University Council Committee Charges for 1998-99

Admissions and Financial Aid

  • In the past year, a number of Ivy League and other elite universities, including Penn, have revised their financial aid policies. Review the University's financial aid policies, including Penn's need-blind admissions policy, relative to those of its peer institutions. After consulting with the University Committee for Undergraduate Financial Aid, report to Council on Penn's competitive standing within its peer group with respect to financial aid and make recommendations on how Penn might enhance that standing over time.
  • Consulting with the Pluralism Committee, evaluate the effectiveness of Penn's financial aid policies with respect to minority recruitment and retention.


  • The University engaged Barnes & Noble to manage the Penn Bookstore. In doing so, the University seeks to improve the quality of service and the efficiency of its Bookstore operation. Review the operation of the Bookstore and report to Council on the progress toward achieving the University's stated goals. Monitor the vitality of the two independent bookstores. Conduct the same evaluation of the Computer Connection.


  • Review the progress of the Network Planning Task Force initiative and report status/findings to Council.
  • The University recently expanded services available to PENNCard holders to provide greater access to financial and University services. Review the effectiveness of the PENNCard as well as the quality of service provided to card holders, and report findings to Council. Continue to discuss the policy on electronic privacy.
  • Determine the University's goals for WXPN and evaluate the extent to which the station promotes them.

Community Relations

  • Over the past several years, the University has developed, with community input, a number of initiatives that seek to strengthen its relationship with its neighbors. One such initiative is University City District, a multi-organizational community project with the broad goal of improving the quality of life in University City. Another is the Center for Community Partnerships. A third is providing monetary incentives to members of the University community who wish to purchase homes in West Philadelphia. Review these and other community-based initiatives; make recommendations to Council on their effectiveness.
  • The Locust Street corridor, west of 40th Street, is home to many members of the Penn student body, faculty, and administration. Review development opportunities in this area.
  • Explore the possibility of linking Latin-American students with the large Latin-American community in North Philadelphia, similar to the connection between African-American students and the African-American residents of West Philadelphia.


  • The University engaged the services of Trammell Crow to manage its physical plant. In doing so, the University seeks to improve the quality and efficiency of facilities management. Review the performance of Trammell Crow; report to Council on the progress of the Uni-versity's stated goals. Make recommendations on how those goals might be further advanced.
  • Evaluate the University's long-range comprehensive facilities planning process. Make recommendations to ensure appropriate participation by members of the University community. Determine the effectiveness of the facilities planning process in addressing the lack of large event space at Penn and propose solutions to the problem. Review policies on transportation and parking, and evaluate their effectiveness.

International Programs

  • Review INS regulations and how they will affect current and future students; review health insurance programs for those traveling and studying abroad; review the orientation of international students, focusing on what programs exist and what forms of outreach are in place to encourage students and postdoctoral fellows to use them. Research options for short-term housing of international guests on campus. Report to Council on findings.
  • Evaluate and respond to the question of why students are charged Penn tuition and fees while they are studying abroad.


  • The University has undertaken a multi-phase renovation of Van Pelt-Dietrich Library's physical facilities and a substantial upgrading of its computing and research capabilities to serve the research needs of students and faculty. In addition, the College House System and the Wheel System will potentially increase access to and use of the library's resources. The committee, and a suggested student subcommittee, should discuss the above and such issues as expanded hours, impact of staffing, and other ongoing needs, and evaluate response, review the renovations upgrading and report to Council.

Personnel Benefits Committee

  • Resume practice of serving in an advisory capacity on benefits issues within the University community and issue timely reports to University Council regarding the impact of proposed changes to Penn's benefits program.


  • Drawing from recent studies and reports, evaluate the University's performance with respect to minority recruitment and retention, perhaps in comparison with peer institutions. Reports findings to Council by 1999.
  • The University of Pennsylvania seeks to enhance the diversity of its student body, faculty, and staff. Review the policies and procedures of the University to achieve this goal, focusing specifically on African-American and Latin-American student recruitment and retention, Asian-American issues, Lesbian-Gay-Bisexual issues, and issues of importance to the Latino community, drawing on existing administration resources for data as needed. Report to Council on findings and recommendations.

Recreation/Intercollegiate Athletics

  • Using the Brailsford & Dunlavey report, review the University's progress toward improving recreational facilities. Make recommendations as to how Penn can achieve its stated goals in this area.
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of the University's advising system for athletes to ensure that they are in compliance with University policies, including those on drug use, NCAA requirements, and other policies. In evaluating policies and practices related to student-athletes, ensure that the spirit as well as the letter of the NCAA's policies are followed.


  • Review the University's relationship with the University City Science Center; evaluate and report to Council on the opportunities for enhanced cooperation.
  • Evaluate the grants and contracts system, assessing how well the faculty is served and offering recommendations for improvements.
  • In consultation with committees of individual schools, especially the committee of the Office of Post-doctoral Programs in the Medical School, continue work on the University's policies concerning post-doctoral fellows.

Safety and Security

  • The safety and security of all members of the Penn community are of paramount concern to the University. Mindful of this goal, work with the Committee on Student Affairs to educate community members about safety, with an emphasis on seeking continuity of message to students during their studies at Penn.
  • Review the unique situation of the graduate student population in terms of safety and security. This constituency represents many members living off-campus and a large number of international students new to the city.
  • Complete the formulation of the Uni-versity's video monitoring policy, in collaboration with the Committee on Open Expression and the Department of Public Safety.

Student Affairs

  • The University recently developed and implemented the College Houses in an effort to integrate academic and student life programs and services. Evaluate the progress of Penn's new system; report findings to Council and make recommendations as to how the initiative can be strengthened. In consultation with the Communications Committee, examine the differences in computing quality across schools. Continue to monitor issues pertaining to alcohol abuse. Evaluate dining facilities including eating halls, and space allocation for student activities in conjunction with the vice provost for university life.
  • Work with the Committee on Safety and Security to educate community members about safety.

Almanac, Vol. 45, No. 16, January 12, 1999