THE PENNSYLVANIA STATE UNIVERSITY
T H E S E N A T E R E C O R D
Volume 38-----March 16, 2004-----Number 4
The Senate Record is the official publication of the University Faculty Senate of The Pennsylvania State University, as provided for in Article I, Section 9 of the Standing Rules of the Senate, and contained in the Constitution, Bylaws, and Standing Rules of the University Faculty Senate, The Pennsylvania State University, 2003-2004.
The publication is issued by the Senate Office, 101 Kern Graduate Building, University Park, PA 16802 (telephone 814-863-0221). The Record is distributed to all libraries across the Penn State system, and is posted on the Web at http://www.psu.edu/ufs under “Publications.” Copies are made available to faculty and other University personnel on request.
Except for items specified in the applicable Standing Rules, decisions on the responsibility for inclusion of matters in the publication are those of the Chair of the University Faculty Senate.
When existing communication channels seem inappropriate, senators are encouraged to submit brief letters relevant to the Senate's function as a legislative, advisory and forensic body to the Chair for possible inclusion in The Senate Record.
Reports that have appeared in the Agenda for the meeting are not included in The Record unless they have been changed substantially during the meeting, or are considered to be of major importance. Remarks and discussions are abbreviated in most instances. A complete transcript and tape of the meeting is on file. Individuals with questions may contact Dr. Susan C. Youtz, Executive Secretary, University Faculty Senate.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
A. Minutes and Summaries of Remarks
II. Enumeration of Documents
B. Liberal Arts Department Opinion Background Checks
Minutes of the December 9, 2003, Meeting in The Senate Record 37:3
Senate Curriculum Report (blue sheets) of March 2, 2004
Senate Calendar 2004-2005
C. REPORT OF SENATE COUNCIL - Meeting of March 2, 2004
Admissions, Records, Scheduling and Student Aid
Committees and Rules
Revision of Faculty Senate Constitution, Bylaws, and Standing Rules:
Constitution, Article II, Section 4 Faculty Senator Representation Ratio
J. INFORMATIONAL REPORTS
Committee on Committees and Rules
Secretary of the Senate
Faculty Advisory Committee to the President
Integration of Intercollegiate Athletics Within the University Community
(postponed to 4/27/04 meeting)
K. NEW LEGISLATIVE BUSINESS
The University Faculty Senate met on Tuesday, March 16, 2004, at 1:30 p.m. in Room 112 Kern Graduate Building with Christopher J. Bise, Chair, presiding. There were 142 senators who signed the roster.
MINUTES OF THE PRECEDING MEETING
We will begin our meeting today with Agenda Item A, minutes of the preceding meeting. The December 9, 2003, The Senate Record, which provides a full transcript of the proceedings, was sent to all University Libraries and is posted on the Faculty Senate web page. Are there any corrections or additions to this document? May I hear a motion to accept?
Senators: So moved.
Chair Bise: Second?
Chair Bise: All in favor of accepting the minutes of October 28, 2003, please signify by saying, “Aye.”
Chair Bise: Opposed, say, “Nay.”
Chair Bise: The ayes have it and the motion carries. The minutes of the December 9, 2003, meeting has been approved.
Chair Bise: Agenda Item B, Communications to the Senate, The Senate Curriculum Report, the blue sheets of March 2, 2004, is posted on the Faculty Senate’s web page.
The Senate calendar for 2004-2005 is included in your agenda. You will notice that the meeting on October 26, 2004, will take place at Penn State Harrisburg. We are pleased that Madelyn L. Hanes, Provost & Dean of the Capital College is enthusiastic about hosting this meeting. The Senate Office will be contacting senators later this summer regarding meeting arrangements and additional details. There have only been two other Senate meetings that have taken place away from the University Park campus. One was in Altoona in 1980, and the other was at the College Of Medicine in 1994.
Chair Bise: Agenda Item C, Report of Senate Council. The minutes of the Senate Council meeting held on March 2, 2004, appear as an attachment for today’s meeting.
Chair Bise: Out of courtesy to our presenters, please turn off your cell phones and pagers at this time.
Today’s agenda is very full and we are carrying over the agenda from the February 3, 2004, meeting. As a coal mining engineer, global warming and I have our differences. I am glad we do not have the predicted eight inches of snow right now. We will try to address all of these items in a timely manner. We plan to take a break at an appropriate stopping point in the agenda.
I would like to refer you to the minutes of the Senate Council at the end of your agenda for announcements that were made at the Senate Council meeting on March 2, 2004. The Faculty Advisory Committee to the President met yesterday and discussed the following items: Nona Gerard Termination; Maternity Leave Policy for Tenured and Provisional Faculty; Outdoor Public Art Policy; Internships: What Constitutes Placing a Student in Harm's Way; University Web site; Faculty Input for AD14; and the Relationships Between Curricular Issues, Faculty Issues, and Budgeting Pressures for Diverse University Units and Locations.
The GI Conference Committee, under the leadership of John Moore, sent a final draft of their report to the Senate Committees on Curricular Affairs and Undergraduate Education for review at today’s meeting. I expect to see the final report on the Senate Agenda at the April 27, 2004, meeting.
The Senate has received notification that the Council of Commonwealth Student Governments, (CCSG) has organized an event called “The Rally in the Rotunda” on Monday, March 22, 2004, at 1:00 p.m. on the steps of the Capital Building Rotunda in Harrisburg. This rally, which is expected to involve students from Penn State, other state-related and state schools, will draw attention to the funding of higher education in the Commonwealth. We applaud the CCSG students for their leadership in this important rally. If you are in the vicinity of Harrisburg on March 22, 2004, around 1:00 p.m., I encourage you to participate in this rally.
I have been asked by the Social Security Number Conversion Team to make the following announcement:
All University Administrative Information Systems, including eLion grading, will be taken offline for several days, beginning late on December 18, 2004, to facilitate the replacement of social security number identification with a new Penn State ID number (PSU ID) for all Penn State faculty, staff and students. The conversion meets new requirements designed to prevent identity theft. The eLion shut down will cause an interruption in both the eLion grade entry by faculty and the eLion grade inquiry by students. Please plan your fall 2004 syllabi, assignments, testing, and grading, to accommodate the December 18, 2004, scheduling.
There was broad discussion with a widespread group of University offices about when this shut down should occur and it was decided that the winter break is the best time even though grade reporting is interrupted. It was also agreed that the shut down must start prior to December 23, 2004, in order to allow the conversion and testing work to be completed before the start of business on January 3, 2005.
More information will be provided at the start of the fall semester. The Social Security Number website will appear in the Senate Record for today’s meeting. For information about this University initiative, visit the official Social Security Number Project web site at http://ais.its.psu.edu/SSN.
Chair Bise: Agenda Item E, Comments by the President of the University. President Spanier is here today and he will be providing a special report to the Senate. I am pleased to invite him to come forward and address the Senate.
President Spanier’s speech may be viewed at the following web site: http://president.psu.edu/presentations/privatization_031604.pdf.
President Spanier: Thank you Chris, and thanks to all of you who came out in the nasty weather. How many of you from the campuses came in last night? Good thinking.
I'm pleased once again to have this opportunity to discuss with you some topics pertinent to the future of higher education in Pennsylvania. In a previous report, I discussed some of the demographics of Pennsylvania and the nation that are significantly altering the higher education landscape.
I'd like now to explore some additional forces that are reshaping American higher education. Demographics are again part of the mix, but so are a complex of other variables, including rising costs, increased competition, and declining resources from state government.
Despite these challenges, I feel fortunate to be part of an enterprise that contributes so much to our society. As Pennsylvania's flagship public university, Penn State has a historic partnership with the Commonwealth. One hundred forty-one years ago we became one of the nation's first land-grant institutions, answering the Commonwealth's call to educate its citizens, engage in public service, and provide knowledge that would help advance society.
That has been our legacy. But that legacy is at risk, and our role as a public university is changing on many fronts.
There is a shifting landscape in funding of the nation's top public research universities. This is leading to the increased privatization of public higher education. The reality is that while we are becoming more like our private counterparts, they are also becoming more like us.
Allow me to demonstrate this.
There are 628 public, four-year institutions of higher education in the nation, and 1,541 private, four-year institutions. Combined with other institutions like community and junior colleges, we collectively educate more than 15 million students at a given time. These numbers do not take into account the 780 or so for-profit institutions that are also awarding degrees.
Public institutions are educating the majority of American college students. This has been true for about the past forty years.
It is clear that with so many students attending our public institutions, we play a pivotal role in our nation's well being. However, many people—including too many elected officials—now see post secondary education as a private benefit rather than a public good. This view has aggravated our long-term funding problem as public universities have received a shrinking share of state dollars.
In Pennsylvania, this phenomenon is especially exacerbated by our state's aging population, which means that support is shifting to programs like health care. Each new dollar in state health care spending crowds out higher education by about six to seven cents, according to a recent Brookings Institution report.
As a university of national stature, Penn State competes with the country's most distinguished public and private universities for students, faculty members, grants, and contracts. All of these schools receive a large portion of public money to support their enterprises. We show five examples of such institutions and the percentage of their budgets that come from public dollars—compared with Penn State's federal and state public income, which amounts to 31 percent of our total expenditures.
These numbers were compiled from data extracted from the Integrated Post secondary Education Data System, a national reporting structure for institutions receiving federal funds. There are a variety of reporting standards, but the numbers are as comparable as we could find.
These funds include not only state dollars, but government-supported student aid, federal appropriations, and sponsored grants and contracts that come from public funds. Again, while public universities have become more private, top private universities have become more public.
The Big Ten public universities average 42 percent of their funding from the state and federal government. This certainly prompts us to ask what it means in 2004 to be called a public university.
In Pennsylvania, the story is no different.
Pennsylvania ranks second in the nation, after New York, in the number of public, four-year institutions, and third, following California and New York, in the number of private four-year institutions that are part of its higher education system.
More than 600,000 students are enrolled in Pennsylvania's degree-granting institutions. About 60 percent of them attend public institutions.
But because of its dense population of private institutions, with their deep roots in this state, Pennsylvania has a long history of providing a significant portion of its funding to private colleges and universities.
The Pennsylvania state budget for fiscal year 2002–2003 shows seven “private state-aided” institutions received a total of nearly $82 million in direct appropriations. These private institutions include the University of Pennsylvania, Drexel, MCP Hahnemann, Thomas Jefferson, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, the Pennsylvania College of Optometry, and the Philadelphia University of the Arts.
Other private institutions that do not receive direct appropriations were given over $40 million through Institutional Assistance Grants, or IAGs. IAG funds are provided through the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency to schools as per capita grants based on the number of student grant recipients enrolled in that institution. The IAG program, created in 1974, was started to “help preserve and develop the diverse system of higher education in Pennsylvania by allowing private colleges and universities to stabilize their educational costs and maintain enrollments.”
In other words, the state decided to use public funds to subsidize the operations of private institutions. In addition, nearly $133 million in PHEAA grants went to students attending private institutions.
Pennsylvania's support of higher education has for decades lagged other states, leaving Pennsylvania ranked near the bottom of the fifty states for its financial commitment.
