THE PENNSYLVANIA STATE UNIVERSITY
T H E S E N A T E R E C O R D
Volume 32-----SEPTEMBER 15, 1998-----Number 1
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 1998-99.
The publication is issued by the Senate Office, Birch Cottage, University Park, PA 16802 (Telephone 814-863-0221). The Record is distributed to all Libraries across the Penn State system. 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 which have appeared in the Agenda of 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 discussion are abbreviated in most instances. A complete transcript and tape of the meeting is on file.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
I. Final Agenda for September 15, 1998
A. Summary of Agenda Actions
B. Minutes and Summaries of Remarks
II. Enumeration of Documents
A. Documents Distributed Prior to September 15, 1998
III. Tentative Agenda for October 27, 1998
FINAL AGENDA FOR SEPTEMBER 15, 1998A. MINUTES OF THE PRECEDING MEETING -
Minutes of the April 28, 1998, Meeting in The Senate Record 31:7
B. COMMUNICATIONS TO THE SENATE - Senate Curriculum Report
(Blue Sheets) of September 1, 1998
C. REPORT OF SENATE COUNCIL - Meetings of July 15 and
September 1, 1998
D. ANNOUNCEMENTS BY THE CHAIR -
E. COMMENTS BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNIVERSITY -
F. FORENSIC BUSINESS - G. UNFINISHED LEGISLATIVE BUSINESS - H. LEGISLATIVE REPORTS - I. ADVISORY/CONSULTATIVE REPORTS -
Policy HR-36 - Educational Privileges for Regular Employees and
Other Members of the University Staff
G. UNFINISHED LEGISLATIVE BUSINESS -
H. LEGISLATIVE REPORTS -
I. ADVISORY/CONSULTATIVE REPORTS -
J. INFORMATIONAL REPORTS -
Admissions, Records, Scheduling and Student Aid
Awards and Scholarships
Summary of Petitions for Waiver of the Ten Credit Limit for Nondegree Conditional Students (Senate Policy 14-00)
General Education Implementation Committee
Implementation of the General Education Legislation
Joint Committee on the Future of Benefits
Report of the Task Force on the Future of Benefits
K. NEW LEGISLATIVE BUSINESS -
L. COMMENTS AND RECOMMENDATIONS FOR THE
GOOD OF THE UNIVERSITY -
M. ADJOURNMENT -
SUMMARY OF AGENDA ACTIONS
The Senate passed one Advisory/Consultative Report:
Senate Council – "Policy HR-36 – Educational Privileges for Regular Employees and Other Members of the University Staff." This report came to the Senate on the advice of the Graduate Council. Previously, no academic employee above the rank of Instructor or Research Assistant could receive an advanced degree from the University. The advice of the Senate was to open this restriction by allowing for pursuit of an advanced degree as long as the faculty is taking the degree in a field that he/she is not a departmental member of. (See Record, pages(s) 13 and Agenda Appendix "C.")
The Senate received four Informational Reports:
Admissions, Record, Scheduling and Student Aid – "Awards and Scholarships." The report compared the total amounts and numbers of scholarships awarded by the Senate for the years 1997-98 to 1998-99. (See Record, pages(s) 14 and Agenda Appendix "D.")
Admissions, Records, Scheduling and Student Aid - "Summary of Petitions for Waiver of the Ten Credit Limit for Nondegree Conditional Students (Senate Policy 14-00)." The report compares the submitted, granted and denied petitions for exceptions of the ten-credit limit for the years 1996-97 and 1997-98. (See Record, pages(s) 14 and Agenda Appendix "E.")
General Education Implementation Committee - "Implementation of General Education Legislation." This report dealt with the implementation of several aspects of the Special Committee on General Education Legislative report of December 1997. These aspects are the Number of General Education Credits, the Knowledge Domains Courses, and the First-Year Seminars. (See Record, pages(s) 14-23 and Agenda Appendix "F.")
Joint Committee on the Future of Benefits – "Report of the Task Force on the Future of Benefits." This report made recommendations that are meant to affect many aspects of the present benefits package of the employees of the University. Examples include Chiropractic Care, Mental Health Coverage, Dental Care and Vision Care. (See Record, page(s) 23-35 and Agenda Appendix "G.")
The University Faculty Senate met on Tuesday, September 15, 1998, at 1:30 p.m. in Room 112 Kern Building with Leonard J. Berkowitz, Chair, presiding. One hundred and seventy-nine Senators signed the roster.
Chair Berkowitz: It is time to begin. Welcome back and welcome to the first Senate meeting of the new academic year.
MINUTES OF THE PRECEDING MEETING
Moving to the minutes of the preceding meeting. The Senate Record, providing a full transcription of the proceedings, of the April 28, 1998 meeting, was sent to all University Libraries and is posted on the Faculty Senate Web page. Are there any corrections or additions to this document? All those in favor of accepting the minutes, please signify by saying, "aye."
Chair Berkowitz: Opposed? The minutes are accepted. Thank you.
COMMUNICATIONS TO THE SENATE
You have received the Senate Curriculum Report (Blue Sheets) for September 1, 1998 in the mail.
REPORT OF SENATE COUNCIL
Also, you should have received the Report of the Senate Council, for both the meetings of July 15 and September 1. This is an attachment in The Senate Agenda for today’s meeting.
ANNOUNCEMENTS BY THE CHAIR
Chair Berkowitz: We'll move on to announcements by the chair, because many of the remarks I would otherwise make here are made in the Senate Council minutes, and I don't want to repeat them all. But I will call your attention to just a couple of them. I call particular attention to the memos we received from the President indicating acceptance and implementation of four Senate reports from last year including the one involving student membership in the Senate: the position of a University Ombudsman. By the way, if you did not notice from the July 15 Council minutes, David Gold was selected as University Ombudsman by Senate Council, and also approved and put into implementation was the articulation agreement policy.
The Faculty Advisory Committee to the President met on September 1, 1998, and discussed the following topics: the sexual harassment policy of the university; the situation with western campuses, which has since improved dramatically; enrollment management for locations other than University Park; the budget proposal that is going from the university to the governor; and the higher education subcommittee that is holding hearings concerning the costs of higher education (the reason that was brought up was that I was asked to represent the faculty of Penn State in appearing before the subcommittee on higher education); HR-23; updates on dean searches; Penn State graduation program provisions; and the faculty research report.
This is the time for any additional comments I have, and I have a few. In preparing for my year as chair, I decided to do some research about the University Senate. You may not have known this, but the Senate at one time had its own athletic teams. In fact our crew team was so good that they decided to challenge other universities. The most famous of these races was against Cambridge University’s crew team. The race was 2000 yards--and we lost by 1800 yards. The Senate decided to send the Executive Secretary (whoever that might be) to observe the training and rowing methods of Cambridge to see why they had beaten us so badly. After several months of spying on them, he came back and reported that he had found out their secret: "They have eight guys rowing and only one guy shouting!"
As one who has done more than his fair share of shouting over the years, I am not sure it is altogether a bad thing. As veteran Senators may recall, one of the last items on the agenda each April is remarks by the incoming chair. However, April meetings tend to be extremely busy and long, so most incoming chairs do not make those remarks at that time, thereby sparing us from April being an even more cruel month than usual. I followed that custom at our last meeting last spring and postponed my remarks at that time.
I then decided to look to the last couple of chairs for guidance about appropriate remarks for the beginning of the Senate year. Lou had a unique approach. He told me that there is no time for remarks in April, and that by September most Senators will have forgotten that you did not make your remarks in April, so you get away with not making any at all. What are the chances I will follow Lou’s example? As an answer to that question, let me tell you a story. This one is a true story. At the Trustees meeting in Erie in July, Graham Spanier announced at lunch that it was John Brighton’s birthday. Everyone sang "Happy Birthday" to John and then President Spanier asked the Provost if he wanted to make a speech. Of course, John declined. Well, it happened to be my birthday, too, and by dinner time someone had told the president. So at dinner President Spanier made that announcement and everyone sang to me. After dinner, I thanked him for having everyone sing and pointed out that he had asked the Provost whether he wanted to make a speech but he hadn’t asked me. President Spanier replied, "I knew John wouldn’t make one!"
So I guess that’s your answer. But I will try to be brief. In addition to looking up what Lou had to say, I also looked up Scott Kretchmar’s remarks. Among the important things Scott had to say, he highlighted three items that we faced as a Senate and as a university. I thought it might be instructive if we saw what we had accomplished regarding those three initiatives. The first issue was the report on General Education. The second issue was the Committee on Faculty Teaching Development and Evaluation. The third issue was the reorganization of the Commonwealth Educational System. Now where are we with those issues? With regard to general education, today we receive and discuss the report from the implementation committee on the new general education program, so we are still very much engaged with that issue. Regarding the second, you may recall that we passed the report from the Engelder committee at the end of last year. But much of that report requires further work on the part of the Senate and the rest of the university. So we are actively involved in bringing that agenda to fruition. And many faculty and administrators around the university can attest to the fact that implementing the reorganization of the CES is an ongoing project. Thus, it appears that all I need to do is update Scott’s remarks and place them on our agenda for the year.
One might infer from all this that the Senate and the university move exceedingly slowly. But in fact that is not the case. What it really means is that we are engaging the fundamental issues and processes of our university and of higher education. Determining the best general education program for our undergraduates is not something that is well done in a few weeks or a few months. In fact we have decided to change in basic ways the manner in which we deliver these courses to students. That means that the changes in general education will not be accomplished when we finish with the implementation report today. They will just be beginning. The real changes will occur in the classroom as we develop these courses over the next several years. The Engelder report calls for a number of concrete changes all aimed at making teaching and learning even more central to the university than it has been. I have asked the Faculty Affairs Committee to study the report’s recommendations as well as the 1994 report from the Commission on Undergraduate Education titled "Improving the Climate for Teaching and Learning" and to bring forward concrete recommendations so we can make the visions contained in those reports a reality for the university and our students. And as I've already pointed out, the reorganization of the CES is a work in progress and will remain so for years to come. In fact, only last week we received state approval to offer baccalaureate programs at the remaining campuses that had been left out of the original approved plans.
No, it is not the issues that I see as critical to this new Senate year. The issues will arise on their own and will often be the central ones we grapple with on a regular basis. The points I want to make address two areas: the viability of shared governance, and our attitudes toward each other as we work together within the framework of shared governance. Many of you are probably aware that the very concept of shared governance is under attack from many quarters. State governments attack our governance structure as being unresponsive and too slow to react to society’s needs. Corporate America has voiced similar concerns and has no understanding of our nonhierarchical structure. The National Association of Governing Boards recently came out with its own statement on governance that studiously avoids the very phrase "shared governance." Peg Miller, the president of the American Association of Higher Education recently wrote in the Chronicle for Higher Education about the need for fundamental changes in the way governance works at universities. Even our faculty colleagues often complain that faculty senates are weak or powerless in the face of administrative pressure.
