THE PENNSYLVANIA STATE UNIVERSITY
THE SENATE RECORD
Volume 39 ----- December 6, 2005 -----Number 3
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, 2005-2006.
The publication is issued by the Senate Office, 101 Kern Graduate Building, University Park, PA 16802 (telephone 814-863-0221). The Senate Record is distributed to all University Libraries and is posted on the Web at http:// www.senate.psu.edu under “Publications.” Copies are made available to faculty and other University personnel on request.
Except for items specified in the applicable Standing Rules, decisions on the responsibility for inclusion of matters in the publication are those of the Chair of the University Faculty Senate.
When existing communication channels seem inappropriate, Senators are encouraged to submit brief letters relevant to the Senate's function as a legislative, advisory, consultative, and forensic body to the Chair for possible inclusion in The Senate Record.
Reports that have appeared in the Agenda for the meeting are not included in The Senate Record unless they have been changed substantially during the meeting, or are considered to be of major importance. Remarks and discussions are abbreviated in most instances. A complete transcript and tape of the meeting is on file. Individuals with questions may contact Dr. Susan C. Youtz, Executive Secretary, University Faculty Senate.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
I. Final Agenda for December 6, 2005
II. Minutes and Summary of Remarks
a. Attendance Appendix I
FINAL AGENDA FOR DECEMBER 6, 2005
A. MINUTES OF THE PRECEEDING MEETING
Minutes of the October 25, 2005, Meeting in the Senate Record 39:2
B. COMMUNICATIONS TO THE SENATE
Senate Committee on Curricular Affairs
Senate Curriculum Report (Blue Sheets) of November 22, 2005
Senate Calendar for 2006-2007
C. REPORT OF SENATE COUNCIL
D. COMMENTS BY THE CHAIR
E. COMMENTS BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNIVERSITY
F. FORENSIC BUSINESS
G. UNFINISHED BUSINESS
H. LEGISLATIVE REPORTS
I. ADVISORY/CONSULTATIVE REPORTS
Modification of Policy HR76 Faculty Rights and Responsibilities
J. INFORMATIONAL REPORTS
Computing and Information Systems
Penn State’s Course Management System – ANGEL
Summary of Fall 2005 Officers’ Visits to University Units
Disposition of Joint Committee on Curricular Integrity Recommendations
K. NEW LEGISLATIVE BUSINESS
Request to Appoint Senate Council Member Matthew Wilson to the
Curricular Affairs Writing Subcommittee
L. COMMENTS AND RECOMMENDATIONS FOR THE GOOD OF THE UNIVERSITY
MINUTES OF THE PRECEDING MEETING
Chair Myers: The October 25, 2005, Senate Record, providing a full transcription of the proceedings, was sent to all University Libraries and is posted on the Faculty Senate Web site. Are there any corrections or additions to the Senate Record document?
May I hear a motion to accept?
Senator: So moved.
Chair Myers: Second?
Chair Myers: All in favor of accepting the minutes of October 25, 2005, please say aye.
Chair Myers: Opposed, nay. Motion carried. The minutes of the October 25, 2005, meeting have been approved.
COMMUNICATIONS TO THE SENATE
Senate Curriculum Report of November 22, 2005
The Senate Curriculum Report of November 22, 2005, is posted on the University Faculty Senate Web site.
REPORT OF SENATE COUNCIL
Enclosed in today's agenda are the minutes from the November 22, 2005, Senate Council meeting.
COMMENTS BY THE CHAIR
Chair Myers: I refer you to the minutes of Senate Council at the end of your agenda. Included in the minutes are topics that were discussed at the November 22 nd meeting of the Faculty Advisory Committee to the President.
This is a reminder to turn off cell phones and other things like that; an additional reminder to wait to speak until you have the microphone, because the Senate meetings are on Mediasite Live, and if you are not speaking into the microphone it’s hard for your voice to be carried across those transmissions. You can go to the Faculty Senate Web Site and click on a link to the Mediasite Live page (live.libraries.psu.edu/mediasite/viewer), and view the meetings live or at a later date.
One of our long-standing Senators and past chair of the Senate, Peter Jurs, will retire at the end of December. Peter, will you please come forward. Peter has been an Eberly College of Science Senator for 19 years and has served 17 of those on Senate Council. He served as Senate Chair in 1995-1996. Peter, I want to present you with a certificate of recognition signed by President Spanier and me.
Today we have a German graduate student in residence at Capital College, Claudius Werry, who is preparing his dissertation on management in institutions of higher education. Claudius, could you stand? We welcome you to our meeting.
The Faculty Senate Officers have completed the fall campus visits and met with Provost Rod Erickson and Vice President for Commonwealth Campuses John Romano for the traditional debriefing on November 22. A summary report is in today’s agenda. Our spring visits to University Park units will be scheduled soon for Earth & Mineral Sciences, Education, Engineering, DUS, the Graduate School, and the Schreyer Honors College. We hope for the same excellent turn out by students and faculty that we experienced in our fall campus visits.
A very important date has already been put on the calendar for spring and it is January 16. For the first time, the University will not hold classes in honor of the Martin Luther King holiday. However, many of the past activities will continue to be offered during that week beginning with the Forum on Black Affairs 31 st annual banquet on Sunday, January 15. I ask you as faculty leaders to remind our colleagues of the importance of Dr. King’s leadership in this country on issues of equity that cut across race, gender, and class. Please consider building into your course syllabi for the Spring semester participation in one of the many events that will be announced on a flyer for that week. Later today we will hear from the student organizers for the Day of Service activities that will be organized for Monday, January 16, at the University Park campus.
We received correspondence from President Spanier regarding his approval of the Advisory and Consultative report from the Faculty Affairs committee. He approved the new HR-70 policy for dismissal of tenured or tenure-eligible faculty members with the elimination of two phrases in the policy as it was forwarded to the Senate by the Faculty Affairs Committee. President Spanier’s letter and a corrected copy of the report are posted on the Web site of the Senate Committee on Faculty Affairs.
It is time to begin preparing for spring elections. The elected members of Senate Council nominate for secretary and chair-elect of the Senate, Faculty Advisory Committee to the President, and the Committee on Committees and Rules; the Senate Council nominating committee is chaired by the Immediate Past Chair of the Senate, Kim Steiner. We also need nominations for other University-wide Senate elections: the Faculty Rights and Responsibilities Committee, the University Promotion and Tenure Review Committee, and the Standing Joint Committee on Tenure. These nominations are the responsibility of the Committee on Committees and Rules, chaired by Pam Hufnagel. The Committee on Committees and Rules is also seeking nominations this year for the retired Senator to be elected to a four-year term this spring. Please send your nominations for a retired Senator, or these other CC&R positions, with consent of the candidate, to CC&R Chair, Pam Hufnagel. CC&R would like the retired Senator nominations in by January 31, at which time they will finalize a slate of candidates for that election. I am sure that Kim and Pam will welcome your nominations, and please speak with candidates before sending their names in. It helps the process move along.
Today, I wish to share with you some extended comments that are traditionally given by the Chair at the first meeting of the year. I have delayed these comments, waiting for a light agenda. Those hoping to get out of here quickly, you have to think again. I will try to speak as quickly as possible and not slur anything. I wanted to talk about three gaps that exist in our University that I believe we can address as a Senate.
