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April 21, 2009, Volume 55, No. 30

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 April 15, 2009

Chair’s Report. Faculty Senate Chair Sherri Adams reported that the Senate elections are going well, the Constituency elections are underway, and the Senate Committee on Committees has met to populate various University-wide committees. Dr. Adams announced that the 2009-2010 Chair-Elect will be Dr. Robert C. Hornik, Wilbur Schramm Professor of Communication. Dr. Adams explained that the Senate will be forming two subcommittees: one to provide oversight on the research enterprise and another to review the undergraduate admissions policy. Dr. Adams reminded SEC members that the May meeting will be at the University Club followed by a reception. 

Past Chair’s Report. Faculty Senate Past Chair Larry Gladney updated SEC on the work of the Academic Planning and Budget (AP&B) committee. 

Update on the University. President Amy Gutmann thanked the Tri-Chairs for their service this past year. Dr. Gutmann updated SEC members on the status of the cost-containment and revenue generating measures that the University is taking in response to the economic downturn. Dr. Gutmann reviewed initiatives that are continuing: no-loan financial aid policy, graduate student stipend increases, faculty support and hiring, and the use of the Target of Opportunity Fund to hire diverse faculty members. Dr. Gutmann noted that the individual schools will have their own set of cost-cutting guidelines and discussed some examples. She reported on new developments in the research enterprise: the recent $10.4 billion increase to the NIH budget, stimulus funding, and infrastructure money. Dr. Gutmann outlined building projects that are fully funded or have reliable funding in place that are moving ahead. 

SEC discussion focused on long-term changes in higher education institutions in the future due to the economic downturn. SEC members recommended that the University communicate and encourage faculty to meet with TIAA-CREF and Vanguard representatives for advice concerning their retirement plans.

Update on the Budget. Bonnie Gibson, Vice President, Office of Budget & Management Analysis discussed four aspects of the budget process: the planning cycle, key parameters, Responsibility Center Management (RCM), and an overview of the FY2009 budget. She explained the annual budget planning process: initial formulation of a financial plan by the Budget Steering Committee; discussion with key committees to set central parameters; development of school budgets; extensive reviews and analysis resulting in production of a final budget plan. Ms. Gibson outlined Responsibility Center Management’s (RCM) design, purpose, and benefits, which include accountability and disciplined decision-making. She reviewed FY2009 budget and expenditures and discussed FY2010 changes in tuition. SEC discussion focused on Penn’s endowment compared to other peer institutions and the particulars of the no-loan initiative program.

Almanac - April 21, 2009, Volume 55, No. 30