We are here today because we think all those people are wrong. Penn State and its Faculty Senate provide an example of how shared governance can work. We don’t avoid the hard issues--in the past year and over the next we have taken up and will take up the issues of general education, the place of teaching in the university, post-tenure review, faculty salaries, and the very structure of the university. Nor are we especially slow to act. Last May we received a report recommending the creation of a new School for Information Sciences and Technology. Without bypassing any of our regular committees or processes we reviewed the report and forwarded our recommendation to the president by the middle of July. Last Friday the Board of Trustees gave its approval to the new school. (One of the trustees did ask what the difference was between a school and a college. Perhaps we should invite that trustee to attend Senate Council meetings where we ask that question on a regular basis.) And within the workings of this university and the current administration, it cannot be said that our Faculty Senate is powerless. More than one version of post-tenure review came before us last year, and the Senate refused to grant its approval to any of them. As a result I think we will soon get a strengthened annual review process in place of that, that will accomplish everything that anybody who wanted any kind of reasonable post-tenure review could want and yet accommodate all the points made by the Faculty Senators at those meetings.
But those results would not have been possible without something else that must be in short supply in those universities where shared governance does not work: mutual respect among the faculty, students and the administration. Without that mutual respect and understanding, shared governance cannot work. The result will either be gridlock or tyranny. The administration has the power to implement policies over the objections of faculty, but it's the faculty that make the university run, and without their cooperation education and educational quality will suffer. The faculty has the knowledge and insight to determine the educational mission and objectives of the university, but only the administration has the time and the power to turn ideas into active policies. And none of this makes any sense without the active participation of the students for whom all these educational efforts are made.
We are fortunate to have been blessed with administrators and faculty and student leaders over the years who have seen these truths and have worked together with mutual respect. That process is even more necessary as we enter a future with more and more pressure from outside to change the way we operate. We may change, but we must be careful that any change we make is to further our mutually agreed upon goals and is best for the university and its constituents, not because others want us to change. And so I call upon each of you to continue to work optimistically in an era of pessimism and cynicism, to seek common ground and purpose when it's easier to see differences, and to remember through all the frustration how lucky we are to be where we are, doing what we love to do.
We next move to comments by the President of the university. President Spanier is here and does have comments.
COMMENTS BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNIVERSITY
Graham B. Spanier, President: Thank you. I'd like to begin by asking all of you to join me in giving Len a hand for those comments.
President Spanier: I think they were just being polite at first sort of like in church. You're not sure whether you're supposed to clap or not.
Chair Berkowitz: I noticed the rush to sit in the back.
President Spanier: I do want to say that if the Faculty Senate should be interested in fielding a football team, I would be pleased to facilitate a game with Joe Paterno's group.
Chair Berkowitz: So he's that hard up for an easy schedule.
President Spanier: Well I want to wish all of you a great new year at the university. There are so many positive things happening all around Penn State these days and I just begin the year myself with a very positive spirit about where we've been and where we're going and what's possible this year. I want to reiterate something that Len talked about, and that is the importance of shared governance. I know myself, from having spent lots of time over a couple of decades in Faculty Senate meetings and in other kinds of governance meetings, that sometimes you wonder about the importance of coming and whether the meeting will be very interesting and what's on the agenda and so on. There is going to be a boring meeting now and then, but it's important to look at the big picture and understand how important shared governance is to this or any other university. I think it's particularly important at Penn State because we do have a very good history of some good things happening because of the good relationships between the faculty and the administration. What we do in our Faculty Senate at Penn State is really as impressive as I've seen at any university in America. Actually having a full-time staff, a very large number of well-functioning faculty committees, proposals, projects that have come out of the Senate that have been implemented and have made a very clear difference in the life of the university--these are very important things, and I am grateful as president to have a Senate that functions like it does. I also want to point out how helpful it has been to me, over the last three years, having the benefit of the Faculty Advisory Committee, which is a group of seven Senate leaders who meet with the provost and me on a regular basis, where we review your agenda and our agenda and issues that are percolating, and it gives me an opportunity for confidential feedback and early warning on issues that are emerging and is very, very helpful for me. In fact, it wouldn't have been possible for us to be where we are today, with our progress on a new School of Information Sciences and Technology, if the Faculty Advisory Committee and the relevant Senate committees had not agreed to put themselves on an accelerated schedule for moving this along. I can tell you, that is going to be very important in positioning Penn State very well in this area in the years ahead. It will still be a very busy year this year, and a number of Senate committees--particularly those involved in curriculum--will continue to need to be on a very accelerated schedule so we can move the planning for the School along and actually admit our first freshmen to the program next fall. There are probably eight or nine different implementation teams of faculty from all corners of the university that have already been appointed or are being appointed to committees that will help us move this along. So we will need the Senate's help in that particular endeavor.
How many of you were at, or electronically connected in some way to, my State of the University Address? Okay that's a very good showing and brave for those of you who didn't raise your hand to admit it. I do appreciate that many of you were there and I know that it was available on most--perhaps all--of our campuses around the state, and I don't want to repeat for you here this afternoon anything that was in that address. If you did miss it, I think it's available through the web site and you can pick it up that way. I just want to highlight a couple of things that came out of the State of the University Address and the Board of Trustees meeting from this past week. One important thing is that we did receive approval to go ahead and submit our budget proposal--to the governor, the secretary of education, and the legislature for this coming year--which in many ways looks like your typical Penn State budget, but also includes some things that are different. We are going out from the beginning this year and trying to be as straight-forward as we can about the fact that tuition will have to increase. We're putting a very high priority on keeping the quality of this institution up, and we're going to be mindful of the costs to our students, but we have to continue making progress in the areas where we have been making them. We have to provide for new and improved facilities across the university. We need to keep up with the escalating costs of employee benefits. We want to continue to have a modest faculty salary increase. To do all these things costs real dollars, and legislative appropriation has not been keeping up with the needs that we have, so we have to deal with that through tuition. I also want to say that we are going to be making a very aggressive push for funding for certain new initiatives. Those include special funding above and beyond the across-the-board increase we're asking in our budget and special funding for the new School of Information Sciences and Technology, which will be a state-wide deployment across many of our campuses simultaneously as soon as it is up and running. We're also asking for special funding for work-force development. This includes a broad range of initiatives relating to outreach, research, technology transfer, cooperative relationships with the Pennsylvania College of Technology, and deployment of their and other programs on our campuses throughout the state at the associate degree level and beyond. We also are requesting funds for agricultural research and cooperative extension. Those are two separate line-items in the university budget. They are items which received no funding increases for a six-year period beginning in 1990. We began a plan to bring those back up to an appropriate level of funding. The state helped us one year make up some of that ground, but we really want to make up the rest of the ground now. At the same time, there are significant new needs that have emerged across the state in agriculture and in cooperative extension, and we want to continue to make progress in those areas and we need the funds to do it.
On another topic I want to say how pleased I am that we finally reached some agreement--and we hope some closure--in our plan to reorganize our commonwealth education system. The last remaining part of that was approval to move ahead with our plan for some additional four-year degrees at our Beaver, McKeesport and New Kensington campuses. That has all been done now. We're very excited about the possibilities of moving ahead there as well as at our other campuses, which are in the midst of a transition to a broader array of offerings. As I've spoken in many forums, and some of you have heard me talk about it already, it will be important for us to move to a higher level of vigilance in our overall enrollment and planning at the university. As we have more freshman coming into some of our campuses with the idea that they will be staying there in their junior and senior years, the flow of students between campuses--between campuses to University Park, or between any other campus to another campus--is going to be very important, so that we make sure that we maintain and do not exceed our enrollment targets at the University Park campus. Where we really are bursting at the seams right now, and where we have reserved all of the remaining part of our growth here, is for students who will come into the new Information Sciences and Technology degree program. So we can't accept a huge flow of new students, and that's one reason why, to meet the needs of the commonwealth, we're so strongly encouraging the deployment of more upper-division programs at our campuses, which we know place-bound and other students will be very interested in. We've seen great improvement in the facilities, the quality of the faculty, and the programmatic offerings at our campus, and I'm very confident that we're going to see great success in our overall plans there to make those campuses bigger and better than they are. Those are a few of the highlights that I wanted to point out, and now I'd like to take the rest of my time to see what questions you have.
Dwight Davis, College of Medicine: As I'm sure you are well aware, the country's been kind of besieged with the problem of underage drinking. Last week the New York Times published a study that somewhere between half or 40 percent of students going through their freshman year had not only imbibed alcohol but had done so for the sole purpose of getting drunk. We all are aware of the situation we had here earlier this year. Can you just bring us up to date--I know you've been very busy at working with the student leadership and with the campus here at addressing the problems--can you give us a little insight as to where we are, or where you see this issue for Penn State?
President Spanier: Well it's a very important issue. It's obviously on a lot of people's minds. In the last two months I've received maybe six to eight hundred letters and electronic mail messages on the topic. A lot of those are coming from alumni, in some cases people not connected to the university. I'm hearing from a lot of parents of current and perspective Penn State students who are worried about the issue. I've also heard from some former students who got heavily pulled into the culture of alcohol when they were at the university; now they're older and they see things a little differently. Most of what I'm receiving is a lot of support for the collective efforts at the university to deal with this issue. There are also some people who don't think it's an issue, or it shouldn't be, and we have to respond to them as well. The issue is just partly the excessive consumption of alcohol. I want to be very clear that it's important not to focus quite so narrowly on drinking. There's really probably a more important larger issue, and that's the issue of social responsibility, civility, citizenship--there are different ways of describing it. I think it's very important for the faculty and the administration of this university and student leaders to make sure that we're talking about issues of social responsibility at the university, and how it ties in to our behaviors and how we relate to others. More than 90 percent of the crime in State College and on campus is alcohol-related. Most sexual assaults have an alcohol component. The riot was certainly one visible indicator of it, but it's not just the alcohol. I think the alcohol brings out some behaviors that must be there already that relate to notions of civility and social responsibility. I think that's a big challenge for any university in America today, and I think that's an area where the faculty do have a role. Now it's going to vary depending upon what you teach, but I would say that "as appropriate" in your courses, I hope that all of you think about ways in which you may be able to be helpful in addressing some of these issues and creating a forum where students can think through it and the consequences of their behavior. It's obviously on the minds of a lot of students as well, because they have apparently been experiencing increased enforcement in the community outside of the Penn State borders, which we're not involved with, but they obviously see it tied into concerns that we have in the community. So they're feeling the increased pressures of enforcement, and I also see an interesting phenomenon, which is a growing polarization among our students themselves, and I think that's going to be something that we'll have to manage in the future. I'm receiving a tremendous amount of mail from students who are saying, "thank goodness the university is talking about these issues". I'm getting mail now from students who want to change their roommates because the roommate is coming home drunk every night. I've had two cases where roommates wanted to be changed because their drunk roommates came home and threw up on both beds--first their own bed, but then after they created the mess there they went and threw up on the other bed, and you know, for some people, that's the last straw. Then their parents start writing, "You've got to do something about this." Students themselves are very concerned about this issue because they see it around them, and a lot of our students just don't want to be pulled into that. We've had to open up new floors of our Life House Program--that's a program in the residence halls where students can right from the beginning sign up to be in a substance free living environment--and the demand for that is actually increasing. So while in the news we hear about the other side of it, we have quite a number of students that are as concerned about this issue as some of us are. Now on the other hand we do have some students who fundamentally believe that drinking is an important part of their college experience, and any efforts to bring that into some greater semblance of control is bothersome to them, and so you see a little bit of militancy on that side. I get email from students demanding that I change the drinking age in the United States or Pennsylvania, and I'm writing them back saying, "That's not within my purview. Thank you for thinking I have that much influence but I don't," and so they're saying until I change the drinking age that's going to be an issue. I think this will continue to be a focus of discussion through the year and that's probably a good thing.