First, there is a gap in our classrooms between learning and teaching. They are not the same thing. This gap should not be a surprise, because, as the old cliché goes, you can lead a horse to water, but you can not make him drink. This gap might be better described as the difference between discovery and inquiry on the part of students and the transmission of already discovered ideas on the part of teachers. Thus, teaching is really the activity that attempts to bridge the gap between the inquiry and transmission.
As teachers, we need to give greater attention to this gap because it is central to the vibrancy of our disciplinary communities in this University and to the impact of our disciplines’ graduates and our faculty in society. Our activities as teachers can push students towards inquiry into our subjects of study or towards simple repetition of what we tell them will be on the exam. Unfortunately, most students enter higher education already predisposed towards repetition and they pepper us with continuous questions about what they need to know and how long their papers have to be. Their learning is driven by external requirements rather than internal inquiries and unfortunately, for many it ends in the external requirement assessment.
In thinking about greater inquiry activity in our classrooms, one of the first problems we encounter is the issue of sufficient fundamental knowledge in the discipline to enable good questions. This issue pushes our teaching towards transmission with a belief that in the later weeks of the semester or the later years of education, students will then be prepared to take up inquiry. I believe this position is a mistake, because it often overwhelms efforts to develop the attitude towards inquiry in students. For fundamental knowledge to be learned in more thorough and lasting ways, it is best wrapped up within questions and problems that students must resolve through inquiry with primary data.
We often describe our best students as those who ask good questions, rather than those who give the right answers, because, as members of a disciplinary community, we know that the more you learn the more you do not know. I believe that the secret to engaging more students in the learning activity of our disciplines lies, not in more vigorous transmission of already known ideas, but in more involvement of students in genuine inquiry. It is in the asking of questions, gathering of evidence, discussion with colleagues, negotiation of diverse points of view, representation of ideas, and critique that our individual subjectivities are transformed into the inter-subjectivity that is at the hearts our disciplines. This specific type of relationship between students, teachers, and knowledge is achievable.
When our teaching activity is based in such disciplinary inquiry, we meld our University missions of teaching and research and understand more fully our value for the integration of all three missions in the University. Service becomes integrated, because the questions that drive our inquiries are valuable to communities beyond our discipline. And one of the most effective ways of providing service is to work with members of a community to identify problems and to construct joint solutions; such civic engagement is important for inquiry in our classrooms.
Here are two ways the Senate can address this gap in classrooms between inquiry and transmission. First, we can more clearly focus the purpose of our first year seminar requirement on the induction of students into the life and discourse of an inquiry community. It doesn’t so much matter what discipline but engaging students in the core activities of inquiry. Second, and certainly more radical, we can abolish grades, because, as a practice, it pushes teaching towards transmission, perhaps itself an underlying cause of grade inflation.
The second gap I would like to describe is between our administrative leadership and our faculty governance. We have the benefit of strong communication between the top level of administrative leaders and the Senate Officers, and this is essential to build wider shared governance.
The University Faculty Senate is composed of 13 standing committees that are charged to deliberate specific aspects of our university. Each standing committee roughly parallels an administrative office. Faculty Affairs has close connections with the Office of the Vice-Provost for Academic Affairs; Undergraduate Education with the Office of the Vice-President and Dean for Undergraduate Education; Outreach with the Vice-President for Outreach; Student Affairs with the Vice-President for Student Affairs, and etc.
So, on our Senate committees, we have the participation of the first tier, and in many ways the second tier of administrative leaders of this University; however, we do not have the same level of participation by our Senate committee leaders on comparable administrative committees. Our committee chairs are not, on a regular basis, expected, or invited, to serve on many administrative committees or advisory or steering groups that have debate and formulate practice.
I believe that this gap is narrowing this year. I have been working with administrative leaders to identify appropriate committee chairs, vice-chairs or liaisons for many standing and new administrative groups. Jeremy Cohen, in the Office of Undergraduate Education asked for a Senate representative on the Business Curriculum Alignment Committee-- now serving is our Chair of Curricular Affairs Laurie Breakey. He also requested a Senate appointment to the University Measures Committee-- Jonna Kulikowich is now serving as our liaison. Jan Jacobs requested Senate appointments for both the Chair of Undergraduate Education and the Senate Past-Chair to the newly formed Coordinating Committee on University Assessment that is leading our response to our Middle States evaluation and request to assess the outcomes of our educational mission-- currently serving are Art Miller and Kim Steiner. Craig Weidemann, Vice President for Outreach, identified a liaison on the Commission for Adult Learners, and Debora Cheney has agreed to serve. We also have several regular liaison connections to other administrative committees such as the Faculty Advisory Committee on Academic Computing-- the chair of Computing and Information Systems, Lee Coraor; The Advisory Committee on Naming University Facilities-- the Vice-Chair of University Planning, Brian Tormey.
In the next month, thanks to the support of Vice Provost Terrell Jones and the Joint Commissions leaders, we will appoint Senate liaisons on each of the Commissions for Women, the Commission on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Equity, and the Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity. Vice President Rob Pangborn and I have discussed a potential role for the Chairs of Admissions, Records, Scheduling, and Student Aid, Curricular Affairs, and chair of Undergraduate Education as regular members of the Administrative Council on Undergraduate Education. I have had initial discussions with Vice President Vicky Triponey on Senate liaisons with the several groups that are taking up the challenge of increasing student engagement in both curriculum and student affairs. I hope to provide a more complete list of these liaisons early in the Spring and make their appointment more routine for future years so that you know who to contact with relevant ideas.
There remain several administrative groups without Senate liaisons working on ideas and issues closely related to Senate interests in our missions of teaching, research, and service. Establishing more Senate memberships and liaisons is essential to accomplishing deliberative change in which administrators and faculty feel fully invested. Since my tenure on the Senate began in 1991 the Senate’s relationship with the administration has involved a perception, and perhaps a practice at times, of receiving new initiatives, policies, and procedures that are already decided. While our review and approval role is important, it is far less productive of a shared sense of belonging than a practice in which the ideas for our future are deliberated together from origin through implementation in both Senate and administrative chambers. Besides avoiding unnecessary misunderstandings between people who all have the interests of the whole University at heart, I believe we could generate even better ideas if we integrate our discussions in both locales. Not only would we gain a greater sense of our shared responsibility and opportunity to improve our University, we might more easily realize that we are not really out to make life miserable for each other.
The third gap I wish to explore with you today actually consists of a few gaps within our own faculty governance structures.
A small gap exists between our governance structures for undergraduate and graduate missions. This gap is to be expected, because the Senate has delegated the authority for graduate education curriculum and policies to the Graduate Council. Of course, we continue to elect both graduate students and graduate faculty as Senate representatives; we have a liaison with the Graduate Council, currently Travis DeCastro; and we have key Graduate Council leaders on our Senate Committees of Curricular Affairs, Intra-University Relations, and Research. We are working to close this smaller gap currently with the addition of six Graduate Council representatives with full voting rights to our Senate Committee on Research; an action that was endorsed by Graduate Council on October 19, 2005, and will come to the Senate floor in January as a change in the Senate’s Standing Rules. I hope we can continue to integrate our work in other areas; for example, as our Senate committee on Curricular Affairs works to reconcile University-wide course abbreviations, we find that this issue, and others that arise out of the curricular integrity report, cuts across both undergraduate and graduate course and program offerings, suggesting a need for closer collaboration on curriculum issues between the Faculty Senate and the Graduate Council. I plan to work with Eva Pell, Vice President for Research and Dean of the Graduate School, early next semester on ways to further integrate our shared governance.
