COUNCIL State of the University, Part One

At the University Council meeting on October 4, the President and Provost presented their annual State of the University reports. Below is the report given by President Judith Rodin. Provost Robert Barchi's report is scheduled for publication on October 17.



The State of the University, 2000-2001

by Judith Rodin

Let me begin my report by waxing a bit philosophical if I may. I have spent a lot of time thinking about the State of our University in this first year of the new millennium.

In doing so I've realized something fundamentally important about Penn, and that is this: what most distinguishes this University is our ability to move forward, in pursuit of excellence, no matter what slings and arrows fortune may throw our way.

Consider that over the past five years we have had to deal with serious safety and security issues, enormous financial upheaval in our health system, tragedies like the death of Jesse Gelsinger, and a broad range of other challenges.

Yet in that same period, Penn has moved from sixteenth in 1994 to sixth in the latest US News rankings. Our external research funding continues to rise and has risen every year in double digit numbers across the University. Our undergraduate student selectivity has continued to increase, and the most ambitious capital program in Penn's history has brought literally a dazzling array of state-of-the-art facilities, resources and amenities, to enrich our academic, social and cultural lives as faculty and staff and students.

I honestly do not know of another university that could have weathered storms as successfully as we have, and, at the same time, moved as aggressively and affirmatively forward. I truly know of no precedent for this--and I am tremendously proud of this University and of everyone here.

Simultaneously, our engagement with our neighbors in West Philadelphia has truly revitalized University City, transforming it into a clean, safe, and vibrant community, a shared community, in which all of us can take pleasure and pride.

What the Provost and I are going to show you today is simply a brief series of milestones or markers. It would be impossible to really comment on the breadth of the State of the University, but the data that we have chosen to describe help to etch the face of an institution, this institution, that really is relentless in its forward momentum; an institution that I think will never take no for an answer, and one that is imaginative and entrepreneurial, focused, as well as strong.


Progress in FY 2000

Undergraduate Admissions

Let me begin then with the initial slide about student selectivity, and I think the data speak for themselves (see table below). If you follow from 1994 to 2000, Penn is attracting more accomplished cohorts of students every year. Our applicants have risen dramatically since 1994. Our matriculation has increased, and the admit rate of course has declined, and therefore the yield has improved steadily over this period. Penn has a significant opportunity and indeed also a strong responsibility to select the most outstanding undergraduate classes, and we are doing so and the students are truly meritorious in ways you can see in the numbers which we'll share a bit later.

Progress in FY 2000

Undergraduate Admission Selectivity

Apply Admit Matric % Yield
1994 13,739 4,984 2,346 47.0
1995 15,074 4,981 2,384 47.8
1996 15,862 4,772 2,331 48.8
1997 15,464 4,828 2,349 48.7
1998 16,658 4,842 2,414 49.9
1999 17,666 4,668 2,507 53.7
2000 18,815 4,280 2,494 55.5

Research Funding

I'll just comment in one sentence on the growth of research funding because the Provost will talk with you more about it, but in talking simply about last year, we increased again by twelve percent. The growth and continued success in attracting research funding across the University from government sources and from private industry really reflects the quality of our faculty; it is indeed a marker, a stand-in for faculty quality and merit and the hard work of those faculty members who applied for and, with such enormous capability, are increasing these levels of research funding. Let me say though that we are the victims of our own success, and of course as we continue to attract more and more research funding, our facilities and resources are strained, and so we have a set of issues in terms of the enormous costs of doing research that benefits so significantly the University and a learning environment.

International Research and Global Perspective

Penn is attracting increasing numbers of students from around the globe. We have over 3,000 international students. They're from many many different countries, as we all know well it is impossible to walk on this campus without hearing so many languages spoken, and the diversity, and the opportunity for learning simply provided by this breadth of international student body I think is one of the things that has made Penn really very very exciting. We have an increasing number of international programs and initiatives, almost every school is deeply involved with universities or research projects or shared students across many countries.

