Agenda for Excellence 1995-2000



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No. 32, SUPPLEMENT: Agenda for Excellence 1995-2000 (~ 375 k; 32 pages)

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The University will aggressively seek greater research opportunities. Recognizing that vigorous research and the unimpeded pursuit of knowledge are at the heart of the University's mission, Penn will strive to attract an increasing share of the available research dollars, and will aggressively seek out new sources of support for research.

By any measure, Penn has successfully accomplished this goal. In 1995, the University had a 2% annualized growth rate in sponsored programs. Over the past five years the University has experienced an annual growth rate of nearly 11%, and the growth rate in FY2000 was 13%. During FY2000 the University received nearly $540 million in externally funded sponsored programs compared to $322 million in FY95. We rank 7 in the latest published (1999) ranking. The University developed several strategic initiatives to support this goal. They are recited below with summaries of progress made in attaining them.

  • Encourage faculty to seek increased funding support --through new incentives, mentoring for junior faculty and development of ways to increase grant support for graduate students. Also encourage faculty, particularly in disciplines without significant federal support, to seek research support from non-governmental sources such as corporations, foundations, and alumni.

Penn faculty have been extraordinarily productive in research and scholarship over the past five years. Responding to a variety of School-based incentives as well as a wide range of opportunities to receive external support, both federal and non-federal, Penn faculty have been outstandingly successful. Examples of their success include the following:

  • School of Medicine: In the most recent available ranking (FY99), the School ranked second in the nation in receipt of NIH funding, with a total of $298.2 million, and for each of the last five years had the highest percentage increase in funding nationally.
  • Graduate School of Education: faculty have more than doubled the total dollars available in multi-year active awards from $45 million in FY 1996 to nearly $100 million in FY2000. Over 80% of GSE standing faculty receive support from external sponsors, including all junior faculty in the School, who receive a research assistant until tenure and are matched with mentoring senior faculty. Penn GSE leads the nation in funded research per faculty member.
  • School of Arts and Sciences: sponsored research increased at an 11% annual rate over the past five years.
  • The School of Nursing: the School ranks seventh among all schools of nursing in the amount of research funding received from NIH and first among private schools of nursing.
  • The School of Dental Medicine: The School ranks first in research funding per full-time faculty among dental schools.
  • School of Veterinary Medicine: External research funding increased by 58% over the past five years from $12.6 million to $20 million. The School was third in the nation in receipt of NIH research dollars in FY99. An incentive program allows each department to keep 5% of ICR on its grants for discretionary use, and each department maintains an active research mentoring program for junior faculty.
  • School of Engineering and Applied Science: A new Deputy Dean has been appointed to give unencumbered attention to the School's research agenda. As a result of this and other initiatives, external research funding reached an all-time high of $240,000 per faculty member in FY2000, an increase of 3% over the preceding year. NSF has awarded LRSM $17 million, the second highest grant of its kind in the nation, and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has awarded $10.5 million to Penn and Drexel faculty to establish a nanotechnology center.
  • School of Social Work: External research funding increased from $1.9 million in FY97 to $4.2 million in FY2000. The School has created three new multidisciplinary research centers that emphasize training faculty and doctoral students to prepare competitive research grants for NIMH and other federal agencies.
  • Graduate School of Fine Arts: Important efforts are underway to develop an effective infrastructure and effective incentives for faculty to seek and secure external research funding. Significant grants have already been obtained for historic preservation ($500,000 per year) and architectural history. A cartographic modeling laboratory developed with the School of Social Work is creating opportunities for funding from a range of city governments. Explicit recognition is now given to external funding success in assigning faculty salary increases.


  • Improve and increase research facilities in recognition of the critical role facilities play in securing incremental research funding, faculty recruitment, and the education of students.

