THE PENNSYLVANIA STATE UNIVERSITY
T H E S E N A T E R E C O R D
Volume 31 ------ OCTOBER 21, 1997 ------ Number 2
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 1997-98.
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 October 21, 1997
A. Summary of Agenda Actions
B. Minutes and Summaries of Remarks
II. Enumeration of Documents
A. Documents Distributed Prior to October 21, 1997 ---- Appendix I
Door Handout - Special Committee on General Education ---- Appendix II
Attendance ---- Appendix III
III. Tentative Agenda for December 2, 1997 ---- Appendix IV
FINAL AGENDA FOR OCTOBER 21, 1997
A. MINUTES OF THE PRECEDING MEETING -
Minutes of the September 9, 1997, Meeting in The Senate Record 31:1
B. COMMUNICATIONS TO THE SENATE - Senate Curriculum Report
(Blue Sheets) of October 10, 1997
C. REPORT OF SENATE COUNCIL - Meeting of September 30, 1997
D. ANNOUNCEMENTS BY THE CHAIR -
E. COMMENTS BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNIVERSITY -
F. FORENSIC BUSINESS -
G. UNFINISHED LEGISLATIVE BUSINESS –
H. LEGISLATIVE REPORTS -
Special Committee on General Education
Final Report and Recommendations of the Special Committee on
Revision of 37-00: Entrance to a College or Major
I. ADVISORY/CONSULTATIVE REPORTS -
J. INFORMATIONAL REPORTS -
Faculty Salary Report by Gender
Joint Committee on Insurance and Benefits
Annual Report – 1996-97
Faculty Tenure Issues
Update on University Planning Council Activities
Budget for 1997/98, Process and Outcome, Budget Planning for 1998/99
Status of Construction Projects
K. NEW LEGISLATIVE BUSINESS -
L. COMMENTS AND RECOMMENDATIONS FOR THE GOOD OF THE UNIVERSITY -
M. ADJOURNMENT -
SUMMARY OF AGENDA ACTIONS
The Senate passed one Legislative Report:
Committee on Undergraduate Education – "Revision of 37-00: Entrance to a College or Major." This report allows no more than 91 credits of previous work toward a degree in the new college if a student is transferring between colleges at the University. (See Record, page(s) 25-28 and Agenda Appendix "C.")
The Senate discussed one Legislative Report that is scheduled to be brought to the floor of the Senate for a vote at the December 2, 1997 meeting:
Special Committee on General Education – "Final Report and Recommendations." (See Record, page(s) 5-25, Door Handout Record Appendix II and Agenda Appendix "B.")
There were no Advisory and Consultative Reports.
The Senate received six Informational Reports:
Committee on Faculty Benefits – "Faculty Salary Report by Gender." This report indicated that there was no significant differences observed by gender when time in rank is considered. (See Record, page(s) 28-32 and Agenda Appendix "D.")
Joint Committee on Insurance and Benefits – "Annual Report – 1996-97." This report addresses the status of the five-year plan established by the Task Force on the Future of Health Care and Life Insurance. Most of the recommendations have been implemented. (See Record, page(s) 32-37 and Agenda Appendix "E.")
Senate Council – "Faculty Tenure Issues." This report was presented to inform the University community about tenure issues at the University and throughout the nation. It addresses what some may consider a call for greater accountability in higher education. (See Record, page(s) 37-44 and Agenda Appendix "F.")
Committee on University Planning – "Update on University Planning Council Activities." This report was designed with the purpose of deepening the Senate information on the activities of central planning bodies and specifically the University Planning Council. (See Record, page(s) 44-48 and Agenda Appendix "G.")
Committee on University Planning - "Budget for 1997/98, Process an Outcome, Budget Planning for 1998/99." This was an oral Informational Report by the Provost to inform the Senate on the budgeting procedures and its status. (See Record, page(s) 48-55.)
Committee on University Planning - "Status of Construction Projects." This report covers the condition of construction at the University by both the State Department of General Services and Penn State University Major Construction Programs dated August 22, 1997. (See Record, page(s) 55 and Agenda Appendix "H.")
The University Faculty Senate met on Tuesday, October 21, 1997, at 1:30 p.m. in Room 112 Kern Building with Louis Geschwindner, Chair, presiding. One-hundred-seventy-two Senators signed the roster.
Chair Geschwindner: I'd like to call the October 21, 1997 meeting of the University Faculty Senate to order.
MINUTES OF THE PRECEDING MEETING
The Senate Record, providing a full transcription of the proceedings of our last Senate meeting, was sent to all University Libraries and is available on our home page. I direct you particularly to the Summary of Actions section of The Senate Record for a general review of that meeting. Are there any corrections or additions to The Senate Record? Seeing none, may I hear a motion to accept the Record? Second? All those in favor, signify by saying, "aye."
Chair Geschwindner: All opposed, same sign. The minutes are accepted. Thank you.
COMMUNICATIONS TO THE SENATE
In "Communications to the Senate," you should have received the Senate Curriculum Report for October 10 in the mail.
REPORT OF SENATE COUNCIL
You've also received the minutes from the September 30th meeting of the Senate Council as an attachment to today's agenda.
ANNOUNCEMENTS BY THE CHAIR
For "Announcements by the Chair," I refer you to my remarks to Senate Council that are contained in the minutes that I just referred to, which are attached to today’s Agenda. In addition, I'd like to report that the Senate Officers have completed visits to non-University Park locations for this fall. We visited the Berks-Lehigh Valley College, Allentown Campus, or Lehigh Valley Campus, I think, on September 15, Abington College and Delaware Campus on September 17. We visited the DuBois Campus on September 23rd and the Beaver Campus on the 24th. On October 7th, we visited Capital College, Schuylkill Campus, and on October 8th, Berks-Lehigh Valley College, Berks Campus, and the College of Medicine. That concludes our trips for fall 1997.
The Faculty Advisory Committee to the President met on September 30. I refer you to my remarks in the Senate Council minutes of September 30 for an expansion on the issues discussed at that meeting. The next Faculty Advisory Committee meeting will be November 11.
I received a memo from President Spanier regarding the legislative report passed at our Senate meeting of September 9 from the Committee on Committees and Rules entitled, "Proposal to Rescind Delegation of Authority to Penn State Harrisburg-The Capital College." The President accepted this legislation and requested that the Executive Secretary proceed to implement the changes in the Constitution, Bylaws and Standing Rules of the University Faculty Senate. I have charged the Undergraduate Education Committee to review the implications of this action and be sure that we have addressed all issues associated with the change. As I've already stated, The Senate Record for September 9 can be obtained via the University Faculty Senate home page. With the purchase of a new scanner for the Senate Office, Senate agendas can now also be put online. Note that if you go to the Senate's home page, you can now access student policies, the Senate's Constitution, and Senate records. One of our committees, Outreach Activities, has a link on that page, and the Senate Office is in the process of creating pages for other committees.
President Spanier and I have appointed a Joint Committee on the Future of Benefits, as called for on the report of the Joint Committee on Insurance and Benefits which will be presented later in this Senate meeting. That committee, chaired by George Franz, held its first meeting yesterday.
Since many Senators have asked about the implementation of our advisory and consultative report on faculty compensation from last year, I want to report that we have received the report from Provost Brighton on its implementation. That report has been passed along to the Faculty Benefits and Faculty Affairs Committees for their review.
COMMENTS BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNIVERSITY
We now move to "Comments by the President of the University." President Spanier is not here today. However, Provost Brighton is here and will make some comments on his behalf. He will be willing to answer questions on his presentation at the conclusion of that presentation. Provost Brighton.
John A. Brighton, Executive Vice President/Provost: Thanks, Lou. Ladies and gentlemen, members of the Faculty Senate, I want to address this body on a topic which I think is of great importance. President Spanier has been invited to the White House today to meet, along with other University presidents, with President Clinton to discuss the America Reads Program. And when invited to the White House, I guess one probably should go. America Reads is certainly a very worthwhile program. I might just mention that John Cahir is the person taking the lead for this University in that program.
Graham would very much like to be here for this discussion because he has an intense interest in this topic of general education, as do I. He wanted me to convey his message along with my own regarding the importance of the revised general education requirements. So, I'd like to make a few comments about the report, and to do this in the time slot for the President's remarks so that there will be a full hour for the discussion which is going to occur later in the agenda. The purpose of general education is to provide a broad education for our students, an education that will provide knowledge and skills across several disciplines: to teach students about the reality of different perspectives and world views; to prepare them to productively participate in a democracy and to learn not only how to make a living but also what makes life worth living; to learn how to get along in the world, but also to learn to appreciate the richness of art, literature and discovery of new concepts and ideas. The basic skills we address include writing, speaking, math, computer usage and critical thinking. The knowledge areas include arts, humanities, social and behavioral sciences, natural sciences and health sciences. These areas provide the basic grounding for all of our students, setting the stage for further study and disciplinary specialties, but also for lifelong learning and other often unanticipated areas. I've been at three other institutions where I've observed efforts to improve general education. Most of the time, I've been disappointed in the outcome of the efforts for improvement. It seems that special interests and viewpoints impede change, and I've watched as good plans are gradually chipped away until what is left is but a shadow of what could have been. It was the students who were the losers in the end. There were no winners. We come at education from a lot of different angles, and we often have strong feelings, impressions about the need for more content in our own fields. Some are unwilling to trade off their disciplinary content for another, and yet trade-offs are required if one looks at the development of the whole person. A more narrow viewpoint is a natural consequence, I believe, of our own education. It takes a lot of understanding to appreciate the need for basic education outside of our own field. I tell you that is why I am very pleased to see what the Special Committee on General Education has accomplished. I'm especially pleased to see that a committee with such diverse backgrounds has been able to produce a plan with unanimous endorsement. I want to convey to you that both the President and I also endorse the plan. I doubt if anyone, however, is completely satisfied with a plan that comes from a consensus from such a broad total group. This is a good plan, and I would like to see it adopted. The Freshman Seminar, the balance of credits in science and humanities, the ability to test out on skills courses, just to name a few, are positive changes. I'm also pleased to see the committee addressed not only the content of what we teach in general education, but also the methods of learning. We've made excellent progress here at Penn State in advancing teaching and learning methods through a lot of efforts. Just to mention a few, the teaching and learning colloquia that we've had over the last two or three years have been very productive. I might just mention that the next one that we're talking about now in scheduling will occur in January this year. Teaching large classes. Under Diane Enerson's leadership, there has been a large group of people meeting to talk on a regular basis about methods and sharing ideas about how to more effectively teach large classes. Teaching seminars and workshops provided by Diane Enerson's office as well have been very productive and very effective. The Schreyer Institute for Innovation and Learning, and several college-based efforts for improvement in learning, have begun to emerge. I think we need to all be very pleased to see a lot of attention paid to quality of teaching and looking for new ideas and new methods around that. Thus, the pedagogy as well as the content will be an important piece of this effort. So, I and Dr. Spanier urge your support for this plan for general education. We recognize that it has been through many hours of discussion with many different groups and also that compromises have already been made. We would now like to see it move forward. Finally, we recognize that some financial support will be needed to carry out this plan. We have been providing, I guess I need to remind you that, and we will continue to seek support for new faculty positions to help implement the plan. There were 100 new faculty positions provided in the University last year, certainly a very exceptional and unusual case. This year we're requesting, through the budget request and through other concerns about reallocation, additional faculty positions to help the basic needs of the University, but also to be able to implement a plan such as this that we can move forward with. So, we'll do whatever we can to provide additional support from central funds, but I need to also let you know that colleges and departments will also need to look for ways to participate in the new requirements that will be coming forward with this plan. The Special Committee on General Education has been working for two years to put together this report. They have met with many groups and received input from a lot of individuals. Following these meetings and based on their careful extensive deliberations, they have come forward with a set of recommendations for which there, as I've said before, is among them a unanimous agreement. So, in the interest of the students, I urge your support for the plan, and I further urge that we move forward with its implementation as expeditiously as we can. Finally, I want to thank Rob Pangborn and the rest of the committee for the fine and hard work that they've done in producing this plan. If you have any questions on my comments, I'd be happy to respond.
Chair Geschwindner: I'm sure we'll have plenty of discussion on general education a little bit later.
John A. Brighton: Thank you.
Chair Geschwindner: Thank you.
UNFINISHED LEGISLATIVE BUSINESS
SPECIAL COMMITTEE ON GENERAL EDUCATION
Final Report and Recommendations of the Special Committee on General Education
Robert N. Pangborn, Chair
Chair Geschwindner: As we begin our discussion of reports, let me remind you to please stand and identify yourselves and the unit you represent before addressing the Senate.
We move to "Legislative Business." The first report is from the Special Committee on General Education. Rob Pangborn is here to present the report. First, however, I have a few comments.
You have before you in Appendix "B," the "Final Report and Recommendations of the Special Committee on General Education." In addition, you have a door handout containing the motion as presented by the Special Committee on General Education. This Committee was appointed in February 1996 by the Chair and Chair-Elect of the Senate, and their report has been approved by Senate Council for submission to the Senate at this meeting. After a period of discussion today, the report will be automatically postponed until the December 2 meeting, at which time we will have further discussion and a vote. I will inform the Senate when we have approximately 15 minutes left for discussion before closing this portion of the consideration of this report. The Senate Committee on University Planning will present their report on costing of this proposal at the December meeting prior to any vote. Although any Senator may indicate today that they will be proposing amendments in December, I will rule any motions related to this report made today to be out of order. As indicated in the memo accompanying the report as found in The Senate Agenda, as a courtesy to the Committee and the Senate, anyone who plans on proposing an amendment at the December meeting is encouraged to present the motion in writing to the Senate Office ahead of time, if at all possible, so that copies may be available to everyone. I also want to recognize that I've received a memo from the General Education Subcommittee of Curricular Affairs, which I will take into consideration. However, I would expect that Committee to make any motions necessary to accomplish their goals rather than expect the Senate leadership to make those decisions. We have had three requests for the privilege of the floor. They are Geri Weilacher, Assistant to the Associate Dean and Director of the University Learning Resource Center; Karl Newell, Department Head, Kinesiology; and John Pfau, Program Director of the Exercise and Sport Activity Program. I have granted them the privilege of the floor. I will call upon them during our discussion. Please remember, there will be no vote taken at this meeting on the General Education report. Rob.
Robert N. Pangborn, Chair, Special Committee on General Education: Thanks, Lou, for setting the stage so clearly on how this process will unfold. I'm pleased to represent the Final Report and Recommendations of the Special Committee on General Education as provided in your agenda. I want to first recognize and thank the members of the committee who worked so long and so hard to bring this report forward. They were dedicated and tireless through all the open forums, subgroup deliberations, homework assignments, full committee debates, e-mail exchanges and other aspects of what has expanded to almost a two-year process. They have been a committed and determined and faithful group of faculty and students. They didn't get too discouraged, or at least not for too long, even when they were told they might be, or at times definitely were, on the wrong track. In the end, they persevered with the task. Ingrid Blood, our valuable vice chair, and Mike Dooris, our recorder and main man behind the scenes, deserve particular note and credit for their noble efforts.