Over the last three decades, taxpayer support for higher education in Pennsylvania has fallen short, to a low in 2003 of $5.12 for every $1,000 of personal income earned. Since 1970, for every $1,000 of income earned by residents in the state, the Commonwealth has provided an average of about $6.75 for higher education.
The last time such data were collected, Pennsylvania ranked third in the nation for its support of private colleges and universities for revenue it provided per full-time student. When the same measures are applied to public universities in the state, Pennsylvania ranks near the bottom in its support.
Penn State has the dubious distinction of having had our revenue lines cross two decades ago. It was in 1984 that tuition replaced state funding as the largest portion of revenue in our general funds budget. For 2003–2004, tuition and fees make up 69 percent of our general funds, or instructional budget, with only 25 percent coming from state appropriations. Currently, only 12 percent of Penn State's total budget comes from state appropriations. This could soon fall below 10 percent. This gap reflects long-term policy decisions to move funding away from higher education to other sources.
By the way, this is not a result of Penn State increasing its spending. Adjusted for inflation, our most recent data show that we are spending only $71 more per student than we did in 1970.
As states continue to back away from providing sufficient educational funding to their public universities, those same institutions continue to turn to other sources of funds—most notably tuition—to absorb the burden, thus shifting costs for higher education from the taxpayer to students and their families. We are in fact replicating a pattern of high tuition/high aid, which started in the private sector some years ago.
This trend troubles those of us who believe higher education is a public good, not just a private benefit.
Pennsylvania's history of lagging support has caught up with us and is reflected in the form of the highest in-state tuition among our public Big Ten peers. However, as public tuition has been on the rise, so have the tuitions of private colleges and universities.
For all of the challenges that public universities face, we still remain a relative bargain, costing an average of about $15,000 less per year in tuition and fees than our private counterparts.
Tuition, however, remains a serious concern for a number of reasons. The most pressing is affordability and the potential for high tuition to limit access for qualified students—a major attribute of public higher education.
The average tuition and fees for in-state students at public four-year colleges and universities nationally this year are $4,694.
Meanwhile, average tuition and fees at four-year private institutions are $19,710.
At the undergraduate level, public universities universally enroll a majority of in-state residents. In fact, lower in-state tuition is supposed to reflect the tax support provided by residents. But with diminishing state support, most publics are happy to have students who can pay the full cost of education. At Penn State, the reality is that we spend thousands of dollars more per in-state student than we ask for in the form of tuition.
The actual annual cost to provide a Penn State education for a freshman at University Park is $15,042. We charge in-state students $9,706 in tuition and fees and receive $3,249 per student from the state to help cover the remaining costs. This leaves a sizeable $2,087 gap, which Penn State must subsidize through a variety of means—principally, out-of-state tuition.
Attracting out-of-state students—historically more common for private institutions—is now a regular practice of most public institutions.
Pennsylvania expects a decline in college-bound Pennsylvania residents due to a decline in our high school-age population. Fortunately, we have the ability to attract out-of-state students. This revenue boost is helping to open doors of opportunity for Pennsylvania residents, but we must rightly ask if it is fair for students from other states to pay more than the actual cost of their education.
The impact of rising tuition has been cushioned somewhat by an increase in available financial aid for students. Less encouraging, however, is that the pool of federal and state financial aid is insufficient to meet the total cost of education for many of our students. Moreover, the proportion of students requiring financial assistance has increased.
A recent analysis reported that aid from two key federal programs—Perkins Loans and work study—was higher for wealthier colleges, which are less likely to have students from low-income homes. Ten nationwide, private colleges enroll a quarter of all students, but get three-fifths of federal loan funds.
The reason for this disparity is mostly historic. Students from public institutions with low tuition are not eligible for as much aid. So lower-cost universities are at a historic disadvantage.
In Pennsylvania, the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency, known as PHEAA, provides grants to Pennsylvania students.
In 2002–2003, PHEAA distributed more than $332 million in grants. Of this amount, private college students received 31 percent of the number of PHEAA awards and 40 percent of the dollars awarded. State-related university students received 24 percent of the number of awards and 27 percent of the dollars awarded. Another source of aid for students comes from an institution's own resources.
Private institutions have been in the fund-raising business longer than public institutions and tend to have much larger endowments. These pools of money obviously are a tremendous resource. For example, in 2001, Princeton University announced that it would eliminate the need for loans from its undergraduate financial aid packages. According to one widely cited annual study of private institutions, only 19 percent of students paid full tuition in 2002, down from 37 percent in 1990.
Research universities with large endowments are not only able to attract top students, but are better able to compete for top faculty and graduate students.
Many institutions within Pennsylvania have enviable endowments. For example, Swarthmore College, with an enrollment of fewer than 1,500 students, is ranked eleventh in the nation for it’s per student endowment support.
In 1996, Penn State raised about $83 million through philanthropy and received about $281 million in operating funds through our state appropriation. This past year we raised $181 million and received about $316 million from the state. The ratio of state to private dollars used to be three-and-a-half to one; the current ratio is about 1.75 state dollars to every dollar in private support. The ratio has been halved in just seven years, again demonstrating the privatization of public higher education.
About 100 years ago, steel magnates Andrew Carnegie and Charles Schwab both provided full funding for the construction of the two buildings on the University Park campus that bear their names. At the time, this generous support was not all that common for a public university.
Today, exclusive use of private funding for buildings at Penn State is not that uncommon. Some recent examples include The Hintz Family Alumni Center, the Pasquerilla Spiritual Center, the MBNA Career Services Building, and the Smith Chapel at Penn State Erie.
Many recently conceived buildings that are now under design or construction—for the School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture, School of Forest Resources, Chemistry, Life Sciences, Food Sciences, The Smeal College of Business, and for our campuses across the state—are being constructed through a mix of funds from private donations, University borrowing, and in only some cases, state support.
Like our private counterparts, we have made philanthropy an integral part of the culture of our University.
We aggressively pursue federal dollars and private industry support for our research mission.
At Penn State, where we had $545 million in research expenditures last year, our success in acquiring increased federal and private funds has resulted in a more than doubling of our research funding since 1990.
Considering federal support for research, instruction, and other services, as well as federal student aid, Penn State now receives more funds from the federal government than from the state government.
Penn State is home to the largest unified outreach organization in American higher education, and I am extremely proud to say it is also one of the very best. We have an exceptional record of public engagement and are considered a model by peer institutions. Penn State has hundreds of centers and programs that fulfill our outreach mission. Public service is one of our greatest strengths, but sustaining these initiatives in the face of lagging state support has become difficult.
We may have reached a crossroad in our history where financial considerations will force us to refine our mission. Asking students to pay more tuition to support our outreach mission is not an option. The unmistakable trend of flagging state support and the associated privatization of public higher education is not related to any political party, any governor, or any legislative leader. But it is happening, nonetheless.
What can we do?
We can lobby our Legislature for more funding. We can take our message to the public. We've done these things, but have not been able to turn around a funding trend that began in the late 1970s. While everyone seems to agree that higher education must play a vital part in economic and social development, other public needs have taken precedence.
Now we need to take more constructive action to close this resource gap and remain accessible.
While we reaffirm our three-part mission of teaching, research, and service, we will become more entrepreneurial. As a public institution, we are still committed to the public good—but how we go about investing in that part of our mission could change if state support becomes unavailable for our public service mission.
We must explore different financial models that rely less on state dollars. We need to continue forming partnerships with the private sector.
We will persist in cutting unnecessary costs and will look for ways to use our existing resources more efficiently. Creative uses of technology, which have helped trim expenditures in many areas, can provide us even more flexibility.
We will continue to emphasize fund-raising and building our endowment. Through philanthropy, we can accomplish initiatives that have been left unfunded and help open the doors financially for more students through scholarships.
In response to Pennsylvania's anticipated decline in college-bound high school students, we will continue to recruit out-of-state and internationally.
We will aggressively pursue competitive federal research dollars and look at attracting funds from other non-state sources.
We will continue to make the best case we can in Harrisburg and tell our story to elected officials and the public. If they are unable to fund us at the level we need to be funded, we will have to trim back our services.
What we will NOT do, however, is sacrifice quality. We are not going to become mediocre. We are going to focus on areas where we have been identified as national leaders and on areas where we wish to achieve excellence.
We have developed a number of innovative approaches that have helped us overcome some financial hardships and also strengthened our core missions of teaching, research, and service.
We will remain competitive, maintain our leadership position, and we will thrive.
Of all of these things I am optimistic.
Looking to the immediate future, and in the spirit of looking for places to thrive, we plan to build on the extraordinarily positive experience of the four interdisciplinary consortia that were launched in the mid to late 1990s. We learned that by investing new resources in our areas of strength—the life sciences, materials sciences, environmental sciences, and children, youth and families—we have been able to significantly enhance Penn State's stature, its external funding, and its instructional programs.
Through a consultative process involving administrators and the Academic Leadership Council, we have identified eight other areas of special investment for the next three years. They are:
1. Research commercialization
3. Increased K–12 educational partnerships
4. A World Campus/resident instruction course development initiative
5. A humanities, fine arts, and social science initiative
6. Improvement of faculty/student ratios through new faculty hires in selected
7. Conversion of fixed-term positions to tenure-track positions and conversion of
graduate assistant positions to fixed-term faculty positions in selected programs
8. An enhanced investment in student services and recreation
By investing in these areas, we hope to make the best use of our resources and promote a student-centered University. We expect these special investments to encourage interdisciplinary initiatives, boost non-state sources of revenue, and enhance the quality of selected programs.
These additional investments come at an extremely challenging time in our history, and it is critical that we continue an ambitious agenda that will allow us to remain competitive and preserve the academic quality for which Penn State is known.
I am hoping that through this discussion I have stimulated some thought about the future of Penn State and public higher education.
Reduced state support, increased competition for resources and students, and a heavier emphasis on fund-raising are making public institutions more private. At the same time, higher tuition has caused public universities to anguish over our public responsibilities in the face of these critical challenges.
At Penn State, we have always been expected to do more with less, and we have been extraordinarily successful in our endeavors. In fact, to those outside the University I'm not sure it appears as if we're facing crossroads. But we are indeed at a juncture in our history where maintaining our public mission and remaining a quality institution will require all of us to be more entrepreneurial and more judicious in our use of resources.
In just one year, we will celebrate our sesquicentennial. During our 150 years we have educated generations of leaders and have been a source of some of the greatest achievements and discoveries. I remain hopeful that the next 150 years at Penn State will yield the same outstanding outcomes. Thank you.
Chair Bise: Thank you, President Spanier. At this time I would ask President Spanier to answer some questions and I would like to take the questions in two parts. First, I would like to have questions that deal specifically with his presentation before us today. Any specific questions on his presentation today?
Gordon De Jong, Liberal Arts: Obviously you have thought about where the line not only crosses, but where it reaches zero. So when is it that it is no longer even practical or feasible for trips down to Harrisburg? When do we become private? As you know, if we didn’t have state in our name, and we were the Pennsylvania University in fact, our ranking would go up. So when is it that we, in fact, substitute federal attempts to get federal monies, or other sources to replace state monies?
