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September 26, 2006, Volume 53, No. 5

This is the twenty-eighth annual report of the Steering Committee of University Council, prepared in accordance with a requirement in the Council Bylaws that the Steering Committee publish an annual report to the University community that reviews the previous year’s Council deliberations and highlights “both significant discussions and the formal votes taken on matters of substance.”

2005-2006 Annual Report of the Steering Committee for University Council

September Meeting

In accordance with the bylaws, Council called for the selection and ranking of focus issues for the 2005-2006 academic year. Council Steering Committee Chair Neville Strumpf noted that there were five potential areas of topics and priorities for discussion generated by the Steering Committee as well as discussions and suggestions from Council last year:

• Campus Development Planning, including the postal lands
• Spring Fling
• Interdisciplinary education
• Global engagement, including the programs of the Office of International Programs
• College House System and housing more broadly.

Council adopted all of the focus issues and agreed to rank them all equally.

Council reviewed the committee lists and charges. Professor Strumpf reported that each committee was charged with producing a “self evaluation” report by the end of December. Steering would review those reports in January and continue its discussion. A subcommittee of Steering would be created in October to suggest improvements to the current committee structure.  Recommendations from this subcommittee and from the committee chairs would be brought to Steering and then to Council for further discussion. 

October Meeting

For the benefit of new Council members, Steering Committee Chair Neville Strumpf provided an overview of Council, its purpose, and its membership.

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

President Amy Gutmann’s presentation of the State of the University focused on campus development, global engagement, recruiting and retaining first-rate faculty, raising funds for financial aid and the fundraising campaign. She then asked Executive Vice President Craig Carnaroli, Senior Vice President for Facilities and Real Estate Services Omar Blaik, and Vice President for Development and Alumni Relations John Zeller to report on their respective areas. Mr. Carnaroli’s presentation focused on the University’s financial parameters, the campus development plan and the accomplishments of the EVP’s Office in 2005. Mr. Blaik’s presentation focused on the campus development plan, ongoing construction work, real estate development projects and utilities issues. Mr. Zeller’s presentation focused on fundraising and the current campaign at Penn.

Provost Ron Daniels’ presentation of the State of the University focused on faculty recruitment and retention, Penn Integrates Knowledge (PIK) recruitment, and internationalization. Provost Daniels officially announced that Associate Provost Janice Bellace was recently named Deputy Provost. He then introduced Deputy Provost Janice Bellace and Assistant Provost for International Affairs JoAnn McCarthy who presented on faculty and international programs. 

November Meeting

Council heard remarks by President Amy Gutmann and Vice President for Public Safety Maureen Rush on additional measures taken with regards to public safety.

Council held a discussion of the 2004-2005 Committee on Quality of Student Life report regarding Spring Fling with Committee Chair Arnold Rosoff, Social Planning and Events Committee (SPEC) President Catey Mark and SPEC Fling Director Jack Chanin, Faculty Director of College Houses and Academic Services Philip Nichols, and Vice Provost for University Life (VPUL) Valarie Swain-Cade McCoullum. Provost Daniels suggested that, at least for the current year, Spring Fling should remain in the Quadrangle, but supported the recommendation to revisit the issues following Spring Fling 2006.

Council held a discussion of the Campus Development Planning Committee with Executive Vice President Craig Carnaroli and Senior Vice President for Facilities and Real Estate Services Omar Blaik.

December Meeting

Due to the final examinations schedule, the Steering Committee canceled the December Council meeting.

January Meeting

Council held a discussion of graduate student housing and of managing stress and work-life balance.

Council held its annual open forum with a presentation by Co-President of Penn’s ACLU Vikas Didwania, who brought to the attention of Council what he considered to be Council’s failure in ensuring that freedom of speech is fully protected, as resolved in the USA PATRIOT Act resolution passed by Council in 2003. He urged Council to create a committee “to study the possible ramifications of these warrantless wiretappings on academic discourse.” It was decided that the issue would be forwarded to Steering for possible modification and further conversation, with the expectation that the topic would return to Council at its next meeting.

Council members celebrated the 300th anniversary of Benjamin Franklin’s birth.

Early March Meeting

Council held a follow-up discussion of the resolution proposed at Open Forum with Senior Vice President and General Counsel Wendy White about the legal dimensions of the proposed resolution.  Council unanimously voted to reaffirm the previous resolution formally adopted by Council in April 2003 in response to the USA PATRIOT Act under the stipulation that Council also refer this issue, as well as any further possible inquiries on the topic to the University Council Committee on Research. 

Provost Daniels discussed the Report of the Task Force on Global Engagement headed by Deans Susan Fuhrman and Patrick Harker.

Council held another discussion with Executive Vice President Craig Carnaroli of the Campus Development Planning Committee Report.

Late March Meeting

Council held a discussion of student assignments within the College House System with College Houses and Academic Services Faculty Director Philip Nichols.

President Gutmann and Provost Daniels presented extended reports on budgets and plans for the current academic year. Ms. Bonnie Gibson, Vice President for Budget and Management Analysis, presented the budget, followed by College Dean Dennis DeTurck, who discussed the general education requirements in the College and the report of the pilot curriculum evaluation committee, which was adopted by the SAS faculty.

May Meeting

Council discussed and voted on proposed changes to the University Council Bylaws. The major change Council voted on was to reduce the number of standing committees from 14 to six and the number of independent committees from three to two, with a resulting proportionate decrease in Council committee membership overall.

Council discussed the report of the Social Responsibility Advisory Committee (SRAC) on University policies on investing in the Sudan and voted the sense of Council. Council voted to endorse the Committee’s recommendation that “the University exclude from its direct investment and require the University’s separate account managers exclude from their direct investment any investment that they may currently have in these oil companies operating in the Sudan, as well as in general obligation to the Sudanese government.” In addition, the Committee asked that the Investment Office share the University’s desire to adhere to this investment philosophy with the investment managers of co-mingled funds in which the University invests.

Council heard an update on the Campus Development Planning Committee from Executive Vice President Craig Carnaroli and Provost Ron Daniels.

Council held its monthly open forum with a presentation by Michael Hatch of the student group Universities Allied for Essential Medicines (UAEM). The organization proposed alteration to the mission statement of the University’s Center for Technology Transfer (CTT) from “to commercialize Penn research for the public good” to “primarily, to improve global human welfare through technology transfer.” In addition, UAEM recommended two specific policy recommendations: that Penn should adopt licensing provisions that facilitate access to its health-related innovations in poor countries, and that Penn should promote research on neglected diseases and find ways to work with non-traditional partners that seek to develop medicines for these diseases. UA representative Zack Rosenblum also presented and urged President Gutmann to take an active role in ensuring that the agenda for the annual meeting of Ivy Group Presidents include a discussion regarding the ban of post-season football play.

In accordance with the bylaws to hold a preliminary discussion of focus issues to be discussed in the 2005-2006 academic year, Council was instructed to submit issues to University Council Steering Committee members to be considered at its May 10, 2006 meeting.

Leslie Laird Kruhly,
Secretary to the Steering Committee

Almanac - September 26, 2006, Volume 53, No. 5