Coverage of March 25 Universtity Council Meeting Reports on the Library and Budget
March 31, 2015, Volume 61, No. 28
In accordance with the University Council Bylaws, the March 25 Council meeting included “extended reports by the President, the Provost and other administrators covering budgets and plans for the next academic year.” The remarks on these pages were adapted from the presentations given.
There was also a presentation and update on implementation of recommendations of the Commission on Student Safety, Alcohol and Campus Life. Vice President of Public Safety Maureen Rush spoke about the findings, focus areas and progress; Associate Vice Provost Max King also spoke about progress since the Commission issued its report.
Coverage of March 25 University Council Meeting
Reports on the Library and Budget
Penn Libraries: Supporting Innovative Teaching and Learning
Carton Rogers, Vice Provost and Director for Libraries
I appreciate having the opportunity to talk with you this afternoon. I am always happy to come out and talk all about the things the Penn Libraries are doing in support of this vibrant community of students, scholars and researchers. We think we have a wonderful story to tell. And so once again, thank you for the opportunity. One of the problems I have is that once I get started talking about the Libraries, it is very hard for me to stop, but I am going to try desperately to be very brief in my remarks and then turn it over to my colleague, Kim Eke, who will follow up with some specific examples of what the Penn Libraries are doing.
The unstated mission of the Penn Libraries, and I hope this resonates with all of you of a certain age, is to explore new partnerships, seek out new forms of information and to boldly go where no research library has gone before. My colleagues and I work best when we are sitting around and challenging each other as to how we can really transform the services of the Penn Libraries. So this is aspirational! We don’t generally take that on the road for obvious reasons! Our actual, earth-bound mission statement is to empower teaching and research, to enrich learning, to enable innovation and to ensure the availability and the preservation of information for this and for future generations of scholars, both here at Penn and in the local community. In support of the first two, the Penn Libraries have created new teaching and learning service spaces, using re-purposed, vacant areas, and have hired the kind of staff who can, and will, in turn, leverage these new spaces, all with the goal of creating new programs and services that support teaching and learning across Penn’s campus.
I thought it might be useful to start with a very quick review of the trajectory that we have been on since 2002 to pivot the Penn Libraries to a more outward-looking and partnership-seeking position on campus. In 2002, the libraries were asked to manage the Blackboard courseware system for those schools that were using Blackboard at the time. Some of you remember that it was a mixed blessing for both the campus and for the libraries to actually have to use and manage Blackboard. But we survived it and it was a wonderful way of getting the libraries more directly involved in teaching and learning at Penn. It was also a wonderful experience for the libraries insofar as the libraries were seen as more of a possible partner for people on campus. You will hear me talk a lot about partnerships because all of our efforts have relied very heavily on various kinds of partnerships across the campus.
In 2006, working with the School of Arts & Sciences, we created the Weigle Information Commons, which I think most of you are aware of, and this again was a joint fundraising project. It was built in library space and it has had a profound impact on the way we think about the kinds of services and spaces that you have told us you need and that the library can provide.
In 2012, we had a wonderful opportunity, thanks in large part to President Gutmann and Provost Price’s vision, for a space in Weiss Pavilion. Thanks to their support, we were able to create what we now call the Education Commons. This is a bookless space in the Weiss Pavilion that has a set of high-tech group study rooms, and we continue to try and build programming around those spaces. We think it has fulfilled a real need on that side of campus.
In 2013, after an incredibly long fundraising slog, we were able to get Phase I and Phase II of the Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts built—this is the space on the sixth floor of Van Pelt-Dietrich Library. You might think that the prime driver for that project was to provide additional collection space, but that was only one driver. The real interest on my part and the part of my colleagues was to create a set of teaching and learning spaces that better served the community than the spaces we had for the old Rare Books and Manuscripts Library, due to the incredible interest of Penn scholars in using objects from our special collections in the classroom. For those of you who have experienced classes using rare materials, I think you understand what the power of those connections is and can be in the classroom, and we have a very loyal following among the faculty who teach with rare materials. So, providing the kind of quality spaces that allow them to teach the way they want to was really important to us, and we think that the Kislak Center has been very successful in meeting that objective.
