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 John Keene or Executive Assistant Carolyn Burdon, Box 12 College Hall/6303, (215) 898-6943 or

Actions Taken by the Senate Executive Committee

Wednesday, November 3, 1999

1. Chair's Report. Faculty Senate Chair John Keene drew attention to item 4 on the agenda, and outlined the procedures for nominating candidates for the Senate Nominating Committee. He urged SEC to attend the November 10 University Council meeting to hear the president and provost's report on the state of the University.

2. Past Chair's Report on Academic Planning and Budget Committee and on Capital Council. There have been two meetings of the Academic Planning and Budget Committee since the last SEC meeting. The first focused on the computing system and the second included a progress report on the Campus Development Plan.

3. Nominations for Senate Nominating Committee. Eight of those who had been nominated earlier by SEC members were selected as nominees. A ninth nominee from among the SEC membership was chosen. (below)

4. Informal Discussion with Provost Barchi. Provost Barchi discussed the financial situation of the University of Pennsylvania Health System (UPHS) that led to the recent layoffs. In an effort to identify further economies, the UPHS and the Hunter Group are reviewing the Clinical Practices of the University of Pennsylvania (CPUP), test utilization, and billing operations. He mentioned Moody's downgrade of the Health System and of the University's bond ratings.

In response to a SEC member's question on whether there were efforts underway to increase UPHS income, Provost Barchi replied that UPHS is working with third-party payers to address this issue. The UPHS has encountered slow or partial payment of its bills, and in many cases, rejection. As an example, he stated that if a patient is admitted to the hospital for five days, the insurance companies automatically discount the last two days and the hospital has to negotiate to obtain payment for those two days. A SEC member noted that the Balanced Budget Act of 1997 is having a serious impact on teaching hospitals, a consequence unforeseen by the U. S. Congress, but that Congress is reconsidering its decision. Another problem is that UPHS is committed to providing free indigent care for which there is no reimbursement by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The SEC member urged faculty to contact members of Congress and the State Legislature to discuss corrective legislation. Provost Barchi said that the practice of transferring one-half of UPHS profits to the School of Medicine is in jeopardy. He said the School of Medicine must make changes complementary to those made in the UPHS.

In response to a SEC member's question, the provost said there would be no reduction in faculty, but that some may leave if their programs are reduced or closed, as may be the case in disease management. The Medical School Faculty-2000 Project will take a serious look at faculty tracks and the changes required to meet the faculty's teaching, research, and patient care responsibilities. A SEC member asked whether they plan to look at retirement for senior faculty who do not bring in sufficient income. The provost said in some areas senior faculty have been brought back as contract employees so they could continue to share their wealth of medical knowledge. Provost Barchi noted that the Master Trust Indenture limits the University's responsibility on UPHS debt and he sees no risk to the University now. Responding to a SEC member, Provost Barchi said that for several years a group of nurses have been reviewing claims issues and contacting insurance companies to resolve them.

5. Discussion on Vacancy in Chair-elect of the Faculty Senate. Professor Keene stated that when 1999-2000 Faculty Senate Chair Peter Conn resigned in July to become deputy provost, he and Chair-elect Larry Gross agreed to split the year when Peter Conn would have been Senate Chair, in accordance with the Faculty Senate Rules. On January 1, 2000, when Larry Gross takes office as Senate Chair one semester early and John Keene shifts back to Past Chair, there will then be a vacancy in the position of Chair-elect. The position of Past Chair will become vacant in May 2000 in the normal course when Professor Keene completes his term. Professor Keene suggested two options: (1) have the current Senate Nominating Committee select a new Chair-elect or (2) have the new Nominating Committee that is in the process of being elected accelerate its work and nominate a Chair-elect who would serve for three semesters.

It was noted that one benefit of voting for option 1 would restore the full complement of Chair, Past Chair, and Chair-elect, whereas a disadvantage would be that the 1998-1999 Nominating Committee would have nominated two persons for the office of Chair-elect, whereas the 1999-2000 Nominating Committee would not select a Chair-elect. In May, the 2000-2001 SEC will select a Past Chair at the time the vacancy occurs, following the provisions of the Senate Rules.

After further discussion it was moved and seconded that "The existing Senate Nominating Committee, chaired by Gregory Possehl, shall nominate a new Chair-elect of the Faculty for three semesters and elections shall proceed this fall." The motion was approved, none against, with two abstentions.

6. Update on the Campus Development Plan. Vice President Omar Blaik recalled the September presentation to SEC on the process for the creation of the Campus Development Plan and the five themes of study, working group membership, the consultation process and the work accomplished to date. Olin Partnership planner Susan Weiler stated that the first phase of the work, conducting an inventory of Penn's facilities, infrastructure, and physical planning issues, is almost completed. She summarized the findings. The administration will hold two forums in the next few weeks at which members of the University community can learn of the various proposals under consideration and provide input to the development of the Plan. She expected that a Draft Campus Development Plan would be available for comment by mid-winter.

7. Charitable Giving Campaign. Vice President Carol Scheman stated the campaign is jointly administered by the United Way and the Center for Responsible Funding. The pledge card has been simplified, a volunteer system is in place, and efforts are underway to create a culture of giving. She noted that the Black United Fund is now certified to participate and everyone will be notified of that fact.

Under the Faculty Senate Rules, formal notification to members may be accomplished by publication in Almanac. The following is published under that rule:

To:    Members of the Faculty Senate
 From: John C. Keene, Chair
 Subject: Senate Nominating Committee

1. In accordance with the requirements of the Faculty Senate Bylaws, notice is given to the Senate Membership, i.e. the Standing Faculty and Standing Faculty-Clinician Educators, of the Senate Executive Committee's 9-member slate of nominees for the Nominating Committee for 1999-2000. The Nominating Committee nominates candidates for election to the Offices of the Faculty Senate, to the at-large and assistant professor positions on the Senate Executive Committe, and to the Senate Committee on the Economic Status of the Faculty, the Senate Committee on Academic Freedom and Responsibility, and the Senate Committee on Conduct. The nine nominees, all of whom have agreed to serve, are:

  • Dennis P. Culhane (assoc prof social work)
  • Julie Fairman (asst prof nursing)
  • Robert Hornik (prof communication)
  • Madeleine M. Joullié (prof chemistry)
  • Kenneth Lande (prof physics)
  • David R. Manning (prof pharmacology/med)
  • Francis Mante (assoc prof restorative dentistry)
  • Gerald F. Porter (prof mathematics)
  • Phyllis Rackin (prof genl honors in English)

2. Pursuant to the Bylaws, additional nominations may be submitted by petition containing at least twenty-five valid names and the signed approval of the candidate. All such petitions must be received by Tuesday, November 23, 1999. If no additional nominations are received, the slate nominated by the Executive Committee will be declared elected. If additional nominations are received, a mail ballot will be distributed to the Senate membership. Please forward any nominations by petition via intramural mail to the Faculty Senate, Box 12 College Hall/6303. Please forward any questions to John Keene or to Carolyn Burdon by e-mail at or by telephone at (215) 898-6943.

Almanac, Vol. 46, No. 11, November 9, 1999