THE PENNSYLVANIA STATE UNIVERSITY
T H E S E N A T E R E C O R D
Volume 32-----DECEMBER 8, 1998-----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 1998-99.
The publication is issued by the Senate Office, Birch Cottage, University Park, PA 16802 (Telephone 814-863-0221). The Record is distributed to all Libraries across the Penn State system. Copies are made available to faculty and other University personnel on request.
Except for items specified in the applicable Standing Rules, decisions on the responsibility for inclusion of matters in the publication are those of the Chair of the University Faculty Senate.
When existing communication channels seem inappropriate, Senators are encouraged to submit brief letters relevant to the Senate's function as a legislative, advisory and forensic body to the Chair for possible inclusion in The Senate Record.
Reports which have appeared in the Agenda of the Meeting are not included in The Record unless they have been changed substantially during the Meeting or are considered to be of major importance. Remarks and discussion are abbreviated in most instances. A complete transcript and tape of the meeting is on file.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
I. Final Agenda for December 8, 1998
A. Summary of Agenda Actions
B. Minutes and Summaries of Remarks
II. Enumeration of Documents
Door Handout - Faculty Benefits - Domestic
Partner Health Care Benefits
Door Handout - University Planning - Costing
Report on Same-Sex Domestic Partners
Corrected Copy - General Education Implemen-
tation Committee - Foreign/Second Language
Report (Recommendation #8)
Corrected Copy - Faculty Benefits - Voluntary
Phased Retirement Program -- First Year Report
III. Tentative Agenda for February 2, 1999
FINAL AGENDA FOR DECEMBER 8, 1998
A. MINUTES OF THE PRECEDING MEETING -
Minutes of the October 27, 1998, Meeting in The Senate Record 32:2
B. COMMUNICATIONS TO THE SENATE - Senate Curriculum Report
(Blue Sheets) of November 24, 1998
C. REPORT OF SENATE COUNCIL - Meeting of November 17, 1998
D. ANNOUNCEMENTS BY THE CHAIR -
E. COMMENTS BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNIVERSITY -
F. FORENSIC BUSINESS - G. UNFINISHED LEGISLATIVE BUSINESS - Motion by Louis F. Geschwindner, Senator, College of Engineering
General Education Report on Second Language Report (Recommendation #8)
G. UNFINISHED LEGISLATIVE BUSINESS -
Motion by Louis F. Geschwindner, Senator, College of Engineering
Motion by Gregory Farber, Senator, Eberly College of Science
Domestic Partner Health Care Benefits
H. LEGISLATIVE REPORTS -
I. ADVISORY/CONSULTATIVE REPORTS -
J. INFORMATIONAL REPORTS -
Admissions, Records, Scheduling and Student Aid
Reserved Spaces Program
Voluntary Phased Retirement Program -- First Year
General Education Implementation Committee
Foreign/Second Language Report (Recommendation #8)
Report on Graduate Education, Rodney A. Erickson, Vice President for Research/Dean of the Graduate School
Mid-Semester Evaluation Report
K. NEW LEGISLATIVE BUSINESS -
L. COMMENTS AND RECOMMENDATIONS FOR THE GOOD OF THE UNIVERSITY - Page 23
M. ADJOURNMENT -
SUMMARY OF AGENDA ACTIONS
The Senate passed one Advisory/Consultative Report:
Faculty Benefits Ė "Domestic Partner Health Care Benefits." This report advised the extension of medical benefits to same sex domestic partners. (See Record, pages(s) 7-10, and Door Handout Record Appendix II.)
The Senate received six Informational Reports:
Admissions, Records, Scheduling and Student Aid - "Reserved Spaces Program." This is an annual report comparing reserved spaces by admission categories from 1984 to 1996. (See Record, pages(s) 11-12 and Agenda Appendix "B").
Faculty Benefits - "Voluntary Phased Retirement Program -- First Year Report." This report identified the number of individuals participating in the program from July 1997 to June 1998. It also informed the University community regarding additional flexibility in the program. (See Record, page(s) 12-13, Agenda Appendix "C," and Corrected Copy Record Appendix V).
General Education Implementation Committee Ė "Foreign/Second Language Report (Recommendation #8)." The purpose of the report was a recommendation to provide a way of encouraging students to further their knowledge of a foreign/second language without establishing a University-wide requirement within General Education. (See Record, pages(s) 13-14, Agenda Appendix "D," and Corrected Copy Record Appendix IV.)
Research - "Report on Graduate Education." This was an Oral Informational report by Rodney Erickson, Vice President for Research/Dean of the Graduate School, on the Graduate School, the Graduate Council and Graduate Education. (See Record, page(s) 15-23).
Undergraduate Education - "Mid-Semester Evaluation Report." This annual report compares the information on students at mid-semester through final grade distribution. (See Record, pages(s) 23 and Agenda Appendix "E.")
University Planning - "Costing Report on Same-Sex Domestic Partners Legislation." This report augmented the Domestic Partner Health Care Benefits report above by indicating the cost of extending those benefits. (See Record, page(s) 7-10 and Door Handout Record Appendix III).
A motion made by Senator Louis Geschwindner at the October 27 Senate meeting was withdrawn at this meeting. The original motion regarded the General Education Report on Second Language first presented at that October meeting.
The University Faculty Senate met on Tuesday, December 8, 1998, at 1:30 p.m. in Room 112 Kern Building with Leonard J. Berkowitz, Chair, presiding. One hundred and sixty-seven Senators signed the roster.
Chair Berkowitz: It is time to begin. I welcome everyone to the December 8th Senate meeting of the University Faculty Senate. As you may know by now, we recently lost a good friend and valuable Senate colleague. May I ask you to stand and observe with me a moment of silence for Veronica Burns Lucas.
MINUTES OF THE PRECEDING MEETING
Moving to the minutes of the preceding meeting, The Senate Record, providing a full transcription of the proceedings of the October 27, 1998 meeting, was sent to all University Libraries and is posted on the Faculty Senate web page. Are there any corrections or additions to this document? All those in favor of accepting the minutes, please signify by saying, "aye."
Chair Berkowitz: Opposed? The minutes are accepted. Thank you.
COMMUNICATIONS TO THE SENATE
You have received the Senate Curriculum Report (Blue Sheets) for November 24, 1998. This document is posted on the University Faculty Senate's web page. You may recall at the last meeting I reminded you that the last Blue Sheets you got by paper was the last one you were going to receive by paper. Everyone who previously received the printed version should now be getting an email message that the new Blue Sheets have been posted on the web. If you know of anyone who should be getting that message--including yourself--who is not, please contact the Faculty Senate Office and we'll take care of them.
REPORT OF SENATE COUNCIL
Also, you should have received the Report of the Senate Council for the meeting of November 17. This is an attachment in The Senate Agenda for todayís meeting.
ANNOUNCEMENTS BY THE CHAIR
Chair Berkowitz: I refer you to my remarks to Senate Council that are contained in the minutes attached to today's Agenda. In those minutes you will find reference to President Spanier's acceptance of several pieces of Senate legislation. When we hear about those things before Senate Council, I make the announcements there. I will not repeat them here because you all have copies of that. But it's important for you to keep up with legislation that has been accepted and is being implemented because occasionally we get calls, and we've already told people one way or another that it's being implemented, and those are all pieces of good news.
I have another piece of good news, and that is in addition to those items I received information on one other Senate report. The president has indicated that he has accepted our advisory/consultative report on Procedures for Termination of Tenure Protected Faculty. That's a report we passed last April.
The Faculty Advisory Committee to the President met on November 18, 1998, and discussed the following topics: the senior administrative searches; the domestic partners issue; lines of reporting; campus colleges; course prerequisites; automation of student services; and Big Ten/CIC membership. The next FAC meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, January 20, 1999. If you have any issues you would like us to raise, please contact one of the Senate Officers or one of the three elected faculty representatives to the Faculty Advisory Committee to the President.
Now, one of the items that we discussed under senior administrative searches was the search for the executive vice president and provost. At the FAC meeting we discussed the idea of having the chair of that committee--the provost search committee--make a brief presentation to the Senate regarding the progress of that search. So we have asked Eva Pell, who chairs that committee, to come forward now and tell you a bit about where that process is.
