty met with Dean Raymond Fonseca and members of the Dental School faculty. The committee sent the proposal back to the Dental School noting that voting rights in the school were too broad. This year the school faculty clarified their voting policy, limiting voting rights to all full time faculty. The Committee on the Faculty considered the proposal in April and recommended approval.

SEC members expressed serious concern that membership in a department could shift from a majority of academic faculty to a majority of clinical faculty with no scholarly requirements, thus changing the direction of a department or school. A SEC member noted that these individuals are not clinician educators who are required to engage in research. Concerns were expressed regarding the academic freedom rights of non-standing faculty and the consequences for a department if a majority of its members are non-standing faculty.

A motion was made to approve the proposal, with the reservations noted above. The proposal passed with four opposed and 4 abstentions.

4. Report of the Senate Committee on Administration: A Survey of the Schools on Administrative Support Activities. Committee Chair Marshall Blume thanked the committee members for their effort and gave some highlights of the report (CLICK HERE). He said the survey asked the deans whether administrative support activities done at the school level would be better done at the central administration level and whether such activities done at the central administration level would be better done at the school level. The survey results indicate that the schools are generally satisfied with computing support, although some felt it should be faster and that there should be better documentation and training. The schools are dissatisfied with: housekeeping; small project administration which they prefer be handled at the school level; quality of counseling on retirement benefits for which the schools recommended a specialist be assigned to each school. Professor Gross noted that this is a beginning and that the Committee on Administration should meet with the deans next year. A member of the University Council Committee on Personnel Benefits requested the details of the survey responses be provided to that committee, as they do not receive this kind of feedback.

5. Extension of the Membership of the 2000-2001 Senate Committee on the Economic Status of the Faculty. SEC approved a proposal to extend the term of the committee until November 1, 2001 to complete the annual report.

6. Progress Report of the 2000-2001 Senate Committee on the Economic Status of the Faculty. Committee Chair Ed Boe stated that the final report should be available in September for discussion at the October SEC meeting. Among the committee's findings, he stated that the average % increase for assistant professors was a little higher than last year and salaries for Penn Professors in the AAUP survey are competitive. Professor Boe also noted that last year the committee added the School of Veterinary Medicine to the committee's study and has begun collecting School of Medicine data on the basic sciences. Professor Gross thanked Professor Boe for his work.

7. Update on University Investments. Vice President for Finance Craig Carnaroli and Chief Investment Officer Landis Zimmerman reviewed the changes that have taken place since they met with SEC last December. Mr. Zimmerman said that the NASDAQ has just been through a tremendous correction--the drop in value was greater than the 1929 stock market crash. He stated that Penn equities investment is 23% ahead of benchmarks and that last year's loss has been wiped out. High yield bonds and emerging markets did not perform well. In comparison with peers, Penn has improved.

8. Vacancy in Past Chair of the Faculty Senate. Faculty Senate Chair Larry Gross announced that he has agreed to serve as Deputy Dean of the Annenberg School for Communication. The administrative appointment will make him ineligible to serve as Past Chair of the Faculty Senate. Former Faculty Senate Chair Gerald J. Porter, Mathematics, was nominated to serve as Past Chair in 2001-2002. The nominations were closed and Professor Porter was elected by acclamation.

Before concluding this portion of the agenda, Professor Gross introduced Mitchell Marcus, incoming Chair-elect of the Faculty Senate and Louis Thomas, incoming Secretary-elect. Professor Gross expressed his gratitude to Executive Assistant Carolyn Burdon for her dedication, tireless work, institutional memory and sage advice to the Chair of the Faculty Senate.

Professor Gross turned the meeting over to incoming Faculty Senate Chair David Hackney.

New Business

Professor Hackney thanked Professor Gross for all that he does for the Faculty Senate and the University.

9. Optional SEC meeting on June 6. SEC cancelled the June 6 meeting.

10. Election of Four SEC members to the University Council Steering Committee. SEC elected the following members to serve a one-year term: Sarah H. Kagan (nursing), Edward L. Rubin (law), Louis A. Thomas (management) and Donald H. Voet (chemistry).

11. University Communications. Director of University Communications Lori Doyle outlined her position and some of the issues under review. Ms. Doyle noted that she reports directly to President Rodin and that her daily job is to work to improve the University's image. One issue under review at President Rodin's request is how the University brands itself; the Penn logo may or may not be updated. Other matters in Ms. Doyle's portfolio include: issues management; a stronger lead on the Penn Web site; focus on improving internal communication; improving the usefulness of the Current to faculty and staff; and draft a communications plan. Ms. Doyle stated that the communications plan will be provided to the Faculty Senate for feedback prior to its presentation at the June trustees meeting. Several SEC members cautioned that the Penn logo might be fine as it is.

12. Other New business. Professor Porter asked that SEC go on record thanking Larry Gross and Phoebe Leboy for their service. A round of applause followed.

Almanac, Vol. 47, No. 33, May 8, 2001