A wider gap exists between the University Faculty Senate and unit Senates in our colleges and campuses. Just this past summer, the chairs of campus Senates held their first historic joint meeting at the Altoona campus through the organizational efforts of Barbra Wiens-Tuers, Chair of the Altoona Senate. We now have on our Senate Web site a directory of these campus Senate leaders, and I hear of plans to bring the group together again this spring. Vice President for Commonwealth Campuses, John Romano, has invited the chairs of these 19 campuses to serve as an advisory group for his office. But note that the chairs of the college Faculty Senates at the University Park campus have never, to my knowledge, met or have any directory or discussion of shared issues.
In our Faculty Senate governance structure, we also do not have any articulated connection between our local Senates and our Faculty Senate, except that the Senate Council reviews and approves their constitutions. While the University Faculty Senate is certainly important to our shared governance at the University level, a great many decisions about the day-to-day life of faculty and students takes place at the college and campus level. If an issue arises in one college, the faculty in that unit could benefit to learn how the issue is experienced, if at all, in another college. The local Senates also do not necessarily have a connection to the University Faculty Senate in order to address an issue. Past Chair, Chris Bise, began to work on this gap by asking Senate Council representatives to work closely with, and even rewrite, constitutions to become permanent members of their local senates or executive councils; this might help close the gap at University Park between the local and global governance groups.
I turn now to the final gap in our own governance that I have thought about a great deal, and I wish to lay out a proposal by which we might address this gap during the remaining Senate meetings of this year. I believe this gap has key connections to all the other gaps I have already described. This gap is both visible and invisible. It is the gap between ourselves, each of us here, as members of disciplinary communities. Beyond the University organizational structure, that separates us into budget units instead of disciplines, our very structure and practices as the University Faculty Senate contribute to the continuance of this gap.
Have you ever noticed that roughly half of us keep our discipline invisible while the other half expresses it every time we stand to speak in the Senate? Ed Bittner once told me that he thought my last name was Education because I always stated, “Myers Education,” to preface my remarks on the floor. Let me pick on a few people here to see if this hypothesis is right. Please raise your hands if you know Len Berkowitz’s discipline. That’s quite a few but not too many. How about Peter Rebane, do you know his discipline? A few more there. How about Cara-Lynne Schengrund? Now do you know her discipline or her general discipline? You know that she’s in medicine but do you know what her specialty is in medicine? Not quite as many.
We bring together in one place, six times a year, a group that purports to represent one university geographically distributed but has no distributed understanding of each others’ central identity as scholars in these University-wide disciplines. I’d like us to begin to work on this aspect of our relationship by asking everyone to state your discipline, as well as, your location to preface your remarks on the Senate floor. I do not think this will add that much time to the meetings. This applies to everyone. University Park Senators should share their specific discipline, such as Myers, Curriculum and Instruction, College of Education, so you might know a little more about me besides education. Medicine and Law Senators can share their area of discipline specialty. Administrative Senators and student Senators can share their discipline or major.
Rethinking our relationship to each other, in terms of disciplines rather than locations, requires a huge cultural shift. As one of our geography colleagues, Cynthia Brewer, can probably explain more fully, our identities are most closely tied to the land or space we occupy. She might disagree with me, which is okay. I think disciplinary communities might be able to escape this identity boundary of place as many recent social-cultural theorists are examining the characteristics of affinity groups in our networked globalizing world. The best example of how an affinity group can overpower local geography might be the academy itself. I just returned from my yearly trek to my professional organizations’ national meeting—my disciplinary colleagues, and I heard this several times while I was there, call this meeting home even though it rotates through hotels across the country. This is the time and place that I stay up late talking about ideas with people that I see maybe once a year. We plan collaborative work, discuss our teaching, strategize about national and international trends impacting our discipline, and problematize each others’ ways of inquiry. It is both exhausting and invigorating. If we thought about our connection to each other in this University as members in a professional organization, we may be able to generate the core events and practices to construct vibrant disciplinary communities of interest within our very own University.
Some of these disciplinary communities already exist; they’re already active or semi-active or maybe they existed in the past at Penn State. But here is my proposal for how all of our disciplinary groups could become stronger. We have already set aside University resources to bring us together as elected representatives of our University. What if we shifted our frame of reference as Senators from unit to discipline for a portion of our governance activity? What if we became elected representatives for our disciplines as well as our units? I contend that half of us are already elected members of our general disciplines, such as medicine, agriculture, arts and architecture, etc.
The door handout provides a rough estimate of just how closely we already represent a Senate body of disciplinary representatives. Let me talk about the table on page one for a minute. You have to use this table of numbers for illustration purposes, because it’s so hard in this University to get a set of numbers that everybody agrees on. While these were drawn from reports, there will be some different numbers in other reports. In board strokes, the general humanities discipline, in the first row, we have 234 Commonwealth Campus faculty, 311 University Park faculty, and we have 17 campus Senators in the Humanities discipline and 16 University Park senators, roughly one Senator to 14 faculty for campus representation, and one Senator to 20 for University Park representation. You can see who we are as disciplinary representatives as you read down the door handout. Our representation ranges from a low of one to 35 in the campus Education faculty, to a high of one to 12 in the campus Social Sciences faculty. An average over the 13 general disciplines, one Senator to 22 faculty members. I have not identified Medicine and Law as separate disciplines because I believe that they might be interested in connecting with faculty in one of the other general disciplines, or they might want to stick together.
So my proposal is, I think we may already have good University-wide disciplinary representation or at least something to start from. All we need to do is take the opportunity to exercise it as a Faculty Senate. To that end, I propose that we hold disciplinary caucus meetings each Senate day from 11:15 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. I realize that this would change the nature of past practice for the Commonwealth Caucus that regularly meets during that time. And, while the Commonwealth Caucus would still have their evening meeting, they would struggle to get over their current practice of sharing committee reports. However, at this juncture of our University, I believe we have more to achieve by using that time together for disciplinary caucuses than we have to protect by using it for the Commonwealth Caucus.
Think with me for a few minutes more. All senators would be together for discussions then lunch instead of the situation now that creates a gap between the faculty from one campus and all of the other campuses. While each disciplinary caucus might not hear about all of the Senate committees, they could have strategic discussions more relevant to their disciplinary needs and interests in relation to the Senate committees on which they do serve. As quickly as the next Senate year, the disciplinary caucus could strategically divide their membership by requesting service on the key Senate committees that would be most relevant to their disciplinary issues. I think this opportunity to take up the issues in the University Senate from University-wide disciplinary perspective is worth a try. If we can not as University-minded Senators provide leadership for our disciplines, then we give ourselves up to bureaucratic connections that are based on administrative units that should be invisible structures of management, not visible barriers to disciplinary inquiry, education, and outreach.
I would like to emphasize that I am a pragmatist and not an idealist. My proposal for disciplinary caucuses is not without faults. While the larger general disciplines I have proposed share perspectives and methods, there is a great difference between anthropology and psychology, math and chemistry, history and English and others clumped together in a Humanities Caucus or Social Science Caucuses. On the back of the door handout, I have listed the specific disciplines that I have categorized into larger disciplinary fields of study. You will not find all of the University’s specific disciplines, because I generated this list based on the identification of disciplines for faculty on our commonwealth campuses. Anthropology for example is not on the list of social sciences, because I could not find any Commonwealth College faculty identified as an anthropologist.