You know that Goh Choktong, Prime Minister of Singapore, came to campus to attend a life sciences program that the Provost organized, which really had a chance to demonstrate the enormous capacity of our faculty in the life sciences and we are working towards forging important partnerships with Singapore. Wharton and Kellogg, the Northwestern business school, are launching Indian School of Business in a collaboration with McKinsey consulting firm, and they've been very involved on the ground. We have many many programs in India, and we're very excited about this project to open in Hyderabad this summer. This does not give a Wharton degree, it gives an Indian School of Business degree similar to what we did with the Singapore Management University, which is helping another country to set up a school using our models, the learning we've had in developing our core curriculum, to help them develop a premiere business school in their own countries, and we're working on many other strategic and academic partnerships with universities and governments across the world.


At the end of the campaign for Penn, which was 1995, we were raising 260 million a year. The purpose of the campaign, in addition to raising money, is to raise the levels of donors to a new baseline and raise the level of donation to

a new baseline. So the fact is important that we are so regularly exceeding that 260 number without a campaign, raising 310 million in this past year and setting ourselves a goal for the current academic year of 350 million. Contributions fund financial aid, faculty chairs, new buildings, academic programs, and a full array of our academic priorities, and we're blessed with generous donors who really are compelled by the vision that we have for the University of Pennsylvania, and are willing to support it.


This is a summary of some of the rankings, and although they clearly do not measure or reflect all of the dimensions of Penn's strengths, they do at least represent in some benchmarks where we are viewed relative to some of our peers. The point I think is simply that these are what we know from this year, from progress in 2000, ranked sixth by US News.

Wharton is ranked first in both the undergraduate and the MBA program.

The School of Medicine is number three, and number two in NIH funding to the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. HUP is in the Honor Roll of the best hospitals in the United States and, despite our financial problems, Penn Medicine ranked in Top Ten in six of eight specialties that were ranked (U.S. News).

The Law School stands twelfth, among 174 accredited law schools in the nation (U.S. News); and look again at the numbers of peers to see that these placements really are very significant.

The Arts and Sciences are ranked within the Top Ten, eleventh, and twelfth in many of our departments, and we're not yet satisfied, and we continue to push further so that we can continue to accelerate our progress. A number of our Ph.D. programs in the sciences and in the social sciences and the humanities were ranked among the finest programs in the nation, including Top Ten rankings in both Economics and Psychology; English was eleventh and both History and Sociology were ranked twelfth (U.S. News).

The Graduate School of Education was ranked eleventh this year among 187 graduate education programs, up from twentieth a year ago; it's a pretty bumpy prospect here and schools do go up and down and the bases for the rankings do change every year (U.S. News).

The School of Nursing ranked second in reputational ranking and seven of eight nursing specialties are in the Top Ten, so there is a very significant perception of the School of Nursing.

The School of Social Work ranked eleventh among graduate programs.

The School of Veterinary Medicine ranked second in the nation in this year's reputational ranking.

This is merely to demonstrate the profile of the University of Pennsylvania at the present time: that most of our schools and most of our programs are ranked in that very elite top group among our peers, and the rankings really reflect the quality of the faculty, the quality of the students, the efforts of the staff and the extraordinary spirit that I talked about a moment ago that is the University of Pennsylvania.

Campus Development Plan

As you know we had a presentation at the last Council meeting (Almanac September 26); and FY 2000 saw a great deal of progress on the Campus Development Plan. We are continuing to present the plan to various groups across campus and gain further input and modifications of the plan as a result of this input, and it will provide a campus framework for future development. And we're very grateful to the efforts of the Provost in establishing the working committees and all of you and other members of the University community who participated so intensively in the formulation of the needs and the formulation of the solutions to those needs that really represented the baseline data and indeed the recommendations of the Development Plan.

I thought I would just review for you some of the projects that we completed this year, the development projects; the Provost will talk about programmatic accomplishments, faculty-related accomplishments during the year, and so I will talk to you about some of the capital projects so that we can give you a complete picture of these areas.