In 2014, we opened the Collaborative Classroom on the first floor of Van Pelt-Dietrich Library. I don’t know if people are aware that this idea was brought to us by the SCUE leadership who were interested in creating an open-style classroom, and they thought that the library was the perfect place to have it. So with their help and support on the fundraising side we were able to create a really interesting classroom that we opened in 2014. Also in 2014, we were immersed in the transition from Blackboard to Canvas, which I am sure most of you have been impacted by in one way or another (we certainly hope in a positive way). And that has really gone a long way in pushing the libraries more deeply into the teaching and learning continuum.
What all these capital projects (and most of these are capital projects, except for courseware) have in common is that they originated as partnerships. They are so critical to what the Penn Libraries are all about—seeking out partnerships wherever we can find them on campus. This is local engagement at its best, and we think we have been very successful in managing it. But I have to say, as difficult as fundraising can be in our environment, doing the fundraising and getting the spaces built, in some ways, has been the easy part. What we didn’t want to end up with, as many libraries, that have tried similar kinds of space transitions have, is really lovely spaces that nobody comes to because there is no programming and nothing interesting happens in those spaces. So part of my overarching goal was to find and recruit staff who could program those spaces in ways that would bring students and faculty into the libraries.
I think I have been extraordinarily lucky in being able to recruit a team of top-notch people to support teaching and learning initiatives in the libraries. Behind me, Anu Vedantham, director of the Weigle Information Commons, is very familiar to those who hang around the Weigle Information Commons, including faculty who have attended many of Dr. Vedantham’s wonderful workshops on using technology in the classroom. Catrice Barrett, who unfortunately cannot be here today because she is ill, is a relatively new hire. We hired her with money that we received from the Bass Family, and she is the inaugural Bass Family Teaching and Learning Fellow working with us on planning for the Collaborative Classroom. Catrice is also a PhD candidate. I was extraordinarily fortunate, a year ago, to be able to leverage Kim Eke, director for Teaching, Research & Learning Services, away from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. I actually had to go down there and arm-wrestle her boss to get her up here to take leadership over this really important directorate in the libraries. I feel very supported by this group, and I hope you feel very supported by them as well. It is really a terrific team that we have put together. What I would say is that it is only the beginning, and the Penn Libraries will continue to push on the edges where we can, and we will continue to try to provide the kinds of services that really support your teaching and learning needs. With that, I will turn it over to Dr. Eke.
Kimberly Eke, Director of Teaching, Research & Learning Services
Well, thank you very much, Carton, I appreciate that. What I want to do today is go through a quick tour of some of the Penn Libraries’ physical and virtual spaces that are supporting innovations across the campus. I hope to emphasize, as Mr. Rogers was doing, that at each stage it is really the collaborations and the partnerships with all of you and with others across campus that make all this possible.
Weigle Information Commons
Let’s start our tour with the WIC, the Weigle Information Commons. I hope you’re all familiar with it. I think that the WIC means a lot of different things to different people, and that’s what makes it so special. I’d like to talk about what the WIC does in support of events, innovative programming and also unique spaces. Gadget Day is one of the many events that the WIC hosts. Another event that was recently held in the WIC was the Engaging Students with Technology Symposium, an annual event. Last year we had a record-breaking, all-time-high enrollment of about 150 registrations. It is a great opportunity for faculty to share practices and the technologies and tools that they’re using with students. Students inform the discussions by talking about how they see technology, and there is also a favorite feature called the “Lightning Round,” where anybody from campus can come up for two minutes to talk about technology, a service, whatever they believe contributes to the discussion. In keeping with that, I wanted to let you know that on April 22, there will be a Lightning Round event hosted by the WIC. It will be in the Pavilion in the Kislak Center on the sixth floor of the library, and we will share more information as we have it. You can attend and bring your ideas on the tools and techniques you’re using. We also have a Senior Research Spotlight event that will be happening at the end of April, which is another example of programming in support of innovation. This will be a Lightning Round for seniors. We will also share more information on this as soon as it is available.
If you are not aware, there is a lot of programming happening in the WIC, including a lot of different workshops on technology tools. If you look at our calendar, you will see 30-60 workshops per month, and they range in topics from GIS-mapping and iBooks Author to Prezi or whatever else the campus is interested in. Most times Dr. Vedantham will be able to accommodate requests and include workshops on topics of interest. What we are seeing is that more and more faculty members are attending those workshops that are open for everybody: staff, faculty or whoever else wants to participate. One of the things we have done in partnership with the Center for Teaching and Learning is to host specific faculty seminars that are focused on integrating technology into teaching. This has been really rewarding. The last thing about the unique spaces in the WIC, as you will know if you have used them, is that there are collaboration spaces, technology-infused spaces and academic support services all together in one space. There are also teaching spaces where faculty members are able to teach for a whole semester at a time. These are just some of the ways that the WIC by itself is supporting innovative teaching and learning.