As these disciplinary caucuses break down into subgroup discussions at a caucus meeting, I am sure some solitary scholars will arise, because we do not elect ourselves to the Senate based on disciplinary representation. I do not have a specific agenda in mind for these disciplinary caucuses in the Spring semester other than to explore the possibilities of their community. Perhaps, at some point in the future, if it is successful, disciplinary caucuses would provide early and on-going consultation on curriculum development at any location in the University. Perhaps the disciplinary caucus would elect that disciplines representative to Curricular Affairs and sign off on the review of curriculum proposals for Curricular Affairs. After a few years of community building, the disciplinary caucus might take up the role of the University-wide discipline in Promotion and Tenure review. Something that would make the already difficult task of the Senate to conduct a census for determining representation even crazier would be to shift the basis for Senate election to University-wide disciplines rather than units.
I also know that University Park elected senators will find allocating time for an 11:15 a.m. meeting and lunch on Senate day unusual at first, because this has never been an aspect of their participation. But, having had the pleasure of attending the Commonwealth Caucus meetings and lunches over the past three years, I can not think of a Senate day without that opportunity for discussion. I am also well aware that this proposal has budget implications, as the Senate doubles the lunch bill for the Spring meetings. I doubt that there is an opportunity fund in the President’s office, and I doubt the athletic department will have any extra funds, but I think it might be worth a try to find some way to fund it.
Some faculty will feel a loss of location-based power by restructuring time together in a disciplinary caucus. I believe that Senate Council can fill the role of unit based interests. In fact, University College has a seat on Senate Council and those unit-based interests can be expressed in that body. Although I have given you enough to think about, I will just throw out that Senate Council membership might also someday be composed of the elected chairs of the local Senates, helping to shrink the gap I mentioned earlier between the University Faculty Senate and the local Senates.
To close, I would like to invite you to send responses to me on this proposal to have disciplinary caucuses meet at our January, March, and April Senate meetings, or some other amended idea. I would like to have some emails or comments or responses from everybody, whether you think it is a positive or a negative idea. If there is enough positive response, I envision asking Senators from the respective disciplines to serve as caucus facilitators for these events, and we would make sure that we develop a comprehensive list of general and specific disciplines so that everyone can place themselves, because I know many of you can not find yourselves right now on this door handout.
Thank you for your indulgence with these remarks. At this time, I welcome any questions or comments.
Tramble Turner, Abington: Simply one question on process, given that this is a very short, one page paper.
Chair Myers: Did you say English?
Tramble Turner: No, I did not say. Toward the end, you were presenting it as a proposal for discussion with the January turn around. So the only question I have is, who was consulted on this before the presentation?
Chair Myers: I did not consult anybody on this. I just share this as an idea. It is an idea to think about and the response to it is consultation and it may go nowhere, but I hope that I have helped you think about a couple of what I think are important gaps in our classrooms and in our Senate and in our University. Whether we actually accomplish any new practices to deal with those gaps may not be as important as being sensitized to them and aware of them. So no, Tram, I did not call together a huge consultative pathway before putting together these ideas.
COMMENTS BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNIVERSITYThe President is with us, and I am pleased to invite him to come forward to make some remarks.
President Spanier: Spanier, Human Development and Family Studies, Sociology, Demography, and Family and Community Medicine. Or at least all of those things until I went over to the Dark Side. Now I have consulted extensively on what I am about to say. Do you really think it would make any difference what Len Berkowitz or Peter Rebane said if they preceded their comments by saying what their disciplines were? Not in your cases.
Jamie, thank you for those thoughtful comments. I do appreciate hearing them. I do not know about the methods of getting there. One of the things I have tried to encourage in my time at Penn State is for more disciplinary cohesion, particularly between University Park and people on all of our various campuses. That is an area that we need to continue to work on.
I do want to add my congratulations to Peter Jurs for his incredible service, both in his own field and to the University generally, and to this Faculty Senate. He actually was the chair of the Faculty Senate during my first year as president and is principally responsible for straightening me out early on with a lot of issues. Congratulations, Peter, for your service.
I also want to take a minute to congratulate Rob Pangborn on his appointment as Vice President and Dean for Undergraduate Education. I think most of you know Rob. He has been in training for this position for the last twenty years. His service as Associate Dean of the College of Engineering has been extremely important and really phenomenal for that college. He has served on the Administrative Council for Undergraduate Education for many years. He did a stint as the executive officer of the Altoona campus. He has been the chair of this Faculty Senate. He knows the governance system of this University inside-out. In my first year as president, when I asked people who was the best person at the University to oversee a reform of the general education curriculum, everybody said Rob, and we asked him to do it and he did. He has taken on a long list of difficult assignments.
For those of you who served on the search advisory committee that has led to his appointment, I thank you. He will do an absolutely superb job. He will be formally confirmed by the Board of Trustees at its next meeting, but I think I have already sent him three emails in the last twenty-four hours about tasks that he will be taking on. Would you stand up so we can congratulate you? Rob will have quite an extensive portfolio of responsibilities at the University as were outlined in our announcement last March where we reorganized some aspects of the University. So his portfolio is very extensive, more so than we have seen historically in that position.
There will be one change that we are making, and I think I’ve talked to you about this before, and we are not quite there yet, but we will be heading down that road. We see it as an extremely important priority of the University to put a greater focus on international programs, generally speaking. What we hope to do is establish a new position of Vice Provost for International Programs and that will be a separate Vice Provost position reporting to the Provost. It is a search we will launch in the spring. As you know, we are in the midst right now of some Dean searches and our hands are kind of full with that. We have a very stable leadership there right now, so it is not something that we have to rush into, but it is a very important area of emphasis and priority for the University. In the coming months look for a formation of a search committee and an announcement for a national search for leadership in that area.
It may not be on your radar screen, but I want to alert you all to the fact that, across this nation, legislators are adopting what are commonly known as Taxpayer Bill of Rights Laws. In some cases, they are legislation and in some cases they are actually constitutional amendments in those states.
Pennsylvania is taking up a Taxpayer Bill of Rights legislation. There are versions of this that have already been through the House and the Senate. They are being discussed in conference committee, and it is not something that has garnered a lot of public attention in Pennsylvania. It seems that all we read about when looking at the legislature is their pay raises.
I can assure you that the pay raise issue is a tiny fraction of the issue it should be in relation to a potential Taxpayer Bill of Rights, particularly with regard to the University. In other states that have adopted versions of this legislation, it has had anywhere from a moderate negative impact to devastating impacts on universities and on public higher education. I am extremely worried about this legislation. I have spoken to members of the legislature, legislative leaders, about it. The Governor and I have spoken about it. Unfortunately, there is a lot of public sentiment supporting such legislation, and it will be very hard for any publicly elected official to vote against the legislation. It almost seems too good to be true if you’re a voter. Of course you want the state to limit its spending in some way, whether to peg state spending to some version to consumer price index. In some states it is not even pegged to the states revenue, but rather to some other indicators so that even if they have excess revenue they can not spend it; they have to return it to the taxpayer in some way, or portion it out between a rainy day fund and a return to the taxpayer. There are a lot of different versions, and it is not entirely clear which version will emerge when it comes out of conference in Pennsylvania.