I'll try not to consume too much of your time for discussion today by repeating what's already available to you in the report. But I will add just a few observations. The Committee has, I believe, done a remarkable job in researching and benchmarking, listening to feedback and sorting through the many opinions and alternative options to put together a thoughtful, affordable, and forward-looking plan. While we do propose a few strategies that are relatively modest and will change the current general education curriculum and practices, the larger emphasis of the recommendations is on continuous improvement. It is sometimes said, and I think accurately, that it is easier to change the course of history than it is to change the history course. And I don't mean to single out history faculty or courses on that. I'm saying it in a generic sense. Through good, systematic assessment approaches, we should be able to identify measures that help us understand how well we are doing and will lead to significant, and not simply incremental, progress towards the provocative, engaging, and active learning environment we envision for our students.
In the other recommendations, we have tried to respond to concerns that were raised about the general education program to identify recurring themes and to evaluate the best practices that might be modeled or adapted to address them.
High on that list was a sense that we need to do a better job in introducing students to the University environment and the community, to the faculty, to the expectations we have for them as students, and to the objectives we are trying to achieve through the general education curriculum and in the major disciplines. The first-year seminar emerged as an ideal mechanism in which we already have good experience and some real success stories.
To take best advantage of the resources we devote to developing our students' proficiency in crucial skills, we need to be able to place incoming students in appropriate coursework and develop curricula that will meet the needs of their respective disciplines of study. And we need to underscore their continued development by asking them to actively use these competencies--from the more conventional ones like writing and speaking and quantitative reasoning to newer ones like information literacy and intercultural and international awareness that they will need to go out into a rapidly-changing, culturally-diverse world and workplace. We will not be able to do this in this University if it requires that we have only small classes and must be able to offer boundless, personal attention. The Committee feels that a combination of creativity, curricular flexibility, good advising--both virtual and face-to-face--and high expectations for learning will go a long way toward achieving the quality standard we seek in any class format.
In other recommendations we come back to the goal of preparing our students to take advantage of the rich diversity of the campus, which strives to mirror the global environment beyond--reinforcing our commitment to developing intercultural and international awareness, assessing the impact of this curricular component, and encouraging students' development of proficiency in a second language if they so choose. And, finally, we return to the often-considered issue of health and physical activity. Here, we have heeded the broad sentiment that this requirement should reflect and project a rigorous academic context, constituted by a flexible health sciences requirement that emphasizes wellness and fitness over the lifespan, encourages the engagement of students in formulating and practicing healthy lifestyles, and incorporates an opportunity for participating and developing skill in lifelong physical activities.
I think I speak for the rest of the Committee when I say that we eagerly, if somewhat apprehensively, look forward to your discussion of the proposal. We hope you will discuss this in your department and division levels and other appropriate forums in the weeks to come. We trust that you will allow us the opportunity to provide clarification of the report as needed.
Thank you very much.
Chair Geschwindner: I want to remind you all that the motion is that single-sheet door handout. It says, the "motion is to adopt the Vision, Mission and (amended statement of) Goals for General Education at Penn State as given in Appendix "B,"
pages 7 & 8, the ten recommendations as presented in Appendix "B," pages 9-28, and the framework for General Education at Penn State as given in Appendix "B," page 32." This comes from a committee, so it doesn't need a second. We now open the floor for discussion.
Philip A. Klein, College of the Liberal Arts: In that connection, I would like to ask a question whether the door handout doesn't conflict with the footnote on page 6, which suggests that the suggested guidelines would be part of the motion. They are not included in the motion that you handed out at the door.
Chair Geschwindner: The motion as stated on the door handout is the motion.
Philip A. Klein: So then you have to change the footnote.
Robert N. Pangborn: Yes. That footnote was incorporated into the report as it was being prepared, and we were trying to identify what would constitute the content of the total report.
Philip A. Klein: It says for the purposes of the University Faculty Senate, legislation was going to be included. Are they included or not?
Robert N. Pangborn: Well, I think the thing to do is ignore the footnote and accept the motion that was handed out as the door handout as being the operative motion.
Chair Geschwindner: There must be at least one other comment or question out there.
Robert G. Price, College of the Liberal Arts: Perhaps you could be specific as to whether the reference to the ten recommendations as presented in Appendix "B" includes the rationales and so forth in Appendix "B."
Chair Geschwindner: The recommendations are identified as Recommendation #1, and it is a small paragraph on page 9. Recommendation #2 is a small paragraph on page 13 right under the title "Recommendation." Recommendation #3, on page 14, is that paragraph under the word "Recommendation." Four is on page 16. Five is on page 18. Six is on page 20. Seven is on the bottom of page 21; it does not go over to page 22. Eight is on page 24. Nine is on page 25. Ten is on page 27. And, as I look at them, I don't see anything more than a single paragraph in each one.
Beno Weiss, College of the Liberal Arts: Very little has been said about cost. I know the Provost raised the issue. How does one go about determining exactly how much these changes or recommendations are going to cost? I'm not trying to reject these recommendations, but how do you perceive that? I know you're planning to set up a subcommittee who's going to be part of the discussion. How are you going to evaluate the assessment for these various changes? I understand it would be very hard.
Robert N. Pangborn: Of course, the Senate charges the Committee on University Planning with coming up with a cost estimate that is then presented at the same time as the motion when it's to be voted on. That will be coming to the Senate in December. They are going about this as best they can. I believe all the units have received requests to try to come up with some estimate of what it might involve to implement these recommendations within the particular unit. Then they'll collect those and try to work those into something that represents a coherent picture of how this could play out across the whole University. Obviously, there are a lot of unknowns here until you actually get into the details of implementation. So, this is clearly going to be a process of estimation as opposed to an accurate reflection of the dollar cost. There will have to be some careful consideration done as to how each unit might respond to the recommendations. As far as the actual implementation process, we talk a little bit in one of the recommendations--Recommendation #10--about how we would expect this report to be implemented. I think the Committee felt that it would be useful for the Senate leadership to think about putting together a committee that would be composed of key members of the Senate. I would think the Committees on Curricular Affairs and Undergraduate Education would provide members of that joint committee as well as resource people from various academic support units, which I think will play a significant role in identifying how the details of implementation are defined. I think that would reduce then the burden it might represent to a single Senate committee were it to drop squarely in that committee's lap, especially when most of our committees have a pretty full plate with their normal business. So, I think we see the formation of a group that would work on this implementation over a period of at least two years, which is anticipated as the kind of timeline that might be needed. As is true with all Senate legislation, I think it's the feeling of the Committee, and I think it probably reflects the view of many of us who have had a long history with the Senate, that the attempt will be made to have those implementation processes reflect the guidelines and the spirit of the report as closely as possible. Now, obviously, as you get into implementation, there may be things that could not be anticipated when the report was written. So, there certainly would be an expectation of some flexibility in the way it's implemented. But, I think it's reasonable to assume that in these kinds of instances, the attempt is made to follow the spirit of the report as faithfully as possible.
John Lilley, Penn State Erie, The Behrend College: I would further add that at the last meeting of the Council of Academic Deans, Graham asked that the ten University Park college deans and six campus college deans be very careful in their costing. It is not a time for a wish list, and if we found ourselves getting into deep water, we should consult mostly with John Cahir.
John W. Baer, CCSG Student Senator, York Campus: Under Recommendation #2, it says, "Impove the diagnostic instruments and measures used in the placement of entering students in skills courses." Could I just get a definition of "skills courses?" Are we just talking University math classes? We have students coming in that shouldn't have to take certain computer classes because they've already gotten Microsoft or something like that mastered. Would that be expanded to those, or is this just strictly for math?
Robert N. Pangborn: Sure. Within the context of general education, the skills components are the communications courses and the quantification courses, math courses if you like, but that also includes statistics and other quantitatively related topical material. Certainly, there is now and will continue to be (and we'd hope would be) an expansion of the access students would have to demonstrate proficiency in things like computing which are not strictly a stand-alone requirement in general education but are often part of the required courses supporting academic majors. So, I'm sure that as this process unfolds, there will be an examination of good diagnostic instruments for establishing where students start in the continuum of courses in a lot of different skills areas, those in the general education curriculum and those that are outside of that in a strict sense.
Felix L. Lukezic, College of Agricultural Sciences: I have two areas of concern. First, the Libraries Committee is quite concerned about the impact the recommendations are going to have on the Library and its systems. There are many references throughout the report to the Library, including the cover page, that will cause a heavy demand on the personnel and facilities. These will need to be reinforced by funds and personnel. We recommend the costing subcommittee contact Library personnel so this need is fully understood. Second, I strongly support the concept and believe in the worth of a freshman seminar at Penn State. However, I also believe making such a course mandatory will be counterproductive unless the faculty claim ownership. I think one of the main reasons we have a strong seminar in the College of Agricultural Sciences is the commitment of the senior faculty to the freshman seminar. We studied it; we saw a need for it; we created it; and we own it. It is not the result of some decree from higher up. We teach it without a reduction in our normal teaching and research load. We meet as a group before the semester starts and during the semester to discuss what worked and what didn't. We make changes and evaluate it. Techniques developed in the course have permeated other courses, and I think enhanced the level of instruction in the college. As a result of the excitement by the teaching faculty, there is a reserve faculty that will teach sections if needed.
If other college faculty shared this commitment to teach a course because the students want to be in it, I think we would have many sections of such courses in all of the colleges. Every student would know what a positive experience it is, and most of them would be signing up without it being required. For example, in our college, 90 percent of the new freshman students were enrolled in Ag 150 this semester. Unfortunately, such commitment by the faculty is not evident. As one of the founding fathers of Ag 150, I have spoken to several representatives of the different colleges and at several campuses. The general response has been that they are not interested and do not think they should take the time to teach such trivia. That being the case, the teaching responsibility of the mandated course will probably fall to graduate students or part-time staff. These people can do a superb job, but the message sent out to the new student is that the University doesn't care enough to have senior faculty involved directly with them. This is too bad because most of the literature I have read indicates that the first six weeks that the student spends at a college determines whether they stay or leave. Having concerned faculty in small sections is a very positive message to send to the students and their parents. That has to be a commitment of the faculty, but I don't think you'll get it mandated.
The other thing which concerns me, if I required a humanities course as I said, we have 90 percent of our students in our college signed up. Ten percent don't need it, and most of them have the experience given in the freshman seminar. Therefore, I think we're going to be penalizing these students. That's 10 percent that don't need it. Another thing, as I've alluded to already, if the provisions which are in the recommendations say that they can take it in the first three semesters, I think that's going to be too late--the second and third semesters are going to be too late. I think the student will fully resent a mandatory course like this. Thank you.
Robert N. Pangborn: I can't wait to hear my own response to those latter comments. Let me start with the library issue. I think you're absolutely right. There is a heavy dependence on the Library and other academic units that are engaged in the process of helping students learn to access information, and I'd include the Center for Academic Computing as well as quite a number of other groups, the Learning Resource Center and so on. The Faculty Senate has always been very supportive of the Libraries. They will continue to be so. I think we'll have to increase that support in order to provide the resources necessary to really be able to deliver on the extra burden this will represent. I think that's something we ought to all be willing to acknowledge and to support.
Jean Landa Pytel, College of Engineering: I have a question, or a clarification I guess, where writing across the curriculum fits into this proposal. Is it Recommendation #3 that would cover that? Or are we sort of not including any mention of it because it will remain as it is?
Robert N. Pangborn: That's a good question, Jean. Actually, the writing across the curriculum has never been viewed as a requirement that's part--at least solely part--of general education. In fact, most of the writing intensive courses are offered in majors outside of the general education curriculum, although I think there's some language in the original writing across the curriculum legislation which certainly encourages that general education courses be submitted to the writing committee and be approved as "W" courses. So, in that sense, the Committee didn't feel an obligation to deal with the writing across the curriculum requirement. I think I reflect the rest of the Committee members when I say that we were pretty satisfied with the way that that requirement is being implemented. I think it serves a very useful purpose. I think the faculty have taken it seriously. It didn't come without some growing pains, as we all know. I think the Committee felt it's working well. It should be retained. I think, if anything, the Committee's simply saying, having learned from that experience, we know we can incorporate writing in the educational process, and we'd like to expand that. We'd like to see students have an opportunity to use what they've learned in their English composition and rhetoric, in their writing in the discipline that the English 202C, or A, B or D, that they take and actually use that in the context of all of general education. That's why it's one of the key elements that we see as being an active learning element, one that will advance student's capability to use their skill in writing to learn within the context of the rest of general education. So, we'd really like to see what's happening in the writing across the curriculum occur in a broader spectrum of the general education courses. I think it is to a large extent, and we'd like to further encourage that.
Beno Weiss: This question has nothing to do with money. It's in reference to Recommendation #8, substitution of three credits in general education. What happens to students that are currently enrolled in the BA program, where they have to take a third course in a foreign language? Does that mean they automatically reduce their general education requirement?
Robert N. Pangborn: Let me…
Beno Weiss: Are you saying that this applies to all students? It seems to be very vague.
Robert N. Pangborn: Again, it's a good question. Let me try to reflect the Committee's thinking on this. We had a lot of discussion of the place that proficiency in a second language should have in a student's education. I think it was generally accepted by the Committee that we want to do something, if not to require it for all students, to encourage students to aspire to that relatively more advanced level of proficiency. So, the question was how to do that. What we've always, I think, recognized as a strong tradition at Penn State is that all students are subject to the same general education requirements. So, if we were going to make this an option available to students, we didn't want to exclude any subset of students. So, we didn't want to say this can be accessed by all students except those who are in BA degree programs because they're already required to do this. Whereas some of you know there's, I think, a yet unimplemented requirement in the Smeal College of Business Administration that students would take a third semester course in a second language, and we didn't want to say this is available to all students except those students in business. So, what we did was the next best thing is to say that this would be an option for all students which could be substituted anywhere in the curriculum, with obviously some qualification that would deal with whether a student was substituting for something that they really shouldn't substitute for. That can happen, obviously, if, for instance, they were to substitute for a course which is a prerequisite for another course they need to take for the major or something like that, and, obviously, that would be represent a conflict for a given program. So, there are situations that are governed by accreditation criteria and so on that could serve to qualify the option. Those qualifications are being imposed not from within general education, but from without. Now, our feeling is that if a baccalaureate degree requirement and the committee that has authority over them (which is a subcommittee of the Senate) wants to adjusts things, wants to react to this during the implementation process whereby students wouldn't be able to double count, then that's their business. We really don't have authority over the baccalaureate degree requirements. If that subcommittee decided that it should not be an option for students in those degree programs--in the BA degree program--to count the third semester of language both towards the BA requirements and towards general education, I think there are cases--and some of them, I think we all know quite well--where restrictions on what students can double count for general education do exist. In fact, they already exist for the BA degree requirements. You can't double count, for instance, courses that are taken in the humanities in general education towards the humanities requirement that's part of the BA degree requirement. So, this isn't unusual. I think the majors, like Business, would have the same right to go in and say to their students, "this isn't an option for you." But that's their call, not our call. We didn't as a general education committee want to be imposing restrictions on students just by virtue of their involvement with a particular degree program.
