Annual Report of the Steering Committee

This is the twenty-second annual report of the Steering Committee of University Council, prepared in accordance with a requirement in the Council Bylaws that the Steering Committee shall publish an annual report to the University community that reviews the previous year's Council deliberations and highlights "both significant discussions and the formal votes taken on matters of substance."

September Meeting

In accordance with the bylaws, Council selected and ranked focus issues for the 1999-2000 academic year.

Council discussed Council committee yearly charges for 1999-2000.

The Committees on Admissions and Financial Aid, Bookstore, and Facilities presented 1998-99 year-end committee reports.

October Meeting

The president and other administrators reported on financial aid.

The Committees on Communications, Community Relations, International Programs, Pluralism, and Student Affairs presented 1998-99 year-end committee reports.

November Meeting

The Committees on Research and Personnel Benefits presented 1998-99 year-end committee reports.

In accordance with the bylaws, the president, the provost and other administrators selected by the president and provost or by the vote of the Council presented extended reports covering the state of the University.

President Judith Rodin's annual State of the University report addressed issues including efforts to connect scholarship donors and their students; the appointment of Professor Eduardo Glandt as the permanent Dean of the School of Engineering and Applied Science; achievements over the last year with regard to the Agenda for Excellence; highlights of the progress made in campus development during Fiscal Year 1999 to achieve the goals of an improved quality of life on campus; context in which Penn is facing the challenges at the Health System; and bicycle safety.

Provost Robert Barchi presented his annual report. Issues addressed included global indicators of Penn's success; strategic planning; activity within the six academic priorities such as the Center for Cognitive Neuroscience, the Genomics Initiative, the American and Comparative Democratic and Legal Institutions, and the revitalized Fels Center; a few crosscutting initiatives such as the Urban Education Initiative, the new preK-8 school in West Philadelphia, the Center for Children's Policy, Practice, and Research; and other general areas that will need attention during the coming year such as the campus development plan and technology. He also introduced Deputy Provost Peter Conn.

Deputy Provost Conn discussed the elements of his responsibilities, noting the emphasis more on undergraduate education than graduate education, though both are part of the package. He described the significant redesign of the deputy provost position, which yielded a job description with three broad elements--supporting the provost; working with the schools--both undergraduate and graduate; and working with several cultural resource centers, such as the Annenberg Center, the Institute for Contemporary Art, the Arthur Ross Gallery, the University Museum, and others.

Ms. Carol Scheman, Vice President for Government, Community, and Public Affairs, updated Council on Penn's Way--Charitable Giving at Penn.

December Meeting

Mr. Jack Heuer, vice president for human resources, discussed the statistics concerning the six outsourcing opportunities on campus, including the Bookstore, Facilities Services, Employee Assistance Program, Benefits (Health and Welfare), Public Safety (Dispatch), and Campus Dining. Mr. Omar Blaik, Vice President, Facilities Services also reported on the ongoing assessment of Trammell Crow.

Council held its annual open forum, with speakers and discussion on University licensing for Penn clothes, problems with Penn policies on students with disabilities, women's safety, the University's investment of the endowment, minority recruitment and retention, obtaining prayer space, and the naming of University buildings. Speakers were either directed to appropriate resources immediately, or assured their issues would be taken up in Steering and/or appropriate Council committees in the near future.

January Meeting

Professor Martin Pring, chair of the Committee on Communications, presented a proposed policy on privacy in the electronic environment. Although Professor Pring asked Council to share its general sentiment by a straw vote, it was determined not advisable for Council to take a straw vote given the kinds of questions raised. Council decided to bring the policy back at its meeting the following month.

Professor Edward Lally, chair of the 1999-2000 Committee on Recreation and Intercollegiate Athletics, presented the 1998-99 Committee on Recreation and Intercollegiate Athletics year-end report.

Mr. David Burd reported on collaboration between the UA Student Life Committee and Dining Services to conduct a dining survey to get general student sentiment about the new services provided by Bon Appetit and also to target key issues on student minds. An outside consultant, Dr. Bill Rosenberg from Drexel University, was contracted to conduct a similar follow-up survey to one conducted in the Spring. Dr. Rosenberg and his staff conducted the survey for three days in early November and compiled the results the following month. Managing Director for Campus Dining Peg Lacey presented the results of the survey.

