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SENATE From the Senate Office
February 17, 2009, Volume 55, No. 22

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, February 11, 2009

Faculty conversation concerning the search for a new Provost: Thomas Robertson, chair of the Consultation Committee for the Selection of a Provost and Dean of the Wharton School met with SEC to discuss the work of the committee. SEC members expressed their views on the important qualities for a new Provost. Comments centered on:  a strong Provost who is able to re-think current models and look for opportunities; provide intellectual and administrative leadership; willing to go beyond the current structure of communication; willing to consider the changing role of the faculty.  SEC members suggested that the committee consider outstanding past provosts and identify their exceptional characteristics.  

Chair’s Report: Faculty Senate Chair Sherri Adams reported to SEC members that the Founder’s Day Symposium: Seeking Sustainability—Penn Explores the Local and Global Challenges was a terrific success. She noted that the March 4th SEC meeting will start at 2:30 p.m. again and the first 30 minutes will be open to the entire Senate to vote on changes in the Faculty Senate bylaws (Almanac February 3, 2009).

Past Chair’s Report: Faculty Senate Past Chair Larry Gladney informed SEC that Capital Council discussed revisions to building projects on campus.

Discussion on Faculty Diversity: Dr. Adams introduced Associate Provost Vincent Price and explained that the talking points for this discussion were formulated by a working group comprised of Dr. Price, the Tri-Chairs, and Professors Stephanie Abbuhl, Tukufu Zuberi, and Grace Kao.

Dr. Price presented the current state of Penn’s faculty highlighting: the composition of the faculty, the challenges and opportunities at Penn to improve the recruitment and retention of a diverse faculty, and the strategies for success that Penn has initiated. 

SEC members had a robust discussion on faculty diversity and various suggestions emerged:

− add incentives to recruit and retain minority faculty

− departments recognize and reward service

− faculty advocate collectively and visibly for minority recruitment and retention

− mentorship be valued and rewarded

− Provost communicate this initiative and encourage deans to reward service

− discuss problems with the pipeline

− usage of the Faculty Opportunity Fund

− current trend of rejecting the academic fast track

− recognition and reward of best practices

− add detailed metrics to the Faculty Affairs website

− include the Native American category into the Minority Equity Report

SEC members recommended that faculty members discuss diversity and the search process with their departments. Dr. Adams noted that the Tri-Chairs will provide a summary report of the conversation and recommendations to SEC.

Almanac - February 17, 2009, Volume 55, No. 22