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SENATE From the Senate Office
May 22, 2007, Volume 53, No. 34

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 Sue White, executive assistant to the Senate Office, either by telephone at (215) 898-6943, or by e-mail at senate@pobox.upenn.edu.

Faculty Senate Executive Committee Actions

May 16, 2007

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Chair’s Report.  Faculty Senate Chair Vincent Price reported on topics that have been recently discussed in Consultation; the status of searches for the Director, Office of Institutional Research and Analysis and the Associate Provost for Faculty Affairs; a successful delegation Penn sent to the MIT9 meeting in Washington; possible changes to consultation procedures in selection of a President; and a recent meeting of the Tri-Chairs and faculty liaisons to Trustee committees.

Past Chair’s Report.  Faculty Senate Past Chair Neville Strumpf reported on recent Academic Planning and Budget meetings, which included discussions of the need to continue to monitor NIH funding; spending related to capital improvements; and self-disclosure of criminal records by applicants for graduate studies. 

Proposed revision to the Temporary Exclusion Policy (Handbook II.E.18).   Professor Claire Finkelstein, Chair of the Senate Committee on Faculty and the Administration (SCOA) presented the committee’s recommended revision to the Temporary Exclusion Policy.  She noted several problems with the current policy: a very narrow conception of circumstances that would warrant temporary exclusion, broad latitude in permitting a wide range of administrators to exclude faculty, and the ability of the President and Provost to promulgate procedures for temporary exclusion simply by memorandum.  Professor Finkelstein outlined the extensive deliberations, multiple reviews, and collaborations that went into the proposed revision.  She outlined the revised procedures, highlighting the flexibility of the policy to accommodate different scenarios and the safeguards against misuse or abuse.

SEC members were concerned with possible interpretations of some language in the policy that might not necessarily follow those now uniformly understood by SEC, SCAFR, and administrators who developed and approved the policy.  Possible word changes for clarification purposes were debated. SEC opted instead to request that the Faculty Senate Tri-Chairs draft a memo for the Senate Committee on Academic Freedom and Responsibility (SCAFR) clarifying these understandings, so that SCAFR will clearly understand the policy’s intentions should they review a temporary exclusion case in the distant future. Following discussion, SEC voted unanimously to approve the Temporary Exclusion Policy revision.

Proposed Resolution on Economic Status of the Faculty Data. Faculty Senate Chair Vincent Price reviewed a memo containing a draft resolution that SEC requested at its April 18, 2007 meeting, expressing the Senate’s grave concern about the difficulties obtaining data necessary for the Senate Committee on the Economic Status of the Faculty (SCESF) to complete its annual report. The Chair noted and expressed his appreciation for the recent strenuous efforts by members of the President’s and Provost’s offices to provide a set of salary tables, even though the data proved insufficient for a report. 

After some discussion, SEC voted and passed the following Resolution with 24 votes of approval and 1 abstention: “The Senate registers its deep disappointment and frustration that, despite repeated assurances of the University, usable salary data were not delivered in time for the Senate Committee on the Economic Status of the Faculty to produce an annual report this academic year. Lack of such data has prevented the Senate from properly executing, since 2003-04, its recognized right to monitor the economic status of the faculty or to represent the faculty adequately in the determination of University policy on salary issues.”

Proposed Resolution marking the retirement of Linda Koons, Executive Assistant to the Provost. Linda Koons, Executive Assistant to the Provost, will soon be retiring from her position at the University, and in acknowledgement of her service, the Senate Chairs proposed a resolution for Almanac.

SEC voted unanimously to pass the following Resolution: “The Senate congratulates and thanks Linda Koons, Executive Assistant to the Provost, on the occasion of her retirement after forty years of dedicated service to the University. Her resourcefulness, expansive knowledge of Penn, and committed service to its faculty are deeply appreciated and will be sorely missed.”

Senate Committee Reports. SEC heard and briefly discussed annual reports given by the chairs of Senate Standing Committees.

Vote for faculty members for Steering Committee. SEC members were presented a ballot for approval voting of faculty members for Steering Committee of University Council.

Almanac - May 22, 2007, Volume 53, No. 34