From the Chair

Representing the Faculty: Challenges, Committees and the 1997-98 Agenda

On behalf of the members of the Faculty Senate Executive Committee (SEC), welcome back to Penn. Each of you is wished a productive and satisfying academic year.

Each faculty member is invited to participate in University governance by bringing your views, questions and critiques to your faculty constituency representative or any other member of SEC. You can obtain the name of your constituency representative, other SEC members or the names of Faculty Senate committee chairs by contacting Carolyn Burdon in the Faculty Senate ofce at either 898-6943 or Past Chair Peter Kuriloff, Chair-elect John Keene and I welcome telephone calls. I am happy to meet with you and invite you to contact me at the Senate ofce for an appointment. Exchanging views with you adds to my own store of information. The Faculty Senate leadership and SEC members need to hear from you to properly represent you, the faculty, in our communications with the President, Provost and other members of the administration.

Academic Year 1997-98 appears to hold a busy agenda for the Senate Executive Committee and the Faculty Senate Committees. A few examples of the work to be undertaken this year follow.

Charges to the Committees on Administration, Faculty, and Students and Educational Policy cover a number of concerns which may be considered collaboratively by the committees or by a single committee. In response to expressed concern by faculty about who is teaching our students, they will gather information in each of the 12 schools on the relative numbers of non-standing and standing faculty, new faculty titles and their respective responsibilities and benets. Since the future of departments is at stake and many faculty feel vulnerable given budget crunches and recent administrative emphases, the committees will study the extent and timing of faculty input into school strategic plans as well as the percentage of funds allocated to educational and to non-educational enterprise in connection with regrouping and shifting in size.

Procedures, criteria, and instruments for assessing teaching quality will be reopened. The inuence of the assessment on promotion, pre- and post-tenure review and salary increments need clarication, irrespective of level and length of employment. Furthermore, how "service to the University" is dened and is factored into the decisons on promotion and tenure, workload and salary increment is a relative unknown and needs clarication. Is there a common policy active across the schools?

A subcommittee on cost containment of the Committee on Administration has been appointed to continue work initiated in prior years (Almanac March 19, 1991). In addition, the subcommittee has been requested to represent the faculty on a joint faculty-administration committee on cost containment soon to be appointed by the administration. A subcommittee on retirement of the Committee on the Faculty will study faculty retirement, including early retirement, TIAA-CREF and uncapping, and issues connected with employment beyond retirement. Recommendations from both subcommittees will be made to their respective parent committee and then to the Senate Executive Committee.

The Faculty Senate will also consider a set of issues connected with the explosion of information technology (IT) at Penn. These issues cannot be immediately resolved but a close examination should begin now. We are hopeful that we will, at the least, arrive at a clear formulation of a "problem" from which educational policy may be hammered out. The Committee on Students and Educational Policy will debate questions such as how we t educational policy to current and forseeable realities, or whether we want to t it at all. Pertinent questions of the extent to which educational policy on IT are inuenced by nancial or academically principled considerations, and the extent of the inclusion of faculty in crucial decision-making are also on the agenda. We need to look at IT's present and forseeable impact, e.g. virtual classrooms, categories of faculty involvement, non-residential faculty, etc. The Senate needs to bear in mind the reward structure, assignment of teaching responsibilities, whether we are supporting the ingredients necessary to represent Penn as a research universityall from an educational policy perspective.

Throughout the coming year, the relevant Faculty Senate committees are asked to bear in mind milieu and faculty morale in this period of restructuring, information management, networking and corporate infusion into a more traditional institutional model. I have asked the committees to bear in mind issues of impact on collegiality, productivity, and loyalty. How our university community attempts to adjust to exciting opportunities as well as new pressures may be cogent to future planning and pacing.

A nal set of issues will be given early consideration: SEC will put the nishing touches on an exit questionnaire for faculty leaving the University in an effort to capture the essence of their experience at Penn. At the Provost's request SEC will reexamine the policy on Employment of More than One Family Member and make recommendations. And, the matter of ownership of intellectual property will be given close scrutiny, building on the work of an earlier University-wide task force (See Almanac April 29, 1997, "SEC Actions April 16, 1997").

In closing, I would like to acknowledge, with thanks, the faculty members who have agreed to serve as chair and as members of the Faculty Senate committees. As individuals were called and asked to give of their time and of their considered judgment, the experience was very gratifying. It was a decidedly rare experience not to receive a "yes" response, not-withstanding time constraints, reservations and some deep concerns. This dedicated spirit speaks to the loyalty our faculty feel to the Faculty Senate and to our university community, coupled with a felt necessity to have a say in confronting serious issues which impact us. I thank those colleagues for replying "yes, I will serve." Thanks go as well to those individuals who stood for election as constituency members, members at -large and ofcers, and to those who agreed to serve on the Faculty Grievance Commission and the Grievance Hearings List.

Please do your part to support the Faculty Senate and Senate committees to effectively represent the will of the faculty. Share the essence of your conversations with one another, with your SEC representative or with the Senate leadership. Telephone, write, or e-mail. There is nothing like an active, involved communicative constitu ency to stimulate a representative body!

Vivian C. Seltzer, Chair