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February 2, 2010, Volume 56, No. 20

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, January 27, 2010

Chair’s Report: Faculty Chair-Elect Bob Hornik reported that the Founder’s Day Symposium was a big success. He explained that the Senate Committee on Faculty and the Academic Mission (SCOF) expects to bring a proposal to SEC at the February meeting for a change in the faculty track in the School of Engineering and Applied Science. Dr. Hornik announced that Professor Lynn Lees has been named the Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs. He reported that the Senate Subcommittee on Research convened for their first meeting in the middle of January. 

Ballot: SEC members voted for the 2010 Senate Committee on Committee’s membership.

Cloud Computing:  Lauren Steinfeld, Chief Privacy and Institutional Compliance Officer explained  the definition of “cloud computing”: free or low cost services offered worldwide to any individual user where resources, such as infrastructure or software, are provided over the internet.  In many cases data resides on the cloud provider’s servers. She explained that cloud computing is growing due to the appeals of low cost, high capacity, high functionality, and access from remote locations. She reported that there are many issues to consider when using third party services such as: compliance, security of information, availability of data, privacy controls, ownership of data, export controls, E-Discovery, jurisdictional issues, and Intellectual Property rights. She reviewed guidelines for faculty when they are considering sharing data with third party services, and noted that some forms of protected data cannot be legally moved outside University servers. SEC discussion revolved around ways to safely store backup data and recommendations for places and opportunities to share this important information.  

University Response to Economic Impact

Budgetary Climate: Craig Carnaroli, Executive Vice President, updated SEC members on the impact of the economic fallout on the University. He reviewed the FY2009 endowment returns and future projections through FY2014 noting that Penn has outperformed some peer institutions. He outlined challenges in the budget such as the decline in funding from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania for the School of Veterinary Medicine this year and the increasing demand for Undergraduate Financial Aid. Mr. Carnaroli reported that on the revenue side, the Making History Capital Campaign is on target and doing very well, Penn researchers have been awarded many research projects through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, and University faculty and staff collectively have done a great job cutting costs. SEC members discussed issues concerning the recovery including future expectations on changes in benefits and the salary compensation pool.

University Benefits: Jack Heuer, Vice President for Human Resources, updated SEC members on the competitiveness and responsiveness of Penn’s benefits including; the collaborative work of the University Council Personnel Benefits Committee, key cost drivers for benefits, costs of specific benefits, and new initiatives. He explained the success of the recent one-time opportunity to retire under FIAP for selected senior faculty, and improvements in child care including: expanded space and hours at the Penn Children’s Center, enhancements in the adoption benefits, and a new program for Backup Care. He reviewed upcoming agenda items for discussion with the University Council Personnel Benefits Committee this spring and the Benefits-At-A-Glance presentation that is available for any school. 


Almanac - February 2, 2010, Volume 56, No. 20