Also in the WIC is the Vitale Digital Media Lab. What we are seeing is more interest in media production on campus. Perhaps as a result of more active learning occurring on campus, faculty members have been encouraged to make mini-lectures and student projects involving animation. The Vitale Digital Media Lab allows anybody to walk in and use the bank of computers with high-end media production software. Most importantly there are staff members on site who are familiar with the software programs, and they can help with projects and support classes through workshops. They also lend all kinds of equipment, including high-end cameras. The whole media production life cycle can happen in the Vitale Digital Media Lab.
There is also a Vitale Digital Media Lab II. This one is a little bit different. This is on the sixth floor of Van Pelt-Dietrich Library, and it is really focused on developing communities around emerging forms of digital scholarship. I will make this a little more concrete with examples of projects: one example involves scholars, librarians, students and other people with an interest in early books who are part of an Early Books Collective. This group of people is interested in taking 16th-century texts that have very interesting type faces and understanding how to decode those and code them in a format that then can be made available to scholars around the world as digital data. Each month they are working together on these projects. We also have the Wikipedia Interest Group, who take the amazing rare books we have in the Kislak Center and link them to relevant entries in Wikipedia and then connect these primary sources online. At any given time, you will see librarians, graduate students and faculty members all working together in the Vitale Digital Media Lab II.
Next on our tour is the Education Commons, which is very much like the WIC in that you can borrow equipment, reserve study spaces and use technology and, as faculty, use teaching spaces. The students love it and the faculty is really starting to discover it more and more every day. You may not know this, but we offer 3D printing now as a new service that we are exploring. There are also some beautiful workstations in the Education Commons, and we anticipate that they will soon include high-end 3D software like Maya or Rhino. So this is another example of how we are trying to evolve and meet the needs of the Penn community and keep things interesting. Thank you for helping us do this!
Mr. Rogers mentioned the Libraries’ Collaborative Classroom located in Van Pelt-Dietrich Library on the first floor. It seats 30 students and it is surrounded with 360 degrees of writable surfaces. You can write on the tables as well, and the classroom is just filled with technology. As Mr. Rogers mentioned, Ms. Barrett is there to support everything that happens in the Collaborative Classroom. Faculty can work with her on their syllabi, and she can help support activities like technology exploration. Whatever it is that they need, she is there. But the space is not just a classroom for us; the intent is that not only will she learn from the faculty, but she will also document those practices and share them with the rest of the campus community. We think that active learning and having these classroom spaces are fantastic steps, but a lot of the community is still using traditional classrooms. There are still so many techniques to be learned that could benefit all of us. The Penn Libraries are doing research on these techniques and collecting ways that we can help. We want the Collaborative Classroom to be a living lab.
Last, but not least, on the tour is Canvas. Canvas is our virtual space. It is, of course, the centrally supported learning management system. It is what is called a Next Generation Learning Platform. What this means is that it is built from the ground up with students in mind. It is designed to have a consistent interface across courses. It is designed to include social media integration, so that you see things like Skype and Facebook integrated with the interface. It is also different in that it is cloud hosted, which means it is updated every three weeks. This presents certain challenges as the interface can change rapidly, but this is how software works now. The other thing that is really interesting and great about Canvas is that it is built for extensibility. This means you can plug in different tools and applications that exist outside of Canvas that do that one thing very well—a portfolio tool, for example—and you can plug this tool into Canvas very easily. The software was built to be able to grow with the needs of users. On that note, one of our initiatives for the coming year is governance. There is a fantastic structure in place to migrate the campus to Canvas, but we are currently at a service level. We are in production everyday. We have 25,000 people logging in and doing their work.
I wanted to let you know that the Courseware Management Group is looking at governance so that we can get more voices involved. We also want to have formal structures reporting to committees like this one, and the Faculty Senate, et cetera. We will bring back those ideas for feedback sometime in the future.