M. Susan Richman, Penn State Harrisburg, The Capital College: As a mathematician, I draw a sharp distinction between mathematical thinking and quantification, and I really don't care much for the term "quantification." However, in the former gen ed, it explains that quantification means three credits for math, applied math and three additional credits for one of those or computer science or symbolic logic. This is not at all spelled out in the framework, and there are some other particulars not spelled out. Is it spelled out somewhere that's not in evidence, or was it intentionally left kind of vague?
Robert N. Pangborn: Well, I don't think there was any intent to change the basic definition of what quantification is. So, I think it's reasonable to say that quantification as it's always defined will be how it is defined after these recommendations are adopted.
M. Susan Richman: I think that this should be written up if you want it to stay the same as in the current bulletin.
Robert N. Pangborn: You're asking if I think it should be emphasized that it should be the same?
M. Susan Richman: No. If this is what you're voting for, the definition to stay as they are in the current gen ed requirement, should a copy of that be included as part of your legislation?
Robert N. Pangborn: I don't think so. But, I think this dialogue could be part of the record and that would provide the guidance, like all of the guidelines do, that would provide a touchstone for the implementing bodies to refer to. But, I guess I'm not sure I want to get into the idea of confirming everything that's in general education.
M. Susan Richman: So, then, it was intentionally left vague?
Robert N. Pangborn: No. It wasn't dealt with because we weren't going to change it, I think, is the proper way to say that.
M. Susan Richman: Okay. We'll get a footnote saying that these are as currently defined?
R. Scott Kretchmar, College of Health and Human Development: I wanted to make a comment about Recommendation #6. The comments are not directed toward the issue of the reduction from four credits to three credits and not directed towards the concerns about academic respectability, and I think the Committee's concern that students could take three-credit courses that are "theory" courses on content kinds of courses. The concern has to do a little bit with the ambiguity of one of the phrases in the recommendation, talking about the requirements of social sciences and academic approach, and exactly what this could mean in terms of flushing out the requirement. At the heart of our requirement, we think, is the goal of changing human behavior to promote actual healthy living. In this concern for changing habits, skills, and behavior, we think we share somewhat common motives with other providers of general education here at Penn State: for example, the English department that is at least as much concerned in general education that these students actually learn to write well, as well as their theory about sentence and paragraph formation; and with the Department of Mathematics that we believe wants students to be able to solve algebraic and calculus problems, not just theorize about how they might be solved; and also with the Department of Music, it would have some students learn how to make beautiful sounds, not just talk about doing so. Changing behavior toward better health practices we think is a very complex project that involves the whole person--his/her attitude, possibly sedentary habits that have been formed over the student's lifetime, poor dietary practices, in some cases, lack of movement skills, and so on. For some individuals, we agree theory offers a good entry point for changing behavior. We have courses actually on the books now that utilize theory, academic approaches as an invitation to a new lifestyle. But theory, we think, is not a good entry point for others. These folks need hands-on experiences, skills, new habits, personal evidence that things like accrued diets, stress management skills, and sound recreational capabilities make life go better. The current recommendation talks of an academic emphasis of focusing, we think, possibly on theory over practice. And, if so, this would remove valued pedagogical strategies from our arsenal. We think we need the flexibility to meet student needs in different ways to educate toward healthful living. We need the pedagogical room that was in fact recommended for the freshman seminars to organize courses topically, or around skill development, or in terms of any number of creative combinations between the two.
Charles F. Gunderman, DuBois Campus: I was going to go back to the language requirement just quickly, and maybe it's not the appropriate time. You indicated in the language requirements that students may not combine the options with the language credits to eliminate an area of knowledge entirely. Was there any way that you could find that this could be done?
Robert N. Pangborn: Yes. I'm sorry. That was a little extra footnote we had to put in for this reason. There is currently, and I think it's repeated there, the option available to students to take a three, six, nine sequence in the arts, humanities and social sciences, where students could opt to take a nine-credit sequence in one of the key distribution areas and then take six credits in a second and three credits in a third. What we didn't want is students substituting the study of a second language for that three credits that they're taking, and that we made it in the third of the categories so that they could presumably take a gen ed curriculum that had no arts or no humanities or no social sciences. So, what we're suggesting there is they can't combine those two options in such a way as to eliminate one of the key distribution areas.
Charles F. Gunderman: The other part of my question dealt with Recommendation #6 and what Dr. Kretchmar spoke about. In the past number of years, we've been here, we have debated these general education requirements dealing with physical activities. I believe the last time was 1994 and we reaffirmed the requirement, I think that the comments that Dr. Kretchmar made speaks to the point, to the activity component being a sensible part of our requirements. I feel strongly that students need the requirement that we leave the option alone.
Robert N. Pangborn: All right. Well, in fact, I would respond to you that, since your wording played into it, that it will remain as an option that we would encourage. I think throughout the discussion of the Health Sciences requirement, we emphasized that we would like to encourage students to be actively engaged, to participate in practice of good, healthy and fit lifestyles. It's consistent with the emphasis of the entire report. I think probably the divergence here from prior practice was that we are not in this recommendation insisting that all students would take a course that is solely dedicated toward activity. I think the Committee acknowledges that there are courses that are offered under the ESACT designation that have good academic content, and if that can be emphasized in proposals, it would clearly meet the goals of this requirement. So, I don't think we're saying that that can't happen. We're simply saying that what we're looking for is a rigorous academically-oriented kind of requirement that could and hopefully will include active engagement of students in what they're learning.
Karl M. Newell, Department Head, Kinesiology: I'd like to say a few words on Recommendation #6. I certainly endorse the spirits of the new flexibility of the proposed health requirement, a broader thrust to the study of health, but the one point I'd like to focus on here is that within that broader context, there seems to be a narrow or problematic execution, if you will, of certain facets of the established program. This narrowly hinges on this whole chestnut of the problem of what is academic. It seems as if there's some great effort here to so-call emphasize, on apparently no real basis, what is academic as opposed to de-emphasizing what is presumably seems to be non-academic. The point I'd like to make is that there are many knowledge categories. Each of us in different domains has different ways of cutting the knowledge cake. I submit that whichever framework you have, if you examine any subject matter in this University or, indeed, any other, all knowledge types would come to bear on your problem. They are not mutually exclusive or synonymous with particular subject matter. It's largely a matter of emphasis and different mixes. We feel that the proposal as it stands tends to over-emphasize that what Dr. Kretchmar has mentioned as the apparent flame of academic is as scientific, as academic if something else is not academic. This seems unfortunate, particularly in this day and age, as we move forward when we talk of integration and active learning, we somehow still live off of these old traditional categories. I'd like to say, too, that this distinction is not brought to bear on existing elements of the general education program. If you peruse what is now available and not up for change, that issue would remain and yet there's no discussion of that. So, this is an isolated example. I'd also like to say that this report, in fact, one of the former features of this report, is that it emphasizes features such as active learner, active engagement of the learner, and, yet, when we come to action, we have to study it by sitting down and not moving. And, yet, in the broader sense of lifestyle and change, we know that knowing about something, particularly with adults, tends not to have great success in bringing about change or behavior in knowing how. And, the final thought is remember this paradox: we do things that we do not know about and we know about things that we cannot do. Why would we want to box knowledge type in particular categories when we have little understanding of what basis we're categorizing them on in the first place. So, we're looking towards a small change in where the problem stands, not one that in terms is the broader thrust, but that provides enhanced flexibility and offlives a richer set of possibilities around knowledge types in the study of physical activity of the students. In short, let me quote you one sentence from the segment on freshman seminar, page 11, debates in the discussion of existing seminars in colleges now is a model for what might occur in the future. It says about these seminars, "Some concentrate on skills development and orientation while others emphasize topical content, but all the approaches lend themselves to weaving the above goals into the seminar experience." What we would like is a more flexible, integrated language to more appropriately provide the physical activity, and, by the way, it extends beyond physical activity to the health requirement at large, a more appropriate flexible approach for the health requirement.
Robert N. Pangborn: I guess I would simply say to that I think the Committee feels it has proposed a very flexible, broad-based requirement that will meet the many kinds of needs of our students.
Charles H. Strauss, College of Agricultural Sciences: As a follow-up to the first question and comment about budgeting and cost increases from this program, I would express the concern of the long-term effort that was required to bring this very articulate recommendation forward. It wasn't a coinciding manner with doing an analysis of cost. It almost appears that we're into a hurry-up scenario of getting cost once we have this particular product identified. But, I think that there is an adequate amount of time to complete this cost assessment. I would, however, call for as articulate a cost analysis as you have the product here before us. Furthermore, since the pattern of this University and the pattern of our consumer world is to pass the cost on to the customer, I would like to see this cost identified in terms of what the potential percentage increase in tuition would be to our undergraduate students. Now, this is a very real denominator, and I think it is required for this particular type of program. We see the various majors at this University now having to bear additional cost burdens relative to the expense borne by those particular students. So this program, since it is coming across all of our undergraduate students, should be also evaluated in that particular manner. I would hope by December we would have an articulate cost analysis and a bottom line that could give us what the potential increase in tuition would be for our students. Thank you.
Chair Geschwindner: Rob, let me comment on that. You may recall that in my introductory remarks at the beginning of this discussion, I said, "the Senate Committee on University Planning will present the report on costing of this proposal at the December meeting prior to any vote." Our reason behind this process is to not hold up the general discussion of the General Education Report waiting for a costing report which will be available in December, but to get the discussion going now. But, the costing report, as mandated, will be coming from University Planning, not from the Special Committee on General Education, but from University Planning, as our rules require.
Jamie M. Myers, College of Education: I appreciate this. I'm just trying to clarify some of the issues of this report. Rob, could you share a little bit of the Committee's thinking dealing with the freshman seminar at non-University Park locations. Is it the idea that the Commonwealth College will offer freshman seminars or that colleges will sponsor freshman seminars at all these different locations?
Robert N. Pangborn: The idea is that the first-year seminars would be offered at each location, obviously, and that they would be open to students at that location. Now, there may be instances where a specific location may be able to offer seminars that would be specifically tuned to the needs of, say, engineering students, and I gave as an example in the proposal the option perhaps at locations other than University Park of using the freshman design course that engineering students take in the first year anyway. By adapting what's done in those courses, it could very easily meet the goals of the first-year seminar. That may be possible in other majors. In other cases, it may be that the location wants to offer a number of different seminars and make it possible for students in any number of majors to take them. The seminar is intended to be perfectly portable. And, even at University Park, it may be that students will want to cross over between the college they're actually enrolled in and another college in order to take the seminar. Obviously, in order to make sure that the burden, if you want to call it that, is distributed according to the enrollment in the colleges, you want to accommodate your own students first and then make open spaces available to students in other colleges if they should choose to take seminars outside of their own major disciplines. But, we see a variety of things happening at the campuses. In some cases, the seminars may not represent extra credits that are having to be delivered because they can be delivered in the context of courses students are already taking to meet general education or other requirements. There may be, in some cases, some reasons why you'd want to have students take courses that are additional to their other requirements. Certainly, for those units that are looking to expand the number of credit hours they earn, that's a possibility.
Jamie M. Myers: So, it's not like an individual college does not have to think about ways in which they're going to deliver seminars across the Commonwealth?
Robert N. Pangborn: Right.
Jamie M. Myers: Okay. Can you share a little bit of thinking about why you chose a one-credit seminar rather than a three-credit seminar because the description of what you expect to accomplish in a one-credit seminar would seem to me to take a lot more "class contact time" than would be scheduled.
Robert N. Pangborn: We didn't choose a one-credit seminar. As you see, we are suggesting that it could be variable in credit depending on what the delivery unit is trying to accomplish. In some cases, the content and the objectives of the course may fit the kinds of class time and expectations for work by the students that's appropriate for three credits. In other cases, it might be one credit. I think what the Committee felt was that we would try to keep this as flexible as possible. I think structured this way it takes advantage of the different models that we have operating already, Where in the various colleges, there are first-year seminars being offered, they vary from one to three credits. They seem to all be very effective. So, I think the Committee didn't want to take a position on which was better. We simply wanted to take best advantage of people's ideas and what they might come up with in responding to this particular recommendation.
Jamie M. Myers: Okay. Last question about the Committee's deliberations. Did the Committee discuss the admission to the skills category--communication and quantification gen ed requirements--a course that deals with information technology? It seems to me like it's an awful heavy burden to expect all these different ability skills, computer and information technology to be taught as part of these other courses without perhaps a gen ed course in the communication category that deals with the production and access of using information technology.
Robert N. Pangborn: I'm sorry. Just so I understand the question. You're wondering why we didn't set that aside as a stand-alone requirement?
Jamie M. Myers: Yes. Dealing with these technologies. We're putting a big burden on other areas of the University by expecting students just to go to them to learn how to do stuff.
Robert N. Pangborn: Yes. Well, I think you can appreciate the problems that we would face in proposing additional credits to be part of general education. Particularly, since that's not a very popular kind of thing, we'd have to choose where we were going to take away credits in order to do it. And the combination of those two things makes it very difficult to carve out room for a new skill or competency and make it a stand-alone requirement. I think, realistically, too, a lot of these information technologies and information literacy issues are so intertwined, so interwoven, with things like communication or quantification for the knowledge domains that maybe the best way to treat these is by seeing them as an integral part of student's education in those other key areas. So, I really think that the Committee, in the absence of a better option, felt that this really ought to be an integral part of what we do pretty much across the whole spectrum of general education. Maybe there are other folks from the Committee that want to comment.
Chair Geschwindner: Okay. We have under 15 minutes left. What I'm going to do is call on two Senators whose hands I saw raised before this last one, then I'm going to go to the two folks who have asked for the privilege of the floor, and then we'll come back to other Senators for any further comments. Murry?
Murry R. Nelson, College of Education: Thank you. I'd like to follow-up on what Jamie said about the freshman seminars. I have to admit that last, I guess it was, spring when we got the first preliminary discussion of this, maybe it was my own misunderstanding, but I viewed the freshman seminar then that they were going to be more cross disciplinary and, indeed, that the seminar would allow for students from different areas to come together under a variety of topics and it sounded very exciting. I have to say that I was disappointed in seeing what came out of this report because it seems that that kind of possibility is there for what you were just saying for some of the non-University Park colleges. It seems far less likely for most of the University Park colleges to either do that or be able to do that. In that sense, it's similar to what Felix was saying earlier that this really isn't a gen ed requirement, it's telling each individual college you must do something within your own area. I'm just having trouble seeing how this is a gen ed requirement when the College of Education or the College of Engineering provides a seminar for its own students to study about its own subject area in some way.
