May 22, 2007, Volume 53, No. 34
Report of the Faculty Senate Committee on Faculty and the Administration (SCOA)
May 16, 2007
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The Senate Committee on Faculty and the Administration (SCOA) received its list of official charges at the beginning of the academic year 2006-07, as detailed below. Following the arrest of a Penn faculty member in August of 2006, however, the Committee was asked to defer its scheduled business to review the University’s rule of Temporary Exclusion of a Faculty Member (Handbook II.E.18). Most of the Committee’s energies were devoted to revising this policy, which comes before SEC today. In addition, during the spring semester, Deputy Provost Janice Bellace forwarded a proposal for revising the Reduction in Duties Provision, (Handbook II.E.2). SCOA revised this proposal and presented it to SEC and SEC approved the proposal. In addressing its official charges, SCOA presented several other proposals for Handbook revision to SEC, having to do with representation in SEC of retired and emeritus faculty, as well as with the composition of University Council. These were both approved as well.
II. Temporary Exclusion Revision
The President and the Provost asked SCOA to examine the current Temporary Exclusion Provision and to recommend appropriate modifications. Their principal concern was that the current policy is not sufficiently flexible to permit a timely response in emergency situations, and also that the policy fails to address a situation in which a faculty member is charged with a serious criminal offense but where the alleged offense would not indicate that the faculty member posed a risk of immediate harm to others.
SCOA met five times during the fall semester to consider different possible revisions of the current policy. A draft provision was agreed upon towards the end of that period, and was forwarded to Provost Ron Daniels for review and comment. The Provost, after sharing the draft with the Council of Deans, met with SCOA at the end of January to offer some additional suggestions for revision. After approving the draft policy, SCOA then forwarded its proposal to the Senate Committee on Academic Freedom and Responsibility (SCAFR) for comment. The draft was subsequently revised to include a number of SCAFR’s suggestions.
III. Reduction in Duties Policy
The Faculty Senate was asked by Deputy Provost Janice Bellace in January 2007 to consider a proposal to revise the Reduction in Duties policy, prompted by a request on the part of faculty members at the School of Medicine. The proposal was sent to SCOA, which was asked to prepare a recommendation to SEC. SCOA made several substantive changes to the proposed policy forwarded by Deputy Provost Bellace, as well as a number of cosmetic changes. The draft policy was approved by SEC on April 18, 2007.
The policy SCOA was asked to revise did not permit an extension of the probationary period for promotion unless there was at least a 50% reduction in duties for two years. In some cases, this forced junior faculty to take more extensive reductions than they otherwise desired, in situations in which they could not maintain a full-time schedule, usually due to care of young children. Faculty in the School of Medicine expressed a desire to be able to take a smaller reduction in duties, for example to 75% for a period of four years, and have that reduction entitle them to a year’s extension of the probationary period when the total amount of reduction was equal to one year. The new policy permits this additional flexibility. A full explanation of how extensions of the probationary period are to be calculated under the new policy is presented in SCOA’s report to SEC (submitted on April 18, 2007).
IV. Summary of Charges for 2006-2007
The initial charges presented to SCOA in the beginning of the 2006-07 academic year were as follows:
1. Review the Faculty Grievance Procedure and its operation, and consider changes to this procedure in light of concerns expressed in prior reports of the Grievance Commission.
2. Review recommendations issued by the Senate last year in connection with faculty compensation policies in the School of Medicine.
3. Consider a proposal to amend the Senate Rules to provide a non-voting, ex-officio appointment to the Senate Executive Committee for the President of the Association of Senior and Emeritus Faculty.
4. Review current policies and procedures for selecting members of the Senate Executive Committee who also serve as members of the University Council.
5. Review SCOA’s general charge and identify the most pressing issues facing the Committee over the next few years.
V. Action Taken to Address Committee Charges
1. Review the Faculty Grievance Procedure
The Faculty Senate Tri-Chairs met with the Grievance Commission in August 2006, to determine if there were any perceived problems. The current Grievance Commission reported no problems and reported satisfaction with the current grievance mechanism. Chair Claire Finkelstein reviewed all previous available reports of the Grievance Commission and noted that previous Commissions had complained that grievance procedures were lengthy and cumbersome, and that they can be excessively burdensome for faculty members serving on the Commission. In consultation with Faculty Senate Chair Vince Price, however, SCOA decided not to recommend revision of this policy at this time.