It needs to be on your radar screen, because, as you know, right now, only ten percent of Penn State’s budget comes from legislative appropriation. Still, it is not a trivial sum of money but this could impact us by decreasing, perhaps even substantially, appropriations to Penn State making us an even more private University, and, of course, the consequence of that would be increased tuition. We have alerted our Penn State grass roots network. That is a network of about 35,000 alumni of the University. It is an initiative operated by the Alumni Association. We have made this the highest priority for them right now to weigh in on this. Of course, we are still concerned about our proposal that is before the Governor trying to encourage him in his February budget release announcement for the coming year to give us the level of funding we need so that we can freeze tuition at 20 of our campuses around the state. Pay attention to what comes out of the Taxpayer Bill of Rights legislation.
How many of you saw, as I did, on the Pennsylvania cable network some part of the Academic Freedom hearings? That is not the exact title, but I think you know what I mean. Were any of you as disturbed as I was about some of what you heard? It is on the one hand something that we do not need to be that concerned about, because these hearings are really only in response to a resolution of the legislature that there be hearings about it. They’re not under a mandate to come back with anything or to decide anything but just to have the hearings. It has provided a public platform for discussion about academic freedom, and the theme of the discussion has not been about promoting academic freedom in the way we would discuss it in the Faculty Senate, but rather about making sure that we do not stray too far in that we do not let our politics get into things and that we act responsibly. On the surface, it would seem reasonable enough that we should all have responsibilities and do our jobs right, but there is an undertone of the discussion that is potentially troubling. It is something to also keep an eye on.
I do not think much will come out of the hearings, because most of the condemnation that we heard came from members of the legislature themselves. In the three hours that I saw, the majority of the legislators there said, “I do not understand why we are having these hearings. I do not understand why we are doing it. What’s coming out of it? I am really not sure this is a good use of our time.” They were there because they were on the committee that was asked to do it. My concern came more from some of the witnesses. One in particular that I was listening to for more than two hours, said some things that I thought were mildly disturbing, but he was just a witness in front of the hearing. I can not believe that they gave him that much time and deference to talk.
My belief is that these are matters best left to the Faculty Senate of the University. We have an array of committees that deal with academic rights and responsibilities. We police ourselves pretty well, I think. If there are complaints, our students, our colleagues know where they can go and who they can talk to about it. I think we have about as good a system at Penn State as anywhere dealing with this issue, and I just do not think it is a big problem for us. I would like to keep the legislature out of the business of monitoring academic freedom at the universities. I think they have other things they can be working on and I think we are all in a position where we can manage that ourselves. I hope you would agree.
From time to time we review the academic calendar. I just want to say that we have asked John Romano, in cooperation with a number of other people, and all the different units that are interested in this, ranging from the Physical Plant to the campus police to housing and food services to undergraduate education to admissions and the registrar and so on, to take a fresh look at the calendar situation, and they are in the midst of this. At some point, before too long, I think we will have a recommendation about some tweaking. Do not get excited. We are not going to do anything dramatic, but we have to take into account when students arrive in the residence halls and what the parking lots are like that day and the traffic patterns and whether it is on a day when there is football traffic and all the hotel rooms are already booked up and whether the students can go to the first game and so on. There are a lot of different issues that are out there in any given year, and we are taking a forward look ahead a few years at some of the variables to see if we can nail down the calendar a little better.
I would like to commend all of you who actually taught on the Monday and Tuesday before Thanksgiving. I would take the three or four of you who did that out to lunch, but our view of the empty classrooms around campus suggested that we may have a problem with those couple of days before Thanksgiving. That is something we need to factor into the discussion.
Last week, John Romano, Rod Erickson, and I did a State-wide telecast via satellite to faculty and staff at campuses all around the State. How many of you were on the other end of that? You all should have been there if you were on another campus. Oh, you were teaching. Okay, that is a good excuse. But the feedback on our doing that has been very positive and many of you have written back. We appreciate that, and we may do that again as the need arises, because it opens up the lines of communications, and, in this particular case, we wanted to talk about a range of issues, including the enrollment and budget situation.
Speaking of the enrollment situation, our applications right now University-wide are about nine percent ahead of this time last year. Nine percent. It was even a little further ahead a week ago. So now it has settled down as all those applications dated late November have come in. But that is still a very good scenario for us. We are very appreciative. Some people are giving credit to the football team. That may have a little bit to do with it, but I hope that is not the whole story.
Speaking of the football team, we are going to the Orange Bowl and that is a pretty good thing for Penn State overall. Is anybody going to the bowl? Did you get tickets? Well, I did not bring any with me. One of the big problems that we have right now is that we have 40,000 people wanting 15,000 tickets. We think we might have gotten our hands on 18,000 tickets, but there is quite a scramble going on right now for tickets. My office has been turned into a bit of a ticket agency lately, except we do not get too many, so do not call.
With that, I’ll take a couple of minutes for questions if you have any.
Eric Feigelson, Eberly College of Science, Astronomy and Astrophysics: President Spanier, in your tenth year talk a few weeks ago, you took great pride in your success in completing dramatic large projects, such as the creation of the new Information Sciences and Technology School, the merger with an existing law school. You have built impressively large buildings and there are more coming. However, these have occurred in an era of fiscal limitations and therefore at the expense of other and less visible activities. Academic units in various colleges have witnessed in the last few years eight budget reductions. The first few cuts may have improved efficiency, but the last few have been damaging. Projects have been cancelled, human capital is stressed, opportunities for the existing faculty to excel, and sometimes even to function, are inhibited. Department heads, associate deans are constantly scrambling for money, more so than in the past. There are times in the life of an organization when fertilizing existing fields may be more important than clearing new fields. Do you think it is now a good time to delay some large project expenditures and return significant funds to the colleges so they can thrive and achieve their strategic goals in education, research and public service?
President Spanier: I think I need to answer that in two ways: one is to explain a little bit of misinformation you have and then to comment on the larger issue.
There has been no year over the last ten years that we have recycled any more than one percent of the University budget in any given year. In some years it has been zero, in some years a half a percent, in some years one percent, and, in many of the years, the recycling is an amount identified by the dean that then goes back to the dean, or, in the most extreme case, where we have taken one percent, we have returned half a percent. At the same time, the University puts in all of the new money, 100 percent of the new money, for faculty salary increases which have been very good over the recent years. That has been a top priority. So, we have made up a five percentage point deficit relative to our peers that has gotten us back into the upper half of the Big Ten. We contribute centrally all of the new employee benefits to the college, and we have opportunity funds and other funds under the purview of the Provost and the Vice President for Research that are allocated to the units. So the truth is that even apart from salary and benefits, every single college of the University has actually seen budget increases, not budget cuts. The University has received appropriation cuts, five appropriation cuts from the legislature, but these have been made up through internal cutting, the largest share of that from administrative costs, and secondly, by keeping up on the revenue side with increased tuition, research funding, investment income, and fundraising.
If any unit has experienced an outright cut in the overall picture then that is a selective cut that the dean has made within the college, as the dean sets his or her priorities out. The overall University flow of funds from the central administration to the academic units has been a positive flow of funds, and we do not do things here at Penn State that are done at many other public universities. For example, when a position becomes vacant, we do not take the funds back, or, we do not say, if a $100,000full professor position becomes vacant, you can have that position but you fill it at a $50,000 assistant professor level, and we will take the extra $50,000. The deans have the discretion to make those decisions, and in fact, Penn State has done a lot of hiring at the senior, associate, or full professor level, than a lot of comparable universities, who would just automatically fill senior positions with junior positions. So I am not sure the charge is quite right in terms of what I have control over.