Robert N. Pangborn: No.
Murry R. Nelson: That's what it seems. So maybe you can help me to understand.
Robert N. Pangborn: Let me jump in because I think that is a misinterpretation. It certainly is a misinterpretation of what we intended. It may not be a misinterpretation of what you saw there, because maybe we weren't clear enough. Let me say, absolutely, that the Committee would like to inspire as creative and as cross-disciplinary and as collaborative a spectrum of first-year seminars as we possibly can encourage faculty to produce. I mean that is clearly the intent of what we would like to see happen. The only reason that maybe the writing wasn't so clear on this is that we did want to make sure that units understood that the responsibility for making spaces available in the first-year seminars would somehow break down as proportional to the number of students in that college or in that collection of disciplines, because I think all the faculty have to share the responsibility, and so we didn't want to make it possible for the colleges to basically say, "Well, you folks in Liberal Arts and the College of Arts and Architecture get together and deliver enough seminars to handle our students in another college." But we certainly want to encourage that, and if there's language in there that doesn't speak to that, then maybe there should be. But, we really want to see a lot of different ways to approach this. I think the College of Engineering intends on developing actually some very creative linkages perhaps with other colleges, maybe with the English department and the composition courses or whatever, that would serve the purpose and meet the guidelines of the first-year seminar. We don't even see the first-year seminars constrained necessarily to one course. It could be something where you're meeting the goals of the first-year seminar but through a course linkage. George Franz was just telling me about something that is being planned at Delaware Campus that I think just works beautifully in terms of what we thought the potential could be for really engaging students in a provocative experience.
Chair Geschwindner: Peter Rebane.
P. Peter Rebane, The Abington College: It seems to me we are currently only voting on the recommendations and not on guidelines and other material attached, something which I find hard to believe will actually take place. But let me ask you: for instance, the statement about freshman seminars on page 11, that, "The seminars would be taught by full-time, regular faculty and limited to twenty students per class," would then not be part of the recommendation? And my understanding was initially that the whole question of seminars was driven by the fact that at the Centre County campus there are very large classes where students do not interact with their faculty, something that we, in the more urban areas, do have at the present time.
Robert N. Pangborn: Let me say this first. I don't think there's any doubt that the need for a first-year seminar experience is more crucial at University Park. I think that was pretty obvious to the Committee, and I think it's pretty obvious to anyone who's been around Penn State for some period of time. Students at University Park do not have as much access, face-to-face kind of opportunity with faculty and for dialogue in a small class setting. Certainly, there are experiences that are delivered in a smaller class setting--English Composition and Calculus classes now and so on--but often those are with instructors or other less experienced faculty. They're not certainly the faculty who are going to have a long association with the University and who the students will see again when they enter the majors. So, I think that clearly the emphasis here was on providing--and I think it's reasonable to say--an experience at University Park which replicates some of the best characteristics of the campuses. So, I'll say that right up front. As far as the way in which these guidelines will play out once we vote on this, and clearly the motion will be restricted to the recommendation, I think the Committee felt it was important in preparing guidelines to take a stand somewhere on what we felt would be appropriate constraints to design something that we felt would be pedagogically sound and meet the goals that we had in mind. We talked about 25 students per class, and we talked about 15, and we talked about 20, and we settled on 20. John Moore just gave me an article coming from Stanford where they've just instituted a new first-year seminar program where they've put a limit of 18 students. Where do people get these numbers? I don't know. I think it's some kind of interpretation of what constitutes a reasonably small number of people in an environment where dialogue can take place. Maybe that's the key issue there. I don't know. But, the bottom line is there's always going to be some room for interpretation, some room for flexibility. We would really like the campuses to have the opportunity to take advantage of their local resources and the things that they might be able to do that we can't do here. So, we don't want to put such strict boundary conditions on this first-year seminar, in fact, on any of the other things in the recommendations, such that it constrains people. What we want to do is make it something that people can take on, be creative with, work with and do something that's going to represent a quality experience. So, we had to take a stand somewhere. I think the idea is that these would be implemented in a way that would be as consistent as possible with what our spirit was, and spirit doesn't mean adhering to every detail to the letter.
P. Peter Rebane: May I follow that up simply? Since there was a lot of talk about costing, monetary costing, I attended the caucus of my own college, and we talked about breaking down large classes, may I remind the Committee and others who look at the costing, that in some of our other locations where we have a fixed number of full-time faculty, where we don't have teaching assistants is, that if we do give a freshman seminar, we will have to pull faculty from the regular ranks that teach the introductory survey courses. We can only solve that problem by lessening our offerings or hiring part-time faculty to teach those, and there's an underlying faculty cost there that doesn't easily translate into dollars. So, so much for that. May I finish with one more comment? For those who know me, know that I am a medievalist by trade, dealing with monks and people who sit in cells or like things and also that English is not my primary language. Yet, when I look at the recommendations for removing the physical activity requirement in the health sciences, I have tried to, very hard, for the past half of year to find the rationale why anybody would object to making some of our students who are couch potatoes actually go out and exercise when every national survey says we're overweight to the risk of heart attacks. Now, back to English as my second language. The only reason for removing that requirement that I can find is on page 12 reads, and I quote in English, "Many individuals themselves failed to express conflicting views on the issue usually embodied by doubt that physical education and health are a good fit with a more formal academic subject matter and the content of the rest of general education." First of all, I think it's atrocious English. Secondly, I still believe in the Greek concept of a sound mind in a sound body. Studying music does not make a person a musician--he has to actually play the instrument. This is a very weak recommendation. Thank you.
Robert N. Pangborn: Unfortunately, I think I wrote that sentence. So, John, I'm going to be registering for your class next semester.
Geraldine Weilacher, Assistant to the Associate Dean and Director of the University Learning Resource Center: Thanks for the chance to comment on this report from the perspective of the University Learning Resource Center, or the ULRC. The ULRC is a group of seven learning centers administered by the Office of Undergraduate Education. We support students in their out-of-class learning by linking them to fellow undergraduates who can help them learn material for their courses as well as learn how to use technologies.
We support the recommendations. I would like to note that the work of integrating active and collaborative learning into students' experiences--using writing, speaking, quantitative skills, critical thinking, etc.--is already underway at many locations at Penn State but certainly in the learning centers here. Here are a few examples:
The Writing Center, together with the Schreyer Institute, has developed a model whereby peer tutors in writing will go to any class in which students are being asked to write--be it a History, a Science, or a Social Science class--and demonstrate, in one class period, a three-step method that students can use to critique each other's writing. Instructors say that afterwards both they and their students feel more confident in approaching this writing as a means for learning.
A second example. In our Computer Learning Center this past summer, six undergraduates supervised by a grad student designed and offered small group workshops in computer skills to the LEAP freshmen. Evaluations showed that students found it most helpful to learn basic computer skills at this level through one-on-one sessions with peers as they focused on carrying out specific assignments for their English courses, PolSci courses, business courses, etc., as opposed to participating in computer classes or even formal workshops. Our peer computer consultants are now gearing up to help their fellow students learn to use the new multimedia video-editing equipment that's being installed in the learning centers so that students will be able to use their skills to create graphic presentations of their ideas for many different courses.
A third example. For twelve years, we've been training undergraduates to lead out-of-class small group discussions for students enrolled in challenging courses like Chemistry 13, Physics 201, and Statistics 200. Lately, we've expanded this training to prepare students to work as peer tutors back in their academic departments. This training helps students become very aware of different strategies for learning and how to help their fellow students learn more efficiently.
In short, the contemporary learning center is not only a place that helps students with basic skills--it's also a University resource for some of our best students who, after class, know how useful it can be to collaborate with other students, through conversations and group projects, to master the course material.
When the time comes to implement these recommendations, we are ready to share what we've learned about how to organize and prepare students to help each other learn and take responsibility for their own learning. Thank you.
Chair Geschwindner: Thank you. Now, we've come to the end of the time allotted by Senate Council for discussion today. Before I close completely, Rob, did you have any final comments you want to make?
Robert N. Pangborn: No. I appreciate your consideration of the report. It's been a very thoughtful discussion, and I look forward to your continuing discussion of the recommendations in your own home departments and divisions.
Chair Geschwindner: Some of you received a door handout that is not going to be presented or discussed. If those of you who didn't receive it want to see a copy of it, you can contact the Senate Office, but the presenter of that information decided not to present it to you. So, it's just there. I would point out to you that our discussion at the December meeting will be more open-ended. We do not anticipate setting such a short timeframe, although I would hope we don't go on until 8:00 at night. But we do have opportunities to discuss it in more detail at the time that the recommendations are actually on the floor for a vote. Question of clarification?
Edward W. Bittner, McKeesport Campus: In order to submit a change to this to be presented, will it all be done from the floor of the Senate at the next meeting if there are changes to be made?
Chair Geschwindner: If there are to be changes, okay, that means amendments other than coming from the Committee. Okay, if the Committee proposes a change they will bring a door handout or it will be in The Senate Agenda or something that they propose a change. But any other amendments will be done on the floor. But we are asking just to keep everybody on the same page, that if you're preparing a motion, if you know ahead of time and can get it in writing, if you get it to the Senate Office, we can get it copied and people will have these things. The Committee will have it ahead of time. People will know what's going on. But there is no intent to say unless you get a motion in by two weeks from today, you can't do it. It's just a matter that if you know, because this is an extended discussion, if you know that you're going to have a motion to amend, if you can get it to us ahead of time, it would help everybody to know what it is.
Edward W. Bittner: There will be one vote on the whole package, not one on each?
Chair Geschwindner: That's the motion that's on the table.
Robert N. Pangborn: Could I add to that, Lou? I'd just like to mention, too, that I think the Committee all along has been very receptive to input. We've tried to listen carefully through a year and a half of consultation with our colleagues. If there are things that you would like to change about the report, please consider sending them to me or e-mailing one of the other members of the Committee. We have a very active dialogue
going on. We can respond to these things quickly. I'm not sure that we want to make major changes in the report, but certainly, if we hear good things, we hear useful ideas or we hear things that we really like, then we will make every attempt to, I think the appropriate term would be, kind of edit the report or even, in fact, amend the recommendations that we're voting on. But I think it's more likely that we would be inclined certainly for friendly suggestions to edit the report, and I would simply provide an indication probably in writing at the next meeting as to what kinds of editorial changes we would make so that that becomes part of The Senate Record and part of the spirit that is looked at when implementation occurs. All of the guidelines, in fact, are the reflections of the way we'd like this to be implemented. If we were, as a Committee, to agree to any modifications of that, that could be handled by friendly editing of the report, and we'd be happy to consider that. I can't make any promises one way or another whether we would consider any particular modifications, friendly or not, but we will certainly try to respond to them. I think it might prevent some floor time here in handling each of those.
Chair Geschwindner: Okay. If we have clarification on procedure, I'll take the question, but I won't talk about the report.
Kenneth A. Thigpen, College of the Liberal Arts: I'm still confused about what we're voting on.
Chair Geschwindner: You're voting on the motion that's the single-page door handout.
Kenneth A. Thigpen: I understand. But I'm saying are the guidelines…
Chair Geschwindner: The motion, and as I went through it, is a paragraph under each…
Kenneth A. Thigpen: Because what we've been talking about today is mostly what's been in the guidelines, not what's in those.
Chair Geschwindner: Right. The motion is the paragraph under the recommendation. It says Recommendation #1 and then there's a sentence. That's the motion. Each of those ten recommendations and the vision, mission and goals that are on pages 7 and 8.
Kenneth A. Thigpen: So, interpretation is still up for debate?
Chair Geschwindner: Right. The implementation--which is the interpretation of whether it's a 20-student class or a one-credit class--that's coming later when we get to the implementation, and we have to decide how we're going to deal with the implementation. Okay. So, the motion that the Committee has before us are just those individual recommendations. Is that clear to everyone?
Jamie M. Myers: Will we vote on one recommendation at a time?
Chair Geschwindner: The motion that is before us is to vote on all of it together.
Jamie M. Myers: Why?
Chair Geschwindner: Because that's what the Committee recommended. If there is a motion in December to separate it, we will address that at that time. But the motion from the Committee is quite clear and quite concise. Okay. I think we've had enough discussion of the procedures. You can talk to Rob or to me or to any of the Senate Officers if you have additional questions on that. Thank you for your discussion of this legislation.
SENATE COMMITTEE ON UNDERGRADUATE EDUCATION
Revision of 37-00: Entrance to a College or Major
Arthur C. Miller, Chair
We'll now move on to the next item of "Legislative Reports" which comes from the Undergraduate Education Committee. Art Miller is here to present this report.
Arthur C. Miller, College of Engineering: Thank you. The Senate Committee on Undergraduate Education would like to propose a revision to the University Faculty Senate Policy 37-00: Entrance to a College or Major. Currently, students who have not been enrolled in a given college may present themselves for degree from that college by placing their names on the working graduation list as late as their last semester. Therefore, our Committee proposes the following revision under Policy 37-00. We would add a subsection to read, "Apply no more than 91 credits of previous work toward a degree in the new college. Exceptions would be allowed under Senate Policy 37-00(1)(d), provided any controlled majors had not reached approved control limits." The rationale is that the proposed revision, the notion is to ensure that the student will have performed significant academic work, and under the supervision of, the faculty of the college where the student proposes to graduate. It would ensure that at least one year's work is involved, and would minimize the likelihood that a student would have to schedule more than the normal number of credits to graduate. The Committee presents this to the Senate.
Chair Geschwindner: The recommendation is from the Committee, so it does not need a second. Is there any discussion?
Margaret M. Lyday, College of the Liberal Arts: In the Committee's discussion, was there any thought of what effect this might have now or in the future on independent learning students taking courses where they weren't physically located in any of our locations?
Arthur C. Miller: Not directly, no.
Peter Deines, College of Earth and Mineral Sciences: Would there be any limitation of what kinds of courses could be included in those 91 credits?
Arthur C. Miller: That's up to the petition; the intent to spirit would be the last year. So, it's really saying that you would like to. And it's not residency, but it would be almost residency in the course content. It would be the last year of your courses.
Peter Deines: Well, I'm quite hesitant. What I'm wondering about is what happens to the student who changes location more than once?
Arthur C. Miller: That would be up to the petition and up to the dean of the college to accept that, and those are exceptions.
Chair Geschwindner: Yes. This is not a change in location; it's a change in college.
John Lilley: I'm not sure what your intent is, but the fact is you're going to be restricting the movement of students consciously or unconsciously.
Arthur C. Miller: No. We're not restricting movement.
John Lilley: … from one location/college to another location/college.
Arthur C. Miller: No. We're not restricting movement at all. We're restricting that if you went and spent four years at a college at a particular location, you would not be petitioning to graduate from a college at a different location. You would have to do some course work at that other location.
John Lilley: So, you are agreeing with me that we are restricting their movement and that we think we're doing it for educational sound reasons?
Arthur C. Miller: I don't see it as a restriction of the movement.