President Spanier: I do not think it ever reaches zero, unless one of you in here does something really stupid and gets the Legislature so mad that they say there is no more money for Penn State. (Laughter.) Which, by the way, at last one or two of them threaten every year. I do not really expect that to happen. I do expect that we are not very far away from falling below ten percent. That will come about through a combination of the State, even if they increase our budget, probably not being able to keep up with the inflationary increases that we face.
By the way, we don’t have consumer product/index=type inflationary forces to face up to. We do have to face up to something called the “higher education price index.” This is a marketplace basket that includes things that weigh very heavily on us. They also weigh very heavily on scientific equipment, technology, information technology and library materials. Also, because over 70 percent of our instructional budget is in people, we have a very high employee benefits bill. In fact, it is higher than most any other kind an employer would have. So our inflationary forces are even greater. So I don’t think it goes to zero, but I do think the percentage continues to decrease.
When I became President, which seems like yesterday to me, but it is about nine years ago now, we had been going down about one percent per year. We were at about 20 percent when I arrived. Now it is also due to the fact that as we become more entrepreneurial, and as we are increasingly successful at bringing in federal grants and contracts and industry supported research and philanthropy, we are helping ourselves out. We are helping to move that number a little bit on our own. The biggest cause of it, of course, is the declining appropriation. So I don’t think there is a place where we ever draw the line.
I think we have to face up to the fact that we are becoming more private, and we are increasingly in competition with private universities for the scarce public funding. We just try to keep all the numbers up as best we can. Keep in mind Penn State is by charter, by definition, by law a quasi-public, quasi-private university. We are a mix of public and private enterprise. Your paychecks are not Commonwealth of Pennsylvania paychecks. They are Penn State University paychecks. We manage our own funding. We incur our own debt. We have an independent bond rating and so on down the line. We have been in that zone for a long time. It really is just a matter of degree. One of the messages is that we all have to work a little harder. We have to recognize what I am talking about here and work a little harder to make it all continue to work well.
Tramble Turner, Abington College: Given what you just said about the Legislature and our status along with Pitt and Temple as a state-related university, would you care to expand on what you see as opportunities in terms of either benefits or not having to answer questions on special legislation, if there was more of a move to becoming a private institution?
President Spanier: As I said, we are in that quasi-public, quasi-private university. I think most of you, maybe all of you, know that we are called state-related and we are also designated as a non-preferred appropriation. This technically means that the legislator can’t actually take up and pass our budget, nor can the governor sign it until the rest of the state budget is in place. You need a two-thirds vote of the Senate, a two-thirds vote of the Legislature and the governor’s approval for our budget to pass. Now one of the consequences of that, practically speaking, is that even in the majority and minority party in both the House and the Senate and the governor are really five different entities all have to be supportive of our budget at any one time. That is one of the reasons why certain issues on campus might be particularly sensitive in the Legislature. You can have a small number of people in the Legislature getting their caucus to hold up our vote because of what is required. Not only that, even though 12 percent of our budget does not sound like a lot, it is $300 million dollars. The prospect of us not getting a state appropriation and going to zero, but in very simple terms is essentially equivalent to saying there is no in-state tuition anymore. It is equivalent to saying what we now charge for out-of-state tuition, we charge for everybody. That is what a private university would do. Even if they do some internal discounting, even if they put more of their money into financial aid, they only have one tuition rate. The prospect of us doubling our tuition for in state students, which is what we would have to do if we acted as a fully private institution, is not a good prospect for me. I am willing to spend a lot of my time taking a lot of grief, if that is necessary, to deal with whatever unfolds in Harrisburg; the Commonwealth’s 67 counties; and with taxpayers throughout the state. I would hate to have to replace that $300 million dollars with yet more tuition money and that is what would happen. Let the record show that I continue to be very grateful for that declining level of state support that we are receiving.
Joseph Cecere, Capitol College: As the population in Pennsylvania goes down with students going into higher education, we may have to start looking again at more out-of-state students as a possibility and yet our tuition keeps going up. Have we looked at the possibility if we gave them a kind of discount, let’s say ten percent, we would get more students interested in coming to Penn State, or are we going to be at a point where it is not worth coming to Penn State because it is cost prohibitive? I can certainly go someplace else like another state.
President Spanier: As an institution-wide phenomenon, we have been very reluctant to think about heading down that road. Keep in mind once you start saying what each person pays is up for grabs, every family with a college-bound student in the country is going to want to negotiate their tuition. This is the typical scenario at most private institutions now. Tuition is negotiable at virtually all-private institutions. We don’t want to head down there because we just operate to close to the margin.
Now having said that, let me mention two caveats. One is that at many of our campuses there is a different tuition level for out-of-state students. For example, this is recognition of the fact that many of our campuses are very close to state borders and even though a student might be in Ohio, the Shenango campus might still really be their local campus so to speak. So we do have some different mechanisms at place for commonwealth campuses for tuition. The other thing we are doing, and we have completed it now, is a cost study of what the actual cost of the Penn State education is. As I said or at least implied in my remarks, we have passed a point where out-of-state students may actually pay a little bit too much. We have always known that there has been a subsidy for in-state students. We worried for years and years the percentage increase on tuition was applied equally to in-state and out-of-state students, and that has taken that out of state tuition up to a very high level. With whatever increase we come up in July of this year, for the coming year, we may pass through $20,000 for out-of-state tuition. Tuition is always going to go up for everybody, but we may look at a differential increases in relation to the numbers in relation to our analysis. The increase for out-of-state students may not be as high as the percentage increase for in-state students. The percentage increases may differ the dollar amounts, still it is going to be higher I think under any scenario. So those are a couple of caveats as we look at the actual numbers.
Chair Bise: Lets take two more questions on the presentation.
Digby Macdonald, Earth and Mineral Sciences: Reviewing your session with the Legislature, what is their rationale for the declining state support? That is the first one. Secondly, with respect to the private university versus public university issue, looking at your data there may indeed be an advantage in terms of percentage of our budget that we receive from the state by becoming private.
President Spanier: Please repeat that last part of your question.
Digby Macdonald: There may be an advantage in terms of percentage of the budget by actually becoming private.
President Spanier: The first question is on the rationale. Well, Penn State is very popular in the Legislature on the whole. I mean our governmental relations folks are the most popular guys in Harrisburg. When I’m in Harrisburg, with an occasional exception, when we are on TV for our appropriations hearings, which is sort of a public event, but really as we all make the rounds in Harrisburg there is tremendous appreciation for Penn State and a lot of support for what we do, but it is a matter of priorities. Higher public education has not been a priority in Harrisburg for a couple of decades or more.
Digby Macdonald: (inaudible)
President Spanier: If you take the long-term perspective; absolutely. I don’t think in the last few years anybody has done well. During the Ridge administration the financial support for PHEAA, I think in the seven years that Governor Ridge was in that position, PHEAA’s appropriation increased 67 percent and Penn State’s appropriation increased about 15 percent over those seven years. The differential was phenomenal and clearly represented some thinking about what the priorities where. In the last couple of years no one has faired very well. Governor Rendell hasn’t had an opportunity, as a fair way of putting it, to demonstrate what his priorities might be. We are very hopeful and we have worked on trying to convince him to support Penn State. You might feel that it is a mixed message that they love us in Harrisburg and they aren’t giving us money, but it is a matter of other pressures on the state budget and where they would prefer to send the money. On your second topic, this ties into a previous question. In some ways I feel we have the advantage already, we have the advantage of being able to operate on a day-to-day basis in very similar ways to a private university. Now I do not know if it feels this way to you, but the truth is we do not have much bureaucracy here at Penn State.
Now let me tell you this. In Pennsylvania we do not have a coordinating commission; we do not have a system above Penn State that has to make decisions about where our funding goes. When the Legislature does approve our budget we essentially get a lump sum check. This check is divided into twelfths and comes each month. This year we did not get our first check until the seventh month. Generally speaking, we just get the check and then we pretty much manage it. There are some strings attached, but not a lot. That is very different from public higher education almost anywhere else. I have the ability to make decisions at my desk that other university presidents can’t make ever or take them years with other layers to get done. We have a lot of that private kind of flexibility, but at the same time we still have the state appropriation to help us. I think it is a good situation to be in. We just wish there was more of the state money there.
Chair Bise: One final question please.
Mike Jonson, Engineering: I had a chance to see some of your give-and-take with one of the legislators, regarding the unfunded mandates that Penn State had to do with regards to a lot of paperwork. Is that a consequence of the fact that we are a state-related university in having to go through all that extra paperwork? Would it be worthwhile for the faculty to look at places where there is a lot of additional paperwork that is required by the state so we can cut some of our expenses as far as dealing with the state?
President Spanier: First let me say how impressed I am that you would stay up and watch that. I think you lead a boring life. Late night entertainment watching the re-runs of my testimony.
Mike Jonson: I have a newborn. I was having trouble sleeping.
President Spanier: One of the questions that came up this year is the unfunded mandates. I think there are two types. Certainly, we have a lot of them from the federal and state government that do not emanate from the appropriations process. They emanate from the state’s environmental protection efforts or from anywhere else in state government, where everybody is subject to certain kinds of reporting and having people assigned to deal with various issues. We have those like anyone else, but we also have a whole list of unfunded mandates that come with our appropriation. I guess the best way of putting it is that those emerged as trade-offs over the years, where someone in the Legislature said, “We want Penn State to be accountable for this. We want this or that to happen.” In the negotiations, the Legislature says, “Okay, we are not going to make you do that, or we are not going to make your appropriation contingent on one thing or another. We are going to ask you for a report every year of the following things.”
There are thousands of pages of documents. So if you put the reports up on a table, you would say they are about this high. I have not ever actually found anyone in Harrisburg who has ever read any of those reports. I think I may have said that in my hearing and was hoping it would not get me into trouble, but they all acknowledged that they never read any of the reports. It was very embarrassing one year because one of the people asking me a question was the chair of the committee that received one of the reports, and his name was on the cover sheet of the published report. He asked the question, and I said, “Well, it is in your report.” However, he had never seen his own report based on the data we submitted to him. We do have a lot of that and we would love to scale back. If we were able to accomplish that we could let Dick Althouse retire someday. (Laughter.) We could give his staff some other things to do, but there is lots of stuff that comes through and lots of paper that is related to that. Thank you for your questions on this report. I hope this will generate some additional discussion.
Chair Bise: At this time, I would like to open questions to a more general nature. President Spanier, I would like to ask the first question. The Senate Leadership and various other senators have received communications dealing with the situation where tenure was revoked from a faculty member at Penn State Altoona. Could you please describe the procedure followed in the termination proceedings regarding Nora Gerard.
President Spanier: Let me say first of all that it is one of the most difficult decisions I have ever had to make. It is something a University President does not want to be confronted with. I have been in higher education administration for 27 years. I have never had a situation like this one. I have been President of Penn State for nine years. We have not needed to revoke anyone’s tenure. We do not do something like this lightly. We have 5,000 faculty members at Penn State. This is the first case I have had where a duly constituted committee has recommended the revocation of someone’s tenure. The first thing that I should say is that it is a very unfortunate situation. We only do it only under the most extreme cases. It is difficult to talk about in public because while certain elements of this case have been made public, most of it has not been. This deals with a confidential personnel matter.
