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SENATE From the Senate Office

The following is published in accordance with the Faculty Senate Rules. Among other purposes, the publication of SEC actions is intended to stimulate discussion among the constituencies and their representatives. Please communicate your comments to Kristine Kelly, either by telephone at (215) 898-6943 or by e-mail at

Senate Executive Committee Actions

Wednesday April 14, 2004

Chair's Report. Faculty Senate Chair Lance Donaldson-Evans informed the Senate Executive Committee that the Senate Chairs had a very productive meeting with President-elect Amy Gutmann. SEC hopes to meet with President Gutmann at a fall Executive Committee meeting. It was agreed that the Committee would work together on creating an agenda for the meeting.

Professor Donaldson-Evans next discussed the Senate Chairs' meeting with the representatives from the Student Movement for Change. Professor Donaldson-Evans mentioned that he was very impressed with the students' presentation and hoped that the Committee would provide the students with some further insight and guidance as they pursue their proposal for introducing a "United States Culture Analysis Requirement" at Penn.

Finally, Professor Donaldson-Evans reminded SEC of the Special Meeting notice for May 5. This will be to amend the Senate Handbook to create the Senate Committee on Faculty Development, Gender and Equity.

Past Chair's Report on Academic Planning & Budget and Capital Council. Past Chair Mitch Marcus reported that Capital Council meetings were not held since the last SEC meeting, and he had been away and unable to attend the last AP&B.

President Rodin and Provost Barchi. The President and Provost met with the Senate Executive Committee to provide the committee with a progress report on several items. 

President Rodin first thanked SEC for its help and counsel on many issues during her tenure as president. The committee in turn thanked her for her leadership. President Rodin then discussed the completion of the Postal Lands acquisition and the University's plans for expansion eastward, and the use for the Civic Center site.    

Provost Barchi updated the committee on his work with the Student Movement for Change. The Provost, who was informed that the committee would be meeting with the students during this meeting, discussed his views on their course requirement proposal, and how he intends to continue to work with the group to move their proposal forward. Dr. Barchi stated that he was pleased with the progress that has been made to date.

Student Movement for Change. Members of Student Movement for Change, a group that is working to increase awareness of the issues that minorities at Penn are facing, met with SEC to introduce their proposal for a United States Culture Analysis Course Requirement Proposal. It is hoped that the adoption of such a requirement will serve to institutionalize the following goals, while promoting an ongoing campus dialogue on this question: (A) To give students a language with which they can discuss these issues during any dialogue; (B) To inspire students to think critically about the role of underrepresented voices in many aspects of society as well as how their own experience fits into this analysis; (C) To attract underrepresented groups that will be drawn to an institution that clearly and proudly displays its commitment to multiculturalism; (D) To reward those professors who already incorporate underrepresented voices when presenting a topic within any discipline. 

Report from the Senate Committee on Students and Educational Policy.  The Senate Committee on Students and Educational Policy reported on its work this year.  The Committee was asked to continue to review and present to SEC for approval the Joint Faculty Senate/Provost's Office Committee to Assess the Evaluation of Teaching; investigate the scope and efficacy of undergraduate research at the University and suggests ways in which this can be expanded and improved; and investigate grade inflation at the University and suggest ways to counter it. The Committee's full report will be published in Almanac at a later date.

New Business. There was no new business.



  Almanac, Vol. 50, No. 30, April 20, 2004