Chair Geschwindner: Any other questions? Don.
Donald E. Fahnline, Altoona College: I have the same question, and so let me give you an example. A student at Altoona College who as a freshman enrolled in the College of Science and earned his credits, would those credits from fall count toward graduation?
Arthur C. Miller: If a student …
Donald E. Fahnline: …that would want to transfer to University Park College of Science for graduation?
Arthur C. Miller: Would you repeat? You're saying that if the student spent four years at the Altoona College…
Donald E. Fahnline: Not necessarily four years. It may be three years.
Arthur C. Miller: We're saying that he would transfer up to 91 credits.
Donald E. Fahnline: Even though he was in the College of Science as a student at the Altoona College?
Arthur C. Miller: He's in the college…
Donald E. Fahnline: Can only transfer 91, not all?
Arthur C. Miller: To University Park?
Donald E. Fahline: To University Park.
Arthur C. Miller: And want to graduate with a diploma with University Park?
Chair Geschwindner: Art, can I help you? If he's in the College of Science, he's in the College of Science; he graduates from the College of Science, no matter where he is in the system. If he's in the College of Science.
Donald E. Fahnline: That's not what I heard with the previous answer.
Chair Geschwindner: But that's what the legislation says.
Donald E. Fahnline: Thank you.
John Lilley: In the future as we have more and more programs at the colleges away from University Park, and there will be less and less probable delegation of academic programs in the University Park colleges, you would have to attend Behrend. At that time, when you're no longer doing University Park college programs at Altoona College, once you reach the 91 or beyond that, you are at that point for academically sound reasons and judged from this legislation, you are restricting the movement of that student and that is your purposeful intent. Am I correct?
Arthur C. Miller: Yes.
Chair Geschwindner: Any other comments or questions? Are you ready for the vote? All those in favor of the recommendation of the Committee, signify by saying, "aye."
Chair Geschwindner: All opposed, same sign.
Chair Geschwindner: Thank you. The motion passes.
SENATE COMMITTEE ON FACULTY BENEFITS
Faculty Salary Report by Gender
S. Diane Brannon, Chair
We have a number of informational reports. The first of those informational reports is from Faculty Benefits. Diane Brannon will present the report on "Faculty Salary Report by Gender."
S. Diane Brannon, College of Health and Human Development: This is in your package as Appendix "D." If there were a subtitle to the report, it would be so far, so good in terms of what kind of information we were able to look at. The work on this report was done primarily last academic year. There was a delay in presenting it to the Senate because we were attempting to get some clarification on the difference between male and female salaries that were reported for Hershey. We were not able to get that, and we still have not been able to get that. Billie Willits is working on that problem and there have been, as you know, a lot of different changes about who is in what category at Hershey. So, it probably makes some sense to offer that later as an addendum anyway. The gist of the report is that although there are still very small numbers of women faculty and senior ranks, it's difficult to say exactly what the contrast will look like there. Just looking at means and medians and standard deviations within colleges and other comparable units, and looking at time in rank for those groupings, the Committee did not see problems with the one exception of the Hershey data, which we will provide you with an addendum on when we find that out. So, that's why I call it so far, so good. Any questions?
Jamie M. Myers: Only one thing makes me curious. Did the Committee have any idea why female faculty have, generally across the board, fewer years in rank? Have they not been around very long?
S. Diane Brannon: Can you think of another alternative explanation?
Jamie M. Myers: Are they not recognized in this institution or do they leave sooner?
S. Diane Brannon: No. That wasn't the purpose of this report to understand time in rank. I guess the implication is that Penn State is doing a better job of hiring women than it used to. So, maybe that's it. I don't know.
Gordon F. De Jong, College of the Liberal Arts: Did you do a regression decomposition to try to control it for a number of variables that are obviously important in interpreting the results?
S. Diane Brannon: No. We did not. The Committee felt that the numbers in some of these categories were so small that a regression analysis would probably create more obscuration of the results than simply looking at categories the way they are now, that maybe a few years from now when there are more even numbers of women spread throughout the different ranks, we could use regression analysis to do a more refined, varied approach.
Dwight Davis, College of Medicine: Could you clarify for me the problem with the data from Hershey?
S. Diane Brannon: No. I cannot. I don't think anyone can clarify the problem yet. Part of it is separating out. We're not sure what's in the data. There are clinical faculty and there are basic science faculty. By the time we got around to asking them for a specific separation out of some of those issues, the whole database had changed anyway because of changes in the Hershey faculty.
Dwight Davis: But that information is forthcoming?
S. Diane Brannon: Yes. We expect to offer an addendum to this report in the spring.
Robert Zelis, College of Medicine: I would like to suggest that there is as much difference in the salaries for people in different departments at Hershey as there is within different colleges here, and that women may be more representative in some of the others. There are more women in pediatrics than there are in neuro surgery, for example. The difference of faculty salary may be five, four.
S. Diane Brannon: That is a real possibility.
Linda P. Miller, Abington College: I'll reveal my ignorance here, but could you just clarify exactly what a progression analysis is?
Gordon F. De Jong: A regression analysis.
S. Diane Brannon: A regression analysis. Do you want to do that, Gordon? Go ahead.
Chair Geschwindner: Gordon, do you want to explain?
S. Diane Brannon: It's a multi-variance approach for sorting out the impact of different factors. You have to have some assumptions.
Gordon F. De Jong: Three successor committees have done this with smaller numbers of cases.
Senator: That's right.
John Lilley: With better confusion.
S. Diane Brannon: It was considered.
Chair Geschwindner: Any other questions or comments? Jake.
Jacob De Rooy, Penn State Harrisburg, The Capital College: Having headed one of those committees and created that confusion with multiple regression, I understand your point. I just want to make an observation. I was delighted to find the means and the medians and the standard deviations present.
S. Diane Brannon: We weren't totally non-statistical in our …
Jacob De Rooy: I'm disappointed that you didn't run a simple statistical test to see what difference it makes.
S. Diane Brannon: That's a good point. It partly had to do with the Center for Quality and Planning. Basically, we decided that eye-balling this, we felt pretty confident that major effects were not being masked here.
Jacob De Rooy: Okay. The last comment I want to make--if I may with your indulgence, Lou--is to make two simple rules for interpreting what you see in front of you. When the mean is larger than median, it means you have what statisticians call a positive skewed distribution. In simple language, it means if the mean is larger than the median, it means you've got a small number of very highly paid people with the larger number at the lower end of the range. You'll find that's quite common, particularly, among the folks at University Park. A lot of people at the lower end of the range and very few at the top. But, when you have a mean very close to the median, that means it's more normal and it's kind of just as many above and just as many below. You'll notice by looking over this that this normal distribution, showing equal spread of salaries, is much more prevalent for the females than for the males. So, the males have a more inequitable distribution of salary in terms of its spread than do the females. The other point: I know you made a comment about Hershey, and that is when you look at Associate Professors from Hershey, the mean is smaller than the median. It is very unusual because that says to you that in a particular location, you have a large number of people of that rank on a relatively high salary near the top of the range--just the opposite--and a very small number at the bottom of the range. So, you have a big lump at the top and a little one at the bottom. And the last comment I make for those who want to get out your $5.50 K-Mart calculator, you can get some very revealing information. Remember the magic number of .67; multiply .67 times the standard deviation; add it to the mean and you get the upper 25 percent. And if you multiply the standard deviation at .67 and subtract it from the mean, you'll get the lower 25 percent, and that tells us who's really well paid. Thank you.
Chair Geschwindner: And, now we can all say that we've had a class in statistics.
S. Diane Brannon: I have to add, this year we are in better shape. We do have a member of the statistics department on the Committee. And, if he ever shows up to a meeting, I think we can do well. If that gets back to him, it's okay with me.
Eunice N. Askov, College of Education: At the risk of sounding self-serving, I would like you to notice that the average full professor in the College of Education earns about $5,000 less than the average assistant professor in Business. There was a salary committee which looked at equity, and I was hoping that at some point we could have a report on what actually happened as a result of that.
Chair Geschwindner: Were you here for my introductory comments today?
Eunice N. Askov: Ah, yes. If I missed it, I apologize.
Chair Geschwindner: Well, let me see here. What I said was, "since many Senators have asked about the implementation of our advisory and consultative report on faculty compensation from last year, I want to report that we have received the report from Provost Brighton on its implementation, and that report has been passed along to the Faculty Benefits and Faculty Affairs Committees for their review." So, that's the report I was referring to, if that didn't come across.
Eunice N. Askov: Thank you.
Chair Geschwindner: Well, maybe it wasn't clear that that was the report. We have received that report, and it is being addressed.
Edward W. Bittner: One last one. On these kinds of reports, I'd like to point out and read it into The Senate Record that if you look at the University Park levels at professor, associate, assistant, and you count the total number and divide it into the number of full professors, the number is 40 percent. Roughly 40 percent of those tenure-track professor level positions, 40 percent are at professor level. Whereas, if you look at CES and what we break down into the colleges now, 52 out of 500, right around 10 percent, are still at the growth inequity, and the numbers of people in the upper ranks at the CES versus University Park the proportional amount of salaries are going in the wrong direction.
Chair Geschwindner: Any other final comments? Seeing none, thank you very much.
JOINT COMMITTEE ON INSURANCE AND BENEFITS
Annual Report - 1996-97
George W. Franz, Chair
We move on to our next report, which is a report from George Franz, Chair of the Joint Committee on Insurance and Benefits.
George W. Franz, Delaware Campus: I just have two quick additions to the report that's before you. One, the cover page, the transmittal letter, was not included in The Senate Agenda. Let me just read one paragraph from that transmittal letter. "The report speaks for itself and needs little in the way of explanation. However, in addition to the items addressed in the report, I should also point out that the Committee routinely addressed concerns that individual faculty and staff brought to it by members of the Joint Committee and by Human Resources staff members. In many cases, it is the introduction of these individual concerns that lead to more extended examinations and evaluations by the Committee." The other point I would make is, as Lou announced, the report talks about the creation of a Task Force on the Future of Benefits. That Task Force has been created. It met for the first time yesterday. It consists of 14 people that broadly represent the University. We have been asked to provide at least the first of the reports on the medical benefits by next spring. We will attempt to do that. I believe there will be an article in the Intercom that announces the Task Force, and we would invite comments from the University community. I'm happy to answer any questions you might have about the report.
P. Peter Rebane: George, one of the things is that people, at least on a non-University Park campus, have a hard time salvaging the information on some of the benefits that have accrued over the years. I was wondering, one of the questions that I would raise is what exact medical or dental and vision benefits do people who have been with the University past, what I understand is the magic 25 years--what do they retain upon retirement? I've heard there are statements that one has to switch plans from HMO to Plan A--the sort, and I really haven't seen, I know you can make a pre-appointment with Human Resources, but perhaps some statement at some future date from the Committee of what happens upon retirement might be in order.
George W. Franz: I'll make a stab, and Billie Willits can correct me. You can take a medical coverage into retirement, and, depending on your location, that may determine the plan that you can take. You do not take vision or dental coverage into retirement unless you buy it under COBRA, and then it's only for 18 months.
P. Peter Rebane: May I proceed to ask this, George? Is there any way, if this Task Force is looking ahead at projecting something, to find something less expensive than COBRA, which is extremely expensive, as many of you know.
George W. Franz: And, it's only for 18 months.
P. Peter Rebane: It's only for 18 months. Is there any possibility that the University could look into some program that people who have left the University as retirees could take with them?
George W. Franz: Sure. I'll take it to the Task Force. If you want to e-mail me, it's GWF1@PSU.EDU. I'll be happy to make sure it gets on the agenda.
S. Diane Brannon: On a related matter. Tom Daubert from the Faculty Benefits Committee is working with Human Resources to develop a brochure that will soon be available that outlines retiree benefits.
Billie S. Willits, Assistant Vice President for Human Resources: I would just add that it goes beyond healthcare benefit issues. We'll talk about all benefits that are available.
Philip A. Klein: It'll be a very small pamphlet.
Chair Geschwindner: Now, I don't mind you all laughing, except that there's one problem, you kept the chair out of it. If you're going to make comments…
George W. Franz: An economics professor said it was a small pamphlet.
Jacob De Rooy: May I comfort him to say that it will be in large print.
Peter A. Thrower, College of Earth and Mineral Sciences: I have one comment that I would like to make regarding the Maintenance Prescription Drug Plan. I have found that information on that plan is not particularly well available. I have a pamphlet which says which drugs are available. I believe that's well out of date. I assume that this plan is a way in which the University saves money on prescriptions, and, therefore, it behooves the University to inform us as to which items are available. I don't think the doctors really make the prescriptions when the items are available.
George W. Franz: My understanding is that there is information on that plan in every packet that goes out in November when it comes time to choose, and that there is an updated list that goes out in that packet. Again, if that's an issue, we'll take it up and see to it that it is more widely distributed. It is, I think, a very valuable part of the program. It does, in fact, save the University substantial sums of money.
Peter A. Thrower: Second question I have. You did allude in here to the PSA test for us gentlemen and I believe I was the one who brought that forth.
George W. Franz: Yes. And you're also the reason why the article appeared in the Intercom.
Peter A. Thrower: Thank you. You go to the physician and he says, "Well, at your age," which is always a daunting thing, "you ought to have this." So, you say, "Okay," and he gives you the prescription, and you get it done and you get a bill for $60.00. Then you see the same thing being advertised in the CDT--the hospital held screenings--and I believe it was about $4 per person. HealthPass has a rate to which they have contracted with these people. And, yet, as a HealthPass member, even though the insurance has declined to pay for it, you're not allowed to get it for the HealthPass contracted rate. That seems to me to be unfair. If I am a member of an organization and that organization has a rate for something which they have agreed with some person, then as a member, I get that rate. I still don't understand the logic behind my having to pay $60.00 for something which can be made available for $4 under other circumstances.
George W. Franz: I agree, but, I think your recourse is to complain to the people that are charging you $60.00.
Peter A. Thrower: Oh, I did!
George W. Franz: I don't think we can, because we're not part of the contract.
Peter A. Thrower: Pardon?
George W. Franz: We can't force the reduction in charge because we're not part of that contract. We can do it…
Peter A. Thrower: But if you negotiate this. The University could negotiate this with the providers and say that if the insurance doesn't pay, our members will be able to get it at this rate.
George W. Franz: Billie, do you want to respond to that?
Billie S. Willits: I would like to talk to you after the meeting. But, basically, the University asked not to be an insurance company. So, we're not negotiating directly with the providers. That's why the insurance companies are there. I understand your point. I don't think I disagree with you, and I've been thinking about other ways that we may be able to accomplish that. A lot of it depends on what the insurance companies are willing to do. We'll talk about that again.
