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Annual Report of the
Steering Committee for University Council

October Meeting

The Committees on Admissions and Financial Aid, Libraries, Facilities, and Recreation and Intercollegiate Athletics presented 2001-2002 committee reports.

Given the concern nationally about the increase in pressures on students on college campuses, Council heard a presentation on services provided by Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS).

In accordance with the bylaws, Council selected and ranked focus issues for the 2002-2003 academic year.

November Meeting

In accordance with the bylaws, the president, the provost and other administrators presented extended reports covering the state of the University.

President Judith Rodin's presentation focused on selected academic statistics, followed by updates on recent hires and current searches, as well as highlights of the West Philadelphia Initiatives and fundraising efforts, ISTAR, and the new strategic plan--;Building on Excellence.

Provost Robert Barchi's presentation was a combination of reports by Deputy Provost Peter Conn, Vice Provost for Research Neal Nathanson, and Vice President for ISC Robin Beck.

Deputy Provost Conn's report focused on the current state of strategic planning. Vice Provost Nathanson's report highlighted the theme of responsible conduct of research. Vice President Beck's report focused on some of the major information technology initiatives over the past year, including the PennERA (Electronic Research Administration), student service systems, Student Home, wireless PennNet, and ongoing security and privacy initiatives.

Council also held a discussion on revisions to the Council bylaws.

December Meeting

Council discussed and voted on revisions to the Council bylaws. Council voted to change all reference to the A-3 Assembly to the Weekly-Paid Professional Staff Assembly to reflect the organization's new name. It also voted to change all reference to A-1 staff members to representatives of the Penn Professional Staff Assembly for consistency.

It voted to eliminate the following ex officio positions on the following standing committees: the director of the Penn Plan from Admissions and Financial Aid; the directors of recreation, the Annenberg Center, Community Housing, and the manager of WXPN-FM from Community Relations; the comptroller from Personnel Benefits; the directors of Academic Support Programs and the Office of International Programs from Pluralism; and the dean of admissions from Recreation and Intercollegiate Athletics. It voted to add the following ex officio positions on the following standing committees: the director of Institutional Research and Analysis to Admissions and Financial Aid; the vice president for Information Systems and Computing to Communications; the associate provost to Personnel Benefits; the chaplain and directors of the Office of Affirmative Action and the Greenfield Intercultural Center to Pluralism; and the director of Counseling and Psychological Services to Quality of Student Life.

It also voted to eliminate graduate/professional student representation and to restrict undergraduate representation to seniors on Admissions and Financial Aid; and reduce the number of graduate/professional student representation from three to two on International Programs. Finally, Council voted to make corrections to minor changes to committee names and mentions of committees no longer under Council's purview.

Council held its annual open forum with speakers and discussion on early decision; the Committee on University Responsibility and the Penn Advisory Committee on Investor Responsibility; and a Civilian Review Board for the University of Pennsylvania Police Department. 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

Council heard a report from the Committee on Quality of Student Life on proposed changes to the Fraternity/Sorority Advisory Board (FSAB) Charter to oversee fraternity and sorority life. Council voted to endorse the committee's recommendations. The Vice Provost for University Life indicated her great enthusiasm for the recommendations.

Chief of Police Thomas Rambo also presented the quot;Share the Roadquot; campaign in an effort to increase safety for both bicyclists and pedestrians.

February Meeting

The issue of gender identity and gender expression was raised at the Open Forum of December 2001 and Steering had referred the issue to the Committee on Pluralism. Committee Chair Dennis Culhane presented the committee's proposal. Council voted to endorse the Committee's recommendation to the administration to adopt gender identity and gender expression in its non-discrimination clause and to recommend a mechanism for working out details when necessary.

Council held a discussion on the revitalization of University Council in an attempt to make Council more effective. The proposals included topics such as Council meetings, committee charges, committee reports, committee schedule, committee chairs, Open Forum, and the Faculty Senate Executive Committee and Council, all of which did not require a change in the bylaws.

March Meeting

In accordance with the bylaws, President Rodin and Provost Barchi presented extended reports on budgets and plans for the next academic year. Ms. Bonnie Gibson, Acting Executive Director of Budget and Management Analysis, presented the budget, followed by Vice Provost for Research Neal Nathanson with a presentation on Penn's research operations, and finally Vice President for Government, Community, and Public Affairs Carol Scheman reported on the government relations climate.

April Meeting

The Committees on Libraries, International Programs, Quality of Student Life, and Personnel Benefits presented 2002-2003 committee reports.

Council heard a report on the legal implications and the impact of the Patriot Act on international students, travel, and the University. Director of Environmental Health and Radiation Safety Matt Finucane presented on select agents and the Bioterrorism Act requirements. Executive Director of International Programs Joyce Randolph discussed foreign students, visas, and immigration. Vice President and General Counsel Wendy White discussed the FBI on campus, library issues, FERPA, and subpoenas.

In accordance with the bylaws, Council held a preliminary discussion of focus issues to be discussed in the 2003-2004 academic year.

-- Leslie Laird Kruhly, Secretary to the Steering Committee

Meetings for University Council 2003-2004

Following are the dates for meetings of the University Council, which are open to observers who register their intention to attend by calling the Office of the Secretary, (215) 898-7005, in advance. All meetings are held from 4-6 p.m., Bodek Lounge, Houston Hall. The agenda will be announced in Almanac prior to each meeting.

Fall Semester Spring Semester
Wednesday, September 24 Wednesday, January 28
Wednesday, October 29 Wednesday, February 25
Wednesday, December 3 Wednesday, March 24
  Wednesday, April 28


  Almanac, Vol. 50, No. 4, September 16, 2003