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COUNCIL Report on the April 24 Agenda

2001-2002 Year-end
and Recommendations of the
Committee on International Programs

April 18, 2002

1. Charge to the Committee

Standing Charge from the Council Bylaws: The Committee on International Programs shall review and monitor issues related to the international programs and other international activities of the University. The International Programs Committee shall advise and make policy recommendations in such areas as services for international students and scholars, foreign fellowships and studies abroad, faculty, staff and student exchange programs, and cooperative undertakings with foreign universities. The Committee shall consist of eight faculty members, one A-1 staff member, one A-3 staff member, three undergraduates, and three graduate/professional students. The director of International Programs shall be a non-voting ex officio member of the Committee.

Specific Charges for 2001-2002:

(1) Explore ways to make the Penn environment more inviting for international visitors, in particular visiting scholars, post doctoral fellows, etc.

(2) Evaluate University services and academic offerings to international students. Examples include assistance with visa issues, and English courses for those who are not native speakers of the language.

(3) The committee will also examine and advise the University Council on ways the University can coordinate and expand its international endeavors at Penn and its global presence beyond the campus.

2. Number of Times the Committee Met

3 times (November 30, 2001, February 1, 2002, and March 21, 2002)

3. Major Points Addressed by the Committee

A. The Effect of September 11 on Penn's International Community:

At each meeting, Dr. Joyce Randolph, Executive Director of the Office of International Programs, briefed the Committee on the impact of September 11 on the University community and its international endeavors. Study Abroad programs are little influenced; in fact enrollments are at an all-time high this year. Penn's huge international population (3500 students and 1400 scholars) is more influenced in that some potential scholars and students experience delays in receiving visas; some who work with bio-hazardous materials are undergoing background checks; and almost all are included in a new INS data tracking system that IPO is helping to implement. Penn's main INS tracking responsibility is to make sure students are "in status" and to report those who are not. The one program that has experienced a negative response is Penn's English Language Program for foreign students which suffered a 27% drop in enrollment this year, compared to spring 2001.

B. Previous Committee Recommendations:

The Committee reviewed the two main recommendations of predecessor

Committees from 1999-2000 and 2000-2001.

--The first was to provide expanded office space for OIP in a central part of the campus. We were pleased to learn at the March meeting that adequate office space will be provided in International House, although it is not a central location as had been strongly recommended.

--The second was that "The University needs to develop a plan to provide moderately priced short-term housing for international visitors." No action has been taken on this recommendation. This Committee for the third consecutive year renews the recommendation that the University take action in this regard.

Recommendation for action by the University:

Housing for Short-Term International Guests:

The Committee has been concerned about the lack of adequate housing for short-term international guests. Visitors to the campus who stay for a few days can find adequate hotel accommodations and long-term visitors can rent furnished or unfurnished apartments. However, visitors to Penn who need to stay near the campus for a period of one week to several months find very little suitable housing. As a major research university, Penn should have facilities to encourage visits of research collaborators who need to be housed near campus. Laboratory research particularly requires proximity to campus since experimental work often requires late night and weekend activity in University laboratory buildings. Unfortunately, Penn short-term housing is now mostly limited to guest suites in Grad Towers at $1200 per month, a cost we think too high to be affordable for many visiting scholars and research students. The one other source of short-term housing near campus is the Divine Tracy Hotel, which although inexpensive, has dress codes which discriminate against women and a particular religious orientation, a situation not appropriate for many of our international visitors.

The Committee has reviewed a number of housing options over the past two years and is concerned that the University not only has no plans to fill the need for moderately priced short-term housing but has actually eliminated the low end units which were once available. The Committee understands that the University cannot put its resources into developing such housing unless there is a demonstrated need. In last year's Committee report, we suggested that surveys be carried out within Departments with significant research personnel to determine the current need for moderate cost short-term housing. In the absence of any such effort by the University administration, the Committee itself initiated a survey of three Departments (Biology, Economics, Electrical Engineering) and one School (Nursing) to gauge the need for short-term visitor housing. The surveys indicated a need for housing of short-term international faculty, postdoctoral, and graduate student research collaborators. Based on these surveys we estimate that in the coming academic year over 50 such scholars from these four academic units will need housing for periods of 1 week to several months. University-wide, we would project a need to house several hundred to more than one thousand international scholars per year for short-term periods. Moreover, the availability of such housing may itself lead to increased visits from international collaborators, thus generating additional demand.

The Committee recommended last year that the University develop a plan to provide modest but inviting units at the price range of $600-$800 per month, the number of which would be determined by appropriate surveys and market research. In our discussions with Mr. Larry Moneta, we learned that there are currently no plans at present to develop moderate cost short-term housing options. We did learn, however, that the University is considering renovating the Sheraton Hotel to create a floor of two-room suites. The monthly cost of such suites is projected to be several times what the Committee estimates visiting research scholars will be able to afford. The Committee advises the University administration to rethink plans for renovation of properties such as the Sheraton Hotel, incorporating at least some single rooms that would need to be only slightly renovated to meet the needs of short-term scholar visitors.

Committee Recommendation:

The University needs to develop a plan to provide moderately priced short-term housing for international visitors. Housing at a cost affordable to student, postdoctoral, and junior research level visitors needs to be created. The number of units to be developed should be determined by appropriate surveys and market research. One appropriate site for such housing would be in the renovated Sheraton Hotel, in which single rooms could be modified to contain a kitchenette.