Chair Berkowitz: I'd like to remind Senators to please stand and identify yourself and the unit you represent before addressing the Senate.
Jean Landa Pytel, College of Engineering: You mentioned that we have a population problem here at University Park in which we're bursting at the seams and that the goal is to also increase the applications of those students that are location-bound. There's a little bit of a mixed message here, in that also these students generally are encouraged or told that they can change majors as their goals and aspirations and plans change. I wondered if you could perhaps offer some guidelines of how we'll be able to handle those students who change from selecting a non-University Park major and then ask to, in their upper-division years move to University Park campus.
President Spanier: Good question, and it's important to clarify that. We are absolutely going to maintain the principle at Penn State that a student can move from any one campus to another at the appropriate time. We are not going to restrict any student's ability, any student's right, to move to University Park or to Erie or Harrisburg or wherever else they might want to go. We need to be very clear about that, because some people out there have recommended that we start putting special controls on and not allowing that kind of movement. I think some of the fundamental principles around which Penn State is structured and around which our system here is developed for decades would fall apart if we changed that principle, so we are not going to change that principle. Here's the problem: if we maintain that principle--and we will--and some campus goes off and admits hundreds of more students than they are able (voluntarily on the part of the students) to keep on that campus in upper-division programs, then we could have the prospect of 100, or 500, or 1,000 additional students showing up at the University Park campus like that, if we didn't engage in some good enrollment planning. Now if we had to next year admit 4,000 freshmen to the University Park campus instead of 5,000 like we did this year (I'm using very round numbers), that would be a problem. That would be 1,000 people out there who normally would have considered themselves admissible to the University Park campus and who really wanted to come here and didn't perhaps want to go to another campus, and they'd be out and we'd catch a lot of flack for that--rightly so, because for years and years we've been in a certain zone and people can kind of plan academically for their admission here. We have to enroll management so that this voluntary ability to move from one campus to another is preserved, but we do not see such a proliferation of new students at a particular campus that might say in the beginning that they want to stay at that campus but really don't and spoil it for everybody. I'm oversimplifying it. This is something that John Romano and the deans and the provost and I and campus executive officers--we've been talking about for hours and hours over the last few months. So we think we can make it work. It just requires us to move to a higher level of planning. The larger number of upper-division programs at the campuses simply become a more influential variable than they've been in the past in managing overall enrollment flows, and we kind of need to work there carefully. The main thing is for no one campus to go off and just break through the enrollment targets and all of the sudden have a couple hundred students show up that nobody was expecting. We have to be very careful about that.
Jacob De Rooy, Penn State Harrisburg: Sir, I'm concerned about public perception regarding faculty salaries. In the Harrisburg Patriot News this weekend there was a report of a five percent increase in tuition that was approved by the Board of Trustees. In the first paragraph of that story it stated, "that most of this increase was due to the need to raise faculty salaries." I have a feeling that that may be a misperception simply because the five percent is a little larger than we usually have in tuition increases. But I don't seem to have some unusually large increase in salary. You've described it as modest; I'd prefer you to this one time tell us that this is extravagant. But seriously, I feel that the public should know that we are spending money on new schools, new facilities, expansion of faculty and expansion of resources. I think that would give the public a better perception of the increase and the value of the resources that the university offers. I don't think necessarily the public equates higher salaries in the same vain as contributing to the performance of the university.
President Spanier: Good point. First of all, I can assure all of you there will be no extravagant faculty salary increase. In fact the request to the legislature and the proposed tuition increase are both higher than the amount of the salary pool that we put in that budget, which was three percent. So no one could accuse us of feathering the nest of the faculty at the expense of the students. There are several reasons why we need to make requests at the level that we are. It's not salaries. Now, employee benefits we have projected in there at an eight percent increase, so that's somewhat related. But that's a market-place phenomenon, what's happening in the health care industry, dental benefits, vision benefits and expectation for increased monies that will have to go into social security. Most of our new faculty coming in are choosing to be in the TIAA-CREF program rather than the State Employee Retirement System program, and the current market forces operating on those two programs are a little different, so we're about eight percent there. You're correct that a lot of the new money is not going in so much to salaries of existing faculty as it is in hiring new faculty, trying to bring down class sizes and student/faculty ratios, new positions for some of the new initiatives. I think you know that I didn't write that story. I did see it, and I don't know even if that reporter was at the meeting or not. I'm not sure. It extracted some things but it didn't really give the whole report. In all fairness, I mean, it's an hour-long budget message, and they took about 60 seconds of it to feature, and I thought that one didn't have a very good balance. We try to talk about these things and we provide very good briefing material for the media who are there, and the ones who aren't there we send it out to them on the wires and give them all the points. But we can't control how they pull it out, and even the reporters, I think, in the typical case can't control how the headline writers then sometimes attach headlines to it which are not quite in line with the story itself sometimes. But thanks for pointing that out. I do agree with you.
Rajen Mookerjee, Beaver Campus: Over the course of the past year we've heard you mention in here that you believe that this faculty, regardless of locations, are one unit. Yet many of us get the sense more and more that department heads and deans at University Park want to have less and less to do with us and I'm just wondering why there seems to be some disconnection. You're the president of the university. You're saying one thing, and deans and department heads seem to be doing the opposite. Now are you keeping track of this or...?
President Spanier: Oh yes, I have a list. Well I'm glad you raised that because it's the subject I speak about the most when I meet with department heads. We just last week had our meeting of all the new department heads at the university. At every one of those meetings this is agenda item number one. Now I have learned, and I'm just shocked to learn, that not all department heads listen to me. So I don't dispute the premise of your statement. It's not working the way it should in some departments. I also know that it is working well in some other departments, and, of course, among department heads there's a turnover every year. There are some changes. They're on a whole continuum of commitment to the concept that this is one university, geographically dispersed. We have one Board of Trustees, one president, one Faculty Senate, one curriculum, one set of senate committees, and we have one faculty. That is my opinion. Everybody here is a faculty member at Penn State. Now we all have assignments and different colleges and different work loads and different allegiances. That's fine. That's important as well. But I think it is extremely important that at the disciplinary level we see a greater degree of coherence at Penn State, and that has been my message. It's not who's writing your paycheck or who's voting on your tenure or who's recommending you for something. It really has to do with the fact that we have well over 4,000 faculty at this university. You can take almost any discipline from English to Sociology to Engineering, and if you look at it university-wide, we have critical masses of very talented people, and it's in our best interest if they communicate with each other. If they get notices of seminars and lectures that are occurring, if there are newsletters, if they show some appreciation for everyone's accomplishments. In most cases, but not all, the most logical person to provide that leadership is the disciplinary head at University Park: the head of the department of English, the head of the department of Philosophy, the head of the department of Physics. These people need to have a relationship with the division heads in the new Commonwealth College and with the chief academic officers on each of the campuses. I believe we will see more of this. I believe it will evolve, but it will need constant reminders, and I am reminding them, I assure you, at every opportunity. I think it is not inappropriate for those of you who are concerned about this from the positions that you sit in to provide the same reminders. I'm sorry, what is your discipline?
Rajen Mookerjee: Economics.
President Spanier: Every once in awhile you should find an opportunity to email the head of economics at University Park campus and find a way to remind him or her that you're still out there, what's going on, I hear you're having a seminar on such and such, can I come up, or you're looking for somebody to present a paper at this--I could do that. I think it's a two-way street, and I'm going to continue to emphasize that very, very strongly.
Chair Berkowitz: Excuse me one minute. We're going to try to limit this to being the last question so we can move on with the agenda, if you don't mind.
President Spanier: Okay, that's fine. You get the last word.
Morad Askari, Student Senator, Eberly College of Science: Every year, Dr. Spanier, a large number of students spend time in temporary housing. They spend their first semester there; I'm sure you're well aware of that. I just wondered--one of my friends asked me--what's being done about this. Besides the fact that this doesn't give many students a chance to get a true on-campus experience, it's also a discouragement for people off campus who'd like to move onto campus. If you could please let me know what's being done about this?
President Spanier: Well it's an issue, but let me say first of all that temporary supplemental housing is not all bad. For those who are in it, they often have the biggest, best rooms, and it's an opportunity to meet and have a couple of roommates--or four or five--instead of one, and it's a good social experience. We could move most people out of temporary housing very quickly, but one of the things that's happened now is there's a certain bonding that takes place there, and while we could move them out after a month they want to stay. We changed our philosophy on that since I've been here. I've said to the housing folks, "Look, if it's the first day or two, that's one thing. But once you're into the semester and a room frees up somewhere and you could move them; if they really want to stay and they've got something going, let them stay until the end of the semester. It's a more humane thing to do." Let me say first of all it's not all bad, but here's the problem: our enrollments are bursting at the university, and we feel that the highest priority should be finding housing for as many students as possible. Managing that is difficult. You never know until they're actually here whether a student is going to show up. So some of the numbers you've seen about all the students in temporary housing, that thins out very quickly within a day or two. You find out that it's not nearly... Last year it was a 1,000 people. This year it was maybe 600 and some, but within a couple of days it was down to 300 and some. So we're managing it better, and I think that's very positive and we'll continue to try and move in that direction. The other thing is, you have to kind of get in one philosophy or another about this. If we guaranteed everybody a room and nobody temporary housing, then once our assignments were filled up we wouldn't let anybody else move in. But there is a certain no-show rate. So temporary housing is a little bit like over booking on an airplane, except in an airline it's about profits. Here it's about holding the cost of room and board down. If we didn't schedule ourselves, let's say at a 102 percent--if we only scheduled it at 100 and ended up at 98 instead of the 102 moving to 100--that extra two percent of the board cost would have to be spread out over the other 98, and their cost would go up. So this is a way of us holding our cost down as well, and the consequence is that what our students get here for room and board--the food, the services and so on--is a very good deal compared to most other peer institutions. These are just some of the tradeoffs that we're involved in right now. We are going to be building some new residence halls. Now the new residence halls that we're building will be more on an apartment-like theme. They will go more likely to graduate, married, upper-classmen and so on, but that will create some existing spaces that are taken by older folks or graduate students and open them up for undergraduates as well. So we think that with our new housing plans everyone will benefit. So I hope this is going to get better but I don't deny that it's an issue and there are different judgements to be made about it. Thank you for your good questions, I'm going to grab a seat in the back and stay and turn the meeting back to you.
