SENATE From the Senate Office

The following statement is published in accordance with the Senate Rules. Among other purposes, the publication of SEC actions is intended to stimulate discussion between the constituencies and their

representatives. Please communicate your comments to Senate Chair William Kissick or Executive Assistant Carolyn Burdon, 15 College Hall/6303, 898-6943 or

Actions Taken by the Senate Executive Committee

Wednesday, March 6, 1996

  1. Academic Planning and Budget Committee and Capital Council. Past Senate Chair David Hildebrand reported that following years of planning by a Medical School Committee Chaired by Professor Perry Molinoff the Capital Council approved construction of the Biological Research Building II. BRBII will be financed entirely by the Penn Health System. It will substantially increase faculty laboratory space and bring together departments that were scattered.

    The Academic Planning and Budget Committee has reviewed plans from the Medical School, Graduate School of Education, and the Nursing School. The Medical School has improved its standing considerably. For example, it has had the greatest increase in NIH funding of any of the medical schools in the country. It is wrestling with the major changes that are occuring and will continue to occur in clinical care and medical education. Its clinical facilities are being expanded at sites throughout the region. A major reevaluation of its curriculum is underway. Competition for admission is extremely strong; yields are quite high. The school is financially solid, though concerned about all the changes in prospect.

    The Graduate School of Education has established areas of strength, particularly in literacy training and in city schools' educational issues. It is necessarily much smaller than many of its competitors, but doing well where it chooses to concentrate. Its financial situation is at least adequate and has improved recently.

    The School of Nursing is consistently ranked within the top three in the country. Its research efforts are widely recognized and its graduates are widely sought after. Its financial situation is adequate with financial aid a major problem. The school hopes to increase the size of its faculty considerably in part to help in its increasing clinical role.

  2. Mandated Guidelines on Postdoctoral Fellows and Research Associates. (Almanac July 18, 1995). Committee on Administration Chair David Brownlee brought SEC a unanimous recommendation for adoption of the draft guidelines. Acting Vice Provost for Research Ralph Amado explained that the document had been under development for several years in the University Council Committee on Research and reviewed by the University General Counsel. Several concerns were raised and are reflected in the following motion. It was moved and adopted that: "The Senate Executive Committee applauds the Draft Policy for Postdoctoral Fellows and Research Associates, dated February 13, 1996. SEC recommends that the Vice Provost for Research in consultation with the University General Counsel working with individual schools develop a policy consistent with this document, applicable to specific school needs. It is important in particular that issues of data ownership, benefits, grievance procedures and stipend level be further considered. SEC requests that the Vice Provost for Research bring a new operating document responding to school needs to the Senate Executive Committee for review in one year."

  3. Committee Nominations for 1996-97. Senate Committee on Committees Chair Peter Kuriloff presented nominations for a range of committees to which SEC annually makes appointments including the Senate committees on Administration, Faculty, Publication Policy for Almanac, Students and Educational Policy, Academic Planning and Budget, Committee on Open Expression, Committee on Research, Faculty Grievance Commission, Research Foundation, and Faculty Liaisons to Trustee Committees. SEC made additional nominations. A mail ballot will be circulated to SEC members and appointments will then be made.

  4. Proposal on Faculty Maternity Leave and Extending the Tenure Probationary Period. Committee on the Faculty Chair Sheila Murnaghan described the proposal (see the proposal). The proposal was enthusiastically adopted.

  5. Informal discussion with the President and Provost. Provost Chodorow stated that he had met with students and worked out the remaining problems in the Judicial Charter (Almanac March 5, 1996). The revised charter will now go to the schools for discussion and adoption. A SEC member urged that faculty attend their school meetings and participate in this important decision. Concern was expressed on how and who will be involved in modifications of the charter. The Provost pointed out that the charter is school-based and would be modified in the schools. SEC members raised other issues ranging from concern about the status of financial aid and need-blind admissions, to the need for communicating widely the impending change from employer paid to employee cost-shared retiree health benefits on July 1, 1996, and the need for involving the community in discussions on plans for the new College House System.

  6. University Council Agenda for March 20, 1996. The agenda was reviewed (see the agenda) and SEC members were urged to attend.

  7. Almanac/Compass Merger. Committee Chair Martin Pring presented the report (see the report). The following motion was moved and adopted: "The Senate Executive Committee in approving the Report of the Senate Committee on Publication Policy for Almanac, dated February 28, 1996 reaffirms its belief in the importance of Almanac's editorial independence."


March 19, 1996
Volume 42 Number 24

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