This past year, there were major efforts to rehabilitate Bower Field and to create a new baseball field on Murphy.

We built a Chiller Plant that received rave architectural reviews and also provides services for new research and academic buildings.

We celebrated the opening of Perelman Quad and the restoration of this extraordinarily important area of Penn's campus and indeed Penn's community.

The Annenberg School completed its work on the Public Policy Center, creating a really important multimedia conference facility as well as developing the Public Policy Center within the core of the Annenberg School building.

The School of Engineering and Applied Sciences completed a much needed Bioengineering Laboratory, renovating and creating new levels of functionality in the Bioengineering Lab facility.

There are many projects that have begun in 2000, or are continuations even from before that, but will be continuing into FY2001, certainly Huntsman Hall, which will provide modern instructional space for the Wharton School.

The Quadrangle College House renovations, in which a third of the Quad is now fully renovated and the remaining two-thirds will be in the next two summers. Completion of that project will really create the right kind of physical structure for the College House program as it continues to succeed in its third year now of implementation.

The Sundance Cinema is under construction, as you have seen at 40th and Walnut and the food market and garage is near completion. This project will support the University community as well as the West Philadelphia community.


Initiatives in FY 2001

Let me just give you a preview of 2001, the projects that you'll be seeing as you step over construction barriers this year as opposed to last year.

The new facility for Computer and Information Science--recalls that one of the lynch-pin institutional priorities for the University and the Agenda for Excellence was a real growth in the number of faculty, the number of chairs, and the program in computer science, certainly I don't have to preach to the converted here about the importance of that in this technology age, and so the new facility and the new faculty and the efforts on behalf of both are moving forward this year.

We have made and will be announcing shortly a very major commitment to initiatives in genomics across the University in biology, in the Cancer Center, increasingly in new collaborations with Children's Hospital, and the new Life Sciences building will house a portion of that new genomics project and also create new facilities for the Department of Biology and for the animal users in the Department of Psychology.

The Undergraduate Fine Arts building at the former Faculty Club is almost completed; it will be open in January. It has some classes I understand this fall, and it will be a wonderful new facility providing the opportunity for the Graduate School of Fine Arts to quadruple its number of undergraduate offerings in Fine Arts, and also to reanimate at 36th and Walnut, a very anchored piece of real estate. If the behavior of the students in the Blauhaus is any indication, we will see a building that really is used twenty-four hours a day and really will animate the streetscape and continue to improve safety as we work on that issue as well.

The Graduate School of Education has begun, within the last week, a renovation of their building to allow improvements and programming and some modernization particularly with regard to the use of technology and some infrastructure work that is long overdue.

We will celebrate the completion of the Law building, Silverman Hall, in November and the Dental building project is continuing.

And as always we will be doing the next installment of our classroom renovation projects.

Other Strategic Initiatives

In FY2000 we raised 26 million new dollars for undergraduate financial aid endowment. We had a goal you'll recall of 200 million, this has 110 now raised with 90 to go and a high benchmark for this year again of 35 million. In FY2000 alone we increased by 110 the number of new undergraduate scholarships.

We are now placing a new emphasis on raising funds for graduate and professional student financial aid. We are actively pursuing this goal, and not that we will leave the undergraduate financial aid efforts, we will continue to accelerate those efforts, but we don't want to leave efforts on behalf of the graduate and professional students behind, and so we'll be working on a very energized program.

I remind Council that when I came to Penn six years ago it was very very difficult to raise endowment funds for undergraduate financial aid, and we developed a program that excited our alumni. The people who excited our alumni were our undergraduates receiving financial aid. I was merely the mediator of that effort, and we believe that our aid recipients really do tell the story that provides the vision for our alumni to give undergraduate financial aid and we'd like to create some of those same kinds of programs for graduate and professional students and their funding.

Student Life

Much is going on in the area of student life, and the College Houses continue to make progress; I had the pleasure of meeting with several College House deans in the last week as they were describing frankly to prospective donors the extraordinary opportunities that the College House program has provided for undergraduate residential life and academic life and the integration of the two. So we will be continuing that.