February Meeting

Council conducted an open forum on the proposed policy on privacy in the electronic environment. Chair of the Committee on Open Expression Professor Dennis Culhane was present to answer any questions relating to the Open Expression Guidelines. Professor Martin Pring, Chair of the Committee on Communications, presented the Revised Proposed Policy on Privacy in the Electronic Environment and Council had a lengthy discussion on the proposed policy.

March Meeting

Dean of Undergraduate Admissions Lee Stetson reported on minority recruitment, presenting information about the recently enhanced recruitment program, noting that recruitment of no group is more important to Penn than underrepresented minorities and Philadelphians. Dean Stetson highlighted the recruitment process. He also discussed the challenges that the Admissions Office faces, including the competition from the same type of institution as Penn for the limited pools of applicants and the financial aid packages.

Council continued discussion on the Committee on Communications' draft policy on privacy in the electronic environment. Professor Pring returned to present the revised proposed policy. After a lengthy discussion, Professor Gross requested a sense of Council, and noting a lack of quorum and the inability to pass a motion, requested either a straw vote or a sense of Council. President Rodin asked Council if it were willing to have a vote, and follow Professor Gross' recommendation, noting it would merely be the sense of Council to recommend the interim application of the policy to be reviewed in two years. The straw vote, by show of hands, voted for the interim application of the policy.

Council discussed proposed revisions to the University Council bylaws. Professor Gross noted the most substantive change--the increased representation of the PPSA and the A-3 Assembly--and the change of the beginning of the new Council in September, rather than the changeover meeting. It also was noted that the changes are mostly an attempt to conform the bylaws to what is the current practice of Council. It was determined that no one had issues on any of the proposals or bylaws.

Special Meeting

A special meeting of University Council was convened on April 19, 2000. The Steering Committee agreed that in order for Council to hear more committee year-end reports this academic year rather than next year, it would be best to add another meeting.

The Committees on Bookstore, Communications, International Programs, and Personnel Benefits presented 1999-2000 year-end reports.

President Rodin and Provost Barchi coordinated their extended reports, in accordance with the bylaws, on budgets and plans for the next academic year. The president discussed how financial planning is done at Penn, then presented a quick overview of this year's University budget. She then discussed where the money comes from and what the prospects for revenue growth are. Provost Barchi discussed enrollment and financial aid and its impact on revenue from student charges. He went on to discuss sponsored research. The provost then discussed where Penn's business-like activities fall into the University's overall revenue picture. Provost Barchi stated that the challenges Penn faces include staying competitive and achieving the goals embodied in the Agenda for Excellence.

April Meeting

Professor Pring presented the proposed "friendly amendments" by the UA to the Proposed Policy on Privacy in the Electronic Environment. After clarification that these amendments have been made to the draft approved by straw vote, Professor Pring moved that Council recommend to the administration that they enact the text, as amended, to be reviewed in one year. Council voted on the proposed Policy on Privacy in The Electronic Environment, with forty-seven Council members voting to pass the motion, and none opposed.

Council voted on proposed revisions to the University Council bylaws. Forty-four Council members voted to "Increase to two representatives of the Penn Professional Staff Assembly and the A-3 Assembly on University Council and on the Steering Committee" and none opposed. Forty-seven members voted to "Move from January to March the extended reports by the president, the provost, other administrators on budgets and plans for the next academic year" and none opposed. Forty-five members voted to "Omit the requirement of committee chairs to report to Council in February, and allow reports to be submitted to Council according to current practice, in March, April, and October" and none opposed. Forty-five members voted to "Omit the need for a "changeover" meeting of the Council membership and change the Council membership period to begin with the first meeting of the academic year and conclude with the final meeting of the academic year" and none opposed. Forty-five members voted to "Consider minor changes, such as updating titles of ex officio committee members" and none opposed. All five amendments were passed and officially will be added to the Bylaws.

The Committees on Community Relations, Library, Facilities, Pluralism, Safety and Security, and Student Affairs presented 1999-2000 year-end committee reports.

In accordance with the bylaws, Council held a preliminary discussion of focus issues to be discussed in the 2000-2001 academic year.

--Rosemary McManus, Secretary to the Steering Committee

Almanac, Vol. 47, No. 3, September 12, 2000