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December 20, 2011, Volume 58, No. 16

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 email at senate@pobox.upenn.edu

Faculty Senate Executive Committee Actions
Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Chair’s Report: Faculty Senate Chair Camille Charles reported that the Tri-Chairs met with Vice Provost for Faculty, Lynn Lees and will hand out a list of the Penn Action Plan for Faculty Diversity and Excellence school-level coordinators in all 12 schools. She reported on recent developments with the Action Plan: the Presidential Term Professorship guidelines have been established, the numbers of postdoctoral fellowships have increased from four to seven, and the financial support for the Faculty Opportunity Fund has been increased. She reminded SEC members to complete the faculty climate survey. Dr. Charles stated that the Senate Committee on the Economic Status of the Faculty (SCESF) will be meeting with Vice Provost Lynn Lees next week and is on target to produce their annual report early in the spring semester. She thanked SEC members for sending faculty names to populate the working groups on regulatory issues that Senior Vice Provost for Research Steve Fluharty will be populating this spring.  

Update from the President: President Amy Gutmann presented the highest priorities for the Office of the President for fiscal year 2012.  Dr. Gutmann discussed ongoing efforts to recruit the most talented and diverse students, strengthen no-loan financial aid programs for undergraduates, expand undergraduate research opportunities, and improve graduate student stipends. She discussed the Penn Action Plan for Faculty Diversity and Excellence designed to move toward the goal of recruiting and retaining a more diverse faculty. She explained that the 12 schools have been charged to develop their own diversity plans and she urged SEC members to work with their schools on this. Dr. Gutmann proudly reported that Penn’s Making History $3.5 billion campaign goal was achieved more than a year ahead of schedule and is comprised of 200,000 individual gifts. She discussed ongoing efforts for prudent endowment investment in a weak economic climate. She reviewed the challenges of decreasing sponsored research funding noting that the Center for Technology Transfer has improved and is more user-friendly. Dr. Gutmann updated SEC on Penn Connects Phase I facilities projects that were completed on time and on budget including Penn Park which added 20% new campus space. She reviewed current construction projects, recognition for Penn’s outstanding sustainability plan, the local economic impacts of the University, and the continued success of the Penn Alexander School. 

SEC members and the President discussed the following topics: potential for grant funding from corporate sources, vision for the newly acquired DuPont Marshall Labs property that has multiple potential uses, ways to improve endowment performance, ideas for integrating knowledge effectively at Penn, the institution’s future plans for a physical global presence, and how each school will be held accountable for improving faculty diversity.

Update from the Vice Provost for Education: Vice Provost Andy Binns updated SEC on the upcoming Middle States Accreditation scheduled for 2014. He explained that this occurs every 10 years and that the reaccreditation process takes three years. He reported that undergraduate education will be the focus for Penn’s 2014 review. He stated that there are two components to the evaluation:  a self study completed by the institution and a visit by a team of external peer evaluators. He explained that the last accreditation review in 2004 focused on Penn’s PhD programs and resulted in the implementation of a uniform PhD tuition structure, increased support for PhD students and stronger family friendly-policies. He reviewed the multi-year timeline for the review process noting that he hopes to name faculty for working groups for the self-study by February 2012.  He reviewed the draft outline for the self-study and explained that 14 standards are the basis for the self-study. He reported that the goal is to demonstrate that Penn meets the standards in ways that the faculty and schools feel is consistent with their mission via realistic, useful activities, and policies. 

Follow up on the presentation of the University Response to the Economic Climate: Faculty Senate Chair-Elect Susan Margulies reported that Executive Vice President Craig Carnaroli took notes from his conversation with SEC about their concerns on administrative burdens and is working on solutions. She explained that the Senate Committee on Faculty and the Administration (SCOA) can follow up on this. She reported that EVP Carnaroli offered to bring a demonstration of the proposed TEM (travel and entertainment management) system to a spring SEC meeting. 

Almanac - December 20, 2011, Volume 58, No. 16