You have phrased your question in terms of the process. I think that is certainly fair game. The process at Penn State is that there is a joint standing committee that is charged with adjudicating matters of this sort. It is written up in the Faculty Senate handbook. You can read about the process in this handbook. The Standing Joint Committee on Tenure is a committee of five individuals. A majority of them have to be faculty members. They are elected, not appointed by this body. The way the system works is if someone is brought up on charges, those charges are outlined. This would not usually happen until there have been multiple efforts to solve the problem. The problem solving would be between supervisor and faculty member, between the department head, faculty member, dean, and going through the usual mechanisms that many people use from time to time when there is a problem.
In this case, there apparently wasn’t a resolution and the charges came to the committee. The committee submitted a report to me on Thursday or Friday. About ten or eleven days later, after examining the case and voluminous files, I supported the committees’ recommendation. There were two sets of charges. The committee, on one set of charges, voted five to nothing. There was a unanimous vote that the employee had engaged in grave misconduct. In a separate vote, a majority of the committee voted recommending the revocation of that faculty member’s tenure. Then I was actually presented with actual verbatim transcripts of the files. In addition, I would estimate, 2,000 pages of additional supporting material was given to me. There were three sets of attorneys involved. Much of the proceeding was conducted in a legal format. There were briefs filed by the attorneys, witnesses, testimony and so on. So that is a little bit about the process. If I missed something I would be happy to take additional questions.
Chair Bise: Are there any other questions for President Spanier?
President Spanier: If you really do have a question, I would like you to ask it. This would be a much better way of communicating instead of sending emails back and forth saying, why did he not address this, or why did he not answer that question.
Chair Bise: Are there any other questions?
Zachary Gates, Dickinson School of Law: I was also able to watch some of the hearings on PCN. I have no excuse. (Laughter.) I am interested to hear about how the ongoing discussion regarding the future location of the Dickinson School of Law has affected the Senate and the General Assembly. Specifically, toward budget discussions and appropriations for the coming year.
President Spanier: My governmental affairs staff and I have spoken to dozens, maybe scores, of legislators about the matter. Clearly there are several members of the Legislature, most notably who are close geographically, that have concerns. The legislator either serves the Carlisle community or is close geographically. There is also an additional member of the Legislature from the Pittsburgh area who I only learned after, is a son of a former dean of the Law School. There are a few members who care very deeply about how this turns out. Other members of the Legislature are not as involved in the discussion. I do not have any reason to believe that it would affect our appropriation. I believe most people can see that we have a dozen hot issues on any given day and this is one of them right now. The University is about a lot more than how that question turns out. However, that is one of the more important questions before us right now.
Rod Erickson and I are going to be spending several hours at the Law School soon. We will be meeting with faculty, staff and students to discuss this issue. This is a decision that will be made collaboratively by some of us at the University, by the Board of Trustees and the Board of Governors at the Law School. When I say collaboratively, it means we will all be part of the discussion. Actually, the Board of Governors has the strongest voice in this decision, because we have a very clear understanding that were there to be a change in location they would have to concur with that decision. So it is not as if there is some movement afoot by us to move the Law School and we are pulling something over on someone. It needs to come from them and we are trying to facilitate the discussion. We are giving our points of view and outlining the pros and cons. We also talk about ways in which we can facilitate this from a facilities standpoint. From my point of view, the most important aspect of this discussion is what is in the long-term best interest of the students, the future graduates and the quality of the academic program. Legal education is changing, and the opportunity for collaboration with other disciplines is important. We say all of that, but at the same time we are very mindful of what it means to a local community in a smaller town where there is a lot of tradition and where there are issues of economic development and vitality of a community or region. So there are a lot of variables on the table and we are trying to go about this in a very thoughtful way.
Joanna Floros, Medicine: My question has to do with the Penn State policy whereby we refrain from supporting applications for green cards from postdoctoral fellows and non-paying faculty. My question is why did we opt not to support this change, which is essentially a change from J1 to H1 visa, where other universities opted to go forward with that. I think this is a very important issue, because it places the University in a disadvantage when we try to compete for the best foreign trainees. Before I give you the opportunity to respond, I would like to illustrate that by reading a short email by one of our senior and successful faculty from the College of Medicine that was sent to me recently. “Has the Faculty Senate or faculty organization ever addressed the Penn State policy that does not support applications for green cards from postdoctoral fellows or non-paying track faculty? This policy has cost me an outstanding postdoctoral in the past (he received an offer from Yale) for a non-paying tract position but with a promise to help him get his green card. This is about to cost me again. Who made and passed this policy?” Thank you.
President Spanier: I am going to have to ask Billie Willits and/or Bob Secor to help answer that questions. I am not aware we have engaged in any changes in policy or that we have done something out of the ordinary.
Billie Willits, Associate Vice President for Human Resources: I would be interested in the specifics of your case, but we have recently begun to support green cards for non-tenure track faculty. It is true historically that the University and most others did not, because the amount of effort that went into getting those green cards. Quite candidly, historically if you pushed for green cards for everyone then it limits the number of green cards you ultimately get for the people you would really like to have here. Presumably these individuals would be tenured or tenure track. However, we have created some variation from the recent past. So I think if an individual has a concern about the non-tenure track faculty I would like them to contact us. We are doing business differently in that regard. In terms of the postdoctoral, I really cannot speak to that because I do not know the specifics of that situation. To my knowledge we have not changed our procedure on that.
Joanna Floros: Postdoctoral, traditionally with a J1 visa, the University does not support their change to H1. What happens is they either go elsewhere to get that support or they go through the legal system themselves which costs them a lot of money. Either way it is not an environment that they would like.
President Spanier: Let me suggest you two exchange cards after the meeting. Billie is wonderful at solving problems and helping people.
Joanna Floros: Thank you; we will do that.
Chair Bise: Are the any other questions? Seeing none, thank you President Spanier for meeting with us today.
Chair Bise: We now turn to Agenda Item H, Legislative Reports. Today we have three Legislative Reports. The first is from the Senate Committee on Admissions, Records, Scheduling and Student Aid. It appears on today’s Agenda as Appendix D and is entitled, “Revision of Senate Policies 34-87 (Course Add) and 34-89 (Course Drop).” Mark Casteel, Chair of the Senate Committee on Admissions, Records, Scheduling and Student Aid will represent this report.
Revision of Senate Policies 34-87 (Course Add) and 34-89 (Course Drop)
Mark A. Casteel, Chair, Senate Committee on Admissions, Records, Scheduling and Student Aid
Mark A. Casteel: Thank you, Chris. I would like to invite my Vice-Chair, Richard A. Wade to please come down and join me. I would like to take this opportunity to both recognize and thank Richard for being the primary author on this Legislative Report. Given the agenda today and the anticipation that we will be here for a long time, I want to make my comments very brief. What happened last fall is what sent this legislation into motion. The committee found ourselves at our first meeting faced with some student senators that queried us about why the length of the drop-add period had been nine days this fall semester. The faculty on my committee had been surprised, because we did not realize that it had been nine days instead of the traditional ten days. What had happened was the Registrar, as he was making out the schedule for the semester had contacted Administrative Council on Undergraduate Education (ACUE). ACUE had interpreted current policy as anything less than a traditional fifteen-week semester, and automatically changed the legislation to proportional rule. When you apply the proportional rule of the current policy it made it nine days instead of ten days. What ensued in our discussion was a whole host of issues about whether we lengthen it, do we shorten it, should the drop period be one day longer than the add period, etc. All of the background information can be found in the discussion and rationale part of the report. We came to the decision in committee that we wanted to keep the ten days intact. What you see in front of you, therefore, is legislation that regardless of the length of a semester, it will be ten calendar days. We also changed the drop policy to be consistent with the add policy. We did not see compelling reason to make the drop policy one day longer than the add policy. What you see before you is two recommendations that we urge you to vote on as a package. It did not make sense to vote on them individually.
Chair Bise: Are there any question or comments for Chair Casteel?
Jeffrey B. Corbets, Engineering: One of the things this policy does not cover adequately, in my opinion, is what happens during a summer session. The second sentence of the proposed revision states, “This period is the first ten calendar days of either fall or spring semester, if the duration of the course is equal to the duration of the semester.” The third sentence states “For all other courses (those not equal in duration to a semester in which they are in part), the duration of the add period is calculated by multiplying ten days by the duration of the course (in days) divided by 75 days, and then rounding up to the next higher whole number of days.” In a summer semester the length of the courses is equal to the duration of a semester. Can you tell me what policy would handle those?
Mark A. Casteel: My understanding is that the summer consists of sessions not semesters. Traditionally, it is a spring semester and a fall semester. Summers are not considered semesters, therefore, you revert to proportional rule.
Richard A. Wade, Vice-Chair: I actually researched the few summer sessions and semesters. When viewing on the Registrar’s calendar pages, it seems there would be no change from what present practice is for the summer sessions. One six-week summer session would imply a four-day drop-add period. That is what would be true either under the present rule or the new one interpreted as a proportion. In practice the second summer session has a seven-day drop period because the Fourth of July intervenes.
Jeffrey B. Corbets: Would the committee consider an amendment to eliminate the words in the parenthesis? It might clear up some of these issues.
Mark A. Casteel: Again, I would say no because the summer is not considered a semester.
Jeffrey B. Corbets: Well the purpose of the revision to the language is to make it consistent and easier to understand. I think this language adds another level of confusion, especially for those taking summer classes.
Richard A. Wade: I think the confusion in any particular situation is easily resolved by referring to the Registrar’s calendar or eLion to find out what the actual implemented period for any particular course would be.
Chair Bise: Are there any other questions for Chair Casteel? Seeing none, since this report comes to us from a committee, it has already been moved and seconded. Are we ready to vote? As many as are in favor of the proposals from the Committee on Admissions, Records, Scheduling and Student Aid entitled “Revision of Senate Policies 34-87 (Course Add) and 34-89 (Course Drop),” please signify by saying, “Aye.”
Chair Bise: Opposed? The ayes have it. The motion passes. The Senate has approved the proposal for the Senate Committee on Admissions, Records, Scheduling and Student Aid entitled, “Revision of Senate Policies 34-87 (Course Add) and 34-89 (Course Drop).” The report will now be sent to the President for his implementation. Thank you, Chair Casteel, and thanks to all of the members of your committee.
Today we have two legislative reports from the Senate Committee on Committees and Rules. The first one appears on today’s Agenda as Appendix E and is entitled, “Revision of Faculty Senate Constitution, Bylaws, and Standing Rules: Constitution, Article II, Section 4; Faculty Senator Representation Ratio.” Because this legislative report is a proposed amendment to the Constitution, it will be discussed today and then tabled until the April 27, 2004, Senate meeting. Pamela P. Hufnagel, Chair of the Senate Committee on Committees and Rules, will present this report.
Revision of Faculty Senate Constitution, Bylaws, and Standing Rules: Constitution, Article II, Section 4; Faculty Senator Representation Ratio
Pamela P. Hufnagel, Chair Senate Committee on Committees and Rules
Pamela P. Hufnagel: On October 28, 2003, the University Faculty Senate voted to change the faculty representation ratio from one senator for each 20 members of the electorate to one senator for each 25 members of the electorate. This report proposed new wording in The Constitution and outlines a gradual reduction in the number of senators over four years. According to this plan, units will determine how to best implement the reduction. Even though this plan will not start until your next election cycle, some units have already begun their reductions. As Chair Bise mentioned, we cannot vote on this today, but we can discuss this. Are there any questions?
