SENATE From the Senate Office
following statement is published in accordance with the Senate
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 Lance
Donaldson-Evans, Box 12,
College Hall/6303, (215) 898-6943.
December 10, 2003
Report. Senate Chair Lance Donaldson-Evans reported that
he had, as agreed upon by the Senate Executive Committee
last month, sent a letter on behalf of SEC to James Riepe,
Chairman of the Board of Trustees and of the Consultative
Committee for the Selection of a President, underscoring
the importance of giving due weight to presidential candidates' willingness
to consult with the faculty. Professor Donaldson-Evans
expressed satisfaction with Mr. Riepe's reply, and confidence
that the faculty members serving on the Consultative Committee
would faithfully represent faculty viewpoints as the presidential
selection process moves forward.
Chair's Report on Academic Planning and Budget and Capital
Council. Past Chair Mitchell Marcus reported that, since
the last SEC meeting, the Academic Planning and Budget Committee
had met twice. In those meetings, the Committee had received
updates on plans for an urban institute, heard reports on
early admissions and a proposal for a new graduate degree
program in geoscience, and discussed student diversity.
for Faculty Caucus. Senate Chair Lance Donaldson-Evans
explained that recent changes in the scheduling of midterm
reports from University Council Committees had required shifting
the meeting schedule for the Council Committee on Committees,
which is charged with monitoring all Council standing and
ad hoc committees to assess their continuing usefulness.
At this juncture, in order to hear midterm reports from committee
chairs, the faculty caucus on the Committee on Committees
would need to be reconstituted, or carried over in its current
membership through January. Hearing no objections, Professor
Donaldson-Evans entered a motion to extend current faculty
membership on the Committee. The motion was approved.
on University Finances. Craig Carnaroli, Vice President
for Finance and Treasurer, provided an overview of the University's
debt policy. Recent news coverage in the Philadelphia
Inquirer of the Trustees' November review of University
finance had highlighted Penn's current levels of indebtedness
(currently $1.4 billion, much of which stems from operation
of the health system). Vice President Carnaroli discussed
likely future trends in the University's debt position and
its debt-management policies. In the coming years, the University
plans to retire $350 million in debt, but will also need
to borrow an additional $200 million. Costs of debt service
will be heavy in 2005 and 2006; but the University's overall
debt position should remain relatively stable, and policies
are in place providing guidelines for continued growth, a
reasonable match of assets and liabilities, and management
of debt capacity that should either maintain or improve modestly
Penn's standing relative to peer institutions.
Visit by President Rodin and Provost Barchi. President
Judith Rodin and Provost Robert Barchi joined the Committee
a discussion of several issues. These included financial
management in the coming years, plans for further capital
expansion, and gender and minority equity on the faculty. They
noted, following up on Vice President Carnaroli's presentation,
that the base budget for the University provides for capital
expansion, and that the many improvements in recent years
were accomplished under conditions, in terms of the University's
debt position, that were similar to those likely to be experienced
in coming years. Plans for acquisition of properties toward
the Schuylkill River, along with development of area buildings
for expanded research space, continue. The economic downturn
of the past several years does mean continued "belt tightening" in
the near-term future, but in fact Penn's financial adjustments
(e.g., a reduced salary program, freezing high-level administrative
salaries, tightening of job reclassifications) have been
less dramatic than interventions necessitated at many peer
institutions. Provost Barchi outlined recent steps taken
to improve gender equity on the faculty, noting increases
in the proportions of women on various School faculties.
A Minority Equity Committee is expected to complete a report
by sometime next fall.
Business. No new business was brought to the Committee.