Barton W. Browning, College of the Liberal Arts: First of all, George, I'd like to express thanks to you and your Committee over the years. You've done an awfully good job of keeping track of faculty benefits and trying to make them understandable to people. Though the reference here to the MPDP might be rather opague for some people, this is the Maintenance Prescription Drug Program, which was just referred to, and that is a program whereby faculty and staff can get long-term prescription drugs at a very reduced rate through either the Ritenour pharmacy or the Hershey pharmacy. The latter is the problem I would like to speak to, because it seems there's been a change down at the Hershey pharmacy. We received notice saying that they would still provide us some drugs, but that they would be at, perhaps, an increased cost. Now, if we shift away and use only the Ritenour pharmacy, the Ritenour pharmacy has only a limited supply of drugs. I'm interested in, one, will we continue to use the Hershey pharmacy at the rates we have had? Two, if we are shifting to Ritenour pharmacy, will we still be able to obtain the larger range of drugs that are available through Hershey?
George W. Franz: It is my understanding that after the first of the year, we will be shifting to only Ritenour providing the drugs, and Ritenour will provide all the drugs provided by Hershey. If there is something that Ritenour does not routinely stock, they will make it available on individual bases for those faculty that need it.
Chair Geschwindner: Any other questions?
Gerhard F. Strasser, College of the Liberal Arts: Just a comment. Medical providers in this area seem to be aware of the prescription drug program. You can get that at Ritenour. So, this, of course, is a benefit here. It seems that doctors seem to know about it.
George W. Franz: It is a good plan, and it saves the University money.
Edward W. Bittner: Yes. I have one quick question on Plan A, Reasonable and Customary Charges on page 3. How often are "reasonable and customary charges" updated? I know it's a subject that's been in Intercom articles, but I couldn't find any of them.
George W. Franz: Quarterly? I believe it's done by a…
Edward W. Bittner: It's not done by an independent organization?
George W. Franz: Independent organization. It's not done by the University. It's done by an independent organization of medical insurance carriers, and I believe the charges are evaluated quarterly.
Philip A. Klein: I would like to ask why it is that health providers who belong to this University system are not required to adhere to the charges that the University insurance pays. They take that as a base to which they add in their whopping percentages. They say, we estimate that your insurance will pay "X" percent, and your bill today is so and so, so pay so much more.
George W. Franz: I don't know how to answer that one. Send me an e-mail. You give me a specific example, and we'll track it down.
Philip A. Klein: You understand what I'm saying?
George W. Franz: Yes. But, I need to see the specifics.
Philip A. Klein: I bet everybody in the room can attest to that.
George W. Franz: Well, I think it depends on the plan you're in. I'm not sure it's necessarily true. We have had examples where people have sent us questions about something, and we have, in fact, determined that there has been a mischarge, and we have gone back and gotten the charge removed.
Philip A. Klein: All of the doctors and all of the dentists that I know about take the payments that the insurance provides for various services as a base to which they add their personal, whatever you want to call it. It comes out high.
George W. Franz: Yes.
Philip A. Klein: They figure it and say, "Well, the insurance is paying that much, so you can pay the rest."
George W. Franz: Well, my reaction is, I would try and find somebody that charges what the rate is. I mean, that's what I do in my area.
Edward W. Bittner: George, you can't do things like that because I did that. You ought to hear the horror stories.
George W. Franz: Well, send me the horror story, and we'll try and find out what it is. I mean, I know there are examples in the Centre County regions where there are dental charges far beyond custom and normal, and we have talked to the dentist about that, and their response is, "I'm good, they'll pay for it."
Chair Geschwindner: And George is good in leading this Committee. Do we have one final question? Seeing none, thank you very much.
Faculty Tenure Issues
Our next report is sponsored by Senate Council at my request. As noted in my memo included in Appendix "F," I believe the issue of faculty tenure is an important one for us to be informed about. Bob Secor is here to make a presentation on "Faculty Tenure Issues."
Robert Secor, Vice Provost for Academic Affairs and Personnel: You didn't think you were going to get through a Senate meeting without that screen coming down, did you?
Early this year, our Board of Trustees was surveyed, and asked what they would like to see discussed at Trustee meetings. At the top of this list were academic personnel issues. They had a particular interest in the subject of tenure. As a result, I was asked to talk to the Board of Trustees, which I did, trying to in a 15-minute overview give that Board a sense of the purpose and the history of tenure and the relevance of tenure today, and why I feel we still need it, and a history of the current debates and Penn State policy and some Penn State data, and, finally, what we might expect the impact of the current tenure debates to be at Penn State. The Senate leaders after that presentation thought it might be useful for me to offer that presentation here to give you a sense of what we're saying to the Board of Trustees, and also because it's an interest to all faculty here as well.
In 1940, in conjunction with the organization of presidents and liberal arts colleges, the American Association of University Professors issued its statement of principles, academic freedom and tenure, saying that academic freedom is fundamental to the advancement of truth and research and to the protection of the right to freedom to the teacher in teaching and to the student to freedom in learning. This statement remains the guiding document concerning tenure in higher education in the United States. It makes clear that the main purpose of tenure is not to protect institutions or their faculty from outside criticism, but rather to allow universities to fulfill their social mission to work for the common good, which depends upon the research for truth and affects position. Moreover, because university faculty are, as a 1940 statement worded it, not workers or employees, but officers of an educational institution they share in the governance of that institution in meaningful ways. The formation of academic policies, personnel decisions and reviews (including, at Penn State, our mandated AD-14 periodic reviews of administrators)--these are all responsibilities that the faculty share with the administration, and tenure allows them to perform these functions without fear of retaliation.
The statement also notes that tenure provides the faculty with a sufficient degree of economic security to make the profession attractive to men and women of ability. Why should that be particularly necessary in our profession? Here are some reasons. The average time it takes graduate students to complete their doctoral degree programs has been growing steadily over the past 30 years. In some disciplines, by more than 30 percent. The median number of years between receipt of a bachelor's degree and a doctorate in the broad fields of science and engineering, for example, increased from seven years during the 1960's to between eight to nine years in 1993. Times of degree in other broad fields not shown on this graph, such as humanities, is no shorter. Moreover, in some fields, it has been common at the completion of the degree for faculty to take positions for a year or more as post-doctorate fellows, as research assistants, or as temporary faculty at low pay while seeking more permanent career track positions. Some never find the academic positions they seek. Most who do have paid their dues over a long period of time beginning their professional careers in their early to mid 30s, sometimes with young families in tow.
Our six-year probationary period for new faculty is much greater than most labor union contracts or civil service systems. More and more is being expected of our own untenured faculty, and I know that the expectations for tenure, now, are much greater than they were when I was tenured over 20 years ago, just as they were greater for me than for the generation that preceded me.
I recently heard the story of a man jumping up and down over a manhole, saying, "98, 98," over and over again. An observer asked him what he was doing. The first man tells him to try. He does, saying, "98, 98, 98," as he jumps up and down, but finds no thrill in it. The first man tells him he has to jump higher. When he does, he leans forward to remove the manhole cover on the jumping man's way down. He then replaces the cover and starts jumping up and down on it again, saying, "99, 99, 99."
Many untenured faculty feel that this is their story. They're asked to jump ever higher doing what they are told, only to find the manhole cover removed on their way down.
A recent national survey of new faculty showed them frustrated by their perception that the expectations they must meet are being raised higher and higher, while they complain that the process is "vague, ambiguous and elusive," and in the survey, they said, "There is no steady, reliable feedback." These are national responses.
We hope this is not the situation at Penn State, which is unique in the care of its tenure review process and the feedback it gives its candidates. In addition to annual reviews, which this body last year mandated in writing for all faculty in the University, our provisional faculty are given full formal reviews in their second and fourth and sixth years in which they are evaluated by their department and college peers as well as by their department head and their dean. New faculty are told from their arrival, that every year, but most intensely in their three tenure reviews, they will be reviewed in the three categories of teaching, research and scholarship, and service. They are told by the bullets on the rainbow dividers, and I would hope by their department heads, precisely what the measures of their achievements in each of these areas will be. I know of no comparable tenure-granting institutions, including any of our colleagues in the CIC, that has similar multiple reviews before the tenure decision. Our tenure guidelines for HR-23 mandate that after each review, the dean writes a letter to the faculty member outlining results and expectations by the next review, and that each department head or DAA sits down with the candidate to discuss the dean's letter and the results of that review. Our goal is to ensure that there will be no sudden removal of a manhole cover or what we call six-year surprises when the final tenure decision is made. We see the interim reviews as largely developmental, but faculty who are not making satisfactory progress may be terminated as a result of the second- or fourth-year reviews and are advised to consider a career change or another institution whose expectations are more in line with their interests and abilities.
How many of our probationary faculty actually achieve tenure at the end of the six-year period? Not much more than 50 percent--55 percent as you can see from this table--with 72 of the faculty who entered as provisional faculty in 1990, tenured in 1996. The seven faculty still in the provisional column for 1996 have their tenure periods extended either because of leaves without pay or through our staying of tenure period policy for such things as sickness or maternity leave. So, that 55 percent may go up a bit, but that's still beyond the 60.
Three-fourths of our University's tenure-eligible faculty are tenured. The same proportion, by the way, holds for faculty at University Park and for our faculty at non-University Park colleges.
I don't have to tell this body, although I did tell the Board of Trustees, how disheartening it is to compare the salaries of those of you who have survived this process to other professionals who have earned more than a master's degree, such as health professionals, lawyers and judges, natural scientists and engineers. Studies show that college teachers earn 37.8 percent less than what other professionals with similar education earn, and they are falling further behind.
Here, you see the average salary increases for the faculty in higher education since the beginning of the decade, with the largest real increase adjusted for inflation being 1.9 percent in 1993/94. Needless to say, if there were not the sense of some security at the other end after so many years of education and training, after a long and demanding apprenticeship and despite the low pay compared to other professionals acquiring advanced degrees in training, far fewer of you would think the path worth taking. However, tenure should not be seen as a means of giving life security to the incompetent. As a recent University of Illinois study has put it, "Tenure is not an entitlement to be granted in the absence of negative evidence in the case of the faculty member, but rather a privilege to be earned through documented distinction in teaching research and service. Once granted, it is not a cynical which can be invoked to justifying neglect of duties or irresponsible behavior." What tenure does do is shift the burden of proof. In the intense, pre-tenure probationary period, faculty members must establish the reasons for the institution to award them with a tenured position. Thereafter, the burden of proof is shifted to the institution to show why that appointment should be discontinued despite the awarding of tenure. According to Penn State policy, tenured faculty could be terminated under circumstances of financial exigency of the University, the elimination of a program, or for adequate cause as defined on this slide. Does termination of tenure-protected faculty for cause happen often? No. Nor should it. But, it does happen. Most often, its possibility within Penn State policy allows us to advise faculty to resign or to change their ways under threat that termination procedures will be implemented. Those procedures involve reviews or appeals before Senate committees--the Committee on Faculty Rights and Responsibilities and the Standing Joint Committee on Tenure, with your final authority to act, resting with the President.
These are, of course, extreme procedures. In the normal cause of events, faculty members are being continually reviewed, not only by the mandated annual reviews, but also when they apply for sabbaticals or grants or seek promotion or awards, whether for teaching or in recognition of their research. They are also continually reviewed by their students, in our mandated student evaluations, and by their external peers--every time they send an article to a peer review journal. Failure to perform can result in a range of sanctions beginning with the impact on salary increases, particularly, since all salary increases for Penn State faculty are for merit only, but including changes of assignment and the denial of funding and support, including the denial of the recommendation for a sabbatical. But the most affective reasons for faculty to strive for excellence after tenure are internal. You all know how rewarding it is to feel that you have taught well and how depressing it is when you haven't. The same is true of faculty who are professionally productive and have the respect of their colleagues and profession as opposed to those who no longer see themselves as scholars. Those colleagues do not seek them out for their professional or academic opinions or advice. We are a proud people. There are faculty like the one whom Dean Rosovsky wrote about when he left Harvard, who had been professionally inactive for years, and who responded to Dean Rosovsky's proposal for an early retirement plan whereby he could essentially retire at 3/4 salary of his salary, by saing, "Why should I do that when I am retired already at full pay?" But there are far fewer of such faculty in the University than our critics think, for all of the reasons I have just cited.
Why then has tenure come under attack in recent years? In part, because there has been a reaction against higher education and its costs, with tenure being the symbol of a sense that faculty are overprivileged, overprotected, and self-indulgent. Some of that sense comes from a lack of understanding of what we do--I am reminded of the Pennsylvania legislator who traveled the halls of the English department, and reported afterwards that these professors are not doing any work at all--they just sit in their offices and read books. Some of it has to do with the culture wars and the sense that professors are more interested in their ideologies than in teaching students. Some of it has to do with economic considerations, and a concern that a tenured faculty does not give institutions the flexibility they need.
Last year one of the major stories was an attempted revision of the tenure document by the Board of Regents at the University of Minnesota. The faculty became incensed, seeing the revisions as threatening tenure itself, and the resulting explosion, in the words of a legal advisor to the administration at Minnesota, "threatened the university's future as a major research center." When the dust cleared, four regents were gone from the board--either by resigning or choosing not to run for re-election. It all ended with the faculty coming very close to unionizing (one of the alternatives to tenure) and the board backing down, although with some concessions, including an agreement to institute post-tenure reviews.
The advisor to that board of Minnesota was Richard Chait, one of my predecessors in my current position at Penn State, who has been arguing for contractual alternatives to tenure. Chait's experience has taught him that "legislators stalk tenure as Ahab did the white whale," while faculty cry, "Give me tenure or give me death." He calls tenure the "abortion issue" of higher education.
In arguing for employment arrangements outside tenure, Chait says, "Why not afford more professors the opportunity to voluntarily accept a term contract, instead of tenure, in return for a higher salary, as does Greensboro College in North Carolina, or in return for more frequent sabbaticals, as does Webster University in Missouri?" The examples Chait and others cite for those who have experimented with the abolishment of tenure indicate how far such suggestions are from having an impact on research institutions like Penn State.
When pressed, Chait will admit that he is not positing his alternative employment options for all schools, but rather for "financially struggling institutions" that could benefit from such arrangements.
That the faculty at such institutions always benefit remains to be seen. An article in the Chronicle of Higher Education in August, with the headline you see here, focused on the Arizona International Campus, which opened last fall without tenure. The story reached the Chronicle after several professors were dismissed. One said that when she took the job, she thought she was creating a new kind of system, with all of the advantages of tenure but none of its drawbacks, but she changed her mind when she was fired without evaluation for making public her concerns about the salary discrepancies between male and female professors. Her director says that since she was not a tenure-eligible employee in the Arizona system, she had no right to a hearing; that she was evaluated by him and her peers, but he would not say who those peers were. Stories like this remind us of the circumstances that led to the invention of tenure.
I would suspect that non-traditional institutions and community colleges will continue to experiment with alternatives to tenure, but I do not see such movements having a significant impact on the major institutions of the country. I would not worry that Penn State will become known as "Fire-At-Will State." We are Fire-At-Will! I don't see that.
