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COUNCIL 2004-2005 Year-End Committee Reports

Committee on Pluralism

General Charge

The Committee on Pluralism shall advise the offices of the president, the provost, the executive vice president, and the vice provost for university life on ways to develop and maintain a supportive atmosphere on campus for the inclusion and appreciation of pluralism among all members of the University community. The Committee will also address specific diversity issues that may arise on campus. The Committee shall consist of eight faculty members, two representatives of the Penn Professional Staff Assembly, three representative of the Weekly-Paid Professional Staff Assembly, three graduate/professional students, and three undergraduate students, with due regard for appropriate diversity. The chaplain, directors of the Penn Women’s Center, the African-American Resource Center, the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Affairs, the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Center, the Office of Affirmative Action, and the Greenfield Intercultural Center shall be non-voting ex officio members of the Committee.

2004-2005 Specific Charge

1. Review and advise University Council concerning the Minority Equity Report expected to be released in fall 2004.

2. Assess and advise University Council concerning the United States Culture Analysis Requirement (USCAR) Proposal circulated in spring 2004.

3. Monitor implementation of the 2000-2001 Social Interaction Subcommittee’s recommendation regarding interaction across student groups.

Actions in 2004-2005

The Committee met four times this year.

A Subcommittee on the USCAR Proposal was established at the first meeting of the year. The Subcommittee met twice with student authors and supporters of the USCAR Proposal. The Subcommittee also met with the Chair of the Senate Executive Committee, the Interim Provost and the four undergraduate deans to discuss the USCAR Proposal. The Chair of the Committee met with the Interim Provost and the Director of Institutional Research to discuss an analysis of student participation in courses with different levels of “emphasis on diversity.” The Interim Provost and the Director of Institutional Research also appeared before the Committee to discuss the possibility of incorporating such an analysis into a mechanism that would support the implementation of the USCAR Proposal. The Chair, on behalf of the Committee, forwarded a recommendation to the University Council Steering Committee in support of “adapting and implementing the proposal through appropriate mechanisms.” A modified version of that recommendation was presented for discussion at the March 16, 2005 University Council Meeting.

The Subcommittee on Social Interaction scheduled two meetings for this year. It distributed a recent article from the Journal of Communication on intercultural interaction. The Committee Chair requested an updated report from the Vice Provost for University Life on activities in support of social interaction across student groups. VPUL was invited to present this report at the final Committee meeting. The Strategic Workplan Summary for FY2005-2009 submitted as part of that report included as a core strategic goal the provision of support for student activities “that promote social interaction across all of Penn’s diverse students groups.” The mission statement for the campus resource centers also included as its mission to “develop programs that encourage social, cultural, and civic engagement between and across all of the diverse students on Penn’s campus.”

The Committee invited Dennis Culhane to present a summary of the Report of the Ad Hoc Committee on Safety in a Diverse Environment as an aspect of the Committee’s continuing interest in concerns about the “racial climate” on campus.

The Committee was not able to pursue its charge with regard to the Minority Equity Report as that report had not been released to the Committee.

Suggested Charges for next year:

1. Follow up on the recommendation to implement the USCAR Proposal, including the development of an annual assessment of student enrollment in courses with an emphasis on diversity and cultural analysis.

2. Monitor efforts made to improve the campus climate relating to pluralism, diversity or multiculturalism.

3. Review and advise University Council concerning the Minority Equity Report.

4. Follow up on recommendations for the development of an annual “pluralism report” by Institutional Research with statistics on student admissions, retention and graduation rates, faculty and staff hiring, campus climate, and the promotion of student interaction by various units on campus engaged in student activities.

5. Continue to respond to issues related to the Committee’s General Charge.

2004-2005 Committee on Pluralism Members

Chair:Oscar Gandy (communications); Faculty: Portonovo Ayyaswamy (mech engr); Camille Charles (sociol); Dennis Culhane (social work); Oscar Gandy (communications); Sampath Kannan (CIS); Gino Segre (physics & astron); Robert Vitalis (poli sci); Rosalyn Watts (nursing); Graduate/professional students: Fanciska Coleman; Karan Giorta; Lee Humphreys; Undergraduate students: Faatima Qureshi (COL’06); Malaika Staten(COL ’07); Justin Murakami (COL ’06); PPSA: Tammy Pierce (Distribution Svcs); Sean Vereen (GIC); WPSA: Ian Blake (Cell Ctr.);  Ex Officio: Valerie Dorsey Allen (dir, African American Resource Ctr); Jeanne Arnold (exec dir, Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunities); Valerie De Cruz (dir, Greenfield Intercultural Ctr); Elena DiLapi (dir, Penn Women’s Ctr); William Gipson (chaplain); Scott Reikofski (dir, fraternity/sorority affrs); Bob Schoenberg (dir, Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Ctr)


  Almanac, Vol. 52, No. 5, September 27, 2005


September 27, 2005
Volume 52 Number 5


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