Chair Bise: Are there any other questions for Chair Hufnagel? Seeing none, thank you Chair Hufnagel. Chair Hufnagel will also present the second Legislative Report. It appears on today’s Agenda as Appendix F and is entitled, “Revision of Faculty Senate Constitution, Bylaws, and Standing Rules: Standing Rules, Article III, Section 6. c (5) Faculty Advisory Committee to the President Membership Change.” Senator Robert Pangborn will join Chair Pamela Hufnagel at the podium.
Revision of Faculty Senate Constitution, Bylaws, and Standing Rules: Standing Rules, Article III, Section 6. c (5); Faculty Advisory Committee to the President Membership Change
Pamela P. Hufnagel, Chair of the Senate Committee on Committees and Rules
Pamela P. Hufnagel: I asked Senator Pangborn to join me on this one because he is one the major authors of this report. As part of our efforts to improve the functions of the Senate we decided it is time to clarify eligibility for membership to the Faculty Advisory Committee to the President. This report specifies certain exclusions regarding eligibility to run for Faculty Advisory Committee. These are similar to the exclusions to run for the University Promotion and Tenure Review Committee, although not exactly identical. Since this is a change in Standing Rules we could vote on this today, but there also may be some questions.
Chair Bise: Are there any questions or discussion? Seeing none, since this report comes to us from a committee, it has already been moved and seconded. Are we ready to vote? As many as are in favor of the proposals from the Senate Committee On Committees and Rules entitled, “Revision of Faculty Senate Constitution, Bylaws, and Standing Rules: Standing Rules, Article III, Section 6. c (5); Faculty Advisory Committee to the President Membership
Change ),” please signify by saying, “Aye.”
Chair Bise: Opposed? The ayes have it. The motion passes. The Senate has approved the proposal from the Senate Committee on Committees and Rules entitled, “Revision of Faculty Senate Constitution, Bylaws, and Standing Rules: Standing Rules, Article III, Section 6. c (5); Faculty Advisory Committee to the President Membership Change.” The report will now be sent to the President informationally. Thank you, Chair Hufnagel, and thanks to all of the members of your committee.
Our final Legislative Report for today comes from the Senate Committee on Intercollegiate Athletics. It appears on today’s Agenda as Appendix G and is entitled, “Resolution Endorsing the Coalition on Intercollegiate Athletics’ (COIA) “A Framework for Comprehensive Athletics Reform.” Intercollegiate Athletics Committee Chair, Martin Pietrucha, will introduce this report. John Nichols will make comments and then he and Martin will respond to questions.
Resolution Endorsing the Coalition on Intercollegiate Athletics’ (COIA)
“A Framework for Comprehensive Athletics Reform”
Martin T. Peitrucha, Chair, Senate Committee On Intercollegiate Athletics
Martin T. Pietrucha: You have the information before you, and in the interest of time we will just stand for questions.
Chair Bise: Any questions or discussion?
John L. Selzer, Liberal Arts: This is the first time I have spoken before the Senate. Bob Secor is laughing because he knows I am a big sports fan. So here I am talking about sports. I very much applaud the COIA initiative. I have three small suggestions for your consideration. First, I would like to see consideration given to interdictions of the use of performance enhancing drugs in intercollegiate athletics. One CIC institution has already watched as one of their athletes died as a result of such drugs. I wanted to see that possibly included in the agenda. Second, I would like to see those who police Division One athletics give more attention to incentives for good performance as opposed to penalties for bad performance. Right now you can be put on probation for doing bad things, but it might do all kinds of good if there was a provision that schools could not go to a bowl game unless they graduated two-thirds of their athletes in previous five years. I am very serious about this issue. I feel it would take care of most of the problems associated with this.
We have March Madness, however, you could not go to the NCAA Tournament unless two-thirds of your men’s basketball team or women’s basketball team graduated in the previous five years. Another thought being, currently you give 85 scholarships to football. What if there was a provision where everyone would get 80, but if you graduate two-thirds of your athletes then you would receive 90. If you graduate 75 percent you get 95, etc. This would give real incentives to do things well. The third item that concerns me, I really appreciate the national scope of this effort and I could not be more enthusiastic about it. At the same time what concerns me is the behavior of other CIC institutions in their monitoring of intercollegiate athletics. I have watched as our coaches get rapped if their teams are not as successful as the teams we play against in the Big Ten. Yet, other schools like the University Of Michigan are paying over one million dollars to their players while they beat our basketball team so we go to the NIT instead of the NCAA tournament. I watched as Iowa this year took care of us on the basketball court while several convicted athletes were playing. One of those was a convicted sex offender. Indiana University had to replace their coach because he abused his players. University of Minnesota was involved in gross academic improprieties. At Northwestern there was a point shaving incident. I could go on and I wish our Athletic Director had arrived to hear this little speech. Oh, he has arrived. I really like our athletic program that it doesn’t do any of this stuff. Our coaches are under an extreme disadvantage. You all need to know that the other CIC institutions are not models in this regard. I would like to see our athletic director and our other administrators try to exert even more leadership than they already exerting in trying to get the Big Ten to be a national model in these regards.
Martin T. Pietrucha: I think in joining the Coalition we will be able to address your very first concern. As you know, in being part of the process, you are also part of the solution. The second issue on the incentives, my understanding right now is that the NCAA is looking into that possibility besides having a series of disincentives also having incentives for people who are good performers. Again, with your third concern, the same thing is true as with the first. If we are part of the process, we will be able to use it as a means not necessarily for compelling other institutions into action, however, if you have a large group with national representation setting the standards there will be pressure there for others to fall in line.
John Nichols, Communications: If I am not mistaken the incentives and disincentives package has already passed with the active support of the Coalition. I think the only thing that is on the table now is exactly what the incentives and disincentives are. We are already well down that path. That was not related to your question Jack, but I wanted to point out that in Table One it lists all of the Faculty Senate Councils that voted to join the Coalition and endorse the framework. Since that was written just a few weeks ago, seven new university councils or senates have voted join the Coalition. They are as follows: Wake Forest, Colorado, Nebraska, Rutgers, Ohio State, Arizona and Cal State Fresno. Yes, there is a message there.
Chair Bise: Any other questions or comments? Seeing none, since this report comes from a committee, it has already been moved and seconded. Are we ready to vote? As many as are in favor of the legislation from the Committee on Intercollegiate Athletics entitled, “Resolution Endorsing the Coalition on Intercollegiate Athletics’ (COIA) “A Framework for Comprehensive Athletics Reform,” please signify by saying, “Aye.”
Chair Bise: Opposed? The ayes have it. The motion passes. The Senate has approved the legislation from the Committee on Intercollegiate Athletics entitled “Resolution Endorsing the Coalition on Intercollegiate Athletics’ (COIA) “A Framework for Comprehensive Athletics Reform.” The Coalition on Intercollegiate Athletics will be notified that Penn State’s Senate has approved a resolution supporting the principles of Intercollegiate Athletics Reform. Thank you, Chair Pietrucha, John Nichols and thanks to all of the members of your committee.
Agenda Item I, Advisory/Consultative Reports. The first Advisory and Consultative
Report for today comes from the Senate Committee on Faculty Benefits. It appears
on today’s Agenda as Appendix H and is entitled, “Voluntary Phased Retirement
(HR29) and Reemployment of University Retirees (HR45).” Committee Chair, Dennis
Shea, will present this report.
Voluntary Phased Retirement (HR29) and Reemployment of University Retirees (HR45)
Dennis Shea, Chair, Senate Committee on Faculty Benefits
Dennis Shea: I would like to thank Robert Heinsohn and the rest of the subcommittee and committee who prepared this report. There is one friendly amendment in the committee meeting this morning. If you look on page three of the report the paragraph starts, “Wages earned by SERS” and if you turn to page four you will see, “Wages earned by TIAA CREF annuitants.” Those two paragraphs should be identical with the only difference being SERS and TIAA CREF. That was just an error in the earlier document. The friendly amendment, which was made and accepted in the committee this morning, was to revise that paragraph on page three so it reads exactly identical to the one on page four. Lastly, I just wanted to emphasize that this document is bringing no change in current policy. It merely developed out of concerns from several retirees and pre-retirees about the need for further information about their options in the phased retirement and the reemployment. We worked with them to recommend that the Office of Human Resources work to develop some programs that more fully inform them. This is not a change in policy. It is really just a recommendation to the Office of Human Resources to further their efforts to address the questions that retirees and pre-retirees have about these programs.
Chair Bise: Any questions or discussions?
Robert J. Heinsohn, Representing Retired Faculty: The two policies in question are excellent policies. They serve the institution well and they serve the faculty well. I would heartily urge those approaching retirement to speak with your friends and colleagues, to consider either one of these two things in retirement plans. Thank you.
Chair Bise: Any further questions or discussion? Seeing none, since the proposal comes to us from a committee, it has already been moved and seconded. Are we ready to vote? As many as are in favor of the proposal from the Senate Committee on Faculty Benefits entitled, “Voluntary Phase Retirement (HR29) and Reemployment of University Retirees (HR45),” please signify by saying, “Aye.”
Chair Bise: Opposed “Nay.” The ayes have it. The motion passes. The Senate has approved the proposal from Senate Committee on Faculty Benefits and the report will now be sent to the President for approval and subsequent implementation. Thank you Chair Shea and all the members of the Senate Committee on Faculty Benefits.
Chair Bise: Our second Advisory and Consultative report today comes from the Senate Committee on Intra-University Relations. It appears on today’s Agenda as Appendix I and is entitled, “Curricular Integration Across Locations.”
For the past two years, the Senate Officers and I, on our campus visits, have heard repeated concerns about curricular drift and the lack of curriculum integration across the University. I am pleased to share with you that Provost Erickson has invested resources in the development of an electronic course proposal and review system. We are optimistic that when this new system is up and running, many of the concerns about curricular drift will be addressed.
David Richards, Chair, and Dawn Blasko, Vice Chair, of the Senate Committee on Intra-University Relations, will present this report.
Report on Curricular Integration Across Locations
David R. Richards, Chair, Senate Committee on Intra-University Relations
Dawn G. Blasko, Vice-Chair, Senate Committee on Intra-University Relations
David Richards: Thank you, Chris. The IRC has been working on very difficult and important issues of curriculum integration. This report presents an initial step in the continuing process to address these issues. The group that will benefit the most from the recommendations is our students. I want to thank Dawn Blasko and the subcommittee who work so hard on this report. Dawn and I will stand for questions.
Chair Bise: Any questions or comments?