2. Review Recommendations from 2005-07 Regarding Faculty
Compensation For Clinician Educators
During the 2005-06 academic year, SCOA discussed an objection raised by clinician educators in the School of Medicine regarding mandated patient contact hours. SCOA at that time determined that the rules promulgated by the Dean of the School of Medicine for clinician educators were not a violation of their terms of employment or their academic freedom, and were within the discretion of the School of Medicine Administration. This year SCOA saw no reason to question its previous determination.
3. Addition of a PASEF member to SEC
SCOA was charged with considering a proposal to provide a non-voting, ex-officio appointment to the Faculty Senate Executive Committee (SEC) for a representative of the Association of Senior and Emeritus Faculty (PASEF).
SCOA met on December 6, 2006 to consider the PASEF proposal. It agreed that the Faculty Senate would benefit from the expertise of retired faculty, and that it was a reasonable request on the part of PASEF. Implementation of the proposal required amendment of the Senate Rules pertaining to SEC membership. SCOA elected to revise Section 9(a)(i) of those rules. to include the phrase “and one non-voting representative from the Penn Association of Senior and Emeritus Faculty (PASEF).” The Committee felt it desirable to name a “representative,” and not specify any particular title (e.g., the Association President), in order to allow PASEF flexibility in selecting its representative. SCOA unanimously approved the proposed change. The new policy is detailed in SCOA’s report to SEC (submitted on March 21, 2007). SCOA presented the revised Faculty Senate Rules to the Faculty Senate Executive Committee on March 21, 2007 which was unanimously adopted.
4. Review Procedures for Selection of SEC members to University Council
SCOA was also asked to review current policies and procedures for selecting members of SEC to serve as members of the University Council. Successive revisions of University Council Bylaws and Faculty Senate Rules have resulted in a difference between the number faculty members serving on SEC and the number of members eligible to serve on the University Council. This gap had led to the somewhat Byzantine practice of requesting, on an annual basis, that some eligible members of SEC volunteer to become “observers” of University Council, waiving their right to vote on Council. This practice had proven unwieldy for the Senate Office and SEC members alike. SCOA determined that stipulating in the Senate Rules which SEC members should serve as the voting members of the University Council would bring the Rules of the Senate and the Bylaws of University Council into alignment and eliminate the present difficulties.
SCOA agreed to revise the Rules to stipulate that “the Chair, the Chair-Elect, Past-Chair, Secretary, Secretary-Elect, Past-Secretary, the three Assistant Professors members, and the thirty-six Constituency Representative members shall serve as members of the University Council” (revising Faculty Senate Rule 9(a)(v)). The new policy is detailed in SCOA’s report to SEC (submitted on March 21, 2007). SCOA presented the revised Faculty Senate Rules to the Faculty Senate Executive Committee on March 21, 2007 and it passed in a unanimous vote.
5. Recommendations for Action for SCOA for the 2007-08 Academic Year
SCOA did not formally identify any items to be reviewed by its successor committee. But should the current proposed draft of the temporary exclusion policy be adopted by SEC in its May 16th meeting, it would be important for SCOA to keep a close watch on any cases in which the power of temporary exclusion is exercised under the new provision in order to assess its adequacy. SCOA has recommended that the new policy be reviewed in three years time, and thus any cases arising under this provision over the course of the next three years will be subject to scrutiny.
SCOA has no further recommendations for action to be taken by next year’s committee at this time.
2006-07 Committee Members
Claire Finkelstein (School of Law) Chair
Cindy Christian (School of Medicine)
Michael Katz (School of Arts & Sciences/History)
Roselyn Eisenberg (School of Veterinary Medicine) – resigned in the fall 2006
Henry Teune (School of Arts & Science/Political Science)
Howard Kunreuther (Wharton School)
Faculty Senate Chair Vincent Price (Annenberg School for Communication)
Faculty Senate Chair-Elect Larry Gladney (School of Arts & Sciences/Physics & Astronomy)