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 among the constituencies and their representatives. Please communicate your comments to Senate Chair Vivian Seltzer or Executive Assistant Carolyn Burdon, Box 12 College Hall/6303, 898-6943 or

Actions Taken by the Senate Executive Committee

Wednesday, May 7, 1997

  1. Academic Planning and Budget Committee and Capital Council. Since the last report there have been four meetings of the Academic Planning and Budget Committee. Two sessions were devoted to presentation and review of the School of Veterinary Medicine and the special issues of state appropriations. The third session was presented by Executive Vice President John Fry on the University Special Services District and Sansom Common. The final meeting of the year re vealed the University and school budgets.

    Capital Council has approved six projects as follows: Writers House, Lighting Master Plan Phase I, Wharton 38th and Walnut facility, two Medical School laboratories, and the School of Arts and Sciences PennNet Pathways Phase II.

  2. Chair's Report. Faculty Senate Chair Peter Kuriloff reviewed issues facing the Faculty Senate next year. He said he enjoyed the year as Faculty Senate Chair in part due to the great support of Past Chair William Kissick and Chair-elect Vivian Seltzer and in part due to the support of Executive Assistant Carolyn Burdon. He also said how much he appreciated the work of Secretary David Hackney. He closed by saying how moved he had been by the high-spirited, lively and collaborative nature of SEC this year and how much he looked forward to working with them again next year as Past Chair. An expanded report from the Faculty Senate Chair to the faculty will be published in a future Almanac.

    Old Business

  3. Proposed Vendor Policy. Vice President Carol Scheman reviewed the details and status of the proposed policy and satisfied most questions raised by SEC. It was agreed that Vice President Scheman would keep the Faculty Senate informed about the progress of the ordinance introduced. [* At week's end it was reported that the proposed ordinance was not introduced at City Council on Thursday as had been announced.--Ed.] into City Council and the affect of the policy on vendors.

  4. New Faculty Appointments. SEC considered two proposals for the creation of new faculty positions, one for the position of Practice Lecturer in Education in the Graduate School of Education, one for the position of Practice Professor in the Wharton School. These proposals had been reviewed by the Senate Committee on the Faculty, which recommended approval provided that the name of the position in GSE be changed to Lecturer in Educational Practice, that administrators from both schools clarify the conditions of appointment for holders of these positions, and that no more positions of this kind be approved without a full-scale study of this employment category, which presents wide-ranging and serious concerns, including the possible creation of a two-tiered faculty and the increasing separation of theory and practice in instruction. Associate Dean Kenneth George of GSE and Deputy Dean Janice Bellace of Wharton answered specific questions about the terms of the positions. After discussion, the two proposals were voted on individually and both passed, subject to the conditions stipulated by the Committee on the Faculty.

    SEC approved both proposals. It was agreed that SEC has serious concerns about the proliferation of non-standing faculty positions and what that means to the future of the University. The Senate will begin an in depth review of the matter early in the fall.

    Senate Chair Kuriloff, noting the importance and gravity of the issues raised by various members of SEC, invites interested faculty and SEC members to send their comments and concerns on this topic to the Faculty Senate Office to inform those who will conduct the review in September.

  5. Report of Senate Committee on Students and Educational Policy. Committee chair Alice Kelley presented the report (Almanac May 6, 1997). She noted it is different from reports of recent years that gave specific recommendations. Instead, the committee tried to track the process and progress of previous recommendations. It discovered that this is the only faculty committee overseeing University-wide educational policy and the committee has a responsibility to ensure that considerations at the University-wide level are not ignored in the process of school-based budget negotiations. Professor Kelley emphasized the need for the administration to respond publicly to reports of the committee. SEC approved the report and voted on one of the committee recommendations as a motion.

    "The Senate Executive Committee calls for a formal process of administrative response to Faculty Senate committee reports be instituted. By the opening of the fall semester in any year, beginning in the fall of 1997, the University community would receive, through publication in Almanac, a point by point reaction to recommendations contained in the report from the previous spring."

    The motion is intended to apply to all reports of the Faculty Senate transmitted to the administration directly or through publication in Almanac. The motion was adopted unanimously.

  6. Report of Senate Committee on Administration. The report (see Supplement in this issue) was outlined by Committee chair David Brownlee. A SEC member stressed the usefulness of the annual publication of the University budget by the administration. SEC approved the report.

  7. Review of Affirmative Action. Committee Chair Sheila Murnaghan reported that the Senate Committee on the Faculty had spent much of the year on a review of the University's report on affirmative action and a series of tables prepared by Professor Paul Shaman (see Supplement in this issue). The review shows there has been steady but uneven hiring of women and minorities over the last decade, with marked improvement in the clinical departments of the Medical School. The committee urged vigilance and expanded efforts to hire more women and minority faculty, and the importance of addressing diversity early in the hiring process at the point of developing definitions of a specialty or subfield. SEC approved the report.

    New Business

  8. Message of Thanks. Incoming Faculty Senate Chair Vivian Seltzer thanked Outgoing Chair Peter Kuriloff and Past Chair William Kissick for their support, David Hackney for his minute-taking, and acknowledged SEC members whose terms ended with conclusion of Old Business.

  9. Council Steering Committee. SEC elected four faculty to serve on the University Council Steering Committee for 1997-98. Those elected will be invited to serve.

  10. Technical Revisions to Policy on Misconduct in Research. Chair of the Senate Committee on Academic Freedom and Responsibility Larry Gross stated that SCAFR had reviewed technical changes in the policy recommended by the Office of Research Integrity of the U.S. Public Health Service, which had been referred to the Faculty Senate by Vice Provost for Research Ralph Amado. SCAFR found no academic freedom concerns raised by the addendum and recommended approval. In passing, Professor Gross noted that though the material had arrived at the University some months ago, the Faculty Senate had received an urgent request to review it and approve it shortly before a response was needed. He urged that it would be considerate if, in the future, the administration would give the Faculty Senate more time to work on such important issues. A motion was made to approve the recommended addendum. It was approved unanimously.

  11. Parting Words. Outgoing Past Chair William Kissick noted that the past chair had the last word. He stated he had met regularly in a quartet and found the quartet as follows: Peter Kuriloff was ebullient, Vivian Seltzer had equanimity, Bill Kissick was ecumenical, and Carolyn Burdon was exacting.

Note: An eight-page Supplement to this issue contains not only the above-mentioned reports (Administration and Affirmative Action), but also the Report of the Committee on the Economic Status of the Faculty and the text of the Faculty Exit Questionnaire approved by SEC on April 16.- -Ed.


Volume 43 Number 34
May 13, 1997

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