Eva Pell, Chair, Provost Search Committee: Good afternoon. I'm pleased to have the opportunity to present you with a brief report on the search for executive vice president and provost of the university. First, let me say that the task at hand is a challenging one made more so because we have the responsibility for finding a provost to follow Dr. Brighton, who I'm sure you will all agree has been a wonderful provost who has served the faculty and the university at large very, very well. Our committee is comprised of three deans, Barbara Shannon from the College of Health and Human Development, Robert Steele from the College of Agricultural Sciences, and Joseph Strasser from the Commonwealth College; one administrative representative, Carol Herrmann, Senior Vice President for Administration; one student, Desha Girod; and seven faculty members, Deborah Atwater, Head, Department of African and African American Studies, Leonard Berkowitz, Associate Professor of Philosophy, Penn State York, Dwight Davis, Professor of Medicine, Cardiology Division and Assistant Dean for Admission, Hershey Medical Center, Louis Geschwindner, Professor of Architectural Engineering, Wen-Ching Winnie Li, Professor of Mathematics, Victor Romero, Associate Professor of Law, Dickinson School of Law, and myself in the College of Agricultural Sciences. This is a good place for me to recognize the commitment of this group of individuals. This kind of search is very challenging, and the committee members have contributed many hours of their time to the process. Furthermore, they have gone about their task with a commitment to the heart of the university. It's a privilege for me to work with them, and you can be assured that you are in very capable hands. Dr. Spanier charged the committee on October 16. The advertisement for the position appeared in the Chronicle of Education in two consecutive weeks early in the process. Since then, nominations have been solicited by all the committee members. In addition, Dr. Spanier corresponded with the presidents of the National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges, the members of the American Association of University Presidents and the Board of Trustees. Internally the advertisement was sent to the Commission of Women, Campus Environment Team, Commission on Racial, Ethnic Diversity, officers of the Faculty Senate, student leaders, the Council of Academic Deans, the President's Council and the Forum on Black Affairs. To date we have received nearly 100 applications and nominations. All of these individuals have been invited to submit credentials. In addition, we have secured our own materials on the nominees from public sources including web sites and Who's Who in American Universities. The committee has reviewed every application and we have now begun to narrow the pool. We are in the process of gathering reference information on these individuals and plan to conduct preliminary interviews with eight to twelve of the candidates early in 1999. After these interviews have been conducted, we will deliver a slate of candidates to Dr. Spanier. The slate will contain three to six names. Dr. Spanier will follow up with further interviews on campus that will include deans, administrators and representative faculty, including those on the search committee. The search is being conducted in a strictly confidential manner in keeping with the university's commitment to protecting the integrity of all of the candidates. Dr. Spanier has reminded us that we are the first point of entry for many of our candidates, and the way we treat them reflects on the university at large and how they perceive us. That's all I have to tell you today. I thank you for your attention, and I will be pleased to respond to some general questions where possible.
Chair Berkowitz: If anyone has any questions for Dr. Pell, don't forget that as you rise--as usual--please identify yourself and the unit you represent before addressing the Senate. Are there any questions? Thank you very much.
Jacob De Rooy, Chair of the Senate Committee on Outreach Activities, asked that we distribute one of the handouts you received as you came into the meeting today. It concerns the Penn State award for faculty outreach. I urge you to read it and respond to the announcement with appropriate nominations.
As I told you last time, the Senate Officers have nearly completed their visits to other campuses this fall. We will complete our visits with our visit to the Dickinson School of Law on December 10. Visits to locations at University Park are being arranged for the spring.
We're moving along with our implementation of general education legislation, not only with the reports that you've seen for the last several months in front of you but in other ways as well. I would like to announce the appointment of the General Education Assessment Interest Group called for in Recommendation #9 of the Report of the Special Committee on General Education. The interest group was appointed jointly by the Senate Chair and the Dean for Undergraduate Education and will be chaired by Ingrid Blood. The members of the Assessment Interest Group are: Chris Bise, Lynn Carpenter, Mike Dooris, Tom Litzinger, Marie Secor, Pat Terenzini, Tram Turner and, as I mentioned, Ingrid Blood as chair. One final announcement, and that is at this morning's meeting the Senate Committee on Committees and Rules made three changes in Senate Committee leadership I thought you might want to be aware of. Kenneth Thigpen has been reassigned from Chair of Senate Committee on Student Life to Vice-Chair of Senate Committee on Curricular Affairs. Bill Ellis is moved from Vice-Chair of Student Life to Chair of Student Life, and Margaret Lyday is moved from Vice-Chair of Curricular Affairs to Vice-Chair of Student Life. The music stopped and that's where they sat down.
COMMENTS BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNIVERSITY
We next move to comments by the president of the university. President Spanier is here and does have comments today.
Graham B. Spanier, President: Let me begin by thanking Len and the members of the Faculty Advisory Committee for their continuing good work on behalf of the Senate. Their availability, accessibility to me and John Brighton for our monthly or so meetings, is very helpful to us to have an opportunity to review topics that are on the university's agenda. Although she's already left, I want to take this opportunity to thank Eva Pell for the outstanding job that she and the members of the search committee are doing in this search for the executive vice president and provost. They are working very hard, doing an outstanding job, and have attracted, I think, some of the top candidates in the United States for this position. I, too, have been making visits to the campuses. It's my goal to visit all of our campuses this year, and I'm maybe a little over half way through, and we will certainly be completing those visits in the spring semester. They're very rewarding for me to hear what's on the minds of faculty and staff on the campuses. I have on each of those visits an opportunity to meet with all faculty, staff, administrators, always a student group, community leaders, members of the media and others who might be on the agenda for a particular visit. Soon I will be meeting, along with the chairman of our Board of Trustees, with Governor Ridge to update him on Penn State activities and to review our budget priorities for the coming year. This is an opportunity the governor has afforded me each year, and it's been a very, very productive session. I would remind all of you that our budget priorities that we've outlined in our formal request to the governor and the legislature this year consist of an appropriate across-the-board inflationary increase that would allow us to keep up with the costs of faculty salaries, employee benefits, fuel, utilities, maintenance and the other day-to-day things that we need to keep going. We've also asked for funding for three new initiatives which we believe match up extremely well with the priorities of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania at this point, and we will be making a very strong case for funding for those initiatives. I'll just mention them briefly. The first is the area of information, sciences and technology. As you know we've received the approval from our Board of Trustees for a new School of Information, Sciences and Technology. The planning for that is coming along very nicely. It will be a state-wide deployment involving many of our campuses, and this is very important to the work force needs of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and to a lot of other efforts that are going on in the state right now. The second priority is in the area of work force development broadly defined. This would substantially involve Penn State campuses other than University Park as well as a significant component relating to the Pennsylvania College of Technology. There are some items in that proposal that relate to the transfer of technology from University Park-based research programs, as well, and for our outreach programs through our outreach efforts at the university. Penn State really has the lead in the state in work-force development in so many ways. We're the principal producer of professional and technical degrees in the state, and so we have an important role to play in that area. The third general priority area is in a separate line item area of the university: agricultural research and cooperative extension. Some of you are aware, perhaps, that we did go through a six-year period in the 1990s where we received no increase whatsoever in those areas. We lost a lot of our spending power, we lost 167 faculty and staff working in those areas, and we're continuing with our efforts to recoup those losses but to redeploy any new resources that we have in areas that are currently of highest priority. I also want to take this opportunity to thank all of those who have been involved in the great success of our HUB Late Night programs. For those of you who aren't familiar with those programs--and I must admit I try to go each weekend myself for at least a time and I haven't seen too many of you there--but it's wide open, and you're welcome to attend, and some time you might want to stop by between about 10:00 at night and 2:00 a.m. on a weekend night, and you will see a pretty interesting phenomenon in our HUB. And that is that even though the HUB is completely torn up and under construction, we manage to have about half a dozen different events going on at any one time. Virtually every venue, every hallway, every room in the HUB is filled with some student activity. We're averaging about 2000 students for each set of events at the HUB each weekend, and one of the great successes here is that students are coming to these events and it is an alternative to alcohol-based events, and we hope that it is related to some of the progress that we're trying for on campus. We will certainly be continuing with that program. I also am pleased to report that all indicators are that Penn State continues to be an exceptionally popular institution. Our data from last year which some of you may have seen reflect that we had a record number of applications to the university. That indeed has been reflected in record enrollment, not only on the University Park campus but increased enrollments on virtually all of our other campuses as well. We are trying actually to moderate our growth. We don't expect to see much more growth at the University Park campus. We will continue to see modest growth at many of our other campuses. So we are very pleased with the student interest in Penn State, and the main thing I want to say about this is that the early signs are that these trends will continue, and in that regard I want to thank all of the faculty who are doing their share to accommodate these growing numbers through perhaps increased advising loads, change of assignments of courses that you might be taking and other things that you're doing to accommodate these larger numbers of students. It's always a delicate balance for us at an institution like Penn State, wanting to keep the doors of opportunity as wide open as possible but at the same time not straining our resources and being careful not to burst at the seams. And I think we're doing as well as we can in managing that right now. At the same time, construction continues on many of our campuses across the state. We will continue with a forward looking plan to enhance our physical plant and there are many reasons why we need to do this. Certainly it's a combination of things, including growth in enrollments, but it's also growth in our research programs and the facilities we need to support that endeavor. It's changing needs of the university. Many of the space demands that we have today are different than what might have existed in the past, and it's also very prominently different in maintenance. Much of our renovation and building program is related to replacing or refurbishing existing facilities because we have so much growth at Penn State that occurred in the 1960s and 1970s, and those buildings are now coming into a zone where they have to be seriously renovated or in some cases even torn down and replaced, and there's a very high cost to that. I'll end my formal remarks by congratulating another group within the university, our athletes in intercollegiate athletics who are winning all kinds of academic and athletic awards. What a pleasure it was for me yesterday to have been at the Big Ten Presidents meeting and to return from that meeting, and having been there to have a chance to have spent some time talking about the success in the classroom of Penn State's athletes, who continue to do very well and are reflected in statistics conference-wide that we have an opportunity to review. In addition, I think you know that we had three Big Ten championships this fall in three of our fall women's sports. That's never happened before in the Big Ten at all, and I congratulate all of those who were involved. For those of you who were not there for volleyball or field hockey or soccer, maybe you'd be happy to know that gymnastics starts tomorrow night and there's going to be an exhibition event--the men's and women's gymnastics teams--sort of an intra-squad for-fun kind of event. And it will also be my gymnastics judging debut...
