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Senate 2007-2008
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May 27, 2008, Volume 54, No. 34

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Report of the Faculty Senate Committee on Faculty and the Administration (SCOA)

The General Charge of the Committee
SCOA oversees and advises the Senate Executive Committee on matters relating to the faculty’s interface with the University’s administration, including policies and procedures relating to the University’s structure and the conditions of faculty employment.

Specific Charges to SCOA for 2007-2008

At the initial meeting of SCOA for the 2007-2008 academic year, Professor Larry Gladney, Chair of the Faculty Senate, presented the Committee with its official charges:

1. 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.

2. Discussion of current policy in Handbook for Faculty and Administrators, I.I.G.2 Consultation Procedures for the Appointment and Reappointment of Deans and University-wide Administrators.

3. Discussion of current policy in Handbook for Faculty and Administrators, I.I.G.6 Reappointment of Department and Graduate Group Chairs in consultation with Associate Provost for Faculty Affairs, Vincent Price.

4. Examine the standard sabbatical policy and its usage, especially by research faculty, in the schools doing health-related research.

5. Review and discuss this Committee’s general charge, as provided in the Senate Rules, and identify what you believe to be the most pressing issues facing the Faculty and Administration over the next few years. In light of your discussions, recommend to the Senate Executive Committee two or three high-priority charges for the Committee on Faculty and the Administration to undertake in academic year 2007-2008. In explaining these charges, outline any appropriate actions you suppose the Senate might conceivably take after its review.

In addition, during the fall, the committee was asked to review the policy related to faculty involvement in the selection of Deans in the various schools. We added this work to our charge.

1. Temporary Exclusion Provision

The Committee did not receive any reports that the temporary exclusion provision, drafted last year, was used this year.

2./3. Discussion of current policy in Handbook for Faculty and Administrators, I.I.G.2 Consultation Procedures for the Appointment and Reappointment of Deans and University-wide Administrators.

This charge came out of discussions with the Provost concerning reappointment of department chairs in the School of Medicine and other health schools.  Under this policy, Department Chairs can serve for two six-year terms. The policy has not been followed in the School of Medicine.  The Committee discussed the genesis of the discrepancy between the health schools and other schools at the University. The committee recognizes that few medical schools in the country follow term limits for Department Chairs, but also acknowledges the interests of the University in requiring term limits for Chairs.  In further discussions with Professor Gladney, we were informed that negotiations between the Provost and Deans were moving forward, and SCOA was asked to allow these negotiations to move forward without further recommendations at this time. SCOA will revisit this issue at the request of the Senate Executive Committee.

4. Examine the standard sabbatical policy and its usage, especially by research faculty, in the schools doing health-related research.

The concern related to the sabbatical policy and its usage in the health schools arose in the Senate Executive Committee meeting. The concern is that because of either research or clinical (patient) responsibilities, faculty in the medical school have not been able to use sabbatical leave, and that sabbaticals and other releases from duty are not used in a consistent manner across schools. SCOA agreed that the Committee would review sabbatical information from the various schools at the University in order to identify best practices that might provide guidance for policy development that is fair and equitable across schools. The Committee met with Associate Provost Vincent Price to discuss the monitoring of sabbatical leave by faculty members. 

Tracking sabbatical use by faculty is not straight forward.  Presently, data from the Faculty Information System (FIS) can be examined to identify when faculty take leave that is minuted. Faculty leaves are minuted when money is taken from the Provost’s Central Fund; however all types of faculty leaves are recorded in FIS and sabbaticals cannot be separated out. Additionally, informal leaves that do not rely on the Provost’s Central fund are not recorded. Presently, a system is being developed that will create profiles for faculty members, and will be able to identify sabbatical use, but this system is not yet available.  The Committee reviewed preliminary data provided by Associate Provost Vincent Price and have reviewed the data with assistant professors removed from the data. The data reveal that faculty in the medical, dental and engineering schools are under-utilizing sabbatical leave. In addition, the Committee felt that faculty should be given an annual account of their individual accruement of sabbatical credits, preferably in an annual salary letter to each faculty member. Finally, the Committee noted that Penn’s sabbatical leave policy is not equal to their peer institutions.

SCOA feels these are important issues that require ongoing work by the Committee. We will continue to work with the administration to review data across schools (to the best of our ability), to review practices across schools related to sabbatical and other leaves, and to review and make recommendations for any needed policy changes related to sabbatical requirements and use.

5. Review and discuss this Committee’s general charge, as provided in the Senate Rules, and identify what you believe to be the most pressing issues facing the Faculty and Administration over the next few years. In light of your discussions, recommend to the Senate Executive Committee two or three high-priority charges for the Committee on Faculty and the  Administration to undertake in academic year 2007-2008. In explaining these charges, outline any appropriate actions you suppose the Senate might conceivably take after its review.

SCOA did not formally identify any items to be reviewed by its successor committee.   However, the Committee feels that further work related to the sabbatical policy is needed in order to ensure equitability across schools.  In addition, SCOA members recommended that a charge for next year’s committee be to look into the supervision of, and faculty involvement in, the Master’s programs at the University which are not under the supervision of the Provost’s office. 

6. Review the policy related to faculty involvement in the selection of Deans in the various schools. 

Last year the Faculty Senate Tri-Chairs received a letter from some faculty expressing concern about the process and policy of selecting a Dean.  The faculty requested an opportunity to interview the final candidates for the position; they are allowed to give input but there is no opportunity for expression on the final choice. They asked SEC and a Senate committee to review this matter. This request was passed to SCOA for review. We reviewed the policy and practices of faculty involvement in the selection of a Dean across schools.  Although the policy in the Faculty Handbook states that each school should choose faculty to be on the search committee for a Dean, there is no uniformity on how faculty are selected for this role. The Committee discussed whether the faculty as a whole should have the opportunity to meet final candidates for Dean prior to their selection, and decided against this practice. The Committee felt that there were compelling reasons related to confidentiality of the candidates to decide against this practice. Furthermore, SCOA felt that faculty selected to sit on the search committee were representatives from the school, and thus, faculty had representation in the process. The Committee inquired how schools from the last four Dean searches selected their faculty members to be on the search committee and found that three of the schools rely on institutional memory and have no written procedures. SCOA agreed to recommend to the Faculty Senate Tri-Chairs that schools codify their procedures for nominating faculty to be on the search committee for a Dean.

2007-2008 Committee Members

Cindy W. Christian, School of Medicine, Chair
William Ewald, School of Law
Howard Kunreuther, Wharton School
James Ross, School of Arts & Science/Philosophy
Rogers Smith, School of Arts & Science/Political Science
Henry Teune, School of Arts & Science/Political Science
Ex-Officio:
Senate Chair, Larry Gladney, School of Arts and Sciences/Physics
Senate Chair-Elect Sherrill Adams, School of Dental Medicine

 

 

Almanac - May 27, 2008, Volume 54, No. 34