Chair Berkowitz: Thank you very much. I don't know how far we want to push that airline analogy. We're not going to offer free tickets, right? Being the first Senate meeting of the year, I want to remind you once again as we go through our reports to stand and identify yourself and your voting unit. While our meetings are open, only three groups of people have the privilege of the floor. First, of course, Senators; second, members of a committee whose report is under consideration; and third, other members of the university community who have requested and been granted the privilege of the floor. Now we move on to our reports and business.
UNFINISHED LEGISLATIVE BUSINESS
Proposed Change to HR-36--Educational Privileges for Regular Employees and Other Members of the University Staff
Murry R. Nelson, Chair-Elect: The reason I'm here is because since it comes from Council, it has to be represented by a committee. The committee is Council, Len is ostensibly the chair of the committee, so I'm acting as the chair in his stead. The report is pretty clear. It was generated initially by a request from Graduate Council, and Senate Council has acted in putting forth that request. I think the rationale and the recommendation are clear. If you do have questions, we'd be glad to entertain them.
Chair Berkowitz: Are there any questions or comments about the report? If there are none, are we ready to vote? All those in favor signify by saying, "aye."
Chair Berkowitz: All opposed, same sign.
Awards and Scholarships
Frank J. Kristine, Chair, Senate Committee on Admissions, Records, Scheduling and Student Aid
Frank J. Kristine, Mont Alto Campus: The first report is our annual report on awards and scholarships. These are the awards and scholarships that don't have any academic specification. So they're open to any student in the university regardless of major, and the University Faculty Senate makes these awards. A couple little tidbits that I want to add to the report based on some questions that I've received over the last few weeks: first to mention that of the 239 awards that were given, 61 percent of them went to University Park; that of the 239 awards given, the range of grade point averages was 3.62 to 4.0 with an average grade point average of 3.96. I'd be happy to answer any questions that you might have about awards and scholarships.
Chair Berkowitz: Are there any questions for Frank? We move on to the next report.
Summary of Petitions for Waiver of the Ten Credit Limit for Nondegree Conditional Students (Senate Policy 14-00)
Frank J. Kristine, Chair, Senate Committee on Admissions, Records, Scheduling and Student Aid
Frank J. Kristine: The second report is another one of our traditional reports--Petitions for Waiver of the Ten Credit Limit for Nondegree Conditional Students. Nothing our committee wants to add to this report. I'd be happy to take questions.
Chair Berkowitz: Are there any questions or comments regarding this report? We are on a roll. The next informational report comes from the special committee--The General Education Implementation Committee--and John Bagby and John Moore are here to present that report. Of course members of the General Education Implementation Committee have the privilege of the floor for discussion of this report.
GENERAL EDUCATION IMPLEMENTATION COMMITTEE
Implementation of General Education Legislation
John W. Bagby, Chair, General Education Implementation Committee
John W. Moore, Vice-Chair, General Education Implementation Committee
John W. Bagby, Smeal College of Business Administration: Thank you, Len, and welcome. I am appreciative that John Moore, the Vice-Chair of the General Education Implementation Committee, has joined me here. That's GEIC, or "geek" for short. We are here to present the GEIC informational report and to listen to your concerns. This informational report culminates nearly nine months of hard work by the GEIC, including considerable consultation with affected parties throughout the university community. As chair I firmly believe GEIC has been faithful to the special committee legislation in our efforts to implement active learning throughout Penn State's general education program and to make the special legislation that this Senate passed last December become achievable. Nevertheless we GEIC's are only faculty trying to assist other faculty in achieving the goals of this legislation for the benefit of our students' learning and for the distinction of Penn State. Many of the GEIC members, as well as members of the original special committee, are here with us today, and I sure hope that they will join me in answering your questions. Rather than taking us through line by line in this informational report, I would like to offer you an outlook of what I believe the Penn State community must do to achieve Gen Ed implementation. My first major point concerns the investment needed for successful Gen Ed revision. Gen Ed reform is not costless. Effective change requires inaugural and then sustaining conduct that may divert resources from other deserving uses. From my vantage point here in this process, I've concluded that the Gen Ed legislation passed by this Senate last December, requires three fairly discrete types of investment by all those in nearly every quarter of this university community. The first is an initial investment that's needed by most academic units to conduct their own self-study and course redesign. New instructional skills may need to be acquired. Benchmarking in instructional techniques is another very useful technique. Penn State instructional assistance resources are considerable, and they're becoming available from such entities as the Schreyer Institute and CELT not to mention the many resources that we all have in looking to other colleagues here on this campus and in our disciplines at other universities. Investment also should include disciplinary review of Gen Ed offerings and a general assessment of the revisions that are needed, so that you can construct your college plan due in to GEIC on November 2 of this year. Number two, there are on-going investments and recurring costs that will be needed to provide for additional faculty, staff, and new facilities and equipment resources to deliver these courses in the new enhanced Gen Ed mode. Many students are going to have to work harder, and hopefully Gen Ed will direct them toward working more effectively. Ingenuity can be found in many sectors here--such as finding underutilized class space. The third kind of investment is kind of a hybrid. The Gen Ed revisions envision investment in continuous refinement, in pedagogy and in the demanding on-going efforts that all faculty will need for their own personal development, experiences like those called for in the FTDEC report--the advisory and consultative report--that this Senate finally passed last April 28. As many of you know, considerable additional resources have been committed to fund many of these investments but not all of them. So I'm asking you to please commit to the additional effort that's needed to make this revision a success. The second basic area is that of consultation, an area that's received considerable discussion here of late. The special legislation requires, and GEIC has encouraged, consultation among all academic units here at UP and at non-UP locations. The consultation envisioned by the special legislation pervades our efforts, and over the last eight months we have done considerable consultation, as many of you know. We've been making a considerable effort to be responsive to the concerns of the university community about implementation difficulties. And as you know there have been informational reports to the Senate, workshops, consultation with many individuals, solicitation of comments directly to GEIC@PSU.EDU--and this is one of those solicitations--town meetings with nearly every college and other academic unit that is a major provider of Gen Ed courses, and we have published our draft materials to evoke additional public comment at GEIC's public web site. Indeed, I'm pleased and really quite proud that GEIC has made some significant strides towards electronic democracy. We've established what I believe is the Senate's first web-based deliberative process and communication channel, the GEIC private side, where confidential exchange of views and pre-publication of drafts-in-progress have been made before going to public release. Much like this document, you haven't seen marked up versions of the intercultural and international aspect of our advice. GEIC will continue this dialog and solicit from you any comments you have that will make this implementation easier. Of course, we're not able to satisfy all the requests that we've received. Some matters are simply beyond our power. We can't change the drinking age. We can't change things like the basic elements of Gen Ed legislation. We can't pre-empt matters that are delegated to other committees of this Senate or to the administration. For example, GEIC has no adjudicatory powers, so we can't make rulings about particular aspects of course design or whether a particular consultation process is enough. That doesn't preclude any of the GEICs from speaking out and voicing their own informed interpretations--all of which, I hope, are accompanied by the usual cautionary language that we have limitations on the authority of how we speak. Gen Ed legislation requires, and I think GEIC fully embraces, the need to spark innovation, creativity and experimentation in re-engineering Penn State general education. This philosophy precludes any highly-structured specification for the implementation. In its processes we can't create safe harbors for particular pedagogical or consultation techniques. I believe the only pathway for successful implementation appears to be if the university community earnestly becomes intimately familiar with the special report legislation and then seeks to insert that pedagogy in their offerings, and to do so evenly over the next four years. Which brings up that question of grandfathering. Existing Gen Ed courses retain their Gen Ed certification until they're re-certified. New courses gain Gen Ed certification as they progress through the traditional curricular review process. Although no existing Gen Ed courses will be grandfathered in, after the four year transition, courses that have not been re-certified will lose their Gen Ed certification. However, nothing should prevent reconfiguring existing Gen Ed courses on a schedule much faster than the one that's indicated in each college's plan--such as including at least three of the five active learning elements immediately into your Gen Ed offering--nothing prevents that. To facilitate this process GEIC has worked closely with the Senate Committee on Curricular Affairs and with the Gen Ed subcommittee to provide more structured guidance in the revision to the Guide to Curricular Procedures. This is the document that will help you move your courses through this process. The revision of this document is now well underway and is posted at the Senate web site, which I know we all know is http://www.psu.edu/ufs/guide.html.
Chair Berkowitz: You want to repeat that?
John W. Bagby: Http, which stands for...I'm sorry, just kidding. Freshmen seminars. They prove to be among the most difficult implementation issues. I ask the whole Penn State community to make forthright efforts to implement the spirit of the first-year or Freshman Seminar aspects of the Gen Ed legislation. This is an important opportunity to improve student retention, to permit important initial bonding with faculty, to stimulate freshman transition to the rigors of academic life at a university, and to make them better understand the trappings of college life. The Special Committee on Gen Ed found considerable evidence that these efforts preempt unnecessary aberrant behavior that often impedes student progress in college. On the importance of advising, it's clear to GEIC that implementation of the legislation depends on continuously improving our advising. Indeed advising is a key element in assuring compliance with the Gen Ed legislation and with our implementation. Another key to Gen Ed success is in assessment. Assessment efforts are already well underway. Recommendation nine of the special legislation requires this. I understand the Senate Chair will soon appoint a faculty-oriented Gen Ed assessment group, but there are a profusion of assessment efforts arising from various quarters around this university now and that will likely continue. Our charge was to provide liaison between GEIC and the Senate and with these assessment efforts, and that is already well underway. Is GEIC finished? Well, yes and no. I think the toughest issues are behind us. Nevertheless we still have three deliverables. Things are coming in threes today. The Intercultural and International Competence Requirement recommendation, number seven. That effort is well underway, and a university-wide effort is now getting underway, and we hope to have that to you soon. Number two, refining the appropriate skills area as required by recommendation three is partially underway, with one committee already operating with overlap with recommendation number two. And finally the second language option, recommendation number eight, is nearing completion. Gen Ed implementation is an enormous task and if I knew what it had been like last January when Lou Geschwindner asked me about this, I may have felt differently about it. GEIC has prescribed a process that encourages flexibility and innovation within the bounds of institutional process here. I think, though, it's only going to be successful if the spirit of the Gen Ed legislation is embraced forthrightly, and I think it can only work with the trust and the good faith of everybody involved. With that I ask for your questions.