Leonard J. Berkowitz, York College: These are an excellent set of recommendations addressing the problems that have been around for a while and have increased since the reorganization. There is a remaining concern. As you say, this is a beginning. I would like to take this opportunity to urge the committee and the University to begin thinking about the next step we need to address. Before the reorganization, faculties in locations throughout the state were generally members of university-wide departments. While this supposed fact was not always fully implemented, it did play a significant role in curriculum. Most often, if departments were thinking about revising their programs or courses they held university-wide faculty meetings or had university-wide committees, or at least there was discussion and communication in a timely manner. Since the reorganization, this exchange has greatly decreased. Far fewer departments hold meetings on an annual basis. Many departments hold no such meetings at all. Now the official position of the University is that courses belong to all faculty who teach those courses in the discipline, not to the departments. We need to find a way to make sure that actually comes about. I think it is moving more and more in the other direction. My concern is that University Park based departments, will seek courses in their discipline as belonging to them, and develop and change their courses as they see fit with little input and participation from the rest of us faculty. This does not yet address that. It does provide the basis for us to begin. Do not let it go.
Jean Landa Pytel, Engineering: This is a statement from the College of Engineering Caucus.
“The College of Engineering Caucus is supportive of the rationale for, and intent of the Advisory and Consultative Report, Curricular Integration Across Locations. We have no objections to the recommendations and in fact support them and urge the Senate to approve the report. However, we believe that the report is not sufficient because it fails to address major concerns regarding course content and its enforcement.
The report does not speak to any system of oversight and quality control to ensure that the essential course content, according to the 80/20 guideline, is indeed being delivered. The College of Engineering conducts regular meetings with faculty from all locations who teach engineering as well as computer science courses. We share course information and have conducted workshops about the courses that are taught at all locations because they are critical to our majors. These courses are about the fundamentals that are used in subsequent courses in our majors. In spite of our best efforts, we have cases where course content in courses required for a major, has deviated significantly from the description. The major departments are helpless because there is no mechanism for review and enforcement of curricular integrity.
The omission of recommendations for oversight and enforcement in this report is of great concern to us and also, I am certain, to other colleges that must submit to external reviews for accreditation of their programs. We are in grave danger of losing our accreditation in programs where we cannot prove that there is a system of quality control that guarantees that courses are delivered as described.
We recognize that this report is an important first-step. However, we request that the Committee on Intra-University Relations provide us, by the next Senate meeting, with their plan for presenting a report that addresses our needs and concerns.”
Tramble T. Turner: Fortunately following Jean Landa Pytel, I am able to add to what I was going to ask about. While serving as an interim Director of Academic Affairs at one of the smaller campuses I was involved in an engineering program accreditation, in fact two engineering. That fairly small campus came through with flying colors. I would suggest and hope that given the word of recommendation, the committee would continue to stress the flexibility to approach learning goals based on local situations to best meet the needs of our students. Many of us feel that enforcement-type language suggests some of the problems that once existed between locations and faculty. Again, I speak on this not just as a Senator from Abington College, but as a Senator who had to leave the Senate for a year and work with the engineering accreditation organization. Thank you.
Chair Bise: Any there questions or comments?
Peter Rebane, Abington College: I would like to ask a question about Recommendation Number 2. One of the supposed benefits of our reorganization was that locations other than University Park could attract and retain students by offering terminal degrees in certain areas. Therefore, I am somewhat bothered by the language which says, “reduce the problem of competitive duplication of academic programs.” As soon as you do offer the same program at another location, you are duplicating and creating competition. That seems to be contradictory of what the reorganization was all about. Of course, that will redistribute students from one location to another. That is a given. So my question is, you state on the rationale that a stated goal should be avoidance of competitive duplication and to ensure compliance. Again, as my fellow Senator Turner asked, who enforces this compliance? Would it be the department at University Park? In addition, how do you further document the support for a new academic program? It seems to me that Recommendation Number 2 turns the clock back quite a bit. Anytime you have programs offered at other locations, you will have duplication and competition for students. We generally view competition as healthy. For locations outside of University Park, where we try to attract students, this seems to be counterproductive. Thank you.
Dawn Blasko, Vice Chair: One of the things we found in talking to the faculty and the deans is the issue of competition kept coming up as a possible barrier to cooperation. So one of the problems with working in order to make the curriculum more coherent across locations, was the fact that if you are going to have lots and lots of programs that are very similar, maybe not quite the same, then what you may end up doing is not providing a net benefit to the University as a whole, but rather taking students and moving them from one location to another in a way that doesn’t meet the strategic plan of necessarily either location. Now this is not a statement that we made up. The idea of competitive duplication is already a goal, in the program development guidelines of the University, that is already in there. But one of the issues that has come up is, although that is already a stated goal if you were to develop a new program right now and look at it, say we want to avoid competitive duplication. However, one of the issues is there is nothing in that requirement to say that you should address that in your proposal, that you should discuss it, think about it, take it into account in the process of doing your market research. That is what we are asking for, is to take an already-stated goal and to strengthen it so that cooperation and competition can be managed better across locations.
Peter Rebane: Would competition then include the World Campus? Certainly then if we include courses on that, then that would certainly take away students from locations here and there and that certainly would be competitive. I still refuse to see exactly how this works for the benefit of all of us. I really strongly object to having Recommendation Number 2 in there. I do not think it follows logically and I think it is counterproductive.
Chair Bise: Any further questions or comments? Seeing none, since the proposal comes to us from a committee, it has already been moved and seconded. We will vote on each recommendation separately. As many as are in favor of accepting Recommendation Number One, please say, “Aye.”
Chair Bise: Opposed “Nay.” The ayes have it. The motion passes. As many as are in favor of accepting Recommendation Number Two, please say, “Aye”
Chair Bise: Opposed “Nay.”
Chair Bise: The ayes have it. The motion passes. As many as are in favor of accepting Recommendation Number Three, please say, “Aye.”
Chair Bise: Opposed “Nay.” The ayes have it. The motion
passes. As many as are in favor of accepting Recommendation Number Four, please
Chair Bise: Opposed “Nay.” The ayes have it. The motion passes. As many as are in favor of accepting Recommendation Number Five, please say, “Aye.”
Chair Bise: Opposed. “Nay.” The ayes have it. The motion passes. The Senate has approved the proposal from the Senate Committee on Intra-University Relations entitled, “Curricular Integration Across Locations.” The report will now be sent to the President for his approval and subsequent implementation. Thank you Chair Richards and Vice Chair Blasko, and thanks to all members of the Senate Committee on Intra-University Relations.
If there is no objection at this time I would like to call for a five minute break. It is 3:10 we will resume at 3:15. Thank you.
COMMITTEE ON COMMITTEES AND RULES
Chair Bise: We have nine informational reports today. The first one comes for the Senate Committee on Committee and Rules. It appears on today’s Agenda as Appendix J and is entitled, “Nominating Report – 2004-2005: Faculty Rights and Responsibilities, Standing Joint Committee on Tenure, University Promotion and Tenure Review Committee.” You have before you the names of those who have been nominated and who have accepted nomination to either the Senate Committee on Faculty Rights and Responsibilities, the Standing Joint Committee on Tenure, or the University Promotion and Tenure Review Committee. Senators may make additional nominations from the floor provided that you have first received permission from the person who you would like to nominate.
We will begin with the Senate Faculty Rights and Responsibilities. Please note that this committee consists of three separate categories of nominees: University Park Faculty, Faculty Other than University Park, and Deans. First, nominations for Faculty Rights and Responsibilities, University Park Faculty. Are there any additional nominations from the floor? Seeing none, let us move on to Faculty Rights and Responsibilities, Faculty Other than University Park. Are there any additional nominations from the floor? Seeing none, let us move on to Faculty Rights and Responsibilities, Deans. Are there any additional nominations from the floor? Seeing none.
Now we will move onto the Standing Joint Committee on Tenure. Are there any additional nominations from the floor? Seeing none.
Let us now move on to the University Promotion and Tenure Review Committee. Are there any additional nominations from the floor? Seeing none, is there a motion to close the nominations for Faculty Rights and Responsibilities, Standing Joint Committee on Tenure and University Promotion and Tenure Review Committee, and to approve the entire slate of nominees?
Senators: So moved.
Chair Bise: Second? It has been moved and seconded that we approve the entire slate of nominees. As many are in favor of the motion, please signify by saying, “Aye.”
Chair Bise: Opposed say, “Nay.” The motion passes the slate of nominees to the Senate Faculty Rights and Responsibilities Committee, Standing Joint Committee on Tenure and the University Promotion and Tenure Review Committee have been approved. The slate is closed.
University Faculty Census Report, 2004-2005
Chair Bise: The next informational report comes to us from the Elections Commission. It appears on today’s Agenda as Appendix K and is entitled, “University Faculty Census Report, 2004-2005.” The total number of elected Senators for 2004-2005 is 231. Eleven less than 2003-2004. Six units have already begun to downsize their electorate. If there are no questions we will proceed to the next item.
Chair Bise: The following report appears on today’s Agenda as Appendix L, is also from the Elections Commission and is entitled, “Roster of Senators by Voting Units for 2004-2005”. This list is for your information. We are not going to take any action on it.
We have momentum going, so meeting with your approval, I would like to keep with the nominating process and skip to Agenda item Appendix P, which is entitled, “Nominating Committee Report 2004-2005.” John Moore, Chair of the Senate Council Nominating Committee and Past-Chair of the Senate will present the report. The Senate Council Nominating Committee has met and made nominations for Chair-Elect and Secretary of the Senate, and the Faculty Advisory Committee to the President. You will find these in Appendix P of your Agenda. Senators may make additional nominations from the floor provided that they have secured prior approval from those whom they wish to nominate. Chair Moore will present the nominees for Chair-Elect and Secretary of the Senate, and Faculty Advisory Committee to the President. Chair Moore.
SENATE COUNCIL NOMINATING COMMITTEE
John Moore, Chair, Senate Council Nominating Committee
John Moore: Thank you. For Chair Elect of the Senate we have two nominees listed in Appendix P.
Chair Bise: Are there any additional nominations from the floor? Seeing none, let us move on to Secretary.
John Moore: Office of Secretary of the Senate we have two nominees from the nominate committee listed in Appendix P.
Chair Bise: Are there any additional nominations from the floor? Seeing none, let us move on to Faculty Advisory Committee to the President.
John Moore: For the Faculty Advisory Committee to the President, two will be elected. One for a three year term expiring in 2007 and another for a two year term expiring in 2006. The nominees are listed in Appendix P. All nominees have given permission to have their names listed on the ballot. Please disregard the University Park/non-University Park differentiation. All candidates’ names will appear with the highest vote-getter of the four receiving a three-year term, and the second highest vote-getter receiving a two-year term.
Chair Bise: Any additional nominees from the floor?
Leonard Berkowitz: I do not have any additional nominees, but I do object to the procedure you have now outlined in as much as it violates The Standing Rules. The Standing Rules specify that in case an elected faculty member resigns, which is the case we face, the candidate in the most recent election receiving the highest number of votes of those not elected will complete the term, provided there are two more eligible candidates. Obviously that is not the case: there was not one to put in or you would not be having additional elections. Then it says, “otherwise a special election would be held.” There is no provision for combining two elections.
John Moore: Right. During the past twenty-four hours, a series of questions have been raised about the structure of the elections for the Faculty Advisory Committee. These questions about the structure have been referred to Elections Commission, and following the advice of the Elections Commission we have decided to proceed in this following fashion. The Election Commission, I believe, has the authority in this particular case.