President Spanier: So if you'd like to come out and see how that works, feel free. There's no charge. I also want to wish you all a very happy holiday season. I know you'll work very hard getting those grades in on time. But once you have done that, I hope you do enjoy the break and will come back ready for what we look forward to being a very productive and exciting spring semester. I'd be happy to take any questions that you have.
Chair Berkowitz: Are there any questions for President Spanier? I think they've had their opportunity.
President Spanier: That's great. I'm glad I covered everything. Again, happy holidays.
Chair Berkowitz: Thank you very much. There is no forensic business, but we do have two pieces of unfinished legislative business, which is an unusual situation.
UNFINISHED LEGISLATIVE BUSINESS
Motion by Louis F. Geschwindner, Senator, College of Engineering
General Education Report on Second Language Report (Recommendation #8)
Louis F. Geschwindner, College of Engineering: Mr. Chairman, I'd like to request permission to withdraw the motion on the general education report since the General Education Implementation Committee has in fact chosen to withdraw their report that was published as Appendix "D" for the October 27, 1998 meeting.
Chair Berkowitz: If there are no objections, this motion will be withdrawn. Seeing none, the motion is withdrawn. Thank you. The second is the motion by Greg Farber, Senator from the Eberly College of Science, on domestic partner health care benefits. And I understand that Allen Phillips, Chair of the Senate Committee on Faculty Benefits, wishes to speak to that first.
Motion by Gregory Farber, Senator, Eberly College of Science
Domestic Partner Health Care Benefits
Allen T. Phillips, Eberly College of Science: This morning the Committee on Faculty Benefits approved the door handout that all of you have dealing with the domestic partner health care benefits legislation that is going to be discussed this afternoon. I would like to move that this handout substitute for Greg Farber's motion.
Chair Berkowitz: Is that a motion on behalf of the committee?
Allen T. Phillips: On behalf of the committee, yes.
Chair Berkowitz: Greg?
Gregory K. Farber, Eberly College of Science: I certainly accept that as a friendly amendment to the motion.
Chair Berkowitz: Since it is in the spirit of the original motion and has been accepted as a friendly amendment, it now stands as the motion on the floor. So if you'll refer not to the green sheets but to your door handout, you will see that you have one page that now tells us the substance of the motion on the floor. Attached to it is a costing report from the Senate Committee on University Planning. As is our custom, that report is moved forward simultaneously with the substantive report so we may consider them together. Allen, did you have something more?
Allen T. Phillips: No.
Chair Berkowitz: Then on behalf of the committee do you have a presentation?
Gregory K. Farber: Yes. I'm very happy to be presenting this report on behalf of the Faculty Benefits Committee. The Senate Committee on Faculty Benefits has started this year by reviewing the recommendations of the Task Force on the Future of Benefits. We talked about those recommendations here in September. The first of the task force recommendations to come to the floor concerns domestic partner benefits. Now there are certainly a lot of issues that could be raised in today's discussion. But I think the most important thing to point out about domestic partner benefits is that it's really an issue of fairness and equity for Penn State employees who do have same sex partners. It's certainly true at the moment at the university that unmarried heterosexual couples can claim that sort of health care benefits that we're going to be discussing today, and the only group at the university that can't claim these benefits are same sex partners. Since I brought this motion forward last time, I've talked to really an astonishing number of faculty members about this. There have been several questions that have been raised repeatedly about the motion, and so what I thought I would do is raise those questions, provide you with some answers, and then allow for discussion. So the first question that has come up is, what is the definition of a domestic partner? I'd like to thank Billie Willits and her office for providing this definition. These definitions are modeled very much on what other Big Ten universities have done with domestic partners, and this will be what Penn State accepts: that a domestic partner is a person of the same sex who is 18 years of age or older, not related by blood closer than would otherwise bar marriage in the commonwealth, who is mentally competent to consent to a contract, is unable to qualify for coverage of the common law partner, and with whom the employee shares the necessities of life and attests and signs the affidavit of domestic partnership. I also have a copy of the affidavit with me. My understanding is that Penn State is going to use the same sort of model that the University of Iowa currently uses. The purpose of all of this--there's a lot of fine print here, there are really a lot of details--the purpose of all of this is to try to convince you and everybody that there isn't going to be any fraud with this program. That's the purpose of the affidavit and the purpose of the definition of domestic partners. Dr. Willits said this morning that Penn State takes very seriously the issue of fraud in the benefits program, and at the moment, at least, with the unmarried heterosexual couples there have been no instances of fraud, and it's unlikely one would imagine that that would be any different here. The second question that gets raised is, just who else has domestic partner benefits? At this point there are well over 100 universities something like 450 major employers and a number of states and other cities and municipalities. I have a partial list; it's somewhat incomplete. I think Rutgers passed these benefits a few weeks ago, as did Johns Hopkins. But this really gets to the question of competitiveness. When you look at this list of universities, you see that these are the schools that we are competing with when we're trying to recruit or hire faculty. I've known from conversations with faculty members who have been on search committees recently, and from department heads who've been trying to hire people, that at least in several instances there are clear cases where Penn State's lack of domestic partner benefits meant that a faculty member went to another institution. There are also apparently very clear instances where faculty have left Penn State because of our lack of domestic partner benefits. The final issue that is asked concerns cost. You have in front of you the report of the Senate Committee on University Planning. The cost estimate is $185,000. That's certainly not a trivial amount of money, but in the greater scheme of the $66.4 million that Penn State spends on health care benefits a year, it's not a very large amount of money, and I'm certain that Shelton Alexander and Gordon De Jong or Billie Willits would be ready, willing and able to answer questions about costing. So with that, I'll stop speaking and I'll allow you to ask any questions you have. I would ask that if you're thinking about voting no on this proposal, that you ask questions. We have a wide range of people here who have expertise in this area, and several people who have been granted privilege of the floor, and I think we can come up with some persuasive answers to your questions.
Chair Berkowitz: Three people who are members of the university community but are not Senators have asked for and been granted the privilege of the floor to speak to this issue, and those are Robert Seeds, Sallie McCorkle and Marilyn Eastridge, and as they wish, I will call upon them during this debate. Is there any discussion of the issue?
Sandra R. Smith, Fayette Campus: I'd like to take a moment and speak in support of this proposal. The issue of equality for lesbian, bisexual, gay and transgendered persons will not go away unless and until we do the right thing: treat everyone equally. This university, like the country in which we live, has long professed that all are welcomed. We even have a policy stating that we do not discriminate based on sexual orientation. But words are one thing and deeds another, and every day that we do not grant domestic partner benefits we violate our own policy. Spousal benefits are offered by employers, so employees with families have more options and flexibility concerning the structuring of their home and work lives. Whether my partner is male or female should be of no interest to the university and is certainly none of the university's business. For health care alone it costs $126 more per month to cover a domestic partner as an individual in an HMO than it would cost if he or she were covered through Penn State. The effect of this is that straight-partnered employees are compensated significantly more than gay-partnered employees. This is discriminatory, unfair and unworthy of this institution. Employee benefits must be the same for all employees. This is my fourth year in the Faculty Senate, and this issue has been bantered about since well before my term began. Every time we discuss domestic partner benefits and do not act, we send a powerful negative message. The message is that equality for all is not really for all, that non-discrimination is merely a statement and not a reality, and that gay people and other non-heterosexuals are not valued as highly as straight people--a dangerous message in a society where gay people are still legally discriminated against, where gay people are the most frequent victims of hate crimes, where suicide is still the leading cause of death for gay teens. It is time for Penn State to provide domestic partner benefits to all its employees. It is time to treat everyone equally, and it is time to do the right thing. I strongly encourage everyone to support this proposal.
Chair Berkowitz: Other comments?
Michael E. Broyles, College of Arts and Architecture: I rise as chair of the Arts and Architecture caucus. We met today and voted 100 percent to endorse this proposal, simply because we feel that it is the only right and fair thing to do.
Vincent N. Lunetta, College of Education: The College of Education caucus discussed this proposal and is unanimously on record in support of the proposal.
Lucia Rohrer-Murphy, Penn State Great Valley: To what extent are these benefits going to be offered to graduate students? I've heard a lot about domestic-partner benefits for faculty, but what about graduate students?
Gregory K. Farber: My understanding is that these benefits will be offered to faculty, staff and students.
Chair Berkowitz: Billie, would you like to address that?
Billie S. Willits, Assistant Vice President for Human Resources: In the data that I gave you--that includes only faculty and staff. It does not include students, and students are not part of the faculty/staff health benefit program.
Gregory K. Farber: I stand corrected.