Achieving the University's institutional goals in research, scholarship and undergraduate and graduate and professional education requires the preservation and promotion of an environment conducive to such activities. The development and maintenance of modern research laboratories and classroom facilities are critical to our standing as one of the premier research and teaching universities in the world; It is critically important that Penn have in place the facilities and infrastructure necessary to allow research, scholarship, and teaching to flourish.

Over the past five years, the number of new academic facilities across the campus has been substantially increased and their quality improved. Many of these are research buildings are in the life sciences and were listed previously in the section on Six University Academic Priorities. In addition, a number of facilities have been completed, or are underway, that do not include traditional research laboratories but do provide space for research, practice, and teaching, as illustrated by the following examples.

Annenberg School for Communication--The Annenberg School was reconfigured and a third floor added to provide the school with space in which to accommodate its Public Policy Center, additional faculty offices, and a video conferencing center. An entrance to the building from Walnut Street was also constructed.

Charles Addams Hall--Housed in the former Skinner Hall, Charles Addams Hall provides 44,000 square feet on four floors for the undergraduate Fine Arts program, photography, undergraduate majors in Architecture, an animation lab, and an art gallery.

Graduate School of Education--Work is now underway for a complete interior and partial exterior renovation of the Graduate School of Education building that will enable the school to incorporate all of its academic programs within one building while providing technologically state-of-the-art classrooms and computing facilities, the replacement of the current HVAC system and the shift of the building's main entrance to Walnut Street. The renovated facility will house more student and classroom space and create an environment that is expected to foster a greater interaction among students, faculty and staff.

Huntsman Hall--Now under construction, Huntsman Hall will provide 300,000 square feet of classroom, study and activity space for Wharton's MBA and undergraduate programs, as well as offices, research space, and meeting rooms for the faculty. Tailored to Wharton's innovative curriculum, the building will support interactive learning, incorporate the latest technologies, and facilitate co-curricular learning opportunities, providing space for group study, student conferences and computing needs.-

Melvin J. and Claire Levine Hall--Scheduled to open in the spring of 2002, Levine Hall will double the space available for Computer and Information Science (CIS) at Penn. Standing at six stories with 46,000 gross square feet of space, Levine Hall will be connected to SEAS's Graduate Research Wing (GRW) and the Towne Building at all levels with service from Walnut Street. In addition to CIS departmental offices, Levine will house 12 research labs, including the Robotics (GRASP) Lab, faculty offices, conference rooms, and a 150 seat bi-level auditorium. A Cyberlounge for students and faculty will be built in the old Towne garage, and an area for the Solar Car will be added to GRW. The School will have a new entrance on Chancellor Street (to be renamed Chancellor Walk), and there will also be a new pedestrian entrance to GRW on Walnut Street. Levine Hall will close the "U" shape of the Engineering complex around a landscaped courtyard called the Quain Quadrangle and will unite the school physically.

Library--The renovation of a number of library facilities during recent years has substantially improved research facilities for students and faculty. Among these renovations are the Van Pelt Reference and Electronic Research Center, which includes an electronic classroom; new teaching and seminar and group study rooms; and an Undergraduate Study Center that provides 24-hour library and academic information support to all faculty and students. Work is beginning on the Schoenberg Center for Electronic Text and Image, which provides state-of-the art scanning and imaging of the Library's resources for the research needs of Penn students and faculty as well as scholars from all over the world through the internet; the creation of a film/multi-media center (jointly funded by the Library and the School of Arts and Sciences); construction of a new Medieval/Religious Studies graduate study; and additional computer labs.

Logan Hall--A total renovation of Logan Hall was completed as part of the Perelman Quad project. The building is home to the College of Arts and Sciences and the departments of Classical Studies, History and Sociology of Science, Religious Studies, and Philosophy, and also includes important classroom, social and cultural space on its ground floor.

Silverman Hall Renovation--The $11.2 million Silverman Hall renovation and restoration project was completed, providing the Law School with a new conference center, upgraded classrooms and research space, and a student lounge area. The 34th Street entrance was reopened and the Great Hall, Grand Staircase, and the exterior of the building restored.