Chair Berkowitz: The floor is now open for questions or comments.
John M. Lilley, Penn State Erie - The Behrend College: There are colleges and there are colleges, and on page four, number four, I'm assuming on number four that primarily you're talking about University Park colleges--primarily Liberal Arts and Eberly--and that they bear the greatest burden of course certification and that they are the ones that you're really looking for to do this sort of thing. I guess all I'm saying is, it would be very helpful, even though they have a tight deadline of November 2, if you can assure us that they understand the importance of consulting with all the campus colleges who will be delivering these new Gen Ed courses. I know there are some Gen Ed courses out at the campus colleges, and they need to be consulting with the University Park colleges. So I'm assuming the major burden here is those two colleges, correct?
John W. Bagby: Two part question. I'll handle one part of it and try to offload the other part on the consultation end, which may actually answer the responsibility part, a second memo just went out yesterday from GEIC. Our guide to the college deans reminding them that a plan for their methods of consultation was due at the end of August, and we'd like to see that come along soon. I believe that means that interaction between UP and non-UP units that may be offering the same courses needs to be initiated. There are several colleges on our campuses that have developed consultation into an art and may even be models for the rest of us. But it's not clear that everyone has a good plan for that, and I think that partially answers the responsibility question--probably not fully, though.
John M. Lilley: Page six, number five at the top of the page. I'm assuming in contrast, however, that First-Year Seminars are being proposed by all colleges--both University Park colleges and campus colleges. Once again, consultation might be helpful. We can learn something from each other. But that would be the only part of this revision that would veer away from the provision at Penn State that University Park colleges "own" the Gen Ed courses for the first three years. Am I correct in that assumption? That's certainly the road we're going down, and if we're going down the wrong road it would be nice to know.
John W. Bagby: On the property rights question of ownership of courses, it would seem that as four-year programs are built at non-UP locations there will very likely arise many kinds of Gen Ed courses that did not start at UP or may not be owned by UP or even also offered at UP. So I think that's a partial answer to the ownership and responsibility question, which I believe we need to look into more carefully.
John M. Lilley: So what I'm hearing you say is, primarily Liberal Arts and Eberly will have responsibilities for most of the Gen Ed courses, certification, etc. They will consult. But for the First-Year Seminars campus colleges have major responsibility and consultation would be up to the rest of us.
John W. Bagby: I think consultation is a responsibility that falls upon all of our shoulders and...
John M. Lilley: But proposing and owning is what we're getting at...
John W. Bagby: As far as initiation and ownership and ultimate responsibility I'm afraid I'm unwilling to assign that to UP at this time.
John M. Lilley: Page five, under Basic Principles of Implementation, 1. c. I would just urge you not to go down that road. You can't change the range of all of us, and I don't think you can enforce this.
John W. Bagby: Thank you.
Michael E. Broyles, College of Arts and Architecture: Just for the record, I believe our college, Arts and Architecture, although not nearly as large as Liberal Arts or Eberly, certainly is one of the core colleges for providing First-Year Seminars.
John J. Cahir, Provost and Dean of Undergraduate Education: On the question of ownership of First-Year Seminars, there is another player that has to be brought into consideration, and that is the students--especially the students who may change assignments to other locations. We're very anxious, and I think it was the intention of the Senate not to have any additions to the general education program. So it's very important for all the freshman First-Year Seminars to be transportable in so far as possible for the students who are moving to other colleges.
John W. Bagby: Thank you, John. I'd just like to underscore the transportability aspect of all First-Year Seminars.
Linda K. Trevino, Smeal College of Business Administration: I also want to address the 20 students to a class issue. I know we talked about it last year, but I continue to be skeptical about our ability to do that. I'm also concerned about, if you do it, at what expense, was my question. For example, I'm aware of cases where colleagues are teaching writing-across-the-curriculum classes to 50 or 60 students. My understanding was that that was supposed to be 25 students or less and should be if an upper-division requirement in most cases. So, I have a general concern that often we introduce things and we haven't dealt honestly with the tradeoffs. And I'd like to hear the committee speak to this, and if you can assure me that you think people can do this without trading off other important things.
John W. Bagby: Thank you Linda. John Moore I believe would like to speak to this issue.
John W. Moore, College of the Liberal Arts: Well, let me just say that I was a member of the original General Education Committee and I am now a member of the implementation committee. And looking back over the last years of our meetings I can say that nothing has caused more concern than the issue you are raising. And if I can go back to the original General Education Committee meetings, nothing was held to be more important than the First-Year Seminar and its smallness, because it was precisely important for the opportunity to have interaction between a faculty member and a student with the give and take that can take place there. It was seen that here students could see not only the value of a university education right away, but also it was a way of the entire community here in this room indicating to the university and to the world at large the importance we place on general education. So for that reason the idea that we as an academic community are willing to make that investment in students and in freshmen--that we would have a seminar taught for them, exclusively to be taught by somebody with experience at the university, a full-time member of the faculty--was seen to be something important. Now there's absolutely no question that this is going to cause a major adjustment for a lot of colleges which haven't been used to doing this. So it's for that reason that in the First-Year Seminar legislation at the top of page six, item five, we say, "Since the First-Year Seminar is a new concept, colleges and campus locations will have a two-year period of experimentation to discover which approaches work and which do not." I think that we felt at the last meeting of our committee that maybe that two years could even be expanded, because that was probably going to be a difficult thing. It's hard to say. Anyway, the point though is that we understand--not only do we understand that when we were inside the committee room, but we really understood it when we started visiting with different colleges--that this is going to be very difficult. And I think the big umbrella over this whole thing is that the whole general education thing is a four year process, and that we're hoping that we can get the First-Year Seminar done within two years, but we also figure it might take as many as four years. But I think what we have to understand is that when the president of the university and the chair of the Senate established this General Education Committee several years ago, it was seen that we had a lot of work to do with general education. We couldn't rest content with what we had. We had to do better than we were doing, and the committee felt that this First-Year Seminar was going to be the keystone or the cornerstone of the reform. So we're hoping that with the goodwill of the faculty, the sense of our faculty's commitment to students, that over a period of years we can all figure out how to do it. Now it so happens that some colleges have already figured it out, and so we figure this is a do-able issue, but not easy! No one has ever thought this was going to be easy, but I'm convinced it can be done. That's the best I can do. I know it's going to be hard.
Helena Poch, Student Senator, College of Health and Human Development: Page two, number four, on the bottom of the page. You mentioned the nine credits for communications. Are those still intended to be English 15, Speech Comm 100 and English 202, or are you thinking that those nine credits could be something else?
John W. Moore: That's right. The nine credits referred to would be 15, 202, Speech Comm, and then the six credits of quantification.
Helena Poch: So, those three classes specifically? There are no changes to those requirements?
John W. Moore: Right, no new requirements.
Chair Berkowitz: There is no change in that part of general education. And that's what this is saying. But do keep in mind that, as I recall, those original requirements did not specify those courses.
Helena Poch: But it's always been understood...
Chair Berkowitz: It is... That is in practice what has happened, but neither that legislation nor subsequent legislation prevented other possibilities. But there's nothing being envisioned at this time to change it.
Jamie M. Myers, College of Education: Could you clarify that please, that exchange there? Could a college propose a new course to satisfy communication requirements for Gen Ed credit.
John W. Bagby: I don't think we see anything that would prevent that.
Adrian Wanner, College of the Liberal Arts: On page five under Basic Principles of Implementation point, 1. b. "They will be taught by tenure-line faculty, full time instructors, and Fixed-Term I faculty who have at least three years of teaching..." Do you really mean Fixed-Term I here instead of Fixed-Term II? Isn't full-time instructor and Fixed-Term I one in the same thing?
Chair Berkowitz: No, Fixed-Term I faculty are on a one-year contract, and instructors may have continuing appointments.
Adrian Wanner: So Fixed-Term II people would not be able to teach?
Chair Berkowitz: That is correct. Are there other comments or questions?
Caroline D. Eckhardt, College of the Liberal Arts: Under four-year planning, will there be some flexibility and opportunity for supplements? For example, what if we cannot now foresee all the new courses we might want to submit up to the fall of 2002?
John W. Bagby: We have not come to a definitive answer on that question. It is my feeling that the November deadline is short enough that we are asking for your best studied guess, and that thereafter you should be able to make some revisions to that. And I'm hoping to ask GEIC for perhaps a plan revision submission each year, but then that may not fly. But that's the direction that I'd like to see it go.
Chair Berkowitz: Other comments? This is much quieter than last year.
Charles H. Strauss, College of Agricultural Sciences: I realize this is not a legislative presentation, but we have heard with regards to your recommendation plans regarding major adjustments also appealing to the good will of faculty. My question is, do we have a budgetary estimate of what this implementation will cost the university, and how is the budget being distributed within the university?
John W. Bagby: Thank you. Yes, that process went on in the spring and monies were made available, and colleges made initial estimates of the additional costs. One of the reasons I wanted to look at investment in three different ways is because some of these investments I think are funded and will be funded from central administration. Budgetary estimates were used at that time, and the small nature of freshman seminars were considered, and most units have made application for their portion of some of those funds. Yes, and initial budgetary exercise has been conducted.
Chair Berkowitz: Let me answer that slightly from an historical point of view. We did have a costing report come forward with the original Senate legislation, and as I see this implementation it does not violate any of the general principles upon which that legislation or the costing report were based. So no additional costing report has been made based on this.
Charles H. Strauss: A follow up question. I'm not in opposition to what is being proposed for implementation, but certainly our initial cost estimate did not have the value that is being presented now, with a more rigorous review of implementation. My interest is in knowing now, have our costs been revised, and what direction will we see these monies being used, particularly with regards to additional faculty that may be needed in colleges that will be involved in these additions. This piece of information I think might well be organized for this type of informational report.
John W. Bagby: Well, thank you, and perhaps an informational report from us may appropriately include some of that information. GEIC was not directly and intimately involved with the costing of this. Yes, there were revision efforts I believe, made at several points over the last eight or nine months, and those revisions went upward from (I recall) an original $1 million figure, and we're now (I believe) at $2.8 million, and I believe there were a couple of points in there. So I believe there have been revisions, and if your question is, is every penny now accounted for that we're going to spend, I just cannot answer that, and I'm not certain that GEIC will appropriately be able to provide you with an analysis of that kind of budgetary information in an informational report. But we will look in to it.
Charles F. Gunderman, DuBois Campus: Along those same lines of this $1.8 million, in maybe a future report could you tell us how that $1.8 million is distributed to the various colleges and departments to fund this work load increase?
