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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 Senate Chair Lance Donaldson-Evans, Box 12, College Hall/6303, (215) 898-6943.

Senate Executive Committee Actions

Wednesday, January 21, 2004

1. Chair's Report. Senate Chair Lance Donaldson-Evans announced the return of Kristine Kelly, Faculty Senate administrator, from maternity leave effective Monday, January 26. He also announced a change to the meeting agenda, indicating that under new business (item 7), SEC would hear a report from Professor Debra Leonard, chair of the Senate's Ad Hoc Committee on Faculty Development, about that committee's work. The chair reminded SEC members of the next meeting of the University Council--Wednesday, January 28--and encouraged all Council members to attend.

2. Past Chair's Report on Academic Planning and Budget and Capital Council. As Past Chair Mitchell Marcus was absent for jury duty, no report was given.

3. Presentation by Vice Provost for Strategic Initiatives. Leslie Hudson, Vice Provost for Strategic Initiatives, provided an overview of the main functions of the new Office of Strategic Initiatives (OSI): providing a single portal through which potential institutional collaborators can approach Penn; initiating and supporting commercial relationships for research and development; aiding and encouraging technology transfer; and helping to provide regional economic leadership. He discussed various corporate partnerships, some already in place (such as an alliance with Glaxo SmithKline) and others under development in areas such as imaging technology, genomic research for drug discovery, and nanotechnology. Vice Provost Hudson described plans to increase regional capabilities for research that can translate discoveries from basic science into marketable products.  Major OSI goals include narrowing an existing gap between funding for basic research and funding for proof-of-concept and product commercialization, and creating around the campus translation zones--in the Science Center, Civic Center, and Post Office lands--to better capture early, middle, and late-stage commercialization opportunities.

4. Election of Chair of the 2004 Senate Nominating Committee. Ballots for election of chair of the 2004 Senate Nominating Committee were distributed.  Professor Michelle Richman was elected through approval voting.

5. Interim Report from the Ad Hoc Patent Policy Committee. Professor Andrew Binns, chair of the Ad Hoc Patent Policy Committee, provided an overview of the committee's work to date. Jointly charged by the Provost and SEC to review the University's patent policy and consider possible changes, the committee was asked to examine four broad areas: intellectual property rights (IPR); disclosure of inventions; management of licensing, and rights to intellectual property arising from faculty consulting. Possible actions under consideration include an increase in the percentage of licensing, equity, and royalty rights allocated for support of the Center for Technology Transfer (CTT), at least until its operating costs are covered; increased opportunity for faculty to inform the process by which organizations are selected for patent negotiations; possible changes in the nature of processes for appealing CTT decisions; and ways in which sections of the policy related to faculty consulting might be rendered less restrictive while protecting the University's legal rights and legitimate financial interests.

6. Discussion of ways to make the campus environment more comfortable to minority students. Senate Chair Lance Donaldson-Evans, noting that little time remained and that this agenda item would require extended discussion, proposed that the committee turn to new business and postpone discussion of the campus environment until the next meeting.

7. New Business. Professor Debra Leonard, chair of the Ad Hoc Committee on Faculty Development, recounted the committee's charge and its recent work. Stimulated by concerns about gender and minority equity on the faculty, the Senate last year called for the immediate creation of an Ad Hoc committee to consider the creation of a standing committee on faculty development and to draft a charge. The Ad Hoc Committee had met and was now proposing creation of a Senate Committee on the Diversity and Equity of the Faculty, with a charge modeled after that given to the Senate Committee on the Economic Status of the Faculty. Specific components of a draft charge were then discussed. Issues raised included the breadth and scope of the charge, and reporting and monitoring functions of the new committee. Following discussion, Senate Chair Lance Donaldson-Evans asked the Ad Hoc Committee to consider these matters in further refining their proposed charge.



  Almanac, Vol. 50, No. 19, January 27, 2004