We are, however, in all fairness, working against some very significant inflationary forces. The marketplace out there, even for academics, is a very difficult one right now. So in some fields like business and engineering and others, the cost of bringing in new faculty members is very high. I was talking to a few of the deans the other day and they were commiserating that their start-up packages in some colleges like yours are averaging three or four hundred thousand dollars per faculty member. The salary isn’t necessarily even the biggest issue but just the start-up packages that are being demanded for equipment to hire that person in. That money has to come from somewhere. A lot of the time, department heads or deans make decisions about where to cut so they can afford other priorities. While we are doing as much reallocation and cutting to save money as we can, we have always, since I’ve been here, favored the funding of the academic units.
Having said that, our investment in new initiatives is actually very modest right now. In this year’s budget, I think our total investment in new initiatives is $3.2 million. That is on a $3 billion budget. It is very small. We are doing some things to help the College of Medicine, and we are in the midst of a commitment, which is really modest in the overall scope of things, for the Dickinson School of Law, which will also fund what we do in international studies initiative.
At the last Board of Trustees meeting, we announced to the Board that we would be postponing several big projects. We are now in a mode with our enrollments and our tuition revenue that we have to get into some actual cutting this coming year that will be a little more significant. Because of the cost of new buildings, and the cost of borrowing funds, and the University’s debt capacity, we are postponing a number of buildings by a year or two that we had hoped to be able to go ahead with. We are doing that principally for one reason: to help with the situation at Hershey with the College of Medicine and our hospitals and clinics there, in order for them to provide the quality of service they need to for patients in Central Pennsylvania. In order to allow for growth there, we have to do some investment in facilities that is sorely needed. As I said in Hershey recently, when I met with the leadership there, we can not print money. We can borrow money, but we can only borrow up to a certain level because of bond rating issues and debt capacity. So that is kind of a long answer on different parts of what you raised.
Eric Feigelson: Thank you for answering. I am sorry that you do not accept some of the premise. I may have a myopic view; I live among the leaves and twigs of the University, and you are part of the trunk and the big, fat branches. But you should know that after 22 years of living among the twigs, I’ve never seen them with quite the culture of feeling that there is today. I think there has been a trend of your administration that has perhaps not paid sufficient attention to the human capital instead of the physical capital, to the soft programs and the needs for modernization and improvement, and I wish that you would consider to investigate whether or not my point of view is local to my little twig or perhaps has relevance for other parts of the University. This is the deliberative body of the faculty, and I think the Senate Council, perhaps as much as the Senate itself, is an appropriate location for these discussions to occur. Thank you.
President Spanier: I am going to talk to your dean and find out what he has done with the money, all that money we have been sending him. We had better find out what he has done with it.
I often have the impression, and we are seeing this at Hershey right now very profoundly, if you look at the data we have been investing very heavily. Frankly, one of the reasons our tuition has gone up the way it has is because, and I have said in three or four of my State of the University Addresses, we are not going to compromise quality at this University. There are only a few key variables in the formula. There is the financial part of it, there is the quality part and so on, and you can not cut your way to quality. You can do a little bit of trimming around the edges, but at some point, if you want to maintain the quality, and if you are being run efficiently, you are going to have to raise tuition or legislative appropriations, the only two sources of income for our academic programs. Appropriations have been cut, so tuition has had to make up for it, and that is why we are now the most expensive public university in the country. We have not done what other universities have done in those situations. You guys publish the data so often of the history of salary increases. If you take a place like Wisconsin, two years they have no raises, then one year they get a big raise, then they get no raise the next year. There are some of the universities that are up and down all over the map. We have given a consistent raise at this University for years, the whole time I’ve been here. The majority of those years, our salary increase pool has been one percent. One full percent is our target, above the average of our peers, to gain the standing that we want. We kept up on the employee benefits side. In fact, as I think some of you have heard me say before, for the last two years, we have had to put more money into employee benefits than into salary increases, just to keep up with the escalating costs of health insurance. It has been going up about fifteen percent a year. So our goal has been to keep up and not cut back, because we are already very efficient in what we do. But our aspirations have increased, and this is what I think is happening: what we aspire to do and what we want to do and the equipment that we want to have is greater than we can afford. We often feel that deficit in relation to where we would like to be, even if it doesn’t square with the data that says, yes, technically, we are putting more dollars in. I understand that. Believe me, I feel the same way as president. The same way you might be frustrated with your department head or dean or with the president, I feel the same thing coming from Harrisburg. I am disappointed when I meet with a donor and I ask them for this amount and they say no or they give us a lesser amount. I am grateful for whatever they give us, but I feel the same frustrations. My goal is to get you all more money and better support and better buildings. That is what my job is.
Delia Conti, McKeesport, Communications, Presidential Rhetoric and Law: I want to say Penn State Allegheny, and that is part of my question. I have a high school senior, Penn State is her first choice, and due to circumstances beyond my control, I have a houseful of seniors, and they talk about Penn State UP or Penn State Erie. They never talk about Penn State McKeesport, Penn State New Kensington, Penn State Beaver, Penn State Fayette. They go to Erie, not because of the beautiful city or the weather, but because there are four thousand students. Why not make the bold move and have a Penn State Pittsburgh. I know it would take a lot but it is not hard to figure out why students are picking UP and Erie, and not McKeesport.
President Spanier: It has been mentioned as a possibility before. We do not actually have a campus in Pittsburgh. I think two of those three campuses are actually in Allegheny County, but one is not, so even Penn State Allegheny does not quite capture it. It is not one spot anyway, it is three. Is Fayette part of that or not? Well, no, but some people might say they are just a little bit down the road too.
We are looking very broadly at all of those kinds of questions. This is something John Romano is taking on. What is the future of our campuses? What should their mission be? I suppose what should we call them and how should they be organized? We are not contemplating any dramatic changes at the moment, but we know we really need to think ahead on some of these questions. What you’re suggesting is conceptually consistent with the kinds of issues that are on the table. I do not want to say more than that because we are not really thinking about changing anybody’s name right now. I do not want to get people nervous about that. We are looking at these kinds of issues that center around the question that you’re raising. How do we get high school students out there to think about all of our campuses, in their own right, as being very important? We think that in some time, I am sure before long, you will have John up here talking about this and what some of his evolving thoughts are, but we are very concerned about people’s perception that if you go to some of our campuses, you can not get here. We are also in a competitive environment where other admissions folks and recruiters and administrators at other colleges and universities are giving misinformation about Penn State, and there are certain myths out there in the high schools about how we operate and what we can do. We have caused a little bit of that trouble ourselves over the years by how we operate and what we say and our own internal competitiveness. We are setting out to try and fix all of those things. Is that a good statement?
Richard Barshinger, Worthington Scranton, Mathematics: In your television program last Wednesday, you spoke optimistically of growing enrollments at the 14 campuses of the University College, growing enrollments in partial response to how to deal with a $15.5 million shortfall.