John W. Bagby: I don't doubt that there are many of us who'd be interested in seeing that data, but I'm not certain that would be forthcoming.
Chair Berkowitz: We'll do our best to find that out.
Loanne L. Snavely, University Libraries: I just wanted to ask the implementation group, in your initial general education report under the First-Year Seminar, there was wording about incorporating the use of the libraries as information resources in the First-Year Seminars, and I don't see any of that in the implementation report.
John W. Bagby: I think there are a number of places where information literacy and access to information sources are discussed in much of what we're doing. Particularly it looms very large in three of the five active learning elements that most courses will have to be involved with. But I don't recall that we have expressly set out additional implementation language for the First-Year Seminar about that. I can assure you that it's in there for many, if not most, of the other Gen Ed courses.
Peter Deines, College of Earth and Mineral Sciences: The information that's contained in the report that is in front of you has been made part of the Guide to Curricular Procedures, and in the Guide on page 59 you will find the definition of information literacy which includes the points that were present in the original Senate legislation. So anyone who will be preparing proposals will have a chance to look at what the definitions are. The Guide is available under the Senate web page. You don't need to remember all of the complicated stuff. You just need to go to the Senate page and look on the front page.
John W. Bagby: Thank you, Peter.
Ingrid Blood, Member General Education Implementation Committee: Just to reinforce where the information came from--from the University Libraries. So the definition of information literacy came from your group.
John W. Bagby: Thank you, Ingrid.
Chair Berkowitz: Have we completed discussing this report? Thank you very much.
John W. Bagby: Thank you again. We're open at GEIC@PSU.EDU for your comments, and we invite those comments. I believe we've amassed some today that are quite useful.
Chair Berkowitz: We will now move on to the report from the Task Force on the Future of Benefits, and George Franz, Chair of that task force, is here to present that report. Billie Willits is also here to help answer questions. You may want to note that this was a joint task force appointed by the president and the chair of the Senate. So it's being reported today in that way directly by the task force. As chair of the Senate I have referred this report to the Faculty Benefits Committee in case there are any positions the Senate might wish to take in terms of advice to the administration on implementation of pieces of this report.
JOINT COMMITTEE ON THE FUTURE OF BENEFITS
Report of the Task Force on the Future of Benefits
George W. Franz, Chair, Task Force on the Future of Benefits
George W. Franz, Delaware County Campus: Thank you. I'd just like to make a few introductory comments about the task force report and then open the floor up for your questions and comments. The task force was appointed by President Spanier and Senate Chair Lou Geschwindner last fall and began meetings in October of 1997 with a deadline to submit a report by May 1998. Within an academic perspective we made that deadline. The task force had eleven half-day meetings throughout the fall, winter and spring. It consisted of 16 members broadly representative of the entire university and included all the members of the Joint Committee on Benefits. The full membership of the task force is given on page two of the task force report. Because the members of the Joint Committee on Benefits and the Joint Committee on Insurance and Benefits were all members of the task force, and given the time commitment involved in the meetings of the task force, this report should be considered as the annual report of the joint committee for 1998. Beginning with the first meeting and continuing throughout our deliberations, members raised a number of topics to be addressed by the task force. In addition, on two occasions we solicited input from the university community through Intercom articles. We received approximately 80 responses to those two requests, and the topics raised are listed in Appendix "A" of the report. We benchmarked with other CIC institutions and Pennsylvania institutions, and that information is given in Appendix "B". Throughout our deliberations Aon Consulting, which has been the traditional insurance consulting group to the university, provided members of the task force with necessary actuarial data, demographic analysis and benefit plan structure information. The result was a file of reports and studies that's about six inches thick, and I was going to bring it and put it up here for a visual effect but I couldn't get it into my brief case. We will be sharing that information with the appropriate groups, including the Faculty Benefits Committee. In addition, copies of the report will be put on file--now that it has become public--will be put on file in all campus libraries. An article will appear in Intercom, and the report will be placed on the web at Human Resources and then it will be put on the Senate web site. So, with that I'll be happy to answer any questions you might have.
Chair Berkowitz: Are there any comments or questions of the task force?
Mark A. Casteel, York Campus: Just clarification of glossary terms. What's the distinction between a PPO and a POS? I cannot distinguish this.
Billie S. Willits, Assistant Vice President for Human Resources: Let me preface my comment by saying the PPO that we have here at Penn State is fairly unique and fairly special and it's not common. So our PPO is a lot like a point of service, and so that's probably why you're not seeing a lot of distinction. One of the major differences is that you have the opportunity to stay in network and use it like an HMO at very little or no cost to you, or you can use it out of network if you'd like at that 20 percent disincentive. That's very similar to the PPO except that the payment within that network is stronger for the point of service.
JoAnne Chirico, Beaver Campus: I was wondering for the few of us here if there was any consideration given to continuing coverage for Fixed-Term I over the summer? I realize we're not under contract during that period but we are asked actually to work over vacation.
George W. Franz: I believe coverage for Fixed-Term I is available over the summer.
JoAnne Chirico: Through COBRA not... Isn't it available through COBRA?
Billie S. Willits: You may want to talk with me afterward. It may be the way your campus is putting your Fixed-Term I appointment through. If you have a commitment for the next year, you should be covered. You should not have to go under COBRA.
Chair Berkowitz: It's nice to have the Senate be useful at times isn't it?
Elizabeth A. Hanley, College of Health and Human Development: I'm curious about the point where you said, "continue Plan A until such a time that it becomes cost-prohibitive." And each time that people go on sabbaticals abroad it's always recommended to use Plan A. So I was wondering what happens in the future or the near future when one of us goes abroad for a sabbatical?
George W. Franz: When the POS goes into effect I think that will take care of any faculty members that have to go on sabbatical. So that would not be an issue.
Caroline D. Eckhardt: I have another question about the POS. This may get clarified when it goes to that committee. On page one it suggests--sorry Roman Numeral I--it's suggested that POS is the right coverage for faculty and faculty dependants who are out of the managed-care network area, but on page seven under definitions it suggests something more open-ended. So one would not have to be out of the area in order to continue with the benefits in Plan A? In other words, would have the freedom to choose any provider? And I wasn't sure, what is the relationship between those two statements about the intended POS?
George W. Franz: A POS allows you freedom of choice. The difference is in the charge. If you're in State College and choose not to use a member of the network it will be a higher charge. I don't think it's a question of location necessarily. I think that's what the difference is between the two statements.
Caroline D. Eckhardt: We'll still have that option?
George W. Franz: Yes.
Gerhard F. Strasser, College of the Liberal Arts: On the sabbatical question. Do I understand you correctly that POS will also be available to retirees? In other words, would that be the Plan A replacement?
George W. Franz: If you chose the POS, you would be able to use that until you qualified for Medicare, when you would be required to take the university's wrap-around plan.
Gerhard F. Strasser: But what happens if you retire outside of the United States?
George W. Franz: You'd use a POS.
Gerhard F. Strasser: You could. Is there a greater penalty compared with the Plan A, 80 percent coverage?
George W. Franz: No, it's about the same. My personal opinion is POS is a no-brainer, but I realize there are some people that wouldn't agree with that, and some of them are sitting in the audience.
Jean Landa Pytel, College of Engineering: I don't understand that the tax-deferred annuity that the recommendation says you have--that you do not qualify the TIAA-CREF retirement plan. I read the text and I wasn't really sure what I was reading?
George W. Franz: You can have a retirement plan that is qualified under IRS. It allows certain options the university has decided upon, and the task force concurred that it's not in the best interest of the university to qualify the plan.
Jean Landa Pytel: I belong to TIAA-CREF. You mean you are recommending that I not?
George W. Franz: No, it's a legal semantic. I wouldn't worry about it.
Billie S. Willits: All right, if you won't buy that, let me try it. There is a legal phenomenon that allows us to treat our TIAA-CREF as if it were qualified. For those who are in SERS, we're treated the same way as if SERS were qualified. So far the IRS has not challenged that anywhere in the country. And so it benefits us to just stay as if we are qualified. If at some point in the future the government starts to say you have to be certified, that you are qualified, then we'll make that move. But right now Jean, it would mean, for example, administratively, we would have to have re-issued every single contract that we have out there. Every single faculty and staff member who has TIAA-CREF would have to have contracts re-issued to them, and right now that isn't worth doing. It may cause more confusion than it's worth. So as long as we are qualifiable or treated within the IRS as if we are qualified, we're just going to leave that alone. Be assured that if it looks like the government's going to move a different direction we'll get it qualified.
Terry J. Peavler, College of the Liberal Arts: Under dental plan, I've noticed over the years that the words customary, accepted, and reasonable have become disconnected from actual...
George W. Franz: That's because you live in State College.
Terry J. Peavler: ...look at that in terms of persuading the insurance provider to actually...
George W. Franz: Let me tell you how it happens, because the Joint Committee on Insurance and Benefits probably gets this question more frequently then any other. Customary and reasonable charges are determined by an outside agency. There are how many regions in Pennsylvania, four or six...? They use the first three digits of your zip code to determine the region you're from. They determine the cost of the practice in your region, and then they determine customary and reasonable to be 80 percent of the cost in that region. So if you live in northeastern Pennsylvania they calculate there. If you're in southeastern Pennsylvania, it's a different region. If you're in central Pennsylvania, it's a different region. I've been on the Joint Committee for eight or nine years and the high cost and non-competitive nature of dental care in State College has been a continuing concern of the committee.
Louis Milakofsky, Penn State Berks-Lehigh Valley: My question speaks to something I think the university ought to offer more employees, and that basically is a report on the quality of our medical care. I've seen a couple of these reports come through, and basically they talk about cost-effectiveness, and we're all concerned about that. But believe it or not, I don't want to even know what future rates are going to be when I'm 95 years old, but I do want to know what kind of care I can have and the quality. I may be willing to take that cost. So could the university please offer the incentive to all employees the idea of what is the quality of our care under the three plans we have now?
Billie S. Willits: That's an absolutely appropriate question and one that's being talked about nationally. We do have some quality reports right now, and what I'll need to do is go back to the office and sit with staff and figure out how to make that most accessible to people. But let me assure you that when you see it the first time out it's probably not going to be as adequate--it might not be as inclusive and comprehensive--as you would like it to be. So you need to respond to us and tell us where you think the voids are there. I don't know if we'll be able to respond completely to them, because as I've said this is seeming to be a national phenomenon in terms of how we are measuring quality. But the more we put the demand on our providers, the more they're going to respond to it. So what we'll do is go back and review what we have right now, put that out in some sort of form we can use--the Joint Committee and the Benefits Committee and the Staff Advisory Committee--sort of as a response group, initially, as we're drafting. And then we'll just make that a part of a regular report. Thank you.