What has had an impact, however, and will continue to do so, is the movement toward post-tenure reviews. A 1996 survey of 680 public and private institutions found that "61 percent of respondents had a post-tenure review policy in place and another 9 percent had a policy under development." To the CIC schools on the above list you can add Michigan State and Penn State, which are also working on Post-Tenure Review policies. The others will not be far behind. Last month, I sent a post-tenure review proposal to your Senate Chair with a cover memo in which I said:
"Last spring, Executive Vice President and Provost John Brighton asked me to chair a small committee, including deans John Bruhn and John Dutton and, at that time, past-chair of the Faculty Senate, Peter Jurs, to come up with a proposal for post-tenure reviews at Penn State. We spent most of the semester reviewing the literature on post-tenure reviews and gathering information on such policies at comparable institutions. That proposal was later refined in consultation with colleagues in the CIC, the President, the provost, and the deans at Penn State. It is now ready for review by the Faculty Senate."
Chair Geschwindner sent the proposal on to the Committee on Faculty Affairs for its review, after which I understand it will be brought before this body.
The major forces behind the movement for post-tenure reviews are public, government and government boards' concerns about the public accountability of universities and their faculty--and those of you who attended my presentation to the Board will understand the nature of those pressures: the need to further faculty development; the desire to constantly improve program quality; the elimination of mandatory retirement; and the necessity to protect the tenure system through a regularized process that can address poor performance.
The intended outcomes of these reviews are recognition of faculty achievement and continuous improvement in faculty performance and career growth. In some cases, development plans might be formulated to identify goals and expectations and address deficiencies.
This is where we are, as a profession and as an institution, in the area of tenure and tenure reviews. Tenure continues to serve important functions in higher education, but we need to assure our critics that the current debate concerning it and our institutions' responses to that debate will only serve to strengthen the integrity of the system. At the same time, I am convinced that there is no institution in the country where it works better, as a device both for faculty development and evaluation, than at Penn State. I thank you and the Senate Officers for giving me the opportunity to share with you what I shared with our Board of Trustees at their meeting in September.
Chair Geschwindner: Thank you, Bob. Do we have any questions?
Dennis S. Gouran, College of the Liberal Arts: What function do post-tenure reviews…
Robert Secor: Say that again, Dennis.
Dennis S. Gouran: What function do post-tenure reviews serve that the mandated annual review doesn't serve?
Robert Secor: Yes. Actually, the proposal that's gone to the Senate is called extended reviews, although, you know, it's in the context of the post-tenure review controversy. I think we really do see these. The purpose is that they're extended as opposed to the annual reviews. The area that will be looked at will be the same areas. In a way it will be reviewing what's been said in the past five years. It gives the opportunity of the faculty member to take a look at what a five-year achievement looks like and also department heads and peers to look at that as well. So, one purpose is that it's an extended review as opposed to a spot-in-time each year. It also looks forward, which the other reviews don't, and asks what you are projecting for the next five years and then assumes that there will be discussions which will help people achieve those objectives. That's one purpose. The second thing which is different is that it is a peer review--it is not a review by administrators--so that people who feel every year they're getting the department head saying the same things and they don't agree with them, at this point, it will be a review by peers only, not by any administrators.
Dennis S. Gouran: What do you anticipate, or, whether this has been tried out, the consequences of an updated peer review?
Robert Secor: What are the consequences?
Dennis S. Gouran: I guess what I'm saying, is this a way of undoing tenure?
Robert Secor: It's not undoing tenure. I feel very strongly about that. No way. I mean, I indicated the reasons by which tenure can be terminated. Those are our reasons. Any review can discover things which can result in termination. I mean, if there is a dereliction of duty which is so severe that we should terminate, we should do that whenever we find it. I would hope it wouldn't come to a five-year review to find it, although that's possible. But, that is not the essential purpose of this.
Chair Geschwindner: Other questions?
Effy Oz, Penn State Great Valley: Will this be the presentation, by the way?
Robert Secor: That you will get?
Effy Oz: At Great Valley?
Robert Secor: No. We'll talk about the details within the system.
Effy Oz: The 3/4 that you mentioned, is that 3/4 of the people who get to go up for tenure, are tenured?
Robert Secor: No, no, no, no. What we're saying, that slide simply said that, 3/4 of our faculty is tenured. The other slide that I showed you is that of a class that came in six years earlier. In six years, 55 percent of that group was tenured. That does not mean 45 percent were denied tenure. People left for varying reasons.
Chair Geschwindner: Seeing no other questions, thank you very much, Bob.
Robert Secor: Thank you.
SENATE COMMITTEE ON UNIVERSITY PLANNING
Update on University Planning Council Activities
Peter C. Jurs, Member, University Planning Council
We move on to our last three reports, which are coming from the University Planning Committee, and Shelton Alexander is here to introduce those.
Shelton S. Alexander, College of Earth and Mineral Sciences: University Planning has three reports, as you see from The Senate Agenda. By prior agreement with the next two speakers, we will have both of those presentations before entertaining questions because they are closely related topics. The first of these is an "Update on University Planning Council Activities." Peter Jurs has been a member of that Committee. He can elaborate on their activities that have recently culminated in the strategic plan which some of you have seen. That will be followed then by John Brighton's remarks on this year's budget and the planning for next year's budget.
Peter C. Jurs, Eberly College of Science: Thank you. Periodically, the Senate needs to hear as a conduit to the entire faculty on the activities of the University Planning Council. I believe the last report on the floor of the Senate was April of 1996.
The University Planning Council was established to provide overall guidance to the University's strategic planning effort. The focus of the first two years of the UPC has been the development of five-year strategic plans for the time period which starts with the current academic year we're in now and extends through the academic year 2001/2002. The strategic plan has now been finalized, printed, and distributed, I believe, throughout the University community and also presented to the Board of Trustees at their last meeting. Some of those major points were also discussed by President Spanier in his State of the University Address in September. I have a few graphs to illustrate what I'm talking about here today. The membership of the University Planning Council is, as you see, chaired by our Provost, John Brighton. There are four faculty involved--Scott Kretchmar, Eva Pell, Elliott Vesell and myself; four deans--Rod Erickson, Greg Geoffroy, Susan Welch, and David Wormley; and four administrators--Bill Asbury, Betty Roberts, Karen Sandler, and Gary Schultz; and staff are also participating in the discussion--Dick Althouse, Steve Curley, Bill Mahon and Louise Sandmeyer. This is the group that has been functioning over the past year. The two students have graduated and moved on and have been replaced by new representatives from the Undergraduate Student Government and Graduate Student Government. Greg Geoffroy left the University and was replaced by Rodney Reed. One additional faculty member, namely Lou Geschwindner, has been added. So, this is the make up. The faculty of the University are well represented among the membership of the Committee.
Here's a brief chronology of what the University Planning Council has been doing over its history. It was founded in the fall of 1995 and charged by the President of the University. One of its major tasks was to confront in a constructive way the physical reality pointed out by some financial projections that showed there was going to be about a $12 million deficit on a yearly basis for the coming five years. This was enough to prompt immediate action. That was one of the reasons for the formation of the UPC. But, as you'll see, it's not wholly financially oriented. In the spring of 1996, the UPC met with each of the heads of the 31 units of the University--some academic, some non-academic units--to listen to bridge strategic plans for the academic year 1996/97. There was a decision by the administration not to require units to come forth with full-blown strategic plans right away. Recall, this was just after President Spanier took office and things were going through some changes. Out of these unit hearings came a number of umbrella issues, and so during the summer and fall of 1996, a number of working groups were formed--ten working groups--to focus, one each, on these umbrella issues. These working groups were, in fact, composed not just of members of the UPC. Far from it. There was a member of UPC on each working group. But the groups were gathered from expertise from around the University community.
I'm going to bring this overhead back, but right now I'll show the identities of these ten working groups. As you see, they cover a very wide range of things and there's no need for me to read them here. Some focus largely on financial issues, like the "Differential Tuition Committee." Some focus almost entirely on academic quality issues, like the first one, "Academic Enhancement." I should say that in addition to these ten working groups, which were functioning during the summer and fall of 1996, the University Planning Council also received input on a number of budgetary issues from a subcommittee called the "Budget Strategies Committee." So, that was in addition to these working groups.
Back to the timeline. In the fall of 1996, while the working groups were functioning, the UPC purposely went out and had open meetings across the University, that is across the entire state as well as throughout University Park in a large number of different venues. I don't exactly know how many open meetings there were, but dozens, at least, to present where we were at that time and to gather input from the University community. The intent was for this process to be open and to gather input from whomever had it to provide.
Then, in the spring of 1997, strategic plans--the first formal five-year strategic plans, covering the year 1997/98, that is the current year, through the 2001/02 academic year--were due. Each of the 31 unit heads met with the University Planning Council and presented the highlights of his or her strategic plan. One of the important parts of the strategic plans was the mandated budget recycling goals which had to be met. Maybe they're not goals if they have to be met; maybe they're mandates. But, in any case, the academic units had to present plans in which 1.2 percent of their base budget would be recycled with the possibility of 3/10 percent not being subject to that if the unit could demonstrate recycling of administrative functions into academic functions. At the same time, they had a 1.1 percent base budget target to request enhancements. Other non-academic units had different numbers--1.5 percent recycle, 0.6 percent enhancements. So, in the case of academic units, the net could be zero-positive inflow of money to the academic units. In the case non-academic units, it was by definition going to always be an outflow of funds. These numbers were mandates for each year of the first two years of the five-year plan. The out years beyond the first two years have not yet been settled budgetarily. The net effect of all of this is to move money toward academic units and away from non-academic units. That was quite a conscious decision on the part of the UPC working in concert with the University administration. Then, in the late spring of 1997, the UPC, in reaction to all of the plans it had heard and after deliberation, came forth with its draft of an overall University strategic plan and a set of recommendations to the Provost and President on the enhancement funds. The UPC was one of their primary inputs of advice on how the enhancement funds should be allocated among the units.
During the period May, June, July 1997, the strategic plan was finalized. In September 1997, the strategic plan was published, and it was presented to the Board of Trustees and widely distributed throughout the University community. Its title is "Academic Excellence, Planning for the 21st Century."
The main components of that strategic plan are set goals, here given as bullets. There are six major bullets. Many of these were discussed in President Spanier's State of the University Address. One thing I want to emphasize is that this plan is simultaneously about academic quality and about money. No ducking the issue about money. Enhancements and cuts had to be decided upon. But it's not only about money; it talks about lots of issues: information technology, libraries, academic quality, class size and a whole host of academic issues, as well. It's meant to focus the University's attention on academic priorities. Now, these are the six goals. They are quite general. Each of the goals has a number of strategies beneath it in the published plan. In total there are 21 strategies allocated among the six goals. Time does not permit going through them, but this document is easily available to whomever wants it. I don't know for a fact, but I assume that it is online on the Web somewhere. I should point out that some of the strategies discussed in that strategic plan have been implemented during this year because the University Planning Council was on a parallel track with other planning bodies within the University. Examples of this would include the establishment of the Schreyer Honors College, the merger between Hershey and Geisinger, the coalescence with the Dickinson School of Law, and the establishment of differential tuition. These are all things that are discussed in here as things that should be planned on for the future. But, in fact, during the gestation of the report, they happened at the same time.
The current status of the University Planning Council is that the plan and recommendations were used as an integral part of the budget allocation process for this academic year. I mentioned specifically the enhancement decisions just a moment ago. We are currently in the first year of these five-year plans. Next year's budget recycling and enhancements have already been largely settled, at least to a first approximation, in the unit strategic plans, and there will be relatively small corrections, not new plans being presented.
In the spring of 1998, a brief update on the second year of the five-year plans will be presented by the various unit heads to the University Planning Council as a continuing part of this strategic planning process.
So, that's a brief thumbnail sketch of what the UPC's been up to. Provost Brighton is going to present more information more directly related to the budgeting aspects of this immediately following my comments. Then, we thought it would be most efficient if we held any questions until after his presentation, and that we would both be happy to respond to any questions you might have.
SENATE COMMITTEE ON UNIVERSITY PLANNING
Budget for 1997/98, Process and Outcome, Budget Planning for 1998/99
John A. Brighton, Executive Vice President/Provost
John A. Brighton: I want to say congratulations to all of you who are still around. It is late in the afternoon. You are very dedicated and persistent.
The planning and budgeting is really linked together in what we do. Peter has presented the planning process primarily. I guess I'd have to say that there are some things that are not important but may be exciting, and there are some things that are important, but are not exciting. The budget stuff would probably come in the latter category. Is anybody here from the Special Committee on General Education? Anybody? Any hands? Two people? You don't have a meeting now? Okay. You two people can take back information about the budget since that's relevant to general education. Of course, Shelton Alexander will do the same thing. Budgets are relevant and they are important in the University. It's been an interesting session, I think, in the Faculty Senate this afternoon, going through general education, salary report, and tenure planning, and then after this presentation there will be a presentation on construction projects. They all somehow get back to budgets. I'll just tell you from a personal point of view, I don't find budgets exciting, but I do find it exciting to know when there's money to spend for something that is really needed. So, it's important how we go through and how we structure the budget.
So, what I'm going to do is to review the 1997/98 budget, that is the current year budget, in my remarks. I'm going to give you some numbers and these numbers are important. I'm bringing this report to you perhaps a month later than we usually do because we couldn't arrange both for Peter Jurs and I to be here together at the last meeting, and we thought that both of these ought to be presented at the same time.
This year's budget includes a 3.1 percent increase in our state appropriation. That's a significant number because that's the highest it's been in a while, certainly a welcome change from last year.
It also contains the largest increase for program allocations in many years, including the addition of more than 100 new faculty positions. About 60 new faculty were filled this year, and searches are still underway for the remaining positions, and they should be filled in this coming year.
The President's Excellence Fund has been implemented for the first time in the budget to provide extra support for each unit's highest priorities.
Differential tuition is incorporated as a new pricing approach. Differential tuition is not, as we sometimes speak about it, differential among different colleges or disciplines. It's differential between lower-division and upper-division only.
There are changes in the budget because of the mergers that became effective
July 1 with the Dickinson School of Law and the Geisinger Health Systems.
The budget continues the budget reductions and reallocations that have been in place for several years that help to concentrate our resources on academic priorities and the University's most critical needs.
I think we are probably living from now on in an environment where there will be reallocations as a routine part of every year's budgeting process, whether we get additional funds or whether we don't.
The state appropriation for this year was $289.7 million. The increase from last year's appropriation is $8.7 million, or as I said, 3.1 percent.
The total budget for the University is $1.4 billion. And to the people outside, when they hear the University's budget is $1.4 billion, probably think we have a lot of money that could be spent for other needs. We get approached for those kinds of things.
The general funds budget is critical because it supports most of the University's teaching, research and service activities as well as the academic and administrative support functions and the maintenance of the physical plant.
