Council: Benefits Redesign ... Recreation Facilities
At the January 28 meeting of the University Council, Dr. Will Harris
of Political Science was chosen to return to the post of Moderator, which
was vacated on Dr. Samuel Preston's selection as Dean of SAS.
Progress reports from the chairs of five Council Committees informed
the campus that:
- Admissions and Financial Aid's Dr. David Williams reported on the Committee's
review of campus tours given by the Admissions Office; the accuracy of
messages Admissions sends to prospects, particularly concerning Penn's
academic quality, in interviews and tours as well as in literature; and
the prospects of raising endowment to support need-blind admissions.
- Dr. Martin Pring posed two questions for feedback on issues in discussion
by the Communications Committee: He asked views on "the boundary of
acceptable commercial activity on PennNet," noting that while blatant
sale of tee shirts is clear-cut, the line is blurred, for example, when
faculty books are linked to commercial outlets for the books. The second
question, on access by affiliates to the Internet via Penn, is linked when
issues of the affiliates' commercial uses arise. Along with nonprofit affiliates,
such as Wistar, he cited Trammell Crow and Barnes & Noble: "Should
they have a presence on PennNet? And should their commercial activities
be restricted as much, less, or more than those of members of the Penn
community?" He asked what principles members of the University community
would propose to apply to the questions, giving for response his e-mail
Vice Provost James O'Donnell said that ISC has not taken a position on
the issue, but that "We can provide service cheaply for affiliates
[recovering cost from them] but we are asking when should we?"
- For the Community Relations Committee, Dr. Jane Isaacs Lowe said the
group had explored how many initiatives there are in the neighborhood,
asking if there is duplication or overlap, and whether categories could
be developed for comprehensibility of the widespread program. She said
there are questions about the preparation given to students who are to
conduct research in the community. She also suggested an information packet
for people interested in living in the community, to be pulled together
from the separate sectors that now issue information. Dr. Rodin noted that
there is an inventory, in hard copy and on the web.
- The Recreation and Intercollegiate Athletics chair, Dr. Peter Hand,
reported on a facilities audit showing that recreational athletic facilities
are perceived as "inadequate" for the user base at Penn (80,000
square feet of indoor space, shared by Intercollegiate Athletics, vs. a
projected need of 400,000 square feet based on number of students, faculty
and staff). Proposals for improvement include both expansion of Gimbel
Gym's capacity and the construction of new facilities. A summary of his
report is to be published.
- A report on Benefits Redesign's Phase II is to be issued shortly, said
Dr. David Hackney. He gave a preview of proposed changes similar to those
discussed at SEC on January 21 (Almanac
January 27). The full document is expected for publication next week.
In the status reports of the constituency leadership, President Judith
Rodin reported on her January visits with alumni and peer educational leaders
in Asia. She also discussed the Provost's Search Committee, the opening
of the new Police station, and the upcoming initiatives in prevention of
alcohol abuse. She also said a special task force under Dr. Janice Madden
will develop recommendations on the experience of Asian and Pacific students
as recommended last year by Dr. Herman Beavers on behalf of the Council
Committee on Pluralism.
Interim Provost Michael Wachter's first report to Council advised that
the implementation of the College House Program plans is on schedule; job
descriptions for house deans are being developed with the undergraduate
academic deans. He also discussed Penn's approach to Distance Learning,
with one of the six academic priorities under the Agenda
for Excellence, "Information Science, Technology and Society"
as a possible entry point for a new initiative. A report based on his remarks
is in preparation for next week's issue.
Senate Chair Vivian Seltzer announced that the Committee on Committees
is beginning its work (for the annual "call for nominations"
of that committee, headed by Dr. Martin Pring, see the back page of this
issue). She also said Professor Howard Lesnick has agreed to chair the
Ad Hoc Committee on Consultation, and a membership list is expected shortly.
For GAPSA, Sanjay Udani (who has succeeded Victoria Tredinnick as chair)
expressed disappointment that the administration would not be participating
in the January 29 meeting on vending called by GAPSA and the Penn Consumer
Alliance. He also reported that activities for graduate students are on
UA's Noah Bilenker spoke on trust in relation to consultation, describing
the report on recreational athletic facilities as having been "withheld,"
and questioning whether the Dining Service decision has not "already
PPSA's Jim Bean reported that a joint meeting of the PPSA (staff including
all A-1 administrative and professional members) and the A-3 Assembly will
be held early in February, with Vice President for Human Resources, Jack
Heuer, and Annie McKee of the EVP office as guests. The PIQ rollout (which
bears on job classifications), the second phase of benefits redesign, and
planning for a Skills Development Center will be among the topics raised.
He asked that members of both organizations send questions to him in advance.
As chair of the A-3 Assembly, Donna Arthur thanked supporters of the
Holiday Bazaar which funds the Assembly. The rewriting of the group's constitution
is in progress and the Board is expected to approve a final draft in time
for the next Council meeting. The Assembly is actively involved in the
planning of the Skills Development Center, for which she thanked Ms. McKee.
Ms. Arthur also expressed concerns about aftermath of the Trammell Crow
agreement; vending and the dining survey; and the PIQ project where, she
said, "The suspense is killing us." Verbatim remarks are to be
published in a future issue.
Most of the issues brought before Council in the third annual Open Forum
meeting were routed to the Council Steering Committee either for assignment
to a Council Committee or for Steering's disposition.
Martin Luther King Day as a holiday; services for disabled students;
and safeguards for the integrity of research funded by corporate sponsors
are among the topics expected to resurface in Council for discussion.
A preliminary response to a request to consider the establishment sexual
minority studies was that academic matters are beyond Council's purview,
but Interim Provost Wachter and others gave advice on taking the proposal
through academic routes.