George W. Franz: One of the things that we have talked about in the task force and also that we routinely talk about in the Joint Committee is the need to try to encourage Penn State employees to be informed consumers. The best way I think that you can determine quality is to talk to your primary care physician and find out whether he or she is comfortable with the insurance plan that you're proposing to use. When I chose my HMO, I went to the doctor I wanted to use and said, "If I choose this plan, or this plan, or this plan, which one are you most comfortable with in terms of being able to refer your patients?" And that's the plan I chose. You have to start asking your provider questions. For example, one instance where it came up is the question of chiropractic care. We got a number of comments about the need to expand chiropractic care. It is available. You just have to be with a primary care physician that is prepared to refer you to a chiropractor. And if you want a chiropractor you should go ask your primary care physician, "Are you prepared to refer?" and if they say, "No," go find somebody else and start asking questions.
Billie S. Willits: I think George's answer is absolutely an excellent answer, and one of the things that we realized in human resources is that most of us are not used to having to ask those kinds of questions. So one of the things that we'll be doing, and you'll be seeing it advertised, is providing a very brief--it's about a one-hour--seminar where we talk with you about how to be good consumers, how to be assertive as a consumer of the medical industry for the future. So you might want to look for that seminar. We're doing some of them centrally in the OHR. We're also doing them out in the colleges, on the campuses, and we've also made some funds available for locations away from University Park so that you can provide those seminars on your locations too. So I think what we're going to be emphasizing more and more in the future is not only our literature and trying to keep it as clear as possible in terms of the choices that you do have, because you have quite a few choices now, but also to ask you to try to be good consumers, and we'll try to provide the kind of support that you'll need to be that kind of good consumer.
Thomas E. Daubert, College of Engineering: There is an inconsistency on page 12. You say, "The indemnity plan (Plan A) continues to be available only to actively employed faculty and staff who are enrolled in Plan A at the time a POS plan is implemented." Then in your executive summary on page little "i" it says, "Allow currently enrolled active employees and retirees to remain in Plan A." The second one does not include retirees, the first one does, and there's...
George W. Franz: That's because I think retirees are dealt with in a different section of the report. If you go to the section on retirees, I think it's covered there.
Thomas E. Daubert: There it doesn't say anything. There in the other section it says to wait, and later on maybe we'll make up our minds.
George W. Franz: Well, I think it's in part a question of what we can provide given where retirees live. Whether we can come up with an effective POS network.
Thomas E. Daubert: So you're saying they may take "A" away from retirees?
George W. Franz: No...
Thomas E. Daubert: Well, that's what it's saying...
George W. Franz: Well, eventually, if an effective and appropriate POS can be established.
Thomas E. Daubert: So they may take it away? All the people that are retired right now? I want to know the answer to this?
George W. Franz: That may happen in the future.
Thomas E. Daubert: So I think the retirees should be told this.
George W. Franz: They are. When...
Thomas E. Daubert: They're assuming that they can keep Plan A. They've been told year after year after year. When we looked at the report last year in Faculty Benefits on retiree benefits, we were told that by Human Resources, and I think that this is a total change from that.
Billie S. Willits: Let me answer your question on a couple of different levels. One: I went back after you mentioned that to me earlier and looked at the phrasing, and it may be literally a grammatical situation where we tried to un-split an infinitive. So, I want to go back and look literally at the wording there. But clearly George is correct. That if we can find a replacement for the indemnity plan, which is incredibly expensive to the university--and for those who may be paying for it as an active employee, you know how incredibly expensive it is to you. If we can find a cost-effective way to replace the indemnity plan and still provide the kind of flexibility that that plan has, then that's what we will do. And I don't think the retirees are going to be concerned whether they call it Plan A or whether we call it a point of service, as long as they've got the kind of coverage that they currently have, and that's what we intend to deliver.
Thomas E. Daubert: But a point of service doesn't have effective coverage...
Billie S. Willits: Yes it does. In fact, I think...
Thomas E. Daubert: There is a difference...
Billie S. Willits: Even out of the network, it's going to provide the kind of service that they're used to right now. I think when you see the design of the point of service--and it will be in your "Time To Choose" packets, I hope you'll take the opportunity to look at that, and it'll also be on the web--you're going to find I think in that design of that point of service that it's probably going to do in some cases more. But it won't do less.
Thomas E. Daubert: I have one more question...
Chair Berkowitz: One more... I take it you think this is not only important for those that have retired but those who might possibly retire soon.
Thomas E. Daubert: The other thing is, last time we tried to have a network and a no-network, especially for vision, it didn't work. Nobody would join the network because the university gave so little money. None of the doctors would join it. And only the supermarket, lowest-end vision care people...
George W. Franz: That's not true any more though...
Thomas E. Daubert: ...would go in it. Now if you go to this thing here, how can you just say you're going to do this, and say not a sufficient number of the providers will do this, if there's any choice whatsoever?
Billie S. Willits: We're confident from the carriers that we're going to have there effective networks, and I think that one of the realities is we're going to put it in place and we're going to see how it plays and we're going to keep pushing on it and make it right. One of the things that I just want to be real candid with people about is that this medical industry is a moving slalom course right now. In fact, literally as I'm standing here to talk to you, I know that in January of 1999, five states in the country are going to be required as a pilot to offer a Medicare C. Now you might think there's a Medicare B and a Medicare A, and you might of thought you fell asleep about Medicare C. They're going to put in a Medicare C. Shortly thereafter, they're going to require every state in the country to put in a Medicare C. We don't know which way the government is going on those benefits very far in advance. But what we don't what to do is lock ourselves in, commit ourselves to a very, very, very expense program when we know we can get the same quality program for lesser money. Let me give you again a good example. Those of you who are using Plan A--and you are going to a doctor who happens, by the way, also to be a doctor in one of the many networks--you are paying more money and the university is paying more money for the very same procedure as your colleague who goes to that same physician, same procedure, but who happens to be in the network. Same procedure, same doctor, two completely different costs. Now if I can get a network in place across the entire commonwealth that's going to cause those doctors to receive for that procedure that they are providing to you a lesser dollar amount than charging you and the university more, that's what we're going to do. I also want to clarify one point that Nancy reminded me of. Don't confuse, when we're using the nomenclature--and I have to be really careful about this because I tend to get in my box on this--when we're using the term retiree, we mean those people who are no longer active faculty or staff members at the university and who are not yet Medicare eligible. There are 250 of those at Penn State University across the commonwealth. We think we can accommodate those numbers. The other people are in Medicare, and they use us as a wrap-around, and we don't talk about them as in Plan A per se. So I don't know if that helps for the clarification there or not.
Chair Berkowitz: While I don't want to close off discussion, I do want to remind Senators that this report is going to the Faculty Benefits Committee. This is not necessarily the last chance we'll have to deal with this.
Barton W. Browning, College of the Liberal Arts: I'd like to call attention to what I think is an alarming bit of news on page 44, which has to do with the increasing costs that are projected for HMO coverage. I understand from the report that part of this is in response to a change in federal legislation that has caused us to look differently at compensating things. But I'd like to point out that if we went immediately to the one-year adjustment a family coverage would go from $18 a month to $95 a month--that's a 500 percent increase. Now even if it's spread out over a five-year period--which I actually count up as three years from 98 to 2001--we still have an increase of 400 percent for family coverage in HMO's. I think most of us have appreciated benefiting from the relatively low cost that we have paid for HMO coverage. That's one reason why I went to that program. If the HMO coverage goes up to these levels, well, then, I certainly will think about moving to perhaps a more attractive POS or preferred provider. I would like to encourage the Faculty Benefits Committee to look very carefully at this and I think the Senate should look carefully at this and be aware of the impact that this change is going to have.
George W. Franz: What you need to know is that for the last five years anybody who's participated in HMO has not been paying at the 80/20 split. The rest of the employees have been subsidizing it, and this moves it so that everybody in every medical plan is on the 80/20 or 70/30 split.
Jamie M. Myers: I'd like to add on to this question about the increase. I think it's probably incorrect to talk about the rest of the employees subsidizing the HMO cost. You did provide a nice comparison to other CIC institutions, and I did note that some of those provide 100 percent coverage for family and individual, or 100 percent for individual and perhaps 75 percent for a spouse and dependents. Is there a reason why the task force decided not to keep Penn State at the premiere institution level and provide a higher percent of coverage?
George W. Franz: The mandate was there that any changes that we proposed were not to cost additional money.
Jamie M. Myers: What mandate? From who?
George W. Franz: From the charge. You need to look at the charge to the task force. The other thing that you need to check out, though, is you need to be careful when you compare with CIC institutions. Many of them are not participating in a university-sponsored medical plan. They are part of a state government medical plan so that the cost of benefits is not part of the budget of the university. So you've got to talk about individual schools.
Jamie M. Myers: Well, I'm not sure that's an adequate answer. I'm not sure that it's not a very important benefit to maintain, and to degrade that, I think, might be a problem.
Thomas A. Frank, College of Health and Human Development: Does the committee consider any kind of benefit for hearing loss?
George W. Franz: Yes. If you look under issues raised, there was a question about hearing aids that we asked the Aon Consultants to investigate. They could find virtually no medical plan that covers hearing aids.
Thomas A. Frank: Even though there may be no medical plan, working in the speech and hearing clinic I can tell you that about eight percent of our faculty have come in to us who are in need of hearing aids.
George W. Franz: That's true, and if...
Thomas A. Frank: It's half-way true that there is no plan. Mine-workers have a...their union has a plan for hearing aids. Several other unions have established benefits for hearing aids.
George W. Franz: They're under health and welfare funds. They're not part of the medical plan. We did ask them to cost it out. It is astronomically expensive to provide hearing aids.
Billie S. Willits: I think your point, though, is well taken, and one of the things that we'll be looking at is whether or not there are a sufficient number of companies out there that would look at a population as large as Penn State and provide some sort of a discount if our employees were to purchase those types of hearing aids. We just don't want to get too far out there until we find out if there are enough companies available. What we don't want to do is limit that to one or two hearing aid companies. And you're probably the expert I ought to be talking to, because as I understand it, as we've looked at it over the years, different hearing losses can be better supported by different not only types of hearing aids but probably companies that make them differently. So we're going probably to have to take a look at that. But also remember that one of the things that we say to our people is that if you are going to buy a hearing aid, put more money in your flexible spending account for the year in which you're going to be purchasing the hearing aid or replacing that hearing aid. Now you eliminate paying federal income tax on that amount of money, and also state income tax is avoided on that kind of money. So that does provide a type of discount to people, but it's probably not the whole answer. So we'll keep looking at whether or not there are some other alternatives, because your point is very well taken.
Laura L. Pauley, College of Engineering: I'm wondering what the rationale for the 80/20 split is, regardless of health plan. Why is it that the university does not provide a fixed dollar amount contribution to all employees and allow the employee to choose the plan and pick up the difference?
