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SENATE From the Senate Office

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January 24, 2012, Volume 58, No. 19

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 email at senate@pobox.upenn.edu

Faculty Senate Executive Committee Actions
Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Chair’s Report: Faculty Senate Chair Camille Charles reported that the Senate Committee on the Economic Status of the Faculty (SCESF) met with Vice Provost Lynn Lees and is on target to produce their annual report early in the spring semester. She stated that the diversity website will be up and running in mid- to late February. She reminded SEC members that Vice Provost Andy Binns is very interested in their suggestions of faculty members who might serve on the various working groups for the Self Study for the Middle States Accreditation Review. She noted that Faculty Senate Executive Assistant Sue White will send a follow-up email out to SEC reminding members to send names to nominate faculty for these working groups.

Ballot: SEC members voted for the 2012 Senate Committee on Committees faculty membership.

Update from the Provost: Provost Vince Price updated SEC on the three portfolios in the Office of the Provost: faculty, education, and research. He reported that the faculty area in the Office of the Provost has been busy with activities focused on Penn’s Action Plan for Diversity and Excellence. He noted that the diversity website will be launched very soon and added that there is a publication on diversity at Penn that is also coming out shortly. He explained that there will be a meeting with the deans to review their progress on their school diversity plans in early February. He added that there will be a later meeting with department chairs on the same topic. He announced the appointment of John Jackson as the Senior Advisor to the Provost for Diversity and is looking forward to working with him. Provost Price reported that Andy Binns is busy constituting working groups that will be involved in the Self Study for the Middle States Accreditation. He noted that the last accreditation review in 2004 was very useful. Provost Price reported that the Facilities group is revisiting Penn Connects to identify the emerging vision going forward. He reported that Zeke Emanuel, Vice Provost for Global Initiatives, has been polling faculty to catalogue what programs and activities Penn has to offer in areas dedicated to global engagement. Provost Price updated SEC members on activities of the research enterprise which continue to face uncertainty concerning research funding. He reported that Steve Fluharty, Senior Vice Provost for Research, is watching the regulatory environment and NIH closely, and is working on revising Penn’s Conflict of Interest Policy to conform to new mandatory federal regulations. 

SEC members and Provost Price discussed the following topics: the relationship of faculty promotion and grant funding, potential of using gift money to offset the decline in grant funding, plans to increase funding for the University’s Research Foundation, and details on Zeke Emanuel’s efforts to lay out a strategic plan for global initiatives. Several SEC members initiated a brief conversation on how the University might adapt and change in the future to new technologies, changes in research funding, and changes in this countries global competitive standing. 

Update from the Senior Vice Provost for Research: Senior Vice Provost for Research Steve Fluharty updated SEC on his plans to take a comprehensive view of the regulatory burden, and the government and Penn’s policies and operational procedures which affect that burden. He reported that he has begun doing this with a working group that is revising the Conflict of Interest Policy to conform to new federal regulations. He explained that he will constitute working groups in key areas and a core committee that will monitor the working groups. He stated that the key areas include: Conflict of Interest, Human Subject Research, Animal Research, IT Systems, and Training. He noted that the committees on Human Subjects and Animal Research will be the next to be constituted. He explained that he hopes the working groups will explore where Penn’s bar should be set in each area. 

SEC members’ discussion focused on the following topics: educate faculty to understand why there is a necessity for research requirements, streamline the management for animal protocols, improve the tracking information for submitted protocols, soften the language used in the IT tools interface with faculty, copy faculty on any email transmissions sent from the Office of the Vice Provost to  federal agencies concerning the faculty member’s grant, whether politics or legitimate concerns are driving these regulations, and a word of caution to be careful not to remove a regulatory burden that may have an important justification.

Almanac - January 24, 2012, Volume 58, No. 19