The day after that, I received the Agenda for the University Faculty Senate meetings, and in that Agenda, there are the minutes of Senate Council from a week and a day before that television program. At the bottom of page two it says the following; in response to questions Dr. Erickson acknowledged that the first year student enrollment target for Fall 2006 at University Park is 6,900 students. He went on to say that this poses unique challenges for offering sections of first year courses, and he is alerting deans that faculty will need to become more involved with teaching lower division students. It seems that this target for University Park next year can not but be further detrimental to the idea of growing enrollments at other campuses. Would you care to comment?
President Spanier: We hope it isn’t. I think at virtually all of our campuses we have higher enrollment targets next fall. We have to because our enrollments were down about 1,700 or 1,800 across Penn State. We are very enrollment driven now, as I said, that is our single largest source of income. That is why we have the financial problem that we do. Now, it wasn’t entirely unexpected, because we do have a cohort phenomenon going on there. You can predict fairly well how many of the students are going to be leaving and graduating, and if you have a large cohort graduating, you can not necessarily have an equal sized cohort coming in, right? That depends on housing, it depends on a lot of things. The enrollment target at this campus for next year is only 200 students more than it was last year. There is another variable out there that is sort of a good news, bad news variable, which has unfolded in the last few years in a somewhat unexpected way. This is another thing we are having to cope with and as one of the reasons why we have to increase the enrollment targets at all campuses and that is that our students are taking less time to graduate.
At Penn State, where our graduation rates are relatively high, our students are graduating sooner. There has been a huge percentage increase over the last few years in the number of students. It took a big bump again this year in the number of students who are graduating in precisely four years who would have taken four and a half before, or who are graduating in four and a half who might have taken five years before. It’s good for them that they’re graduating sooner, and in one respect it is good for you that they’re graduating sooner, because it creates a little bit more flexibility in the system. The bad news is that it is one less semester of tuition that they’re paying; in an enrollment driven situation, that is very critical for us. So we do not want that trend to change, but it means that at every campus, and this is true on the other campuses, so that problem is being exacerbated all around us, what we can not end up doing is artificially holding down the enrollment at one campus solely so that another campus or another group of campuses can benefit. We will never get there that way. What we have got to do is increase the enrollment at all campuses. That’s why we are putting so much emphasis on it.
You said in the telecast that I was pretty optimistic about enrollments. Well, yes and no. We are optimistic in the sense that we believe we can do better, and there is this good sign, to be up nearly 10 percent in one year over the year before is phenomenal. Right now, we are on pace to break the all time record in the number of applications to the University, which occurred the year before last. That is good. But it doesn’t really mean much if we do not convert the applications to admissions to enrollments. That is where I ask every member of the faculty of this University to get involved, to be a part of the solution. Yes, we have professional admissions officers, and we have chancellors at the campuses and so on, but there is a way in which we can all be part of that solution. I do ask for your help in that.
Gary Catchen, College of Engineering, Nuclear Engineering and Architectural Photography: President Spanier, to the best of your knowledge, the increase in the graduation rate within four years, is this tuition driven for the most part or is it just structural, meaning programs have reduced number of credits or some other thing?
President Spanier: I think it has to be in part tuition driven. To stay an extra semester now means a lot more than it used to, so I think that is part of it. Secondly, the economy has started to improve generally, certainly job prospects for college graduates in fields where we turn out a lot of graduates have been improving. So if you see the prospect of a job out there, you say, well, I could take 12 credits and then take a leisurely nine credits next semester, or I could really get busy and do it all now, and you know there’s a job waiting you might choose to accelerate it a little more. I think that is a financial component in two ways.
Students are getting better advising and our online resources are good and there really doesn’t have to be a reason why a student ends up three or four years into their program these days and says, oh I did not know I had to take that course to graduate. I think students themselves are perhaps getting a little more efficient about it, a little more motivated. There may be some other variables that I am not aware of, but certainly, the financial piece of it has to factor in.
There are still a couple of hands up, but you used up all of the time with your speech.
Chair Myers: I know. I do expect the rest of the Agenda to move very quickly, so if you want to take one more, go ahead.
Ricardo Torres, College of Earth & Mineral Sciences: I just heard you say that we are expecting 200 more students next year. What is Penn State doing to plan ahead to house these students considering that this year we had such a hard time with RAs having roommates and such?
President Spanier: This year we enrolled 6,700 new students. We actually had not planned to take that many new freshmen. It is another one of those unexpected things. The yields were going down. You admit 100 students and 40 accept your offer and then all of a sudden one year you admit 100 students and 50 accept your offer. We had more than we expected, and we had a lot of students in lounges and living with RAs and things.
What we will do to anticipate that number for next year is ask more of our upper class students ahead of time to find one of the many and growing number of apartments in town and make the number of contracts available to upper class students somewhat lower, 200 lower or even more, so that we do not have the crunch. So those students will get ample notice of that. They’ll have their housing assignments early on and we will try to leave enough room. That is not to say that we won’t have a certain number of students in temporary housing of one kind or another, supplemental housing, as we call it. We always need to do a certain amount of that because by the time they actually show up and get sorted out you find there are vacancies and you kind of move them in. It is to everybody’s benefit for keeping the cost of room and board down to have 100 percent occupancy. It is a little bit like the airlines, because you know somebody is not going to show up. The overbooking occurred this time, not because of bad planning on our part, but because of this unexpected increase in the yield rate. We make a commitment to all freshmen that they will have a room. Upperclassmen, it is optional. It is as many spaces as there are. We will let them in, but we expect that some of them may need to live off campus.
Chair Myers: Thank you President Spanier.
I hope that all of you can hang with us for a couple more minutes. I do think this Agenda will move quickly.
The Senate Officers and I also extend our congratulations to Rob Pangborn. We are really looking forward to working with the Office of Undergraduate Education.
As we begin our discussion of reports, I remind you to please stand and identify yourself.
Our first report today is Advisory and Consultative and comes from the Senate Committee on Faculty Affairs. It is entitled “Modification of Policy HR-76 Faculty Rights and Responsibilities,” and is appendix C in your Agenda. Committee chair Mohamad Ansari and Vice Provost Blannie Bowen are here to present that report.
SENATE COMMITTEE ON FACULTY AFFAIRS
Modification of Policy HR-76 Faculty Rights and Responsibilities
Mohamad A. Ansari, Chair Faculty Affairs
Mohamad Ansari: Thank you Chair Myers and good afternoon. Let me speak to the revisions of HR-76 and to the current policy. Sections scope B3 and section C3 have the Committee on Faculty Rights and Responsibilities investigating petitions involving alleged discrimination. However, to ensure full compliance with the anti-discrimination laws, such petitions that involve legal issues are investigated by the Office of Affirmative Action. Therefore, to bring the policy in line with practice, the Senate Committee on Faculty Affairs is recommending the omission of sections B3 and C3 from the scope and also revising section D to bring it in line with the new policy HR-70.
Before Vice Provost Bowen and I take your questions, when I met with Senate Council, there were suggestions that there are nine references for the same reason to this policy to the President and those references have been approved to be replaced with the Provost. Senate Council and the Faculty Affairs Committee have approved those revisions, which will take place in collaboration with the Senate Office and the Office of Human Resources.
Chair Myers: Are there any questions? Seeing none, thank you.
This report comes from a committee and has already been moved and seconded. As many as are in favor of this revision to HR-76, please say aye.
Chair Myers: Opposed nay. The ayes have it and the motion passes.