Billie S. Willits: I think the answer to that is more practical than it is anything else. If we were to do that, the likelihood of the amount of money that would be contributed would be that amount that is contributed to the HMO. If you took that flat dollar amount then and identified how much would be paid by the employee either for the PPO or the indemnity plan you find that that cost would be very, very prohibitive. So rather than going to the flat dollar amount, we said we'll stick with the percentage for this point in time. As George commented, we still haven't even gotten to the percentage approach with the HMOs because of the way the federal legislation had been written. Those task forces looked at this issue, as well as the Senate Committee on Benefits, and the Joint Committee. If it looks like that kind of funding approach needs to be changed in the future, we will do that, but right now it was a relatively new approach. You may remember that the university used a flat dollar amount not that many years ago. When I came to the university not even ten years ago they used a flat dollar amount. If we had continued to progress at that, the cost to the employee would have been probably unmanageable, and it doesn't give us an opportunity then to try to do some of the creative things that we're trying to do to keep the costs down in the insurance plans. So I don't know if that's a sufficient answer for you, but right now we're going to stay with that percentage approach until we can have a keen sense of what it's going to look like in the future. Then if we need to change that approach we'll do that. I think that we included in the discussion of the task force report a number of different ways that we thought about funding the benefits and chose this one because it had been started a few years, and we thought we needed to give it a longer try. Doing it for only a couple of years probably didn't give us enough of a sense.
Laura L. Pauley: I'm just concerned that given an 80/20 split makes the HMO more expensive than it is now, and that's a great concern to staff who see it as a great expense.
George W. Franz: If we didn't have the 80/20 split, it would be even more expensive. The 80/20, 70/30 split was put in at the suggestion of the last task force, which was five years ago. The prevailing view at that time was that we had to provide a balance in cost-sharing between what the employee was picking up versus what the university was picking up. If we had kept what we had before this cost sharing was put into effect, I think you would find the charges to the employee would be far higher than what your seeing projected here.
Jamie M. Myers: If it was five years ago, how long have we had the HMO? I mean, was that recommendation based on the escalating costs of Plan A that we had to move to an 80/20 percent split? Are you working on the basis of a recommendation from a committee five years ago based on conditions which no longer fit this current time?
George W. Franz: No. We reexamined the split and it was the advice of Aon Consulting--and after discussion in the task force--that we would keep with this principle of cost-sharing between the university and the employee. We had to move the true cost of the HMO to the 80/20 split or the 70/30 split. We spent a considerable amount of time discussing whether we wanted to keep this kind of cost-sharing or whether we needed to move to a different kind of cost-sharing.
Chair Berkowitz: We've been here a very long time. I see two hands, and we'll call it a day after that.
Beno Weiss, College of the Liberal Arts: Have you addressed the question of health prevention? For example, if I go to the dentist and he says you haven't had any X-rays taken for the last three years, he takes X-rays and most of the cost is reimbursed. Yet when I go to my personal physician and he says well we have to check your cholesterol, we have to check this and that. None of these expenses are reimbursed.
George W. Franz: The answer is to join an HMO, because they are covered by an HMO. I don't mean to be flip, but quite frankly you have to make a choice in terms of what you want. If you join an HMO you get certain things. One of the things you get is preventive care. What you don't get is choice, you get managed care.
Beno Weiss: I don't want to sound like this is being sexist, yet when a woman is told that she has to have a mammogram, those expenses are reimbursed?
George W. Franz: That is also because of state law.
Chair Berkowitz: We don't need a full discussion of each item here. It's not a legislative item. They've heard your concern.
Beno Weiss: I'll send an email.
Chair Berkowitz: Please. Final comment.
Brady P. Smith, Student Senator, Penn State Altoona: On the student insurance. The task force recommends that recruitment of highest quality graduate students requires health insurance benefits as an important factor. I'd like to know what you have been doing with communicating with a representative from leadership of the graduate school? And what consideration is being given to--I feel a very important factor--recruiting high quality graduate students by offering benefits on line with the rest of the staff.
George W. Franz: We agree that the charge of the task force did not include student insurance. It was, however, of such concern that it was brought to the task force attention by Dr. Spear. The point of the recommendation of the task force is the university has to decide whether they want to reinvigorate the student insurance committee. And if they do, then that group needs to get moving and investigate changes to the Graduate School insurance plan. If they don't want to reinvigorate that insurance committee they need to find some other way to address the issue. But it was outside our charge.
Brady P. Smith: So have you been in contact with the...?
George W. Franz: No. I believe there has been a communication to the administration about reconstituting that insurance committee, and I believe that's being done.
Chair Berkowitz: Thank you very much George and Billie. That concludes our scheduled reports.
NEW LEGISLATIVE BUSINESS
COMMENTS AND RECOMMENDATIONS FOR THE GOOD OF THE UNIVERSITY
May I have a motion to adjourn? The September 15, 1998 meeting of the University Faculty Senate adjourned at 3:40 PM.
DOCUMENTS DISTRIBUTED PRIOR TO SEPTEMBER 15, 1998
Curricular Affairs - Curriculum Report (Blue Sheets) of September 1, 1998
Senate Council - Policy HR-36 - Educational Privileges for Regular Employees and Other Members of the University Staff (Advisory/Consultative)
Admissions, Records, Scheduling and Student Aid - Awards and Scholarships (Informational)
Admissions, Records, Scheduling and Student Aid - Summary of Petitions for Waiver of the Ten Credit Limit for Nondegree Conditional Students (Senate Policy 14-00) (Informational)
General Education Implementation Committee - Implementation of General Education Legislation (Informational)
Joint Committee on the Future of Benefits - Report of the Task Force on the Future of Benefits (Informational)
THE FOLLOWING SENATORS WERE IN ATTENDANCE AT THE
September 15, 1998 SENATE MEETING
Alexander, Shelton S.
Althouse, P. Richard
Andaleeb, Syed Saad
Arnold, Steven F.
Bagby, John W.
Bakis, Charles E.
Barbato, Guy F.
Belzner, Jennifer A.
Berkowitz, Leonard J.
Bernecker, Craig A.
Bettig, Ronald V.
Bise, Christopher J.
Bittner, Edward W.
Book, Patricia A.
Brannon, S. Diane
Brenneman, Scott S.
Bridges, K. Robert
Brighton, John A.
Browning, Barton W.
Broyles, Michael E.
Burkhart, Keith K.
Byman, David H.
Cahir, John J.
Caldwell, Linda L.
Campbell, J. Louis III
Carpenter, Lynn A.
Casteel, Mark A.
Christy, David P.
Clariana, Roy B.
Coraor, Lee D.
Crane, Robert G.
Crawford, James P.
Crowe, Mary Beth
Curtis, Wayne R.
Daubert, Thomas E.
de Hart, Gretchen Kline
de Hart, Steven A.
De Jong, Gordon F.
De Rooy, Jacob
Diehl, Renee D.
Donovan, James M.
Drafall, Lynn E.
Eckhardt, Caroline D.
Elder, James T.
Erickson, Rodney A.
Fahnline, Donald E.
Farber, Gregory K.
Fosmire, Gary J.
Frank, Thomas A.
Frank, William M.
Franz, George W.
Freeman, Emily K.
Frost, Tracy A.
Galligan, M. Margaret
Georgopulos, Peter D.
Goldman, Margaret B.
Goldschmidt, Arthur E.
Gouran, Dennis S.
Green, David J.
Gunderman, Charles F.
Haner, William E.
Hanley, Elizabeth A.
Harmonosky, Catherine M.
Harrison, Terry P.
Hayek, Sabih I.
Hill, Charles W.
Holt, Frieda M.
Irwin, Zachary T.
Jackson, Thomas N.
Jago, Deidre E.
Johnson, Ernest W.
Jones, W. Terrell
Jurs, Peter C.
Kallas, M. Nabil
Kerstetter, Deborah L.
Kissick, John D.
Kristine, Frank J.
Lasher, William C.
Lesieutre, George A.
Lilley, John M.
Limric, Sean C.
Lippert, John R.
Lukezic, Felix L.
Lunetta, Vincent N.
Lyday, Margaret M.
Manbeck, Harvey B.
May, Janet A.
Mayer, Jeffrey S.
McGraw, Kenneth P.
Miller, Arthur C.
Minard, Robert D.
Mitchell, Robert B.
Moore, John W.
Munn, Mark H.
Murphy, Dennis J.
Murphy, Lucia Rohrer
Myers, Jamie M.
Nelson, Murry R.
Nichols, John S.
Nicholson, Mary E.
Ovaert, Timothy C.
Ozment, Judy P.
Pangborn, Robert N.
Paster, Amy L.
Patterson, Henry O.
Pauley, Laura L.
Peavler, Terry J.
Phillips, Allen T.
Power, Barbara L.
Pytel, Jean Landa
Richards, David R.
Richards, Robert D.
Richards, William E.
Richman, M. Susan
Ricketts, Robert D.
Romano, John J.
Romberger, Andrew B.
Roth, David E.
Sandler, Karen W.
Sandmeyer, Louise E.
Scanlon, Dennis C.
Schneider, Donald P.
Seybert, Thomas A.
Smith, Brady P.
Smith, James F.
Snavely, Loanne L.
Spanier, Graham B.
Strasser, Gerhard F.
Stratton, Valerie N.
Strauss, Charles H.
Stuart, Jessica L.
Sutton, Jane S.
Testa, Donna M.
Thigpen, Kenneth A.
Tormey, Brian B.
Tranell, Jeffrey R.
Trevino, Linda K.
Turner, Tramble T.
Urenko, John B.
Ventura, Jose A.
Vickers, Anita M.
Wager, J. James
Wanner, Adrian J.
White, Eric R.
Whittam, Thomas S.
Wilson, Richard A.
Withington, Robert P.
Wyatt, Nancy J.
Yesalis, Charles E.
Zavodni, John J.
FROM SENATE OFFICE
Bugyi, George J.
Cunning, Tineke J.
Hockenberry, Betsy S.
Price, Vickie R.
Simpson, Linda A.
Walk, Sherry F.
164 Total Elected
5 Total Ex Officio
10 Total Appointed
179 Total Attending
TENTATIVE AGENDA FOR OCTOBER 27, 1998
Faculty Affairs - Policy HR-40: Evaluation of Faculty Performance (Advisory/Consultative)
Undergraduate Education/University Planning – Fall Semester Academic Calendar Changes (Advisory/Consultative)
General Education Implementation Committee - Second Language Report (Recommendation #8) (Informational)
General Education Implementation Committee - Intercultural and International Competence Requirement (Recommendation #7) (Informational)
Undergraduate Education - Summary of Student Petitions by College, Unit or Location (Informational)
University Planning - Budget for 1998-99, Process and Outcome, Budget Planning for 1999-2000 (Informational)
University Planning - Status of Construction Projects (Informational)