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March 1, 2011, Volume 57, No. 24

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 23, 2011

Chair’s Report:  Faculty Senate Chair Bob Hornik reported that Vice Provost for Faculty Lynn Hollen Lees is continuing to discuss and explore ways to improve faculty diversity and will return to SEC later this spring with next steps. He stated that the Dean of the School of Dental Medicine will come to SEC in March with a proposal to add Academic Clinicians to the dental school faculty track. He noted that the 2009-2010 Economic Status of the Faculty report was just published in Almanac and added that the Senate Committee on the Economic Status of the Faculty Chair Dan Raff will come to a SEC meeting to discuss the report. Dr. Hornik announced that an ad hoc Senate committee will work with Dr. Lees to provide feedback on the faculty climate survey pilot in the late spring or early summer. He encouraged SEC members to contact him if they wish to be a member of the ad hoc committee.  

Past Chair’s Report: Faculty Senate Past Chair Harvey Rubin reported that the Academic Planning and Budget Committee heard a report from the Office of International Programs and Capital Council met last week to approve new building projects. 

Update from the Office of the Provost: Provost Vincent Price updated SEC on Penn’s international activity that offers Penn students worldwide access and engagement to prepare for interaction in a global world. He reported that Penn achieves this in three ways: providing a global campus and strong international community, expanding global opportunities, and advancing global progress by researching the world’s problems. Provost Price explained that Penn’s community includes 6,600 international students and scholars and 2,100 international faculty and staff. He reviewed the Penn World Scholars Program which recruits financially disadvantaged outstanding students from around the globe. He encouraged faculty teaching undergraduate courses to apply to host an international scholar utilizing the Distinguished International Scholars Program. Provost Price explained that every year, more than 1,700 Penn students at all degree levels participate in some form of international study, research, training, or volunteer activity in nearly 50 countries around the world. He noted some new tools that will help address safety, security and best practices:  the Global Activities Registry, used to collect information about the travel plans and activities of faculty, staff, and students; and a new tab on the Penn webpage to provide a fast link to global resource information.

SEC questions focused on: possibly exploring instructional technology to communicate with students and faculty from other cultures, the difficulty of finding information on internships abroad, how to measure Penn’s  progress with global engagement, and how Penn provides support for cultural sensitivity. 

Discussion on the Alternative Sabbatical Program: SEC members had a robust discussion on the proposed Alternative Sabbatical Program developed by the Senate Committee on Faculty and the Administration (SCOA).

Several themes and suggestions emerged: 

• The meaning of sabbatical differs among faculty. The concept of sabbatical should be examined to develop a universal definition that is workable for all faculty.

• The funding for the sabbatical is complex and should be better understood by faculty.

• Peer institutions should be examined to review their sabbatical policies.

• Examine why some faculty are not taking sabbaticals.  Is the system inequitable?

SEC voted unanimously to continue discussion and development of the Alternative Sabbatical Program.


Almanac - March 1, 2011, Volume 57, No. 24