Council April 30: Community Service, Campus Projects, and an Advising Web

At Council's final meeting of 1996-97, April 30, President Judith Rodin opened with comment on the just-concluded Presidents' Summit for America's Future, which involved a number of Penn students, faculty and staff:

I thank all of you who participated and made such a wonderful showing for the University. It's important to recognize, though--as I'm sure we all do in this room--that Penn's involvement in community service doesn't begin or end with the Summit. We have committed to enhance and expand our already vast voluntary service efforts. Penn was the only institution in Philadelphia that made commitments in all five of the Summit areas, and we will continue to play a leadership role in community service. As part of our pledge to the Summit we will increase our numbers and implement new ways to contribute even more to our community in the following strategic areas:

Ben Franklin founded the University with the belief that the true purpose of education is to promote service to the larger society. This institution will continue to work with that purpose in mind.

NCAA Update: The committee that conducted Penn's recertification review not only found Penn to be in substantial compliance with NCAA rules and regulations, but commended the University for integrating all aspects of athletic programming with student life, the President reported. "As a member of the Ivy League, Penn's standards are higher in fact than those of the NCAA, but the positive NCAA report reaffirmed that the University strikes a very good and fair balance between athletics and academics," she said.

Campus Master Plan: The Biddison Hier and Brownlee reports "give us a well-defined and exciting guide to enrich and invigorate our on-campus residences," Dr. Rodin said (see also the Provost's remarks below). Retail changes will complement the newly energized residences, she added: "Scheduled for a grand opening in September is Mad4Mex, a highly successful chain of well-appointed and well-priced Mexican restaurants that will begin operations on the Italian Bistro site. And of course La Terrasse opens later in the month of May." Returning students and others will also see in the fall progress on Sansom Common--particularly on the Bookstore--and on the Perelman Quad, plus "a tremendous change in lighting" as work proceeds over the summer.

"When Council convenes again in the fall, there will be changes around this table," the President continued, congratulating Noah Bilenker, the new chair of the Undergraduate Assembly, and Victoria Tredinnick, the new chair of GAPSA and adding "A very significant thanks from all of us to Tal Golomb, the outgoing chair of UA, and to Alex Welte, the outgoing chair of GAPSA. I think we have all experienced during this year both the work of these two fine people on campus and the leadership roles that they played in their organizations.

"I'd like to congratulate Vivian Seltzer, the chair of the Faculty Senate for 1997-98. I am looking forward also to working with John Keene, of city and regional planning, as the new chair-elect. A special word of thanks to outgoing past chair Bill Kissick for three years of great work as a wonderful service to Council and the University. Finally, thanks and congratulations to Peter Kuriloff for your leadership this year; it's been great working with you and it will be great to continue working with you as past chair--and to David Hildebrand, for once more being pressed into service as he has in so many different ways and at so many different times in this University."

"This has been a stimulating and productive year," the President concluded. "I think our discussions have been rich and fruitful, and honest and deliberative, and I am very appreciative for the advice and counsel."

Residential Communities and the Advising Web

Provost Stanley Chodorow joined the President in appreciation of the outgoing Council members and in welcoming the new ones. His update on the 21st Century Project focused on creating an interface between advising and residential planning, citing the Brownlee and the Biddison Hier reports as "the culmination of a year-long effort to get a very clear view of the physical and financial condition of our residences and then to follow up on the PCUE Report of a couple of years ago, thinking again about the programming and organization of the residences."

The Brownlee and Bidderson Hier reports, which appeared in Almanac April 29 and were reported widely in the D.P. , " require now a good deal of detailed work over the summer," the Provost said, " work that has to do with actually walking around and looking at the residences--looking at the way in which they are organized, in great detail; looking at the financial consequences of various part of the Brownlee report; and coming to a view so that early in the fall we can come back not only to Council but to the community at large with a more complete set of recommendations and a plan and proposal for timelines.

"In addition to residential planning, other aspects of the 21st Century Project have focused this year on advising. David Williams, who is a professor of psychology, has led a committee that has been developing the concept of the PENN-In-Touch and other aspects of the advising web for students that would expand the amount of information and flexibility and capacity of the information and systems that students have for making plans about their programs, for getting information about various offices on the campus where they can find help, for making contact with that help, and so on. PENN-In-Touch through the year has been continuously worked on and has been improved, and will continue to improve. The Williams committee also has produced a sketch plan for the advising web and we are now undertaking a study that will show what the scope of that project might be so that it can be considered in the priority ordering of projects which include both student services projects and administrative projects, and will be done over the next several years.

"The Brownlee report linked up with the Williams committee in several ways, because the Brownlee committee proposed that the residences become one of the sites, one of the platforms we might say, for advising. It agreed with some of the ideas that were put forth earlier this year by UA's Task Force on Advising, and thinks that the residences can become a very important site, particularly for first entry or first contact for students in getting into the advising system of the campus. The two, David Brownlee and David Williams, have met and begun to develop the ways in which the two reports and committees intersect. We expect that during the fall we will continue to develop that idea and follow up on it.

"All of this must be done with an eye to what is possible--in timeline and finances and organizational issues--and that we are paying a great deal of attention to."

Acceptable Use: The Provost noted that the Acceptable Use Policy, which Council has looked at several times in the past, was published Of Record in Almanac [April 29] and will go into effect on July 1, 1997.


Volume 43 Number 34
May 13, 1997

Return to Almanac's homepage.

Return to index for this issue.