Schattner Building--a 70,000 square foot facility for Dental Medicine is now under construction that will house a new patient admissions and emergency clinic, oral and maxillofacial surgery clinics and a specialized facility for medically compromised patients, including those with HIV. Plans for the building also provide for patient meeting areas, conference rooms and faculty offices.

University Museum--Construction is underway on the new 35,000 square feet Mainwaring Wing of the University Museum, which will provide state-of the-art storage facilities for almost all the ethnographic objects in the Museum's collections from the Americas, Africa, Asia and Oceania as well as study and seminar rooms for students and scholars.


  • Enhance the Library's ability to deliver electronic-based information and data to support research in all areas of the University.

The Library has built one of North America's leading academic digital libraries, providing desktop access to the electronic equivalent of a multimillion volume print collection. The digital library includes:

  • a growing collection of networked electronic journals, nearly 4,000 titles at present
  • twice the number of networked database as were offered in 1996
  • the full-text of more than 110,000 digital books
  • a digital image collection (currently 30,000 images and growing in support of GSFA and SAS programs)
  • networked access to hundreds of digitized course reserve readings through Blackboard, and
  • links to more than 4,000 academically useful web sites.


  • Recognizing that the integration of theory and practice is one of Penn's hallmarks, update Penn's policies governing ownership and management of intellectual property and participation in external commercial activities, and improve Penn's ability to attract increased corporate support for technology transfer.

In November 2000, the Faculty Senate Executive Committee adopted a new statement, prepared by a joint Senate and Administration committee, on Policy and Procedures relating to Copyrights and Commitment of Effort. This new statement should resolve long-standing issues of intellectual property rights at Penn.

In the area of clinical trials, the Office of Research Services (ORS), in consultation with the Provost, a group of faculty active in clinical trials, and the Office of General Counsel developed Guidelines for the Consideration of Presidential Exceptions to University Patent Policy. Application of these Guidelines has already proven useful in resolving a number of contentious negotiations.

ORS also has been actively working in response to the increasing claims of research foundations and associations on University intellectual property. Working with the Center for Technology Transfer, ORS recently developed a white paper outlining proposed University responses to these kinds of requests and thereby establishing optimal expectations.

In addition, Penn's Center for Technology Transfer has refined its programs to:

  • Move research results from the laboratory to the marketplace for the public good
  • Retain, reward and recruit faculty and students
  • Induce closer ties to industry, promote economic development and generate income

In FY2000 alone, CTT managed 1,331 transactions involving research services, intellectual property and enterprise functions. Benchmarks of CTT's success by FY2000 include: 226 patent applications, up from 45 in FY96; 56 industry sponsored research agreements, up from 28 in FY96; income generation of almost $30 million, up from $2 million in FY96.


  • Streamline Penn's pre- and post-award processes to increase efficiency and to facilitate the pursuit and receipt of external funds.

The 1998 merging of the Office of Research Administration and Office of Research Accounting to create the Office of Research Services (ORS) has led to a number of initiatives to streamline Penn's pre- and post-award processes, to increase efficiency, to increase effectiveness of grants administration staff at departmental, school, and central levels of the University, and to facilitate the pursuit and receipt of external funds.

The ORS has improved internal business practices in the management of federal and non-federal grants, including the development of procedures to identify potential conflicts of interest, the reduction of grant administration system audit findings, the collection of over $10.3 million in delinquent receivables since December 1999, and the improvement of account setup through technology and internal training.

The ORS also has developed a Basic Grantsmanship Course called "Sponsored Program Administration at Penn," which has been given to over 300 School and Center Business Administrators and other participants.


PRINT this document

No. 32, SUPPLEMENT: Agenda for Excellence 1995-2000 (~ 375 k; 32 pages)

Note: To read Acrobat® files, download the Adobe® Acrobat® Reader for free!

Almanac, Vol. 47, No. 32, May 1, 2001