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Pullout: 1998 February at PENN Calendar

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Staff Box

SENATE: From the Chair

On Consultation:

A Letter of Thanks to AAUP

To the Executive Board of the AAUP at Penn:

Thank you for reminding us in your column entitled "Consultation as a Process and Procedure" (Almanac, January 13, 1998) of the University's purposes of "knowledge creation, codification, preservation, and transmission" and that "broad consultation from the very beginning leads ultimately to better decisions which are more easily and widely accepted." Indeed, "democracy may be cumberson; judicial procedures may be lengthy and tedious to insure due process" but "early consultation, from the very beginning of a new initiative, (does indeed) build trust in the relationships involved in the change process and in the administration of the system". You have stated well the philosophy which should underpin University policy and process.

The Past Chair, Chair-elect of the Faculty Senate and I are also very appreciative of your expressed confidence in what collective years of experience and perspective bring to the consultation process. More potent is your reference to Faculty Senate and University Council committees. In order to lead appropriately and relevantly, the Senate Chairs rely heavily on the work of these committees. One cannot hold office in the Faculty Senate too long before the impact of the range of expertise and depth of outcome characteristic of our committee deliberation processes makes an indelible imprint. This "imprint" is our most valuable capital!

Your recommendation to the administration of early use of this existing structure is also born of experience and is wise. It is our hope that recommendations from the University Council Ad Hoc Committee on Consultation will not weaken the existing structure but will lend it great strength. A consultation process between the administration and the three Senate Chairs to develop the charge to this committee is ongoing, interrupted only by the Winter break. It should reach the committee soon. University Council has requested a report by its final meeting in April.

Thank you for lending your voice to the conviction that an effective and dynamic consultative process is the only path to ensure "a full measure of trust, a sense of community, and a sense of shared destiny to Penn."

-- Vivian C. Seltzer

Return to:Almanac, University of Pennsylvania, January 27, 1998, Volume 44, Number 19