Leonard Berkowitz: I question whether the Election Commission can overrule The Standing Rules?
John Moore: We were faced with a series of unexpected problems. In order to resolve those problems, we had to make a quick decision. We ushered the question to the Elections Commission. This is an exceptional situation and the Election Commission acted as I have outlined.
Chair Bise: Any other questions or comments? Any nominations from the floor? Seeing none, we are now ready to approve the entire slate. Is there a motion to approve the entire slate of nominees for Chair-Elect of the Senate, Secretary of the Senate, and Faculty Advisory Committee to the President?
Senators: So moved.
Chair Bise: Second? It has been moved and seconded that we approve the entire slate of nominees. The vote for aye is to approve the entire. All those in favor of the motion, please signify by saying, “Aye.”
Chair Bise: Opposed say, “Nay.” The motion carries and election slate is adopted. Thank you, Chair Moore, and thanks also to all the members of the Senate Council Nominating Committee.
I want to remind everyone that we will be conducting an on-line election again this year. Ballots will be electronically mailed in early April.
Chair Bise: Going back to our Agenda our next report comes to us from the Faculty Affairs Committee. It appears on today’s Agenda as Appendix M and is entitled, “Background Checking Procedures.” Sallie McCorkle, Chair, will introduce this report. Vice Provost for Academic Affairs, Robert Secor, will make comments and respond to questions. Senate Council has set aside twenty minutes for presentation and discussion of this report.
Background Checking Procedures
Sallie McCorkle, Chair, Senate Committee on Faculty Benefits
Sallie McCorkle: I will try and make this as fast as I can. All of you should have received a copy of this report because this was on the February 3, 2004, Agenda. Also, you should have received via email questions and answers that were developed by Robert Secor’s office to help some of the questions. I have a few comments before we open it for questions and Bob Secor does as well. Clay Calvert is here representing the ad hoc committee that was formed to deal with this.
For several years, Penn State, along with other CIC institutions, has been exploring the possibility of doing criminal background checks connected to faculty hires. As most of you know, our recent event which exposed a criminal history of a Penn State faculty member led to our administrations speeding up this process in deciding to go ahead in doing background checks. A draft of the policy was created in late summer by the administration. In a meeting of the Faculty Advisory Committee, it was agreed that the draft would be brought to the Senate Committee on Faculty Affairs for review and input. The Senate Committee on Faculty Affairs established an ad hoc committee made up of senators from Promotion and Tenure Appointments and Leaves subcommittee and the Faculty Rights and Privacy. As I said before, Clay is here to represent that committee. The ad hoc committee worked with Vice Provost Secor and the administration for approximately five months, making suggestions and asking for revisions. Many of those suggestions were accepted by the administration; some were not.
The informational report you see before you now is the latest version of the background check policy, and is now the one being implemented by the administration. It is probably version five or six at this point. It really has been refined many times. The latest changes were prompted by the announcement of resolutions from several faculty units across the University denouncing totally the implementation of background checks. The Faculty Affairs Committee brings this informational report to the Senate today so that the faculty of the University can see where the process has gone and can comment on the policy and procedures. Since this is an informational report, obviously we do not vote on it. Please feel free to comment in whatever way you want.
There are a couple of things I want to emphasize, that we have had really significant input. I want to highlight a few of the items. There will not be credit checks. That was something that originally seemed to be implied. Confidentiality has been of primary concern, certainly by the Faculty Affairs Committee and in conjunction with the administration. I feel that has been addressed fairly well.
The declaration statement has been adjusted numerous times and has been gone over by lawyers on both sides of the discussion. It might help you to know that we have four lawyers on faculty affairs, one of whom is a labor lawyer. We had quite a bit of input from that direction as well, thinking about faculty protection.
Finally, there was recognition of rehabilitation, which was a big issue for us. Also, recognition of a candidate’s right to respond to negative action has been preserved. In other words, if a report comes through and for some reason that final candidate looks like they might be removed from consideration because of what might be in the report, the candidate has a right to respond to that report prior to having any action taken.
The last item, which matters to a number of people, is that it is not retroactive. This is just for new hires. That being said, I know that Bob Secor has some things to say.
Robert Secor, Vice Provost for Academic Affairs: I hope that the fact this it is not retroactive does not matter to too many people here. (Laughter.) Let me give you some background on how this started, and how we got here, and why. First of all, background checks are a national phenomenon. It is not something that has just began at Penn State. A survey in January 2003 showed that 80 percent of U.S. companies do background checks. That was up from 51 percent in 1996. Now a year later, I am certain it is greater. The reasons are several. One is the growing call for accountability. Certainly, the more we found out about our companies and our corporations, the more the public is crying for accountability. As you know by the President talking about it, over the last several years there have been cries from our Legislature for accountability from the University. Second, I believe 9/11 has had something to do with it. It certainly has increased over the last several years; the sense that we need to know whom we have hired; is there anything in their background that is troublesome and dangerous that people should know? Thirdly, I believe even most importantly is advances in technology.
I received an email from Chair-Elect Kim Steiner two days ago stating he had just discovered in Sam’s Club that you can buy software to do background checks. This will put HireRight out of business. The reason is that background check technology can simply plug into public records. When we are talking about background checks, that is what we are talking about. HireRight, the California agency, we signed up with will go look at public records, federal records, local records and court records. They will not be knocking on doors. They won’t be asking neighbors what do you know about this person. J. Edgar Hoover is dead. We are talking about a very easy process and that is why HireRight can promise us a 24-hour turn-around time. With Sam’s Club software, I could give you a 24-hour turn-around. So with all of that being in the air and the calls for accountability and institution/universities beginning do to background checks, the CIC had a discussion and suggested two things: one being we each take a look at our own campuses about whether this is something, secondly, at the same time the purchasing agents of each of our institutions got together to survey various companies who did background checks to see if we could get a group rate. So as a group we signed up for HireRight.
Now as we are having this conversation, all of a sudden we get a call from a probation officer who says, “did you know that you have a faculty member who has been on your faculty for four years who had killed three innocent fisherman in cold blood, served 12 years in prison, and is not on lifetime probation?” We said no we did not know that, because we did not. Before we could go much further, this was leaked to the press. We did not leak this. Now all of a sudden this became a press story before we could even comprehend what exactly had happened. It was a big story and you can imagine the kind of calls and emails that President Spanier got. They came from the public and parents stating, “how many triple murderers are on your faculty.” Most seriously, we received calls from Legislators and I suspect there were calls from the Board of Trustees. Our response was honest that we did not know. This was probably the worst response we could have given. I mean here is a triple murder case, where the District Attorney in Texas called this the most heinous act that they had ever come across in Texas history. Remember this is Texas. So the court proceedings were all over the Texas papers. Then 12 years later, the court releases him on lifetime probation. Well if this was a story the first time around—you can imagine what kind of a story it was the second time around. So we go along and we make the hire and we say we just did not know. This is not a response that people understood. I remember a letter to The Collegian from one our students saying, “did not know? I cannot get a job at McDonalds without telling them every detail in my past.”
The administration responds and it was really a concern how the legislature would react to us. We are in the process of developing a policy for background checks, and we will have a policy of background checks. Unfortunately, it got ahead of us. When we were looking at it as to whether we wanted to go in that direction, we would have much rather discussed this with this group. However, a finger had to be put in the dike at that point. Also, Billie and I were looking at a proposal to see what the cost would be if we went ahead with this. Then at the end of the summer at the Faculty Advisory Committee meeting, President Spanier met with the Senate officers and talked about how to get Senate involvement. I do not want to blame the Senate. I am quite sure it was the administration’s point of view, whether or not we wanted to do this, that the best way was not to begin with a session in an open Senate. This had to be handled publicly in a very clear way. We wanted to work very closely with the appropriate faculty committee. The appropriate faculty committee was the Committee on Faculty Affairs. I thought we could plug this hole much faster, but we took all of the time we needed to take, which was the whole fall semester. We met every week. We talked about refining the policy. There was a lot of concern when we first came before the committee. I did a lot of work to refine the policy so that it would be as protective of our culture as it possibly could be. Essentially, we took about every suggestion.
The policy you have has no relationship to what the committee first saw. So don’t say there was no shared governance in this. When it was ready to be presented as an informational report at the beginning of the fall semester, when we were committed to implementing the policy, it was January. Of course, you know what happened at the January meeting. Before that, as usual, we put it on the Senate Council Agenda, as we have to do. When that went to Senate Council some of the councilors did what they should do and talked to their faculty about it and then there were other concerns.
There were some things, which we had taken off the table when the Faculty Affairs took a look at it, that we put back on the table. For example, there was a concern about the policy checking both all felonies and all misdemeanors. The Faculty Affair Committee asked, do we have to do misdemeanors? So we took a look at misdemeanors and discovered that there are some misdemeanors, which are so serious that if we did not cover them there would be a real problem. Can we say we do background checks and then hire faculty who have a record of sexual assault? Can you hire somebody, and this goes for every hire in the University, not just the faculty—including deans, vice presidents and people responsible for budget. Can we not find out whether there has been a financial misbehavior, even if it is not a felony? So our position, at the time, was that we couldn’t rule out misdemeanors, which troubled the Faculty Affair Committee. When it got to Senate Council, people were upset about it. We listened a little bit harder. We then decided we could simply isolate those misdemeanors that we just talked about and limit them to felonies, sexual assault and financial issues. Other issues came up in those discussions. They went to the Senate leaders and the leaders brought them back to the Faculty Affairs Committee. I was invited to the meeting and we made changes on the basis of that. When it went to Senate Council there was some concern about language and we changed the language. So while we many have done exactly what you would have liked in terms of vote of this body, there was a good deal of faculty input. As I said before, this is much more a faculty policy then any policy that we began with.
So having said that, let me just say a couple other things. I mentioned why the imperative, why Penn State is out in front of a number of others, because of the case that we had with the triple murderer. We also hoped to head off the implications with the Legislature. Well, because we took our time and did what we had to do just as we are about to present this to the Faculty Senate in January, the week before we learned that legislation was being introduced in Harrisburg that would require background checks. Legislator Baker used the case at Penn State as the rationale why this needed to be done. The proposal that he presented said several things. First of all it said, “any applicant for a position at a university, institution of higher learning had to have a background check.” We just want the final candidate. We don’t want to scare people off from even applying to us. Secondly, the applicant would have to go to the state police and get a statement from them as to whether there was any record in any state, which indicated that there was any felony or misdemeanor. Thirdly, because the state police could not tell you about arrests in other states, the faculty candidate would have to get themselves fingerprinted and send their fingerprints to the FBI. Now you can imagine the chilling effect that this legislation would have on our ability to do our business in our culture. The legislation had 40 cosigners and it was modeled directly on Act 34, which applies to all K-12 teachers in the state of Pennsylvania. According to Act 34, every teacher has to get the statement, and if they are not a resident of Pennsylvania, or have not been in the past two years, he or she, had to get themselves fingerprinted and they would be sent to the FBI. Essentially what Baker was saying, was if this is good enough for all of our teachers, and we know there is a problem as this case indicated, universities should do this as well. There was no way that we could say, “you cannot do this to us.” There is no way that the Legislature is not going to pass this bill. All we could hope was that we could change the legislation after it was introduced.