Chair Berkowitz: Are there other comments? Seeing none, I assume we are ready to vote. All those in favor, signify by saying, "aye."
Chair Berkowitz: All opposed, "nay."
Chair Berkowitz: The "ayes" have it. Thank you very much.
Chair Berkowitz: This completes our unfinished business. We have no legislative reports. We have no advisory/consultative reports. We do have several informational reports, and it would be nice if some of the Senators stayed for some of those. The first of those is from Admissions, Records, Scheduling and Student Aid. It's the Reserved Spaces Program report, an annual report given by that committee, and Frank Kristine, chair of the committee is here to present the report.
SENATE COMMITTEE ON ADMISSIONS, RECORDS, SCHEDULING AND STUDENT AID
Reserved Spaces Program
Frank Kristine, Chair, Senate Committee on Admissions, Records, Scheduling and Student Aid
Frank J. Kristine, Mont Alto Campus: Thanks, Len. This is an annual report that ARSSA provides to the Senate. I don't have anything to add to the report but would be happy to answer any questions that you might have.
Jean Landa Pytel, College of Engineering: I'm wondering why there are limits if the limits are exceeded? Or I guess maybe another way of asking the question is, how do you define limits?
Frank J. Kristine: I don't have a good answer for that. I think what we focus on is the total, and there has been no time, at least in the data that's presented--and I looked at a couple back reports--where the overall number of reserved spaces was ever exceeded. Within each of the sub-categories, occasionally there's a couple extra that are included. The definition of what is meant by "limit," and how strongly we want to hold to those limits--that's never come up in any conversation last year or this year that I've been on the committee, unless somebody else has help there.
William E. Haner, Military Sciences: It was my correct understanding this morning in the committee meeting that it has to do with yield of admissions offers. The admissions offers are made without knowing exactly how many people actually accept them. Sometimes those come in at a higher acceptance rate; therefore, you go over the limit.
Jean Landa Pytel: Maybe a different terminology could be used here instead of "limits." Perhaps "targets" or "suggestions"--a goal for those numbers. Because "limits" mean, again, pretty cut and dried.
Helena Poch, Student Senator, College of Health and Human Development: It was also my understanding in the committee that part of the limit exceeding was the Educational Opportunity Program. And that limit is set as a suggested amount, but it is encouraged that anyone that takes that program to go past the limits be given the baccalaureate degree. That is one of the numbers actually used.
Chair Berkowitz: As past chair of this committee, I can confirm that that case is different from the others, that it was viewed as a target and we hoped to exceed it. But in the other cases the point applies.
David P. Christy, Smeal College of Business Administration: Is there an explanation for the dramatic decrease in the number of veterans admitted under this plan?
Frank J. Kristine: The explanation for that is that veterans can now enter the university in a number of other ways that weren't available way back in 1984. There are other programs through which they can be admitted now. So there's very few that need to be admitted through the reserved spaces program.
Chair Berkowitz: Additional questions? Seeing none, thank you very much. Our next report is an informational report from Faculty Benefits, and Allen Phillips is here to present that report.
SENATE COMMITTEE ON FACULTY BENEFITS
Voluntary Phased Retirement Program--First Year Report
Allen T. Phillips, Chair, Senate Committee on Faculty Benefits
Allen T. Phillips: In the spring of 1997, legislation was approved establishing a voluntary phased retirement program, and essentially what we have here today is a one-year report on the experiences of this program. I believe the report is reasonably clear, but I would like to ask you to note one correction that should be made in the third line from the bottom on the first page. I was told that the number 90 percent that you see there--which corresponds to a person retiring in a first step from 100 percent down to 90 percent--that really should be down to 80 percent. It's not that the individual changed the plan, but that person didn't occur as retiring until after our year was ended, June 30, 1998. So this was a miscommunication between Billie Willits and myself as to what time period we were considering that over. And that just brings up one more point, and I'll conclude and ask for questions, and that is that one of the whole goals of this plan was to have flexibility, and you can see as people have retired in this one year all the way from one step, involving, say a 10 percent or 20 percent drop in duties all the way down to an individual who retired and who took the first step down to 25 percent duties and will then, second step, go all the way to zero. So it wasn't going to nail people down into certain step sizes, but rather give flexibility. And I'll be glad to answer any questions you might have regarding the program as it's now being done.
Chair Berkowitz: Are there any questions regarding this report?
Robert P. Withington, Graduate Student Senator, College of Agricultural Sciences: In the University Planning Committee this morning, we heard about the freshman seminars that are coming up and how in some groups this is being taught by the senior faculty. How is the fact that some of these people are now in reduced work loads as they get closer to retirement going to be affected by the fact that they may be asked to do more of this teaching?
Allen T. Phillips: Well, my understanding is that when a person enters into a voluntary phased retirement program, one of the first things they negotiate is how much their duties are going to decrease. So in principle, if a person was to have a reduction in salary of 25 percent, I think they'd be asking for 25 percent reduction in duties. And I presume it would be unlikely that a person would go into phased retirement and pick up additional duties. So, I have a sneaky feeling that that's not going to happen in the way you described it.
Chair Berkowitz: Other questions? Seeing none, thank you very much, Allen. Our next report is an informational report from the General Education Implementation Committee. It's the next version of the Foreign/Second Language Report implementing Recommendation #8 and John Moore is here to present this report.
GENERAL EDUCATION IMPLEMENTATION COMMITTEE
Foreign/Second Language Report (Recommendation #8)
John W. Bagby, Chair, General Education Implementation Committee
John W. Moore, Vice-Chair, General Education Implementation Committee
John W. Moore, College of the Liberal Arts: You have before you a revised copy of the report which we submitted last month, and let me explain how this report differs from the one that was submitted last month. First of all, in one respect there are no substantive changes, but on the other hand, what we have largely done is to reformat what we submitted last month. What we have done is to delete the objections which were raised about transfer credits, and what we have said in number eight on page two is to say, "Transfer credits will be accepted according to normal university policies subject to the restrictions discussed above." The second thing that we have done is to add on page three a second recommendation. The principle recommendation is in bold at the bottom of page two and top of page three, and it reads as follows, "Baccalaureate degree candidates may substitute study in foreign/second language at the 12th credit level of proficiency or higher for any three credits in any of the categories of general education if those three credits are in language study beyond their degree requirements. The use of these two substitutions, either alone or in combination," that is, the two substitutions refer to the earlier substitution which is in lower case and not bold, "may not lead to the complete elimination of any area in the skills or knowledge domains categories in the student's general education program." And then "B" is entirely new, and what we are saying in this matter is that we are asking the chair of the Faculty Senate to charge the appropriate Senate committee to examine the matter of non-resident instruction credit substitution for this foreign/second language substitution option; secondly, if appropriate, to provide a legislative report which will establish the rules and appropriate forms (see attached sample forms currently in use) under which language credits might be substituted. Our reason for recommendation "B1" is that, as it was pointed out at the last meeting, we in a sense don't want to exceed our authority in this matter and therefore we are concerned about the question of what can and cannot be substituted. And we are asking the chair of the Faculty Senate to ask the appropriate committee to determine that. A lot of that information is already contained in the baccalaureate degree book, several pages of instructions, but we just want to make sure that we are all up-to-date. We've included three sample course substitution forms, because at the last meeting concern was expressed that substitutions may be made inappropriately, and what you will see on each one of these forms, in order to make a substitution it is necessary for both the advisor to sign this and for the dean's representative in each college. So, in that particular way, with these two authorities having the opportunity to meet with the student and decide whether or not the substitutions are appropriate or not appropriate, one would assume that no inappropriate substitutions would therefore take place. The General Education Implementation Committee understands that a new problem has arisen and that problem has to do with item seven on page two, which reads as follows, "If the student's degree program requires foreign/second language study, then those language courses required as part of the degree program may not also be used as part of general education." And the committee understands the difficulty that this sentence raises, and that is that it inhibits double counting for some programs. "However, students who achieve language proficiency beyond what is required by their degree program may substitute three of those additional credits of foreign/second language study for any general education requirement." The committee would like to make an editorial change to number seven, and this editorial change is a third sentence and the third sentence reads, "This restriction is not intended to set a precedent for other cases within general education." In other words, the policy in regard to substitution applies only to the question of the use of the foreign/second language study. That is our basic report.
Chair Berkowitz: Are there questions or comments on this report?
Caroline D. Eckhardt, College of the Liberal Arts: As a non-member of the committee, I would like to support the addition that John Moore has just suggested. I understood after this morning that questions had arisen as to whether this would raise precedent possibilities for any number of other substitutions. That was never the intention of the parent General Education Special Committee. The sentence John has just added, I think, makes that emphatically clear and is a helpful one.
Chair Berkowitz: Other questions or comments? Thank you very much. The committee has been working very hard to try to accommodate all the comments they've been given.
One of the objectives of the leadership of the Senate over the last couple years is to make clear that we're the University Faculty Senate, not an undergraduate Faculty Senate. You've seen some issues come forward from the Graduate School for us to vote on, and as a part of that effort we have asked Rodney Erickson, The Vice President for Research and Dean of the Graduate School, to present a report today on graduate education. Rod?
