From the Senate Office
Taken by the
Senate Executive Committee
October 31, 2001
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 David Hackney or Executive Assistant Carolyn Burdon, Box 12
College Hall/6303, (215) 898-6943 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Professor David Hackney announced that the Gender Equity Report
was not yet completed, but that it would be completed soon. In addition,
the Retirement Task Force continues to work on its assignment to
study the general issue of faculty retirement, and to explore ways
of encouraging older faculty members to retire. They have a number
of interesting ideas, he said, but they are still developing them
and they need to obtain more data. Finally, a Minority Equity Committee
has been constituted, with an assignment that is analogous to that
of the Gender Equity Committee.
Draft Report of the 2000-2001 Senate Committee on the Economic Status
of the Faculty. Professor
Ed Boe presented the Draft Report, which addresses both salary levels
and salary increases. It compares these figures with external data
regarding other institutions, and also measures their variability
within the University. A principal conclusion of the comparative
analysis is that Penn is competitive with the highest paying universities
in the United States. Certain departments are less competitive,
however, and assistant professors' salaries are somewhat less competitive
than those of full professors. In both cases, however, the situation
is gradually improving. Variability within Penn involves differences
among ranks, differences among schools or departments and differences
among individuals. The differences among schools seems to be driven
largely by market forces. Differences among individuals are based
largely on merit. Professor Boe then reported that the Committee
on the Economic Status of the Faculty has recommended that priority
be placed on improving faculty salaries that have fallen below competitive
levels. This same recommendation was advanced last year, and there
has been some improvement since then.
centered on two issues. First, there was concern that the effort
to increase the competitiveness of assistant professors' salaries,
though desirable, would lead to compression of the salary scale
for the faculty as a whole. Second, there was concern about the
significant number of faculty, thirteen percent among full professors,
whose cumulative salary increases over a period of years were lower
than the increase in the Consumer Price Index for that period.
SEC voted by acclamation
to accept the annual report. It will now be forwarded to the Provost.
Discussion of Institutional Review Boards and Social Science Research.
Vice Provost for Research Neal Nathanson stated that his
office and the Faculty Senate have jointly established a Working
Group, chaired by Professors Larry Gross and Hans Van Dongen, to
provide guidelines for the newly-established Institutional Review
Board (IRB) on the Social and Behavioral Sciences. Professor Gross
explained that universities are mandated by federal law to establish
institutional review boards to approve all experiments on human
beings carried out by faculty or students. While this requirement
is well understood by those working in the natural sciences, it
has caused a variety of problems in the social sciences. Not all
social scientists are aware of the requirements, and the review
provided by the existing IRBs was frequently inappropriate for social
science. The purpose of the new IRB is to provide review that is
performed by people who are knowledgeable about social science and
who are applying appropriate standards. Under such standards, Professor
Gross explained that much social science research will be placed
in the exempt category. This does not mean that the research has
not been reviewed, but rather than it has been reviewed and placed
in the exempt category, as opposed to the expedited review or full
review categories. Even when expedited or full review is required,
such review should be carried out by people who fully understand
the field and the nature of the research. This will make the review
process more efficient and avoid the current situation where some
permissible research is disallowed because it is not fully understood
or is being reviewed according to natural science standards. The
Working Group's aspiration is to develop standards that will guide
the IRB, and provide training for faculty members who rotate through
it. These faculty members will then be able to communicate the standards
to their students, so that these standards will ultimately become
part of the university culture. Subsequent SEC discussion noted
that many classic social science experiments would not be permitted
under the review procedures, even if these procedures were tailored
to social science in the manner suggested. Professor Gross acknowledged
that this is the case, but said that it was the result intended
by the federal requirements.
Discussion of Campus Safety and Security. Vice
President for Public Safety Maureen Rush reported that there have
been encouraging declines in crime rates in the campus area during
the past four years. Comparing the year 2000 with 1996, all crimes
are down 33%, robberies are down 64%, burglary 19%, auto theft 68%,
and theft from cars 38%. Preliminary figures for the year 2001 indicate
a further 25% decrease over the previous year.
Some of the reasons
for this decline in crime are that the Division of Public Safety
has been reorganized and expanded to combat crime more effectively.
Improved working relationships have been established with the Philadelphia
Police Department and with the Allied-SpectaGuard security officers.
As a result of the Police Department's relationship with the Division
of Public Safety, Penn Police are now the primary investigators
for robberies within their area of jurisdiction. Thus, instead of
waiting in a City of Philadelphia police station to report a crime,
victims can be interviewed on campus, and without a wait. The Allied-SpectaGuard
officers have been largely merged with the University City District
Safety Ambassadors. This has facilitated an increase in bike patrols
and walking escorts throughout the District. In addition, a motorist
assist program has been instituted, in which safety officers respond
rapidly to people whose cars have broken down to prevent their being
victimized by crime.
With respect to
homeland security issues, the Penn Police have received 45 calls
regarding suspicious packages or substances. A protocol has been
developed for responding to such calls. Two police officers and
a supervisor are dispatched in response to every call. After isolating
and securing the area, these officers determine whether there is
any risk; if there is a possibility that an explosive or a biohazard
is present, the officers are able to call in the Philadelphia Police
Department's bomb control unit, the City of Philadelphia's Rapid
Assessment Team (an inter-agency group) or the FBI. At present,
none of the calls have related to real risks, but Vice President
Rush encouraged members of the campus community to continue reporting
anything that appears to be suspicious.
Almanac, Vol. 48, No. 11, November 6, 2001
November 6, 2001
Volume 48 Number 11
Packard Foundation awards a fellowship to Dr.
Max Tegmark of physics and astronomy.
Antonio Merlo is named director of the Penn Institute for
Jean Howard has been named the Catherine Bryson Professor.
Sheila Murnaghan has been named the Alfred Reginald Allen
Memorial Professor in Greek.
special section of Knowledge@Wharton,
a Wharton web site, provides Survival Strategies for the Post
University Council meets on Wednesday
for the annual reports on the State of the University.
Trustees approve resolutions and
report on finances, facilities, external affairs, neighborhood
initiatives, investments and more at their fall meetings.
Code of Conduct for Penn Apparel
Licensees is republished in accordance with its obligation
for public accountability.
intellectual property rights
is a responsibility taken seriously by Penn; allegations and
infringements are investigated.
Commitment to Our Community is the theme of the Penn's
Way 2002 workplace charitable campaign which has a goal
of raising $400,000.