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SENATE From the Senate Chair
October 21, 2008, Volume 55, No. 9

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
Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Chair’s Report. Faculty Senate Chair Sherri Adams reported that the November SEC meeting will feature an extended conversation with the Senate Committee on Faculty and the Academic Mission (SCOF) members and Associate Provost Vincent Price to discuss where faculty are going in the 21st century. Dr. Adams noted that the November 12 SEC meeting will be held in the Levy Conference Center at Silverman Hall, Penn Law School.  

Past Chair’s Report. Faculty Senate Past Chair Larry Gladney reported that the Academic Planning and Budget Committee did not meet.

Senate Nominating Committee. SEC voted to select the members of the Nominating Committee. 

Updates on Penn Research Enterprise Initiatives and Metrics.  Vice Provost for Research Steve Fluharty reviewed the four main areas of the research enterprise: research infrastructure, research compliance, research commercialization, and research investments. Dr. Fluharty discussed the tough climate for federal research money, noting that the increase in proposal submissions is helping. He reported that the regulatory environment has become tougher and stressed the importance of research compliance. Dr. Fluharty introduced Associate Provost for Research and Executive Director for the Center for Technology Transfer (CTT) Mike Cleare, who was hired to reinvigorate CTT into a world-class technology transfer institution.

Research Commercialization at Penn–Development, Benchmarking & Sustainability. Associate Provost for Research and Executive Director for the CTT Mike Cleare reported on the reorganization and revitalization of CTT. Dr. Cleare highlighted enhanced communication with the faculty featuring access to a new help desk, a database currently under development to provide up-to-date tracking information, and engaging faculty in decision-making processes and meetings.   He discussed CTT’s redesigned office that was accomplished by investing in new and high-quality staff and outlining clear goals, objectives, and incentives to achieve better service. Dr. Cleare reported that CTT is working with several schools to encourage student participation in technology commercialization.

The SEC discussion returned to Vice Provost for Research Steve Fluharty to complete his update on the research development, benchmarking, and sustainability. Dr. Fluharty benchmarked Penn’s disclosures, technology transfer staffing, and patent expenses against peer institutions and reviewed peer funding models for recovery of associated research commercialization costs.  He highlighted various cost recovery scenarios for Penn, with a particular emphasis on those permissible under Penn’s Patent Policy. SEC discussion focused on possible ways for Penn to structure cost recovery and SEC members and Dr. Fluharty agreed that the Patent Policy may need to be revisited in the foreseeable future. During general discussion SEC members expressed concern with recent changes to the policy for awarding visas to postdoctoral trainees. Dr. Fluharty encouraged the faculty to send feedback directly to him regarding problems concerning awarding visas to postdoctoral trainees and assured SEC that he will be monitoring the situation.

Discussion of the proposed Policy on Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action. SEC reviewed a revised version of the Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action Policy. 




Almanac - October 21, 2008, Volume 55, No. 9