SENATE COMMITTEE ON RESEARCH
Report on Graduate Education
Thomas Jackson, Chair, Senate Committee on Research
Rodney A. Erickson, Vice President for Research/Dean of the Graduate School: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I have three objectives today. The first is to provide you with a synopsis of major trends in enrollments, demographics and other aspects of graduate education. I call this the, "what's up and what's down part of the report." Second, I wanted to briefly review with you the relationship between the Graduate Council and Faculty Senate, and third, I want to highlight some of the significant actions taken by the council during this past year and some of the issues that we are currently addressing. As Len indicated, this will be the first of what will be annual reports by the Dean of the Graduate School to the Faculty Senate. These are interesting times for graduate education. As Phil Klein frequently reminds me, some activities are counter-cyclical, and graduate education is certainly one of them. Although more college seniors than ever expect to attend graduate school at some time in the future, about 67 percent of them, the lure of the robust job markets plus the opportunity to earn some money is obviously very compelling right now. This is the third year in a row when graduate enrollments have fallen nationally. The declines have been most pronounced among the doctoral granting institutions. The declines have been spread across most fields, including the biological sciences, the physical sciences, the social sciences and engineering. Business administration is one of the few fields that's experienced increasing enrollments nationally. I guess they know something about opportunity costs. Penn State's experience is very typical of other Big Ten universities, and we've generally followed very closely the national trends. Graduate enrollments at Penn State campuses peaked in fall 1995 at about 10,700 students. Then enrollment fell by four percent the following year, by another three percent more last fall, and increased just slightly to 10,021 this fall. Some of this decline is due to decreasing non-degree enrollments and the share of degree-seeking students is going up every year and rapidly approaching 90 percent. There are some interesting features that underlie these aggregate changes. Enrollments at University Park have continued to decline, while those at Great Valley and Harrisburg have grown over the past three years. Clearly the masters programs that are addressing the needs of working professionals are increasingly attractive to students. The good news is that the quality of incoming students continues to hold steady or increase, despite a smaller applicant pool, and certainly what is very intense is recruiting competition. We're now starting to hear about signing bonuses, which is something that I only thought professional athletes had to consider. This is, of course, related to program quality and secondly to our ability to support graduate students financially. This fall, we are supporting nearly 3,400 graduate students on assistantships and fellowships, which is an all time high. At University Park about 56 percent of our graduate students are supported. That's up several percentage points over the last four or five years. By national standards Penn State does very well for its students once they arrive. Our data indicate that among the classes that entered in fall 1988 and 1989, nearly 70 percent of the masters students had graduated in three years, and among the doctoral students nearly 60 percent had graduated after eight years. Now nationally only about 50 percent of all doctoral students who enroll actually finish their degrees. Furthermore, time-to-degree has not increased for either the masters or doctoral students at Penn State and that stands in sharp contrast to the rest of the nation where time-to-degree has been steadily increasing. Nationally, enrollments of minority graduate students after several years of record growth have fallen precipitously and steadily since 1995. Enrollment of underrepresented minorities at Penn State also declined slightly in 1996 and 1997 but increased again this fall, both in total and in new enrollments. This is indeed an encouraging development that reflects more aggressive recruiting and retention programs and our efforts to create a more welcoming environment for minority students once they arrive at Penn State. I provide regular briefings to members of the Graduate Council to keep them informed of major trends nationally and locally in graduate education. I also provide such a report annually to the graduate faculty of the university in a general meeting that is mandated by the by-laws of the Graduate Council. So, under the second part of my report the Graduate Council was established in 1971 by delegation of authority from the Faculty Senate. The Graduate Council is delegated authority for the interests of graduate education, excepting those matters that have university-wide implications, and administers its own affairs subject to review by the Senate. This review process includes a report of actions to the Graduate Council, to the Senate Council, which may place any of those actions on the agenda for full Senate consideration. The Senate Council provides liaison to the Graduate Council, and Phil Klein serves very ably in this capacity. The Graduate Council has 42 members elected by the graduate faculty for two-year terms. In addition, the Graduate Student Association annually elects five members who vote. I chair the council, which has five standing committees: academic standards, programs and courses, research, fellowships, and graduate student and faculty affairs. Council meets monthly during the academic year, and we abide by what has come to be affectionately known as the Rodney rule, which states that no meeting shall last more than 90 minutes. We've only violated that once in the last three and half years, I might add. We have worked hard to improve the responsiveness of council operations. The average time for course change approvals has dropped from 7.1 weeks to 4.4 weeks over the last four years. For program changes the average time has fallen from 3.3 to 2.9 months. During the past year, the Graduate Council has been involved in a considerable number of continuing and new initiatives. The annual Graduate Research Exhibition is an increasingly popular showcase for the research of graduate students. It now includes a performance option that allows our students in the arts and humanities to participate in ways they were not able to previously. Graduate Council committees were active in developing two university wide workshops, one that just dealt with best practices in graduate recruitment and another on Ph.D. placement. The major program developments that have occurred during the past year include several new joint degrees, some involving the Dickinson School of Law. These joint degrees represent a response to increasing demands for additional breadth in graduate education and professional studies. In addition, options have become increasingly popular as a way for programs to focus on certain areas or elements and better position themselves to respond to market demands. We have two new integrated undergraduate/graduate degree programs that were also approved. Among the major structural changes approved during the past year was the transfer of the Intercollege Graduate Degree program in mass communications from the Graduate School to the College of Communications. Revisions were made to graduate school policies and procedures, several of which reflected the new information technologies that are affecting higher education. Guidelines for submitting proposals for off-campus graduate degree programs were developed and approved. As many of you know, traditional residency requirements for off-campus professional masters degrees were eliminated by action of the Graduate Council in April 1997. The guidelines lay out actions in programs that must be taken to provide other means of creating supportive off-campus learning and service environments. Electronic publishing of theses and dissertations is now upon us, and last spring council approved a number of recommendations. A plan has been developed for a phased implementation that includes formats for submission, training for students and faculty and appropriate safeguards for students' intellectual property rights. In response to changing technologies, the policy with respect to committee members' physical presence at doctoral exams was changed to provide some leeway to the committee. Finally, changes to the graduate faculty approvals process has created automatic membership in the graduate faculty for tenured or tenure-track faculty holding the highest degree in their field and who are assigned significant responsibilities in graduate education and research. During the next several months, the Graduate Council will be addressing new issues. One is post-doctoral education or post-doctoral fellows, a group that is receiving increasing attention nationally. Along with the Senate Committee on Research, we will be examining issues related to conditions of appointment, professional development and subsequent placement practices. Another issue is intellectual property, which increasingly effects both faculty and students. Again, the Research Committee of Graduate Council along with the Senate Committee on Research will be involved in the university task force on intellectual property policies and procedures that I've recently appointed. Over the next several months the Graduate Council and its committees will also be addressing issues such as the issue of graduate program review, quality of life for graduate students including health insurance, the fellowship awards selection process and teaching assistant preparation. So certainly there is no shortage of challenging issues that we need to address. I want to thank the chair of the Faculty Senate for the opportunity to give this report to you on behalf of the Graduate School and the Graduate Council, and I look forward to providing the Senate with regular reports in the future. I'd be happy to take some questions.
Chair Berkowitz: Are there any questions for Rod, keeping in mind we only have 20 minutes to remain within the Rodney rule?
Irwin Richman, Penn State Harrisburg: You say that 56 percent of University Park-based graduate students are supported, and then at Great Valley and Harrisburg you have the largest growth. What percentage of graduate students at those campuses get support?
Rodney A. Erickson: Very small. If you look at the total number of graduate assistants, it's something in the area of 95-96 percent that are located either at University Park or Hershey.
Irwin Richman: I just wanted to...
Rodney A. Erickson: Yes, I agree. There is a pressing need for more assistantships in those areas, especially as the number of resident students increases along with the number of part-time students and working professionals.
Chair Berkowitz: Other questions, comments?
Robert P. Withington: Of the 60 percent at University Park who are covered on assistantship...
Rodney A. Erickson: Fifty-six percent...
Robert P. Withington: Fifty-six percent. How are the other 44 percent paying their way through school? Is that grants?
Rodney A. Erickson: No, research grants and contracts that have appointed research assistants would be covered under the figures I gave you. The other students are supporting themselves in a variety of ways. Obviously some are receiving student aid, federal loans and so forth. Others are working on wage payroll. When we did a run of appointments on wage payroll, we found that quite a large number of graduate students were receiving some additional income by working wage payroll on research projects, in some cases funded, sometimes working in the department and so forth. Others are surviving on family supplements, in some cases working spouses or partners. There are a variety of reasons. Clearly one of our goals over the last few years has been to increase the number of students who are supported as they undertake their graduate studies here, and we are making progress.
Michael E. Broyles: Could you address what it is that you might be doing to increase that number? I think this is an absolutely critical problem for our university. In other words, what is being done, what can be done, to increase the number of assistantships, fellowships, things of that sort?