The general funds is primarily made up of our state appropriation and tuition and fees. It also includes the indirect costs that come through external funding from research grants. This year, tuition and fees make up 57 percent of the general funds. The state appropriation represents only 35 percent. This percentage continues to go down each year. The other category of 8 percent, as I said, includes indirect costs but also investments and departmental sales and services, which the latter thing is a very small piece of the budget.
This next slide summarizes the proposed expense changes in the educational and general component of the general funds budget. The largest category of $14.4 million increase is budgeted for salary increases and related benefits. The next largest category is $7.4 million for program adjustments. That is things that go into the colleges and units to meet the needs of increased opportunities and increased cost of existing programs. These are funds that can be used for anything we need in all of the 31 major budgetary units, including the colleges as well as the non-academic units. We'll discuss these in some of the next slides.
The University Planning Council, which, as Peter said, I chair, recommends distribution of the funds for the program adjustments based on the strategic plans that we review. A strong emphasis is placed on supporting the University's core academic functions. Seventy-three percent of the proposed allocations were directed to our colleges across the University locations.
A very strong priority was increasing the number of faculty positions. The need for more faculty members came through very clearly in the college strategic plans, and we tried very hard to be responsive to that.
New faculty positions are being added through three different paths this year, as shown on this slide. First, we made an early commitment to add 25 new faculty, and that's why a number of new faculty were already recruited for this coming year in the budget. A total of $1.3 million is included in the budget also for this purpose. Second, the Life Sciences Consortium received $1 million to add faculty positions and enhance academic programs. And, third, $4.6 million has been allocated for faculty positions and other high priority academic program needs in the colleges and the campuses. The next slide will give more detail about the third item.
Included in the $4.6 million budgeted for faculty positions and other high priority academic program need is $1.4 million from differential tuition which has been allocated to each college and campus based on the enrollment in each unit. Also, funds will be made available to the generating college from the extension of the laboratory and clinical surcharges.
We are continuing the instructional workload adjustments for colleges at University Park. That is, where we have a shift in enrollments, we reallocate monies to those places of higher enrollments, and we reallocate from those areas of lesser enrollment. This year, the University Park workload amount was increased by a net value of $827 million due to net increase in enrollments. So, while there was this net amount, there was some taken away from units and some reallocated back to other units.
The balance of the funding, or about $2.3 million was allocated to the colleges based on individual unit strategic plans and recommendations of the University Planning Council.
So, as part of the budget reductions, all non-academic units at University Park were required to reduce their budgets by 1.5 percent, that is, to give up 1.5 percent of their budget, initially.
Each college was required to reduce its budget--that is, the academic units--by 1.2 percent, a lesser amount. In addition, each college took advantage of an offer to give a 0.3 percent credit against the recycling target by reassigning academic personnel with administrative assignments back to the core activity of instruction. In other words, it was an incentive to convert administrative functions in colleges to teaching functions, which, when accommodated, there was a lesser amount of budget reduction. Those units had a net recycling amount that was required, then, of 0.9 percent instead of the 1.2 percent.
The total amount of budget reductions for University Park for this academic year was $3.5 million. That is, the budget reductions which then provided this pool of money to reallocate.
To summarize some of the other categories of program adjustments: $700,000 has been allocated for enhancing library resources and $1.4 million has been allocated for computing and telecommunications needs, including student access to computing resources. These are the highest academic allocations in the budgeting process. One million dollars has been allocated for major maintenance of buildings and facilities. $605,000 will be used for program enhancements in the University's academic support and administrative support units. These enhancements are based on the individual unit strategic plans and the recommendations of the University Planning Council. We've allocated new funding of $250,000 for undergraduate student aid.
The President's Excellence Fund is a new initiative by President Spanier. $1.6 million have been allocated for the highest priority needs within each college and administrative area. The use of these funds will be determined by each unit--the dean of each unit. The Fund may be used to enhance salaries of selected faculty and staff, to add faculty positions, to support graduate assistants, to supplement departmental allotments, or for other high priority needs.
I'm going to turn to the income side of the budget and discuss changes in the tuition and fees. A Working Group on Differential Tuition that was part of the University Planning Council recommended--that was referred to by Peter Jurs--a slightly higher tuition rate for upper-division students based on the higher costs associated with teaching upper-division courses. In addition, tuition rates for Pennsylvania residents in the new colleges at Abington, Altoona, and Berks-Lehigh Valley will be brought up to the level of University Park, Erie and Harrisburg. Both of these changes will be phased in over a period of years.
The base tuition increase for this year is 3.7 percent; this was the lowest increase in many years. However, due to the implementation of the differential tuition and the increase in tuition at the three new colleges, the percentage of tuition increase overall is higher for some students, and that may result in the overall average tuition increase of being 4.5 percent.
To recognize the additional costs associated with laboratory and clinical programs, we have added a tuition surcharge for students in science and nursing. We've already had surcharges in other colleges. You may recall that we currently have in place a tuition surcharge for upper-division and graduate students in engineering and similar fields at University Park.
The computer fee has been increased by $5 per semester to generate the funds necessary to expand student access to information technology. This results in a computer fee, moving from $70 to $75 per semester.
In summary, the budget for this fiscal year reflects our new relationships with Dickinson and the Penn State Geisinger Health System. It extends differential tuition for upper-division students, and it supports the University's core academic programs. In terms of overall support for academic areas and faculty growth, this year is one of the--in recent times--stronger budgets that we have had.
I would have talked five more minutes about the proposed budget for next year, but I think in the interest of time we may want to forgo that. Your choice, Lou.
Chair Geschwindner: It's up to you, John.
John A. Brighton: Any interest in hearing five more minutes? I have a unanimous vote in the front of "no's." So, anybody else?
Peter Deines: I would be interested to know how you think about the implementation of general education, because that's probably where it starts.
John A. Brighton: Well, there are a couple of ways. We will be building our budget this year. That's relevant to this. And, without going into the five minutes of presentation, we are asking for, I think, about 3.5 percent additional state allocation, but we're also asking for another five percent enhancement. We're doing that jointly with the other universities within the state--the state system as well as the other state-related universities--going to the state with a package where we collaborate with other institutions. That's at the suggestion of some of the legislators and other people. If we get all of that, I think we would be in good shape to implement all of this. If we don't get the five additional percent, I think we can still implement all of it, but it depends in part on what the cost is going to be. It would be my view that, just not knowing what the total cost is going to be, that we can probably afford to do this, but I also believe in my own experience that when you go out and ask deans, "we want to do such and such, how much money do you need," that sometimes we get inflated costs that come back from that. So, to answer that question, we have to look at what we get back. We have to look at what all we're able to finally do within--or is recommended we do--the general education requirements and see how it matches up. So, I can't give a definitive answer.
Peter Deines: I understand that. It would seem that in the process you're planning some funds would become available to implement what has been proposed and there would be a meeting of minds on how far to go with the implementation for a particular budget outcome.
John A. Brighton: Right. I just want to underscore that the general education requirements are extremely important in this University, and we want to try and find a way to support them. And, I think we will find a way to support them. I'd like to sort of leave it at that point.
Chair Geschwindner: Do you have other questions for either Dr. Brighton or Dr. Jurs?
David H. Kayal, Student, Division of Undergraduate Studies: So you feel that it is realistic in the budget to pay for all the new gen ed stuff without taking money away from any of the existing programs in the University?
John A. Brighton: Well, no. What we have been doing in the University, and I don't know if we can do much more of this, is taking more money away from the non-academic units than the academic units. But, as I mentioned earlier, what we're doing in the budgeting process is, we are bringing back money--probably 1.5 percent, it doesn't sound like a lot, but it creates a pool of money--which we can reallocate for important and special needs. So, we will be bringing back money from every unit, at least a small amount from each unit, to create some monies to do the most critical needs within the institution.
Jacob De Rooy: There's one interesting budget factor you didn't mention, and that is a new scheme for allocating budgets to colleges outside University Park…
John A. Brighton: Sure.
Jacob De Rooy: … which has been called "enrollment-phased," although I realize it's a budget scheme which focuses on reducing costs as well as increasing revenues to try to increase the revenues and costs. But with respect to that, what I'm particularly concerned about, is what incentives are there that perhaps you hadn't mentioned to avoid the temptation to use that budgeting scheme to deliver more courses with part-time and non-tenure track faculty in order to reduce delivery costs and maintain budget flexibility?
John A. Brighton: Well, Jake, I think those are probably unrelated, and let me tell you why. The scheme you're talking about we call "Cost Center Budgeting." Cost Center Budgeting has to do with--for all of the campuses, including University Park--tying in the budget with enrollment. That, if the enrollment in your campus goes up, that means you get more money because you generated more money by the students who are attending your campus or any other campus. If your enrollment goes down, you're not going to get as much money. In other words, it will be tied to that money. In that sense, we call it a "Cost Center." Now, the decision to use part-time people or senior faculty or graduate students or whatever is really a management decision that's made by the leadership at that unit. The balance of how you do that is extremely important. That's not a part of this other unit. It's how we give out and collect back money by being a Cost Center. Now, I would also say that this is a very difficult issue for the whole University to wrestle with because most of our units are relatively underfunded. We can't hire full professors to teach all of the courses because there's not enough money to do that. So, we have people teaching sometimes who are part time in part because of the rapid shift of enrollment. We have graduate students who teach sometimes. I think that's all right as long as those numbers aren't out of balance.
Chair Geschwindner: Other questions?
James G. Brasseur, College of Engineering: Where does the University Park fit into the budget?
John A. Brighton: In terms of the cost center?
James G. Brasseur: Research Park, sorry.
John A. Brighton: Oh, the Research Park?
James G. Brasseur: Does Research Park fit into the budget?
John A. Brighton: No, it doesn't. The Research Park, as part of the University, is part of the Auxiliary Enterprise of the University--the Hotel Conference Center--itself. The Conference Center portion of the Research Park is under Continuing and Distance Education, and the conference is under Jim Ryan's leadership--Vice President for that area. That area has a separate general funds budget, but more and more it's operating on its own bottom. That is, it operates on the income that it generates. So, as it grows, it will typically have to grow income through having more conferences in Continuing and Distance Education. The hotel itself is now connected with part of the Nittany Lion Inn, managed jointly, and that's an auxiliary enterprise, both of which pay for themselves. They don't require general funds.
Chair Geschwindner: Thank you, John and Peter. We have one more report…. Don, go ahead.
John A. Brighton: Don stuck around this long, maybe he needs to ask his question.
Donald E. Fahnline: Over the past 15 years, maybe less, 10 years, it seems to me that there have been a reduction in services provided by discipline colleges to the non-University Park locations, and I think some of this is due to the reallocations. As we've gone through our unit reorganizations, disciplinary unity becomes a role that we want to maintain. Is there any thought on how that would be done?
John A. Brighton: Well, you raise a good point and one that's been very extensively discussed in the Council of Academic Deans, in which there have been concerns raised about continuing support for the campuses through the colleges that have been provided before. The President has made pretty strong statements to the deans that it's his belief that these services provided should not be decreased as a result of the reorganization. So, we're working on that . We're working with the deans, and we're working with campus leadership to try to make sure that that doesn't happen. I can tell you that we're making some progress, but it's going to continue to require more work to make it happen.
Chair Geschwindner: Thank you, John.
SENATE COMMITTEE ON UNIVERSITY PLANNING
Status of Construction Projects
Shelton S. Alexander, Chair
Shelton, the last report.
Shelton S. Alexander: I'm going to make this very brief because I have a flight out at University Park in 40 minutes. Included in Appendix "H" is a summary of the current status of the construction projects that are going on at Penn State, the Department of General Services funded ones and ones funded by Penn State funds themselves. There's a lot of detail in there, and, unfortunately, Bill Anderson is out of town and can't be here today to answer the specific questions. So, what I would just ask you to do is to look that over, and, if you have specific questions or concerns, you can direct those to me or to Bill Anderson, who authored the report, to get explanations or other information concerning any aspect of the construction program that's underway at the present time.
Chair Geschwindner: Okay. If you have questions, direct them to Shelton or Bill Anderson.
That concludes our informational reports.
NEW LEGISLATIVE BUSINESS
COMMENTS AND RECOMMENDATIONS FOR THE GOOD OF THE UNIVERSITY
May I have a motion to adjourn?
Senators: So moved.
Chair Geschwindner: Thank you all for sticking it out. The meeting is adjourned.
The October 21, 1997 meeting of the University Faculty Senate adjourned at
DOCUMENTS DISTRIBUTED PRIOR TO OCTOBER 21, 1997
Curricular Affairs - Curriculum Report (Blue Sheets) of October 10, 1997
Special Committee on General Education - Final Report and Recommendations of the Special Committee on General Education (Legislative)
Undergraduate Education - Revision of 37-00: Entrance to a College or Major (Legislative)
Faculty Benefits - Faculty Salary Report by Gender (Informational)
Joint Committee on Insurance and Benefits - Annual Report - 1996-97 (Informational)
Senate Council - Faculty Tenure Issues (Informational)
University Planning - Update on University Planning Council Activities (Informational)
University Planning - Status of Construction Projects (Informational)
The Special Committee on
for The University Faculty Senate
MOTION: To adopt the Vision, Mission and (amended statement of) Goals for General Education at Penn State as given in The Senate Agenda for 10-21-97, Appendix "B," pages 7 & 8, the ten recommendations as presented in Appendix "B," pages 9-27, and the framework for General Education at Penn State as given in Appendix "B," page 32.
THE PENNSYLVANIA STATE UNIVESITY
THE FOLLOWING SENATORS WERE IN ATTENDANCE AT THE
OCTOBER 21, 1997 SENATE MEETING
Alexander, Shelton S.
OTHERS ATTENDING FROM SENATE OFFICE
Bugyi, George J.
Clark, Helen F.
Lehner, Brenda L.
Price, Vickie R.
Simpson, Linda A.
159 Total Elected
4 Total Ex Officio
9 Total Appointed
172 Total Attending
TENTATIVE AGENDA FOR DECEMBER 2, 1997
Curricular Affairs - Senate Curriculum Report (Blue Sheets) of November 21, 1997
Committees and Rules – Revision of Standing Rules, Article II: Senate Committee Structure (Legislative)
Special Committee on General Education – Final Report and Recommendations of the Special Committee on General Education (Legislative)
Admissions, Records, Scheduling and Student Aid – Reserved Spaces Report (Informational)
Admissions, Records, Scheduling and Student Aid – Report of High School Students Enrolled in Nondegree Credits Courses (Informational)
Faculty Benefits – Faculty Retiree Rights and Privileges (Informational)
Faculty Rights and Responsibilities – Annual Report – 1996-97 (Informational)
Intercollegiate Athletics – Annual Report of Academic Eligibility and Athletic Scholarships for 1996-97 (Informational)
Student Life – Alcohol Abuse Issues Related to Organized Student Housing (Informational)
Undergraduate Education -- Grade Distribution Report (Informational)
Undergraduate Education – Mid-Semester Evaluation Process 1992-96 (Informational)
University Planning – Costing of the Special Committee on General Education Report (Informational)