University FY 15 Operating Budget: Bonnie Gibson, Vice President, Budget & Management Analysis
I will be reviewing the FY15 current year budget. The FY16 budget is still being developed, and will be presented to the Trustees for approval in June. I will discuss our total charges for FY16.
For FY15 we have budgeted $3.18 billion dollars in revenue. The chart (here) shows the multiple components of revenue, but the easy way to think about our revenue sources is in thirds. The first, slightly overweighted third, is tuition and fees, representing over $1.15 billion or 37% of our operating revenue. This category includes undergraduate, graduate and professional and other tuition. The second, slightly underweighted third is sponsored programs, or research, representing $851 million or 27% of our revenue. The final third is everything else, representing $1.17 billion or 37% and including the income from our endowment, gifts, other income (mostly sales and services), transfers and support for the Vet School from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. So as you think of our revenue sources, remember thirds.
Our expenditures (here) also total $3.18 billion, with 53% of that total in compensation, including salaries and benefits ($1.68 billion). Current expense makes up 25% of our expenditures, with Capital and Student Aid representing the final 22%. This shows what we spend our money on, while the next slide shows who is doing that spending.
School spending represents almost $2.2 billion, or 68% of our total expenditures. The next largest component, administrative centers, including Finance, HR, Public Safety, Information Systems and other administrative units, is $401 million or 12.6%. The cost of our space is $171 million. However, 74% of the space costs are actually for school space: if we move those costs to the school segment, school expenditures increase to 72% of the total.
Our total aid budget for FY15 is $444 million, a 4% increase over FY14. Graduate and professional aid, including stipends, is $247 million, while undergradute aid is $197 million. These numbers represent direct financial aid to individual students, but in fact the cost of a Penn education is subsdized for all students. Our audited financial statements show that tuition and fees cover 69% of the cost of a Penn education, with gifts and endowment income covering the balance.
Total Undergraduate Charges
For FY16, the Trustees have approved a 3.9% increase to undergraduate total charges, with tuition, fees, room and board at $63,526 next year. Room and board are based on the average standard room and the freshman meal plan. Over the past ten years Penn’s increase in total charges has been at the average for our peer group: never the highest, and never the lowest. Since 2006, the rate of increase has been declining, and this is the 7th consecutive year that it is under 4%.
This increase in total charges generates $22.4 million in incremental revenue, with $17.1 million of that in tuition. Almost $8 million of that tuition revenue is allocated to the financial aid pool. Net tuition after aid actually grows by just 2.8%. This is the incremental funding available to schools to support academic operations.
I want to present our aid information as a series of important questions. The first is whether we are keeping a Penn education affordable and accessible. For the average aided freshman, the cost of attending Penn in constant 2005 dollars is actually $1,459 or 7.5% lower than it was in FY05.
The second question is how much aid are we actually providing. The distribution of traditional undergraduate grants by size for both the freshman class and the overall aided population show two thirds of our aided students received grants of $35,000 or more, while over one third received grants of $50,000 or more. Forty seven percent of traditional undergraduate students receive aid, and the average freshman grant this year is $39,995—you can round up to $40,000 to make it easier to remember.
The third question is what percentage of total charges does our aid program cover. Not only has the median grant increased significantly over the past five years, but as a percent of total charges it has grown from 67% and 69% to 72.4% and 75% respectively. This means that our aid is actually growing more than our total charges, covering a larger percentage of the costs.
Since President Gutmann took office in 2004, we have been steadily increasing our financial aid budget. It has grown 161% during that time, in part due to our generous all-grant policy, but also due to higher need as a result of the recession. Our aid budget has grown at almost twice the annual growth rate for tuition.
Graduate and Professional Tuition and Aid
In 2014, the last completed fiscal year, we had 2,970 PhD students across nine different schools. Almost all of our PhD students are fully funded for at least three years, and most for five. Full funding includes tuition, fees, health insurance and a stipend. Some schools pay a higher stipend to cover the student’s purchase of health insurance. For an SAS Humanities PhD student entering in the fall of 2015, the standard five-year funding package is worth over $322,000 in constant FY16 dollars.
PhD tuition and the research master’s tuition will increase at 3.9%, the same rate as undergraduate tuition. Professional tuition is set by the schools based on their specific needs and markets.
The distribution of PhD student and expense by school and category shows Arts & Sciences has the largest number of PhD students, and the largest expenditures: over $69 million in FY14.
This concludes my presentation.