Rodney A. Erickson: Michael, there are a lot of different things that can be done and we're doing a lot of things. I'll just mention a few of them. There's no silver bullet--save, perhaps, an appropriation from the state of several million dollars or tens of millions of dollars that would allow us to do that. But there are many things that we're doing, some of them within the university and some of them outside or external. Obviously, on the external front, the campaign for Penn State is a foremost issue on our mind. As many of you are aware, there's a substantial commitment in the campaign for graduate fellowships. This has traditionally been one of the more difficult areas to raise money, but we are making progress. We're at this point, I believe, about a quarter of the way toward our goal in that area. The colleges are working hard in this area. The graduate school is working hard. We've raised a couple of million dollars just over the last year now as endowment support for graduate students. Clearly that's an area where Penn State has never had a tradition of a large endowment like many other of our peer universities have. We're among the lowest of the Big Ten, for example, in the amount of fellowship endowment that we have. Internally, what we're trying to do is encourage faculty to include more graduate students in their research proposals, in their research activities. One of the things that has bothered me for some time is that as an institution Penn State does not convert its research activity into assistantships in the same volume relation that many of our peer institutions do. With the help of the Provost's Office and other sources, we have increasingly been matching on proposals such as training grants and larger multi-investigator grants where we are picking up some of the match to try to help improve the chances, and to stretch the funds farther in terms of getting more research assistantships or trainingships for the research dollars that we're being awarded. Various other kinds of programs--I know many of my fellow deans in the academic colleges are working hard to increase the number of teaching assistantships as well. Of course, all of these things are really dealing with fixed resources and reallocating funds that have been previously in other areas in order to make things happen. But let me assure you that this is a high priority, and we are making progress and we're working hard on it.
Gordon F. De Jong, College of the Liberal Arts: Rod, I kind of have an "out there" question. Clearly universities are ranked by the quality of their doctoral programs. Those rankings are done by the National Academy of Science. The next one will be in perhaps three to four years, yet the funding agency and the students voting with their feet are interested in programs of interdisciplinary scope. So we have a kind of tension between where we can get funds and what the students are interested in and how the university is ranked in terms of programming. I wonder what you see is kind of the "out there" kind of direction of graduate education in regard to this issue, not necessarily in regard to professional schools issue but in regard to the science issues. Should we go more in the direction of interdisciplinary education? How should we maintain these strong disciplinary ranking systems in the face of the changing student interest and changing funding interest?
Rodney A. Erickson: There are a number of different aspects to that, Gordon. I think the one aspect related to the National Academy rankings, I will be very surprised if we do not see a lot more flexibility the next time around in terms of the disciplines that are ranked, to allow for, let's say, much more creativity in terms of new areas that cross traditional lines. I've been in some discussions with representatives of the National Research Council, and this is clearly an issue that's on their mind. They realize that the very strict disciplinary rating system with a small number of disciplines--35 or 40 disciplines--doesn't begin to cover what's happening in most institutions today. So, I expect that we'll see some changes. I hope so, because Penn State has traditionally had a lot of strength in many of these areas that are not covered in the NRC rankings. I expect that students will continue to vote with their feet, and I expect that as we've seen in past years the gains that we achieve are likely to be reflected in more interdisciplinary students. But I also see that more traditional departments are going to be expanding their horizons, as it were, and branching out into these areas that really are at the edges of the disciplines. For example, in the integrated bio-science programs, the options that are in that inter-college program, many of them are now being adopted by the traditional disciplines. So I think the trend is inevitable, Gordon, and I expect it to continue and be reflected in a number of different ways.
Beno Weiss, College of the Liberal Arts: What percentage of our graduate students are international students? And to what extent do some of our programs heavily depend on their presence?
Rodney A. Erickson: Overall, this fall international enrollments went up more than they have in any previous year. The increase, although that reflected national percentages, university wide we're at 19 percent international students. At University Park it's 29 percent. I think it's eased up, if memory serves me correctly, from 26 percent four or five years ago to the present 29 here at University Park. Obviously, that varies across disciplines, although perhaps not as much as you might think. Some disciplines--the engineering and the sciences, to give you two examples--are two colleges which would have a higher proportion than some others.
Peter D. Georgopulos, Delaware County Campus: Concerning Great Valley Graduate School, what is the percentage of students who are taking masters degrees there? Are they part-time or full-time students? And one last thing, are they getting support from their employers to take these courses?
Rodney A. Erickson: Yes, at Great Valley the proportion of students who are part-time is probably 98-99 percent, probably no more than a half-dozen students are on a full-time basis. There are no doctoral programs at Great Valley. They're all professional masters degree programs. And, finally, a high proportion of those students are being supported in terms of their tuition costs by their employers. This is one of the reasons, I believe, across the university why we're seeing this steady decline in the number of non-degree students. Many of us in the graduate education community thought that, with the focus on life-long learning and education and so forth, that we'd probably see an increase in that, where students would not be registered as degree students, but would be non-degree students taking course work as appropriate to their field on a limited basis, maybe doing a certificate program or something like that. But clearly what's happening is that the employers are telling their employees, "We'll be happy to pay your tuition, but it has to be for a degree-seeking program."
James P. Crawford, Fayette Campus: I'm curious about the level of assistantships. In order to compete for the best students with the other universities, I wonder if you could tell us what the average is for an assistantship for a student and how does that compare to the university?
Rodney A. Erickson: The average assistantship at University Park this year is around $11,000 in terms of the academic year stipend, and of course the assistantship package covers the tuition, grant-in-aid, plus it pays 80 percent of the graduate student's insurance. That stipend compares generally well with other universities, say, other Big Ten universities. We engage every three or four years in a benchmark study that the University of Florida has been doing that compares us with eleven other AAU institutions--you know, very high quality places: Michigan, Berkeley, Washington, North Carolina, Texas, and so forth, and several Big Ten schools that make up the rest of that list. We compare fairly well, on average. The problem is with recruiting graduate students of the very highest caliber, we're not dealing with averages. We're dealing with the margin. And on the margin what we're seeing now is offers--and this is true in many of our colleges--now we're seeing packages of $20,000 a year stipend plus tuition to go after the very, very best graduate students. So the stakes are very high at the margin. And similarly with fellowships, that's an area where much of the competition is coming in with very high offers, and in addition to that, multi-year offers. Most of these large packages now on the margin involve often four years of guaranteed financial support, assuming satisfactory progress. So that's why I say that's the kind of recruiting business that programs are in for these days for the best students, and why I made the quip about the signing bonuses.
Sabih I. Hayek, College of Engineering: I want to comment about the number of RAs--research assistants--that we have at this university. A fair number of research universities don't allow faculty salaries to be charged to grants and contracts. We could see $100 thousand go a long way in allowing a lot of RAs. Instead, we're trying to solve the conflict but we obviously have much less to solve. I think it's something this administration should look at.
Rodney A. Erickson: Well if the deans would not like to have that money any more that they're charging for release salaries, I'd be happy to take it off their hands.
Brady P. Smith, Student Senator, Altoona College: I assume that most of the people in this room were at one point a graduate student. So, I'm asking, how long is it going to take to get a benefit package like the Faculty Senate approved for themselves to become competitive to try to get the best graduate students? I think that's essential, and I know that in the committee's report it is something that they're going to address, but I think it's something that should really be on the front burner.
Rodney A. Erickson: This is really an issue that's constantly on the burner. I know Tom Jackson and I have talked about this. We've talked about it regularly in Graduate Council, as well. We are benchmarking, we do benchmark, against other universities in terms of the kind of packages that they're offering as well. The issue of course in the end always comes down to cost, and how much cost should be borne by the student and how much cost should be borne by the university, and what we're willing to in effect take out of other areas in order to provide that. But as I say, we will continue to look at it--both the Graduate Council Committee on Research and the Senate Committee on Research. We did spend a good bit of time on it last year. I know Tom had a good deal of correspondence. I had a lot of communication over this issue, and we did make some--what I think are some--good improvements to the package this year. One of the things that we wanted to address last year was the catastrophic kinds of situations, because we had situations where graduate students would go into the hospital and come out with a $5,000/$6,000 bill or more, $10,000 for an emergency appendectomy with no coverage for that kind of care in the package. That's been improved substantially this year in terms of getting a $50,000 kind of catastrophic element into the policy, but clearly I agree with you. We need to do better by our graduate students in that respect, but we also need to look at it from a comparative standpoint, look at what the competition is doing, see where we can find additional resources, because it's really a large part of the resource issue.
Chair Berkowitz: Did you want to follow that up?
Brady P. Smith: I can see how we can look at it as dollars and cents right now, but I think the money is something that we shouldn't be focused on. I think there's benefits that could be brought in by spending, you know, an extra amount, $1,000 here, but the benefits in the future will far outweigh that. I think that we're going to be dropping the ball if we just try to keep with the pack. I think we have to move ahead of the pack to get the best graduate students, to stay where we want to be in the competitive scope of universities.
Henry O. Patterson, Berks-Lehigh Valley College: Related to that, I'm sure you saw in a front page article in the Chronicle two or three weeks ago about the efforts of graduate students in California to set collective bargaining units throughout the California system. They are apparently trying to convince the labor board in California to grant them status in order to do that. At this point, I'd like your comments about what impact you think moves toward unionization among graduate students are going to have upon graduate education? What's successful with the case in California at this point or not, and do you hear any rumblings of similar movements in this part of the country?