I've mentioned Perelman Quad, we are making progress there and are planning for our development of the Graduate Student Center, the Veranda.

We were delighted at the opening of the ARCH. It will house arts, research and culture activities. It's a wonderful place and it is filled with wonderful programs and efforts and we look forward to its progress.

The efforts on the Pottruck Health and Fitness Center will begin this summer; we were not able to begin it as quickly as we had hoped because we were not willing to close the available facilities for a year in order to move this along. So this is moving to a series of summer projects, but we are determined to open it in 2003 and we'll use our current recreational resources until then.

Neighborhood Initiatives

Quality of Life/Neighborhood Initiatives continue to move forward. We have made final progress on the West Philadelphia School planning with both the School District and the Teachers' Union, temporarily in abeyance until they resolve some of their own problems, but the catchment area is complete. We will be building a pre-K through 8 public school in West Philadelphia, and as a result of some of the quite legitimate concerns of the neighborhood with regard to the other elementary schools, we have brought our peer institutions in the neighborhood into a program with us so that all of the elementary schools in the area will have university responsible for them. We will adopt Lea, Drexel will adopt Powell, and University of the Sciences will adopt Wilson, and so we will really leverage resources to lift all boats for all children in the West Philadelphia area, and we could not be more pleased.

The Hamilton Square project, including the is about to open within the next few weeks, and the Left Bank project, the former GE building, will be ready to receive its first tenants by January.


Finally, we announced a new initiative for the University called P2B. It is an effort to broaden the academic experience and the opportunity structure for our faculty and students and staff, and create access to entrepreneurial opportunities for those who wish to create new ventures and who wish to use this particular access point.

It also allows us to have a focused place to continue our efforts on behalf of the economic revitalization of University City, and we hope it will provide an accessible, easy-to-deal-with organization that opens Penn to the broader community.

One of the complaints that we have had by many of those who would like to access Penn and its faculty, students and staff and the discoveries and ideas that are so extraordinary, and the breadth of them here, is that Penn is too opaque, and it's really hard to know how to get in and how to access the people. Many people at Penn complain that the access--out to find those with whom to collaborate-is equally difficult, so this is an effort to move that forward, and to create some venture capital partners that will make these decisions and invest in Penn's intellectual property and intellectual capital.

That concludes my report.


Mr. Hess: I was just curious what the status of the Cancer Center was?

President Rodin: As far as what?

Mr. Hess: Are we going to have a new building built for the Cancer Center, or is that completely undecided?

President Rodin: Right now, we just celebrated yesterday the opening of the Rowan Breast Center and the opportunity within the Penn Tower to reutilize some of the space to improve our capacity to treat patients within the Cancer Center. We are certainly continuing to hope and plan for a new Cancer Center at a time when it is fiscally appropriate to animate those plans, but as all that you see in the Campus Development Plan, these are ideas that have now a physical place, and they'll require the resources for implementation. At the moment we haven't identified the resources that'll allow us to say, "Here's the date and here's the time certain."

Professor Richetti: President Rodin, in your description of campus development, I wonder about College Hall; you said nothing about that, another core building, and I'm worried about College Hall.

President Rodin: The Provost and I have spent a fair amount of time this summer talking about Bennett Hall, the rest of College Hall and Music as the next round of deep concerns that we have, so we have our colleagues doing a fairly hefty number of studies right now, both financial and space usage studies that will allow us to address that question. I think it is very important, and we share this view, that we resolve these issues for the Departments of Music, English and History very very readily, and despite what some may think, we are deeply preoccupied by this issue, and deeply concerned about finding a solution.


Almanac, Vol. 47, No. 7, October 10, 2000

| FRONT PAGE | CONTENTS | JOB-OPS | CRIMESTATS | Bike Lanes & Safety Tips | COUNCIL: State of the University 2000-2001 (Part One, Rodin) | TALK ABOUT TEACHING ARCHIVE | BETWEEN ISSUES | OCTOBER at PENN |