The Senate has approved this advisory and consultative report. The report will be sent to President Spanier for his approval and implementation.
We have three informational reports today, and the first one comes to us from the Senate Committee on Computing and Information Systems. It appears as Appendix D, “ Penn State’s Course Management System – ANGEL.” Committee Chair, Lee Coraor, will stand for questions.
SENATE COMMITTEE ON COMPUTING AND INFORMATION SYSTEMS
Penn State’s Course Management System – ANGEL
Lee D. Coraor, Chair Computing and Information Systems
Lee Coraor: Thank you Chair Myers. Just one clarification that came up at Senate Council about the table with the numbers. There was a question about what it meant that there were 2,000 course sections in Spring 2002 and 7,323 in Fall 2005. How were those counted? Just to clarify, that does not include anything that was an independent study course. It only included sections where there was at least one or more students enrolled, and it only included sections where the course had been enabled in ANGEL. As most of you should know, you have to specifically enable the course. So those were the courses that were counted.
Scott Sherbine, College of the Liberal Arts, Communication Arts and Sciences: I keep hearing the words ANGEL 2 thrown around, and I was just wondering what ANGEL 2 is, and when it is going to be implemented. Do you know anything about that?
Lee Coraor: I do not know anything about ANGEL 2. That hasn’t come up in our discussion. I’ll look into it though.
Thomas Beebee, College of the Liberal Arts, Comparative Literature and German: There doesn’t seem to be any data in this report about downtime for ANGEL or other kinds of maintenance problems.
Lee Coraor: No, there is a scheduled downtime, I believe.
Thomas Beebee: I mean unscheduled downtimes. I just wondered if that situation was improving. It seems from my anecdotal perspective personally that it is improving. It is obviously a kind of situation you get into as a teacher that you’re worried that ANGEL will be up when it needs to be up and things like that. I just wondered if you’d looked at that at all.
Lee Coraor: No, we did not look at that this time because most of the committee felt that it was true. We haven’t been receiving lots of complaints about ANGEL downtime so that was not a part of our discussion. So you’ve found that in your situation?
Thomas Beebee: Right. Compared with a three-year time frame, I find that the unscheduled downtime is a lot less.
Lee Coraor: Yes, it is scary to go to class, expecting to have ANGEL there and it not be.
Chair Myers: Thank you Chair Coraor, it looks like that is all the questions.
Summary of Fall 2005 Officers’ Visits to University Units
Dawn G. Blasko, Faculty Senate Secretary
The next report is sponsored by Senate Council and appears as Appendix E on today’s Agenda. It is entitled “Summary of Fall 2005 Officers’ Visits to University Units.” Senate Secretary, Dawn Blasko, will respond to your questions. Are there any questions for Secretary Blasko? Did you have any comments?
Dawn Blasko: No, however, for those of you who are new to the Senate, the Senate Officers visit the campus units on a three-year cycle in the fall, and then in the spring, we visit with the University Park units. This fall we also went to Lehigh Valley and Schuylkill; so there were ten units that we visited this fall.
Chair Myers: Senate visits for next fall are posted on the Web site.
Dawn Blasko: And the spring.
Chair Myers: Yes, the spring, and those dates should come out very soon. Seeing no questions, thank you Secretary Blasko.
Disposition of Joint Committee on Curricular Integrity Recommendations
Jamie M. Myers, Faculty Senate Chair
Our last report for today is also sponsored by Senate Council. It appears on today’s Agenda as Appendix F, entitled “Disposition of Joint Committee on Curricular Integrity Recommendations.”
This report details how the various recommendations from the joint committee have been referred to the Senate and administrative groups for further deliberation and action. The Senate committees will pursue the issues and bring to the full Senate any reports necessary to enact new or revised policies to achieve greater curricular integrity. We will also be asking Senate Committees and ACUE groups, or administrative groups that deal with these recommendations, to prepare a report for us if they decide not to pursue or implement a recommendation from the Curricular Integrity report. I feel like the committee spent a lot of time putting together those recommendations, and we should respond to those, whether it is through implementation or a decision not to implement.
I would be glad to respond to your questions about how these recommendations have been referred, if there are any. If you have thoughts about the recommendation, I encourage you to contact the members of the committees that they’ve been referred to and share your ideas with them.
NEW LEGISLATIVE BUSINESS
SENATE COMMITTEE ON CURRICULAR AFFAIRS
Request to Appoint Senate Council Member Matthew Wilson to the Curricular Affairs Writing Subcommittee
Surprise! We have one item. The Senate Committee on Curricular Affairs has a request to appoint a Council member, in this case Matthew Wilson, to the Curricular Affairs Writing subcommittee. This is according to standing rules section 2 subsection 3 etc, if you want to look it up. It reads: Elected members of Senate Council and members of the Committee on Committees and Rules of the Senate may not serve as members of [other] Standing Committees of the Senate except in such ex officio capacities as may now or in the future be designated. This restriction on committee membership may be suspended on an individual basis by a two-thirds vote of the Senators present at a regular or special meeting.
Senator Wilson has been appointed to this subcommittee because of his expertise in writing and Curricular Affairs would like to support his role on that Senate Curricular Affairs subcommittee. In order to do this, we have to suspend the rules and vote and see if we have a two-thirds support for him to serve in both of those capacities. So first of all, is there any objection to suspending the rules? Seeing none, I would like to call for a vote. All those in favor of allowing this dual membership in this case, please say aye.
Chair Myers: Opposed nay. Thank you, I think that is two-thirds.
Theodore Jackson is here and has asked for the privilege of the floor to share comments.
Theodore Jackson: Good afternoon, my name is Theodore Jackson and I am one of the co-directors for the Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service. I just want to give a brief overview of our progress so far.
As of 11:00 a.m., we already had about 150 students signed up to volunteer on Monday. This kind of blew us away. We were expecting about 200 to 250, especially with the day being a day off this year. We were surprised because this is the second day that we started doing sign-ups, and the turn out has been pretty amazing.
I wanted to ask everyone here to encourage your students to attend the day of service by putting it on your spring syllabus.
Some of the events that will be going on Monday: we are having a day of service. Monday evening we will be having a peace service at Pasquirilla Spiritual Center followed by a march to the HUB Robeson Center, where we will be doing a Tunnel of Oppression, co-sponsored by the Paul Robeson Center. There will be a social justice dinner following that at 6:30.
On Tuesday, we are doing a speech competition co-sponsored by MPAC and USG. We are asking professors to encourage their classes to participate in this event. There are prizes available for winners of the contest.
On Wednesday, we will be having an Ending Celebration, as we are calling it this year, which will feature a keynote by Reverend Jesse Jackson.
It is free, and tickets will be available for students the Wednesday that we return from winter break, and for faculty and staff the following Thursday, and community members that following Friday.
We ask that you encourage students and the community and other faculty members to participate in these events that will be taking place January 16-18. Also, we will be sending out formal emails requesting that we are allowed to present to bigger classes, such as the classes that meet in 100 Thomas and in the Forum the first week of the spring semester just to encourage students to participate in the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service activities.
Chair Myers: Thank you. Are there any other comments for the good of the University?
Have a wonderful holiday. May I have a motion to adjourn?
Senators: So moved.
Chair Myers: All in favor, say aye.
The Senate is adjourned until January 31, 2006, when we will meet in room 112 of the Kern Graduate Building.