Rodney A. Erickson: I'm not aware of any rumblings at Penn State or around here, but then the Dean of the Graduate School could be the last to know about these things, too, I suppose. Although I've been here 22 years now almost, I spent the first part of my faculty career at the University of Wisconsin where we had a graduate teaching assistant union. The RAs, graduate research assistants, were not unionized. The TAs were. My experience in that situation was that there was some chilling effect on the relationship between faculty and graduate students, at least for several years. They've been at it now for 25, 26, 27 years, probably. The other thing that I observed was that, well, first, I guess, if graduate assistant stipends were like the faculty salaries at Madison at that time, they were very low relative to the competition. But as they went up, what happened was the university cut back on the amount of time commitment, and we saw that many departments were offering 36 percent assistantships rather than 50 percent time assistantships. And again, that's an issue of resource allocation, and with departments and programs with a fixed pool of resources, how are they going to allocate them. And many are going to cut back on the number of assistants as a result of that. I think we've had a wonderful working relationship with the Graduate Student Association here at Penn State. It really is a superb group that every year wins various awards nationally among the associations for graduate and professional students. The Graduate Student Association works very hard to bring issues of graduate student concern to the council, to me, to other faculty members, and I've found that a very, very positive working relationship that I would very much like to see continue. I don't know if that answers your questions, but that's a little bit of perspective, I guess, from being somewhere where the TAs at least were unionized.
Chair Berkowitz: Rodney, you've just taken us beyond the Rodney rule, and I blame you for it entirely. I think we have found that the University Faculty Senate is indeed quite interested in the Graduate School and graduate education, and we thank you for coming here and we will have you back. People will have many more opportunities to talk about these issues. We have one more informational report, and that is from Undergraduate Education--the report on Mid-Semester Evaluations--and Art Miller is here to present that report.
SENATE COMMITTEE ON UNDERGRADUATE EDUCATION
Mid-Semester Evaluation Report
Arthur C. Miller, Chair, Senate Committee on Undergraduate Education
Arthur C. Miller, College of Engineering: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. This is one of three informational reports that we present to the Senate during the year, and it's on the Mid-Semester Evaluation process. Mid-semester evaluations are assigned to target freshman and provisional students enrolled in resident instruction, and it was initiated in 1989. The instructors are given the forms prior to the sixth week of classes and they are returned by the eighth week, and the results of that are on tables one, two, three and four, and I'd be happy to field any questions if there are any?
Chair Berkowitz: Are there any questions or comments for Art? I see none. Thank you very much. That concludes our informational reports.
NEW LEGISLATIVE BUSINESS
COMMENTS AND RECOMMENDATIONS FOR THE GOOD OF THE UNIVERSITY
May I have a motion to adjourn? The December 8, 1998 meeting of the University Faculty Senate adjourned at 3:03 PM.
DOCUMENTS DISTRIBUTED PRIOR TO DECEMBER 8, 1998
Curricular Affairs - Curriculum Report (Blue Sheets) of November 24, 1998
Admissions, Records, Scheduling and Student Aid - Reserved Spaces program (Informational)
Faculty Benefits - Voluntary Phased Retirement Program -- First Year Report (Informational)
General Education Implementation Committee - Foreign/Second Language Report (Recommendation #8) (Informational)
Undergraduate Education - Mid-Semester Evaluation Report (Informational)
D O O R H A N D O U T
SENATE COMMITTEE ON FACULTY BENEFITS
Domestic Partner Health Care Benefits
(Advisory and Consultative)
The report of the Task Force on the Future of Benefits was discussed by the University Faculty Senate at the September 15, 1998 meeting. That report shows that in the past five years, a number of academic institutions have offered domestic partner benefits to their employees. Over that same period of time, Penn State has adjusted, as allowed by law, all of its policies and procedures for an inclusive benefits program. The only exception is the extension of medical benefits to same sex domestic partners.
A review of trends in the business, government, and higher education communities indicates that the extension of medical benefits to same sex domestic partners is more typical now. The Task Force report lists over 100 colleges and universities with domestic partner benefits, including 5 of the universities in the Big Ten. The costs involved in extending these benefits are minimal. This estimated cost is approximately 0.3 percent of the total cost for health benefits paid by the University. At Penn State, that would be $185,000. In addition, there is evidence that the lack of domestic partner benefits places Penn State at a competitive disadvantage in its efforts to attract and retain high-quality faculty, staff, and students. Mechanisms are currently in place in the Office of Human Resources for determining eligibility for domestic partner benefits.
The Senate Committee on Faculty Benefits recommends that the University implement the recommendation of the Task Force and modify its current policies to extend medical, dental, and vision benefits to same sex domestic partners.
SENATE COMMITTEE ON FACULTY BENEFITS
Keith K. Burkhart
Thomas E. Daubert
Gregory K. Farber
Charles F. Gunderman
Jamie M. Myers, V-Chair
Mary E. Nicholson
Timothy C. Ovaert
Allen T. Phillips, Chair
Gerhard F. Strasser
Donna M. Testa
Anita M. Vickers
D O O R H A N D O U T
SENATE COMMITTEE ON UNIVERSITY PLANNING
Costing Report on Same-Sex Domestic Partners Legislation
The Committee on University Planning has obtained cost estimates associated with implementing the proposed Same Sex Domestic Partners Legislation prepared by Billie Willits, Assistant Vice President for Human Resources, Office of Human Resources. The accompanying table summarizes these costs, which total approximately $185,000 per year, and the component costs of the various benefits that comprise the total benefits package that would be involved. This estimated cost is approximately 0.3 percent of the total cost for health benefits paid by the University.
The 0.5 percent figure used as the percentage of total Penn State employees that would seek coverage under this legislation is based on benchmarking with the actual percentages at the five Big Ten Universities and other comparable academic institutions that presently provide benefits to same-sex domestic partners. The assumption is that Penn State would not be significantly different from these institutions.
The Committee on University Planning accepts Ms. Willit's cost estimate of approximately $185,000 per year and the methodology used to arrive at this estimate.
SENATE COMMITTEE ON UNIVERSITY PLANNING
Shelton S. Alexander, Chair
P. Richard Althouse
William J. Anderson, Jr.
Anthony J. Baratta
Alison A. Carr-Chellman
Gordon F. De Jong, V-Chair
William M. Frank
Larry J. Kuhns
Jeffrey S. Mayer
Richard C. Pees
Robert D. Richards
William E. Richards
Louise E. Sandmeyer
Michael C. Saunders
Gary C. Schultz
Jeffrey R. Tranell
Linda K. Trevino
Richard A. Wilson
R. P. Withington
C O R R E C T E D C O P Y
General Education Implementation Committee
Foreign/Second Language Report (Recommendation #8)
In December 1997 the University Faculty Senate adopted Recommendation #8 of the Report of' the Special Committee on General Education:
"An option to substitute study in a second language at the third semester or higher levels for any three credits in the general education curriculum" (p. iv).
The purpose of this recommendation is to provide within General Education a way of encouraging students to further their knowledge of a foreign/second language without establishing a specific university-wide foreign/second language requirement. Such encouragement supports the international dimension within General Education and fosters a greater awareness of globalization. The legislation allows students who have reached the 12th credit level of proficiency or higher to substitute three such course credits for any other three credits of General Education requirements. Substitution of another sort is already permitted elsewhere within General Education: students who wish to take an additional course in Arts, Humanities, and Social and Behavioral Sciences may substitute that third course for a course in one of the other two areas. The General Education Implementation Committee approves of such substitutions, but it wants to make sure that students take at least one course in each General Education area. For that reason, it stipulates that substitutions may not eliminate an entire area of General Education.
The committee is also sensitive to the fact that some degree, college, or major programs have specific course requirements within General Education which this substitution policy may not eliminate.
Considerations of the General Education Implementation Committee
The General Education Implementation Committee has carefully considered Recommendation #8. For purposes of implementing that recommendation, the committee understands the recommendation to have the following meanings:
This substitution option exists to encourage all students to study a foreign/second language beyond the elementary level and to do so as part of General Education.
At Penn State, while various curricular patterns exist, the most common introductory language sequence consists of three four-credit courses. A student who completes that introductory sequence is said to have reached the 12th credit level of proficiency.
Baccalaureate degree candidates who successfully reach that 12th credit level of proficiency or higher (or its equivalent) may substitute three credits of foreign/second language study for three credits in any of the categories of General Education.
Although the third course in the typical 12 credit sequence earns four credits, the student may substitute only three of those credits within any category of General Education.
For example, students who have successfully completed the third course in a sequence, e.g., French 003, Japanese 003, or Swahili 003, or who have completed a higher level course, e.g., German 201, may substitute three of those credits for some other General Education requirement.
This substitution may not lead to the complete elimination of any area within the Skills or Knowledge Domains categories of the General Education Program.
If the studentís degree program requires foreign/second language study, then those language courses required as part of the degree program may not also be used as part of General Education. However, students who achieve language proficiency beyond what is required by their degree program may substitute three of those additional credits of foreign/second language study for any General Education requirement. THIS RESTRICTION IS NOT INTENDED TO SET A PRECEDENT FOR OTHER CASES WITHIN GENERAL EDUCATION.
