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SENATE: From the Senate Chair
November 18, 2008, Volume 55, No. 13

The following is published in accordance with the Faculty 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 Sue White, executive assistant to the Senate Office, either by telephone at (215) 898-6943, or by e-mail at senate@pobox.upenn.edu.

Faculty Senate Executive Committee Actions

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Chair’s Report. Faculty Senate Chair Sherri Adams reported that the President has asked SEC to nominate 6 faculty members to be on the ad hoc consultative committee for the selection of a Provost. Dr. Adams reported that she will be sending out an e-mail asking for nominations from all SEC members later this week. She noted that there will be a week to send back nominations and the slate of candidates will be put forth for a vote at the December SEC meeting. Dr. Adams urged SEC members to look for this e-mail.

Past Chair’s Report. Faculty Senate Past Chair Larry Gladney reported no new business as the past two Academic Planning and Budget meetings have been canceled.

Discussion on the Economic Status of the Faculty Report. Senate Committee on the Economic Status of the Faculty Chair Laura Perna discussed future plans for the systematic publication of the economic status of the faculty report. Dr. Perna reminded SEC that the committee produced two reports last year:  2006-2007 and 2007-2008 reports. She explained that the SCESF committee met twice this year and had in-depth discussions with Provost Ron Daniels, Associate Provost Vincent Price, and Vice President for Institutional Affairs, Stacey Lopez. She explained that in these discussions a reasonable time table emerged so that the report can be produced efficiently each year with peer comparison data. Dr. Perna reported that the 2007-2008 report released last spring will be revised in January with current peer data. She noted that publishing the 2007-2008 economic status report in January will put the report on a regular cycle for the publication of future reports every January or February. Dr. Perna added that the committee is planning to restore the practice of discussion with deans to develop a better understanding of reasons for observed salary trends. 

Senate Nominating Committee. SEC members voted for the 9th member of the 2008-2009 Senate Nominating Committee in a runoff election.

The Millennium Discussion on Faculty in the 21st century. Associate Provost for Faculty Affairs Vincent Price and Senate Committee on Faculty and the Academic Mission (SCOF) Chair Steve Phipps facilitated a conversation with SEC and SCOF members concerning the role of the non-standing faculty in teaching in the modern university. Various themes emerged:  the varied faculty categories in different schools; the different uses of non-standing faculty among various departments and schools (for example, whether they teach introductory or higher-level courses); the importance of helping faculty develop the skills of teaching; increasing faculty citizenship (to the department, to Penn, and to the profession); the balance between research and teaching; and ways to reward faculty teaching and faculty service. Integration of non-standing faculty was also discussed, including academic freedom, representation, and job security. SEC and SCOF members recommended additional conversations on this subject, possibly focusing on the balance between teaching and research, and the issue of citizenship.

Senate Nominating Committee Chair. SEC voted to select the Chair of the 2008-2009 Nominating Committee.




Almanac - November 18, 2008, Volume 55, No. 13