From the Senate Office
statement is published in accordance with the Senate Rules. Among
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,
12 College Hall/6303, (215) 898-6943 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Taken by the Senate Executive Committee
Wednesday, January 16, 2002
Hackney reported that the Gender Equity Report had been referred
to the Senate Committee on the Faculty for review. The Minority
Equity Committee has been charged. The Senate chairs met with the
Vice Provost for Research regarding the Center for Technology Transfer.
They are considering a committee to review the technology transfer
process, services provided by the CTT, costs of CTT and patent policy.
Penn is working to comply with a requirement that it track its students
and emplyees who are there on visas. There have been no requests
for information from the University that might compromise student
privacy. Professor Hackney noted a recent alochol survey that reported
that although overall binge drinking by students is down significantly
there remain groups with a high rate. Athletes who are in fraternities
have rates 19 times as high as others. Drinking at Penn is down
but problems are concentrated in a few sorts. The Provost is working
with the Athletic Department and coaches to address problems.
2. March Meeting.
the March 13 meeting and rescheduled it for March 20 at 3 p.m.
3. Past Chair's
Report on Academic Planning and Budget Committee and Capital Council.
Porter reported that there had been one meeting of Academic Planning
and Budget since the last SEC meeting that he was unable to attend.
Council has held no meetings since the last SEC meeting.
SEC voted on
candidates for the Senate Nominating Committee Chair (at right),
the Senate Committee on Committees and faculty members of the Council
Committee on Commitees.
Discussion with Provost Robert Barchi.
outlined the questions on the economic status of the faculty that
he had asked the Provost to cover. A SEC member inquired whether
the financial status of the Health System influenced the need for
an increase in health insurance rates, and whether changes in health
plan design could improve the status of UPHS. An extended discussion
ensued. The Provost stated that there was no relationship between
increases in health plan rates and the financial status of the Health
System. He reported that the Health System was in the black last
year, but that it will not be able to retire its large debt for
many years. Health benefit costs are rising across the country.
He noted that continually rising costs of prescriptions are the
largest contributors to these increases. Hospital costs are only
up slightly and physician fees are flat. Associate Provost Barbara
Lowery spoke to the need for the University to contain these costs
and provide affordable health benefit options that will work for
those who are covered by the plans. The administration has been
working with the University Council Committee on Personnel Benefits,
chaired by Professor Gerald Porter. The committee has been reviewing
options for change and the decision will be announced to the University
community in a few months. Professor Porter noted that 25% of the
University community is taking maintenance drugs. He added that
people request the newest drugs and that is driving up costs. A
SEC member requested that in the event the health care plans change
and require more pre-approval for procedures that the community
be provided with a list of all procedures that would require pre-approval
to inform them in selecting a plan. Professor Hackney suggested
that Associate Provost Lowery return to SEC to continue the discussion.
A SEC member
inquired about the high salaries of some administrators that far
exceed salaries of most professors and the provost. Provost Barchi
said it is a condition of the competitive marketplace and the difficulty
in hiring and retaining the top individuals for an academic setting.
Although less dramatic, there are also wide variations in faculty
salaries by field, and among different schools. This is the case
at our peer universities as well.
turned to the economic status of the faculty. Provost Barchi reminded
SEC of the several studies now carried out by his office, including
a study done every five years of salary distribution in rank by
department. In this review they identify outliers at the high and
low ends of the distribution. These are reviewed by the deans to
ensure that salaries are appropriate, or to make corrections if
necessary. The Provost also reviews all faculty raises annually
and the deans are required to provide documentation and justification
of raises outside the guideline range for salary increases. The
Senate Committee on the Economic Status of the Faculty (SCESF),
working with the Provost's office prepares an analysis of 5-year
raises versus Consumer Price Index increases in the same five years.
This identifies classes of faculty members who have received cumulative
raises below the CPI over this period of time. Although the SCESF
does not review salary data for individuals, the Provost's office
provides the deans with historic salary data on individuals, so
that the deans can ensure that the cumulative effect of annual salary
decisions is appropriate. SEC members pointed out that many faculty
have no information about the basis for salary decisions made by
their department chair. The Provost emphasized that faculty should
get an annual letter containing feedback on their performance during
the year, and the rationale for the salary increase they receive.
It was suggested that the Senate Committee on the Economic Status
of the Faculty undertake a survey of the deans to determine their
practices in providing faculty with specific feedback on performance
and its relationship to salary actions. The Provost noted that there
is always a range of faculty performance, with most in the middle,
but some far above or below the expected standards. For this reason,
he has instructed the deans that salary increases should reflect
performance, and that a uniform raise for all faculty members in
a division is rarely, if ever, appropriate.
to Professor Hackney's request Provost Barchi turned to an update
on the Strategic Planning Process. The Provost recalled that one
year ago he met with the Academic Planning and Budget Committee
and the Council of Undergraduate Deans to formulate an outline of
directions. In September 2001 fourteen committees were established
to consider and revise sections of the outline. He has been meeting
with the committee chairs weekly and they are close to a final draft.
An Open Forum on the Strategic Plan is scheduled for January 28
at 4 p.m. in 200 College Hall. Community input will be considered
and the plan will go to the Trustees in February. Over several months
the plan will be costed out, tied to the 5-year budget cycle and
the capital plan, prioritized and a fund-raising plan will begin
Almanac, Vol. 48, No. 19, January 22, 2002
January 22, 2002
Volume 48 Number 19