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March 17, 2009, Volume 55, No. 25

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, March 4, 2009

Senate Rule Changes. In a special meeting of the Senate, open to all members of the Senate, the Proposed Changes to the Rules of the Faculty Senate were unanimously approved:  to abolish the Senate Committee on Conduct.

Chair’s Report. Faculty Senate Chair Sherri Adams reported that the Tri-Chairs are in the process of discussing next steps to follow up on the February discussion on faculty diversity issues. Dr. Adams urged SEC members to talk to their constituencies about the importance of faculty diversity and do some grassroots consciousness-raising. Dr. Adams agreed to follow-up on the suggestion from a SEC member to add mentoring to the Penn CV information. Dr. Adams asked each SEC member to forward a name from their constituency for next year’s Nominating Committee to Sue White in the Faculty Senate Office. 

Past Chair’s Report. Faculty Senate Past Chair Larry Gladney had no new business to report.

Update on Student Life. Associate Provost Andy Binns updated SEC on the following topics:

− PhD Simplification Program: There has been an overall smooth transition to the new PhD tuition system. He explained that PhD rules were examined and changed to add flexibility. Dr. Binns reported that many departments have set up strategies to deal with issues that emerged under the new system. 

− Online Course Evaluation: An advisory group of faculty and students met in the fall to formulate some of the policy and procedural issues associated with the change to an online course evaluation system and there was a pilot test of the program in the late fall. He explained that this new system, scheduled to start in spring 2009, will be less expensive, greener, easier, faster, and more efficient. 

− Interdisciplinary Education: Penn is doing a good job with interdisciplinary education at the undergraduate and PhD levels and added that he would like to explore interdisciplinary education in the professional master’s degree programs. 

Dr. Binns also updated SEC on: posting online syllabi, the distinguished international scholar program, and the recent health care crisis.

Update on the Capital Campaign. John Zeller, Vice President for Development and Alumni Relations, discussed the up-to-date progress on Making History, The Campaign for Penn. Mr. Zeller reviewed the campaign performance vs. goal commitments, which remain on a strong trajectory this year in spite of the downturn in the economy. He reported capital campaign progress in seven key priority areas: faculty, undergraduate student aid, graduate and professional student aid, medical research and clinical investment, campus life, nanoscale research building, and neural and behavioral science. Mr. Zeller also updated SEC on capital campaign commitments, receipts, endowment receipts, campaign timeline, and strategies for fundraising in a difficult economy.

Related: From the Provost: Introduction of Online Course Evaluations and Syllabi

Almanac - March 17, 2009, Volume 55, No. 25