At the point, we felt lucky we had something, which was about to come to the Senate. We could say, “don’t do anything except to say there needs to be a policy and we have one, or at the very least if you have to have your own policy, make it ours.” Rich DiEugenio has been working with Baker and other legislators. At this point it has been in committee. They have been out of session and are going back into session in mid-March. They are currently saying they will not say that every institution should do it themselves; it has to be a state legislation. However, the last draft that we have seen, which I saw yesterday, has crossed out everything they have said in terms of what I just told you and is restricting it to felonies, sexual misconduct and financial misbehavior. In other words, exactly our procedures. Now we still have some way to go in terms of the wording of their proposal. We still need to work with them, but at least we have done that much. I am on the same side here, as people who have written some of those resolutions, and said we have to be awfully concerned about losing faculty applicants, about violations of understanding of the culture of the University. Our policy, rather than violating those things, is actually supporting the concerns that you have.
Let us say a couple of other things in terms of are we all alone in this. Well, we are not. As I said previously the other CIC schools have signed up with HireRight. That does not mean that they will all have background checks with faculty, but we have asked them questions and at least four have stated their President or Provost is committed to it or have committees looking at it. The most recent one I think was Ohio State says, “like you, we prefer to drive the process rather than one imposed on us. I am certain it is only a matter of time before we have some kind of process for background checks for faculty and staff.” University of Arizona, not a CIC school writes, “we are under some community and political pressure to move forward on this. We had an embarrassing incident with an associate dean a couple of years ago, and a handful of our staff employees who denied criminal histories on their application materials, etc. The questions should not be if, but why is it taking so long. As I write, a member of our state Legislature is advocating that all University of Arizona employment applicants provide fingerprints at their own cost.” So state laws can be draconian. Georgia has a state law, which mandates that faculty at the University of Georgia needs to complete a form that assures that, “there are no reasonable grounds to believe that he or she is a subversive person.” In the self-disclosure form, faculty need to state whether they have been convicted of any charges or if there are any charges pending against them, quoting, “for any violation of any federal law, state law, county of municipal law regulation or ordinance.” By the way, this includes reporting any traffic fine over $35. It is best to have our own policy. University of Virginia, University of Georgia, University of Texas all have their own policies. As I have stated, state laws are mandated in some cases. Indiana has a state law, which seems to impinge on Purdue and University of Indiana. So we are way in the forefront because we are pushed out; but we are not alone and we will have many followers. I could say a lot more but I have taken enough time and I will take questions.
Chair Bise: Are there any questions for Provost Secor?
Dennis Gouran, Liberal Arts: I appreciate the sensitivity
that you displayed and the detail in which you reconstructed how we got from
the incident to the present. I have still been asked by the caucus of Liberal
Arts Senators to read into the record those units that have an expression
of concern and also as part of the request compiled all of the motions and
resolutions and other related actions that I would like to have entered into
the record. In opposition either by way of resolution or motion expressing
disapproval of the policy that is now in place, are the following departments:
African and African American Studies
Classics & Ancient Mediterranean Studies
Communication Arts & Sciences
Germanic & Slavic Languages & Literatures
Labor Studies & Industrial Relations
Spanish, Italian & Portuguese
The faculty in Psychology did not vote in support of any resolution or to support actions of specified natures; however, the Chair noted general disapproval. Faculty members in each of the remaining, with the exception of the Department of English, voted with near unanimity in support of resolutions or motions expressing concern about and opposition to the policy and procedures for conducting background checks. Reports of the actions are appended to this statement, which, in combination, I request be made part of the Faculty Senate Record. So I feel I have met my responsibility to the members of the caucus of Liberal Art Senators. Thank you.
Tramble Turner: I would briefly like to make a comment to commend the Chair of Faculty Affairs, Sallie McCorkle, Vice Provost Secor and the Chair of the Ad Hoc Committee Clay Calvert. All of them got to see this up close in Faculty Affairs and can testify or witness to the fact that this was indeed very much faculty consultation. I noted in Vice Provost Secor speaking said, “we listened hard” and that in his recitation of the history he underscored the fact that things went slowly. There was not an undue or unnecessary sense of urgency, which on occasion in the last two semesters, we have seen with a few issues that come before the Senate. So having noted that second point as well, I would indeed commend the work that was done and hope that those caucuses that passed the resolutions would return to the record and perhaps reconsider their vote.
Chair Bise: Any other questions or comments?
Cynthia Mara, Capital College: Just a question for clarification. With the introduced legislation in Harrisburg, and you talked about the modifications, did that include a change from the background check for any applicant to the background check only for (inaudible)?
Robert Secor: Yes, it does.
Chair Bise: Any other questions or comments?
John Selzer: Bob, I am just curious—an offer of a job is contingent on submission of a self-disclosure form and consent for the background check. Given that, you can do these so easily—why make people fill out the self-disclosure form and why make them consent to it? Why not just do the background check? I am just curious about that.
Robert Secor: That came up for discussion. The self-disclosure form does ask for a couple of things that we are not going to check on the background check. There are findings or convictions of sexual misbehavior at the University. HireRight cannot find that out because it is not a public record, so we are asking them to let us know. There are several things in the self-disclosure form that are not public record. The other thing, the background check only verifies what is in the self-disclosure form. If they are honest, there should not be any issues coming up.
Chair Bise: Any other questions or comments? Seeing none. Thank you, Chair McCorkle and Vice Provost Secor, and thanks to all of the members of the Senate Committee on Faculty Affairs.
Our next report is from the Senate Committee on Intercollegiate Athletics, Appendix N, and deals with a presentation from Penn State’s Director of Athletics, Timothy Curley. In recognition of the late hour and to respect Tim’s time to give his presentation I have asked him to give his presentation at our next meeting on April 27, 2004. He has so agreed, so we will skip Appendix N and move on.
Chair Bise: The next Informational Report is from the Senate Council. It appears on today’s Agenda as Appendix O and is entitled, “Report on Fall 2003 Campus Visits.” Senate Secretary, Jamie Myers will present this report. Secretary Myers.
Report on Fall 2003 Campus Visits
Jamie Myers, Senate Secretary
Jamie Myers: This is a summary of the issues that came up in our visits to the various locations. If there are any questions, I would like to attempt to answer them.
Leonard Berkowitz: Jamie, on page four, Faculty Annual Review, it states, “Faculty were concerned that SRTE scores are being used in annual reviews for salary merit increase decisions, when they felt that the evaluations are meant only for promotion and tenure review decision.” I wondered if you and the other Senate officers corrected that misperception.
Jamie Myers: Yes, we did discuss that with the location where that issue was raised by faculty members. We met with the administrative team afterwards. I cannot report on whether or not the practice has changed.
Leonard Berkowitz: It is not the practice. My point is, did the legislation specifically allow for SRTE’s to be used in annual evaluations? I wanted to know if you corrected the misperception that they should not be used.
Jamie Myers: No. I think that perception is very unclear. I appreciate you clarifying that.
Leonard Berkowitz: Then let me clarify it again for the Record, since I was chair of the subcommittee that developed that legislation and stood on the Senate floor. There was an attempt to restrict the use of SRTE’s just for promotion and tenure review and not for use for other evaluation purposes. That motion was defeated. Therefore, in fact, the implication was they should be used for personnel decisions including annual evaluations. The concept was, it made no sense to say this is important enough to use for promotion and tenure review, but we are not going to trust it for annual evaluations. So if you look in, I believe the 1985 Senate Record, you will find it there.
Jamie Myers: Thank you.
Chair Bise: Any further comments or questions? Seeing none, thank you very much Secretary Myers.
Chair Bise: The next informational report comes to us from the Senate Committee on Undergraduate Education. It appears on today’s Agenda as Appendix Q and is entitled, “Grade Distribution Report” Arthur Miller, Vice Chair of the Senate Committee on Undergraduate Education, will stand for questions. Senate council has set aside ten minutes for presentation and discussion of this report. Vice Chair Miller.
Grade Distribution Report
Arthur Miller, Vice Chair, Senate Committee on Undergraduate Education
Arthur Miller: In the interest of time, the report is in front you and I will stand for any questions.
Chair Bise: Seeing none. Thank you, Chair Miller.
The last informational report comes to us from the Senate Committee on Undergraduate Education. It appears on today’s Agenda as Appendix R and is entitled, “Summary of Petitions by College, Campus and Unit.” Undergraduate Education Vice Chair, Arthur Miller, will stand for questions. Senate Council has set aside five minutes for presentation and discussion of this report. Vice Chair Miller.
Summary of Petitions by College, Campus and Unit
Arthur Miller, Vice Chair, Senate Committee on Undergraduate Education
Arthur Miller: Again I will just stand for questions.
Jean Landa Pytel: I would like to commend the Vice Chair of Undergraduate Education Committee for the great job in moving through petitions in an effort to streamline the process and provide appropriate feedback to the college and the students. It is really appreciated.
Chair Bise: Any further questions or comments? Seeing none, thank you Vice Chair Miller, and thanks to all the members on the Senate Committee on Undergraduate Education.
NEW LEGISLATIVE BUSINESS
Chair Bise: Are there any comments?
Victor Brunsden, Altoona College: I wish to announce that those faculty members that wish to view the complete transcript of the proceeding of Nona Gerard should contact me. My email is vwb2. Thank you.
Chair Bise: Any further comments? Seeing none.
The March 16, 2004, meeting of the University Faculty Senate was adjourned at
The next meeting of the University Faculty Senate will be on April 27, 2004.
Committees and Rules--Revision of Faculty Senate Constitution, Bylaws, and Standing Rules, Constitution, Article II, Section 4, Faculty Senator Representation Ratio
Curricular Affairs and Undergraduate Education--Proposal for Revising the
Intercultural/International Competence Requirement
Intercollegiate Athletics--Revision of Senate Policy 67-00, Athletic Competition,
Section 2, Eligibility of Athletes
Faculty Affairs--Promotion and Tenure Summary 2002-2003
Faculty Affairs and Faculty Benefits--Paid Parental Leave for Faculty
Faculty Benefits--Faculty Salaries, Academic Year 2003-2004
Intercollegiate Athletics--Integration of Intercollegiate Athletics within the University Community
Intra-University Relations--Report on Salary Equity, Academic Year 2003-2004
Intra-University Relations--Trends and Patterns in the Use of Full and Part-Time Fixed-Term Faculty
Senate Council--Summary of Spring 2004 Officers’ University Park Visits
University Planning--Status of Construction at Locations Other Than University Park
Report of Senate Elections
16, 2004 SENATE MEETING Achterberg,
Cheryl Atchley, Anthony Bridges, K. Robert a Semali, Ladislaus Spanier, Graham Curtis, Wayne Heinsohn, Robert Hellmann, John Jago, Deidre Mcdonel, James Pytel, Jean Scaroni, Alan Schwartz, Erica
Althouse, P. Richard
Total Ex Officio:
MARCH 16, 2004 SENATE MEETING
Cheryl Atchley, Anthony Bridges, K. Robert a
Bridges, K. Robert