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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 Senate Chair Neville Strumpf at (215) 898-8802 or by e-mail at strumpf@nursing.upenn.edu.

Faculty Senate Executive Committee Actions

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Report from Executive Vice President.  EVP Craig Carnaroli, provided an overview of University finances. Penn’s financial position is generally strong. Return on the endowment, at roughly 8.5%, lags somewhat behind the performance attained by peer institutions; however, strategic diversification of Penn’s portfolio is underway to improve performance. Sponsored programs remain the single largest source of funding, with NIH grants accounting for the lion’s share of sponsored research. Fundraising has been highly successful, with record donor contributions in 2004-2005. Turning to facilities, Mr. Carnaroli pointed out that deferred maintenance looms as a significant issue. Finally, local-area crime is of concern, not only for the paramount public safety issues raised but also for financial reasons (the University spends $23 million annually on public safety). Going forward, Penn is working aggressively to prevent crime on campus and in the community. President Gutmann has met with Mayor Street to discuss cooperative strategies, and Vice President Rush has been making very effective use of her budget to deliver more efficient services.

Chair’s Report. As Chair Neville Strumpf was out of town and unable to attend the meeting, no formal report was given.

Past Chair’s Report on Academic Planning & Budget and Capital Council. Past Chair Charles Mooney updated SEC on the work of both Academic Planning & Budget and Capital Council. The former has met to discuss campus planning, but will soon take up discussion of Penn’s Responsibility Center Management (RCM) budgeting system.  Professor Mooney indicated that the Senate tri-chairs have been engaged in discussions about ways that faculty can have greater input into the budgeting process, particular early in the planning cycle when overall priorities are established.

Discussion of University’s Response to the Minority Equity Report. Chair-elect Vincent Price led a brief discussion of the University’s response to last spring’s Minority Equity Report, published recently in Almanac (May 3, 2005). Several committees, including the Senate’s Committee on Faculty Development, Diversity, and Equity and the Council’s Committee on Pluralism, are charged with monitoring the response and charting progress. Concerns were expressed about a lack of centralized data necessary for such monitoring. The Senate tri-chairs will be meeting with the Provost and Deputy Provost to consider ways of facilitating the gathering and timely distribution of such data.

Senate Committee Updates. Chair-elect Vincent Price briefed SEC on recent issues under discussion in the Senate’s Standing Committees.  The Committee on the Faculty and Administration met recently with the University’s General Counsel to review final revisions to Just Cause procedures, following up on a variety of SEC recommendations from last year.  Also discussed with the General Counsel was a draft of proposed “Principles of Responsible Conduct,” a document articulating basic expectations of members of the Penn community and envisioned as a user-friendly compendium of University policies. The Senate Committee on Faculty and the Academic Mission will soon bring for SEC review and approval a proposal from the School of Arts and Sciences to add an Artist-in-Residence position to its faculty.  The committee has begun review of a proposal from the Graduate School of Education to add new Practice Professor ranks to its faculty, and will soon begin examining the broad array of associated faculty appointments across schools for consistency, currency, usage and impact on standing faculty. The Senate Committee on Faculty Development, Diversity & Equity is working on a report of the mentoring survey it completed last year. In collaboration with the Deputy Provost’s Office, the committee is also examining several policies related to career-family balance.  The Senate Committee on Students and Educational Policy has not yet met, awaiting appointment of a chair.

Discussion of Annual Senate-sponsored Symposia. The successful symposium on youth and aging held November 4 could become the model for an annual Senate-sponsored event. SEC discussed the advisability of such an annual commitment, its advantages (e.g., increased visibility of the faculty, fostering inter-disciplinary connections, outreach to other constituencies on and off campus) and implications (e.g., the need for careful advance planning, successful solicitation of broad faculty involvement, and the like). Possible means of organizing future symposia were discussed, along with possible topics including intellectual property, cognitive science, engaging research in fostering social justice, Penn in the Philadelphia community, and conflicts of interest. The event might become a spring activity, balanced by a fall SEC meeting and reception with the President and Provost, open to the entire Senate. 

Selection of the Senate Nominating Committee. Ballots were distributed for the selection of members to serve on the 2005-06 Faculty Senate Nominating Committee. 

New Business. SEC discussed possible agenda items for subsequent meetings.


  Almanac, Vol. 52, No. 14, December 6, 2005


December 6, 2005
Volume 52 Number 14


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