C. The University's Visibility and Coordination of International Expertise

Committee members noted that Penn is richly endowed with international faculty expertise and programs, but that the University community and the media are unaware of this richness. It suggested a public relations effort be undertaken to make Penn's international resources known both within and outside the University. It recommended a special website be created listing all international endeavors and faculty, and that a printed "index to faculty expertise" be disseminated to national and international media organizations.The Committee suggested the Communications Office would be the appropriate office to house and manage an on-line and hard-copy index. As a beginning, OIP has an international inventory of individuals at Penn, and a list of linkage agreements with international institutions that can be updated and expanded. The Committee also noted the desirability of including information on Penn's Area Studies Centers in a comprehensive website and index of faculty expertise.

Recommendation for action by the University:

Recommendation of the International Programs Committee of

University Council, Academic Year 2001-2002


To make Penn faculty expertise on various parts of the world readily available to the mass media. An enhanced presence of Penn faculty as experts on newspapers, magazines, TV, and radio would contribute to theUniversity's stature and visibility.


a. To create a separate section on the Penn website with faculty expertise. This section would include an index and a search engine. Faculty names, countries or areas of expertise (e.g. Pakistan, Middle East), and topics of expertise (e.g. politics, economy, culture) would be searchable with Boolean operators ("or," "and" etc.). Basic contact information on each relevant faculty member (and personal webpages, if available) would be linked to the search engine. A team of Work-Study students supervised by a faculty member would be in charge of gathering and organizing the information. Appropriate compensation should be arranged for the faculty member supervising this project.

b. To inform Penn faculty that a teleconferencing facility exists on campus where media interviews can take place. One such facility, the Innovative Learning Space, is located in the Towne Building, Room 319. It is a Central Pool Classroom, and scheduling requests are processed by Classroom Technology Services. The room does not have a background displaying the Penn name and logo, but these images can be projected on the wall.

c. To create an initial printed version of the index of international faculty expertise to be mailed to the most important news organizations nationally and internationally so as to make them aware of the existence of the website section [points (a) and (b) above] and of the teleconferencing room [point (c) above].

D. Centralization of Information and Interaction

The Committee endorsed a suggestion that every effort should be made to increase interaction among Offices of International Programs of the various Schools in the University, their directors, and coordinators of other international endeavors in the Schools through a common link. As a beginning, it was suggested that International Programs Directors of the various schools might be included in the International Programs Committee.

Recommendation for action by the University: The Committee recommends the Provost and University Council look into the issue of centralization of international endeavors and make recommendations regarding the feasibility of greater integration.

E. Models for International Graduate Training

The Committee discussed the suggestion that internationally-focused dual-site training be expanded for graduate students, particularly those who work in disciplines that do not include international studies in their curriculum. The model for this, provided by Prof. Edwin Abel, is the Biomedical Graduate Group's arrangement with three medical colleges in Korea. Dr. Randolph noted that other graduate exchange programs exist in SAS, Medicine, Wharton, Law, Dental Medicine, and Fine Arts, many of which endorse dual-site training for graduate students and that also serve as models.

Recommendation for action by next year's Committee: The Committee recommended that consideration of dual-site graduate training, and other arrangements for expanded international graduate training in non-internationally-oriented fields, be tabled until next year when a more thorough discussion can be undertaken. Meantime, the Committee suggested that Schools be encouraged to explore the feasibility of dual-site graduate training.

F. English Language Courses for Non-Native Speakers

The issue of competence in English language training for non-native speakers of English, particularly those who serve as Teaching Assistants, was briefly discussed by the Committee. It was suggested a discussion be included in next year's committee charge.

Recommendation for action by next year's Committee: The Committee recommended a thorough discussion of competence in English language training for non-native speakers be undertaken by next year's committee.

G. Global Perspectives

The Committee expressed interest in reviewing and commenting on the report of the Global Perspectives Subcommittee for the University's Strategic Plan. Due to the lateness in publishing the Subcommittee's report in Almanac, this year's Committee was unable to consider it, but recommends that it be examined next year.

Recommendation for action by next year's Committee: The Committee recommends the Global Perspectives Subcommittee Report, which is part of the University's Strategic Plan for 2002-2007, be seen and commented on by the 2002-2003 International Programs Committee.

-- Sandra T. Barnes, Chair

Almanac, Vol. 48, No. 31, April 23, 2002


April 23, 2002
Volume 48 Number 31

James Wilson, director of IHGT, is stepping down as institute broadens it focus.
The School of Dental Medicine and the School of Nursing each recognize four of their finest for excellence in teaching.
The guidelines for faculty and staff salary increases for 2002-2003 stress merit and performance as the basis for any increases.
An invitation to commencement is extended to the University community.
The deaths of two former deans (Wharton & GSFA), an emeritus professor and an emeritus trustee.
University Council committee reports on the agenda for Wednesday's meeting include: Personnel Benefits, Recreation and Intercollegiate Athletics, and International Programs.
The Penn Reading Project has chosen the text for the incoming freshmen class; faculty members are encouraged to lead a small discussion group in September.
The A-3 Assembly seeks volunteers (weekly-paid employees) to serve on the Executive Board; 20 positions are available.
Penn faculty and staff are invited to the Children's Festival Opening Night Picnic and Performance, as well as a lunchtime party at the Museum to celebrate its new wing and courtyard garden.
The schools announce their graduation ceremonies and speakers.