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SENATE 2006-2007
May 22, 2007, Volume 53, No. 34

Report of the Faculty Senate Committee on Faculty Development, Diversity and Equity (SCFDDE)

May 16, 2007

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Charges for 2006-2007

• Evaluate policies and procedures for dealing with sexual harassment, in conjunction with the Associate Provost

• Evaluate follow-through on recommendations for mentoring of junior faculty

• Discuss progress on recommendations from the Gender and Minority Equity Reports

Sexual Harassment Policies and Procedures

Two years ago a group of senior women faculty, in response to incidents on campus, asked President Amy Gutmann to evaluate the University’s policies and procedures regarding sexual harassment. Of particular concern were lack of ready access to information on the policy, lack of transparency in the procedures, and conflicting information on different websites. Deputy Provost Janice Bellace and General Counsel Wendy White were asked to evaluate the procedures. They responded very effectively by:

• Creating a very useful guide to the procedures

• Presenting a workshop to the Council of Deans regarding what constitutes a hostile work environment (including sexual harassment) and what can be done about it; the School of Medicine requested that the workshop be presented to all department chairs in the SOM

• Removing all conflicting information regarding sexual harassment policies and procedures from various Penn web sites

During the current year, SCFDDE met twice with Deputy Provost Bellace to discuss progress on awareness of what constitutes sexual harassment and procedures for dealing with it.

• The Committee expressed concern that, due to the nature of the search engine on the Penn website, a search for the current sexual harassment procedures was still not readily available. That problem has been corrected, and it is now easier to find the information. However, we believe that this information, and all information on family-friendly policies, should have direct links on Penn’s main web page.

• A number of schools have followed the SOM’s initiative and asked that sexual harassment workshops be presented in their schools. The schools that have not requested this are:  Arts and Sciences, Dental Medicine, Design, Graduate Education, Law, Nursing, Social Policy and Practice and Veterinary Medicine. We believe that it is important to be proactive and educate everyone at the University regarding what constitutes a hostile work environment, rather than simply educating people about what to do after an incident of harassment.

• In the past the Affirmative Action Committee has played a role in dealing with issues of harassment, particularly at the staff level, although that Committee has not been active in recent years. The Committee has now been merged with the University Council Pluralism Committee as the Council Committee on Diversity and Equity. Concerns have been expressed from staff about the presence of administrators on this Committee, an issue that must be discussed. Communication between the Council and Senate committees will be important in the future.

Junior Faculty Mentoring

Two years ago this Committee submitted a report to the Provost that described the state of junior faculty mentoring at Penn and made specific recommendations to ensure that all junior faculty members have access to mentoring. The Provost’s Office accepted most of our recommendations and asked every school to implement a mentoring program. The Deputy Provost has been responsible for overseeing these efforts and set three goals for the schools: each school should develop its own policy; each school should have a senior faculty member overseeing mentoring; and each junior faculty member should have a mentor.

• Seven schools have complied with all requirements.

• Three (Annenberg, Grad Ed and Dental) are making changes to bring them into compliance.

• Two (SPP, Vet) have not submitted proposals.

An important task for this committee in future years will be to determine the effectiveness of mentoring; this will require an effective and up- to-date faculty database, as well as adequate resources for follow-up surveys.

The Committee recently met with Dr. Mary Croughan, who developed the mentoring program at UCSF and serves as a consultant to the School of Nursing on their mentoring program. She advised the Committee on strategies for follow-through on mentoring practices and has agreed to return in the fall for further consultations with the Provost’s Office.

Recommendations for Next Year’s Committee

Follow-up on sexual harassment recommendations:  The Committee feels very strongly that the workshops regarding sexual harassment and hostile work environments should be provided as part of new faculty orientation throughout the University and that schools that have not participated thus far should be strongly encouraged to do so. With Janice Bellace stepping down as Deputy Provost, it will be extremely important to ensure that these workshops continue. It will also be important to work with the Council Committee on Diversity and Equity on staff concerns regarding harassment. An additional unresolved issue, and a particularly thorny one, is the concerns many victims of harassment have about the potential for retaliation.

Follow-up on mentoring recommendations:  The Committee may want to ask each school at the end of the year how the mentoring experience is going. They may also consider re-emphasizing past recommendations regarding recognition for mentoring:  e.g. putting mentoring experiences on CVs.

Family-friendly policies:  The issues of family-friendly policies and child care are intrinsically important to the charges of faculty development, diversity and equity. Furthermore, these areas are becoming increasingly important to the ability of the University to recruit and retain outstanding faculty (see “The Family Friendly Competition,” http://insidehighered.com/layout/set/print/news/2007/04/25/family). Several institutions have recognized the importance of adequate and affordable child care in retaining individuals in the pipeline for faculty positions. Penn’s family-friendly policies are highly competitive, but are not easy to find. A high priority for the coming year is to evaluate the family-friendly policies available and ensure that they are prominently displayed on Penn’s webpage.

2006-07 Committee Members

Sherrill Adams, Dental Medicine, Chair
Stephanie Abbuhl, Medicine
Terry Adkins, Design
Helen Davies, Medicine
Lois Evans, Nursing
Vivian Gadsden, Graduate Education
Senate Chair Vincent Price, Annenberg, ex-officio
Senate Chair-Elect Larry Gladney, Physics, SAS, ex-officio

Almanac - May 22, 2007, Volume 53, No. 34