February 24, 2009,
Volume 55, No. 23
At last Wednesday’s University Council meeting, President Amy Gutmann noted that a health advisory was being sent out that afternoon concerning a graduate student who contracted measles (click here) and she also described the improving conditions of the three students who had been hospitalized due to meningococcal infections and the two others with flu-like symptoms. She thanked the many individuals and groups who helped with that crisis, including Dr. Evelyn Weiner, director of Student Health; Interim Provost Designate Vince Price, who led the crisis team, and MERT, the student-led team that provided support. Dr. Gutmann said that every precaution had been taken to keep the Penn community informed.
Since that meeting was the last Council meeting for Ron Daniels as Provost, the President took a moment to thank him for all he has done here at Penn.
Provost Daniels then introduced the discussion on Diversity Issues and Initiatives on Campus, which he described as an “active agenda” although much as been done over the past four years he said it was “no cause for complacency.” He mentioned some of the initiatives pertaining to financial aid such as the no loan packages that are part of the grant-based program. He also listed some of the pipeline programs to bring minority students to campus. He said that there has been steady progress toward a more diverse faculty as well. Associate Provost for Education Andrew Binns described an array of initiatives including the Faculty Council on Access, the Fontaine Fellows, Du Bois College House renovations, the ARCH which is in the planning stages of renovations and the Climate Survey, as well as a PhD exit survey.
Dr. Sherri Adams, chair of the Senate, said that the Senate is also discussing minority equity concerning faculty.
VPUL Val Cade enumerated many of the thousands of programs that are offered annually to support the 23,000 students at Penn, as well as alumni and community members. She said that the VPUL collaborates with many areas of the University.
Dr. Dennis DeTurck, dean of the College, spoke about the changes to the curriculum: the Cross Cultural Analysis and the Cultural Diversity in the US. There are more than 100 courses to chose from.
Director of Student Financial Aid William Schilling said that due to the recession, Penn is anticipating an increase in the requests for aid and Penn is not cutting back but needs to be responsive.