Transfer credits will be accepted according to normal University policies subject to the restrictions discussed above.
Since certain General Education courses apply toward accreditation criteria in some programs or serve as pre- or co-requisites for other courses in a specific major, students will need to consult with an adviser about where they intend to make such a substitution.
Taking these understandings into account, the General Education Implementation Committee proposes that the Senate Committee on Curricular Affairs amend page 24 of the Guide to Curricular Procedures to read as follows:
A student may, in consultation with the adviser and the approval of the studentís college dean, develop a sequence of 9 credits in either the Arts, Humanities, or Social and Behavioral Sciences by substituting 3 credits from one of the other two areas not in the studentís major field of study. BACCALAUREATE DEGREE CANDIDATES MAY SUBSTITUTE STUDY IN FOREIGN/SECOND LANGUAGE AT THE 12TH CREDIT LEVEL OF PROFICIENCY OR HIGHER FOR ANY THREE CREDITS IN ANY OF THE CATEGORIES OF GENERAL EDUCATION IF THOSE THREE CREDITS ARE IN LANGUAGE STUDY BEYOND THEIR DEGREE REQUIREMENTS. THE USE OF THESE TWO SUBSTITUTIONS, EITHER ALONE OR IN COMBINATION, MAY NOT LEAD TO THE COMPLETE ELIMINATION OF ANY AREA IN THE SKILLS OR KNOWLEDGE DOMAINS CATEGORIES IN THE STUDENTíS GENERAL EDUCATION PROGRAM.
B) The committee advises the Chair of the Faculty Senate to charge the appropriate Senate committee to:
1) examine the matter of non-resident instruction credit substitution for this foreign/second language substitution option, and
2) if appropriate, to provide a legislative report which will establish the rules and appropriate forms (see attached sample forms currently in use) under which language credits might be substituted.
General Education Implementation Committee
John Bagby, Chair
John Moore, Vice Chair
C O R R E C T E D C O P Y
SENATE COMMITTEE ON FACULTY BENEFITS
Voluntary Phased Retirement Program -- First Year Report
In early 1997 the Senate Committee on Faculty Benefits prepared an informational report for the Senate explaining the Voluntary Phased Retirement Program that was to be implemented prior to July 1, 1997. As explained in that report, the program allows a reduction of the work commitment and compensation as faculty or staff approach a designated retirement date. Although it does reduce compensation, for those faculty whose financial planning permits salary reduction, the program provides a mechanism for allowing a reduced teaching load, advising activities, a transitioning of a research lab to another faculty member, or other work-related activities. The current report is an analysis of the program after one year of operation. A formal review and assessment is planned every three years by the Vice Provost for Academic Affairs and Personnel and the Assistant Vice President for Human Resources with input from the Deans.
Information on participants in the Voluntary Phased Retirement Program was provided by the Assistant Vice President for Human Resources, and includes the following:
a. During the July 1, 1997 to June 30, 1998 period, eight (8) persons requested and were approved for participation in the program. This number included persons classified as administrators (1), faculty (4), and staff (3). Of this total, two (2) are members of the State Employees Retirement System (SERS) and six (6) are members of the TIAA plan.
b. The program initially envisioned reduction in initial increments of 15 to 25% over a period of 2 to 3 years, to a minimum of a 25% appointment in the terminal year, but because flexibility was desired, other possibilities were negotiable. Current participants are planning for a 2 to 3 year phase-out, but the extent of reduction agreed to varies widely, from a first-year change to a
90 80% appointment, down to a first-year change to a 25% appointment; reductions to 50 or 60% appointments for the first year were the most common, however.
The Senate Committee on Faculty Benefits concluded that the Voluntary Phased Retirement Program appears to be serving the needs of the faculty and staff essentially as planned, with the only concern being that information on the program may not have been as widely circulated as needed. However, the Office of Human Resources provides a copy of the policy at its Web site address: http://www.ohr.psu.edu/policy/hr29.cfm. Furthermore, steps are being taken to inform faculty and staff about the program through an INTERCOM article in the near future.
SENATE COMMITTEE ON FACULTY BENEFITS
Allen Phillips (Chair)
THE FOLLOWING SENATORS WERE IN ATTENDANCE AT THE
December 8, 1998 SENATE MEETING
Alexander, Shelton S.
Althouse, P. Richard
Andaleeb, Syed Saad
Anderson, Albert A.
Arnold, Steven F.
Bagby, John W.
Berkowitz, Leonard J.
Bernecker, Craig A.
Bise, Christopher J.
Book, Patricia A.
Brannon, S. Diane
Brasseur, James G.
Bridges, K. Robert
Brighton, John A.
Browning, Barton W.
Broyles, Michael E.
Burkhart, Keith K.
Cahir, John J.
Carpenter, Lynn A.
Casteel, Mark A.
Chellman, Alison A.
Christy, David P.
Clariana, Roy B.
Clark, Paul F.
Coraor, Lee D.
Crawford, James P.
Crowe, Mary Beth
Curtis, Wayne R.
Cyran, Stephen E.
Daubert, Thomas E.
De Castro, William
de Hart, Gretchen Kline
de Hart, Steven A.
De Jong, Gordon F.
Dempsey, Richard F.
Diehl, Renee D.
Donovan, James M.
Eckhardt, Caroline D.
Elder, James T.
Englund, Richard B.
Erickson, Rodney A.
Evensen, Dorothy H.
Fahnline, Donald E.
Farber, Gregory K.
Ferriss, John A.
Fosmire, Gary J.
Frank, Thomas A.
Frank, William M.
Franz, George W.
Freeman, Emily K.
Friend, Linda C.
Frost, Tracy A.
Galligan, M. Margaret
Georgopulos, Peter D.
Geschwindner, Louis F.
Goldman, Margaret B.
Gouran, Dennis S.
Green, David J.
Gunderman, Charles F.
Haner, William E.
Hanley, Elizabeth A.
Harrison, Terry P.
Hayek, Sabih I.
Hill, Charles W.
Holt, Frieda M.
Irwin, Zachary T.
Jackson, Thomas N.
Jago, Deidre E.
Johnson, Ernest W.
Jones, W. Terrell
Jurs, Peter C.
Kallas, M. Nabil
Kerstetter, Deborah L.
Kissick, John D.
Klein, Philip A.
Kristine, Frank J.
Kuhns, Larry J.
Lasher, William C.
Lippert, John R.
Lunetta, Vincent N.
Manbeck, Harvey B.
Marshall, J. Daniel
Marsico, Salvatore A.
May, Janet A.
Mayer, Jeffrey S.
McGraw, Kenneth P.
McGregor, Annette K.
Miller, Arthur C.
Miller, Linda P.
Minard, Robert D.
Moore, John W.
Murphy, Dennis J.
Murphy, Lucia Rohrer
Myers, Jamie M.
Nelson, Murry R.
Nichols, John S.
Ovaert, Timothy C.
Ozment, Judy P.
Pangborn, Robert N.
Paster, Amy L.
Patterson, Henry O.
Peavler, Terry J.
Phillips, Allen T.
Power, Barbara L.
Price, Robert G.
Pytel, Jean Landa
Richards, David R.
Richman, M. Susan
Ricketts, Robert D.
Romano, John J.
Romano, Paula J.
Romberger, Andrew B.
Roth, David E.
Sandler, Karen Wiley
Sandmeyer, Louise E.
Scaroni, Alan W.
Seybert, Thomas A.
Smith, Brady P.
Smith, James F.
Smith, Sandra R.
Spanier, Graham B.
Stoffels, Shelly M.
Strasser, Joseph C.
Stratton, Valerie N.
Stuart, Jessica L.
Sutton, Jane S.
Thigpen, Kenneth A.
Tormey, Brian B.
Trevino, Linda Klebe
Turner, Tramble T.
Vickers, Anita M.
Wager, J. James
Wanner, Adrian J.
Ware, Roger P.
White, Eric R.
Whittam, Thomas S.
Withington, Robert P.
Wyatt, Nancy J.
Yesalis, Charles E.
Young, James S.
OTHERS ATTENDING FROM SENATE OFFICE
Bugyi, George J.
Cunning, Tineke J.
Hockenberry, Betsy S.
Price, Vickie R.
Simpson, Linda A.
Walk, Sherry F.
152 Total Elected
5 Total Ex Officio
10 Total Appointed
167 Total Attending
TENTATIVE AGENDA FOR FEBRUARY 2, 1999
Committees and Rules - Revision of Standing Rules, Article II: Senate Committee Structure (Legislative)
Student Life - Resolution Supporting the Penn State IFC/Panhellenic Dance Marathon
Faculty Rights and Responsibilities - Annual Report for 1997-98 (Informational)
General Education Implementation Committee - Intercultural and International Competence Requirement (Recommendation #7) (Informational)
Intercollegiate Athletics - Annual Report of Academic Eligibility and Athletic Scholarships for 1997-98 (Informational)
Senate Council - Faculty Census Report - 1999/2000 (Informational)