Faculty Senate holds first meeting of the academic year, covers range of topics

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The University Faculty Senate held its first meeting of the 2015-16 academic year Tuesday (Sept. 15, 2015), discussing topics including diversity awareness, implementation of LionPATH, revision of emeritus status for faculty, two-factor identification, changes to background check requirements and the Penn State Values.

President Eric Barron gave the Faculty Senate an overview of the University’s upcoming capital campaign, which will be presented to the Board of Trustees Friday.

Provost Nick Jones spoke to the Senate about the establishment of the Office of Information Security, as well as the roll-out of two-factor authentication, which provides a second layer of protection to accounts, databases and servers. Jones said this is already being used to protect a number of University systems, such as Penn State Hershey. There will be a schedule of roll-outs for the University, but the entire community is encouraged to enroll now by going to

“I think this is an important step forward in our security presence,” Jones said.

The Faculty Senate:

-       discussed a draft statement on diversity, equity and inclusiveness;

-       received a report on the updates to LionPATH, the student information system that will replace the Integrated Student Information System (ISIS);

-       received a report on the Penn State Values — integrity, respect, responsibility, discovery, excellence and community — from Tim Balliett, University ethics officer;

-       approved revisions to the policy on academic renewal;

-       approved changes to the policy on prerequisites and concurrent courses;

-       approved revisions to the policy on emeritus status to make faculty with fixed-term appointments eligible, and sent the revisions to Barron for consideration;

-       received an informational report on Faculty Senate college visits.

Also on Tuesday, Regis Becker, chief ethics and compliance officer, and Sandy Weaver, youth program compliance specialist, provided the Senate with an update on new Pennsylvania background check requirements, which were amended this summer.

New employees who are responsible for the care and supervision of children or who have routine interaction with children under the age of 18 still must receive three background clearances. Weaver said that what has changed is those employees whose contact with children is limited to matriculated students do not need the background checks.

Those working with “dual enrolled” high school students still need to get the three background checks. Faculty teaching dual-enrolled students this semester have been identified, and a committee is looking at options for addressing this in the future, she said.

Another change, Weaver said, is that clearances are portable from one job or volunteer activity to another, with the exception being that they’re not transferable from volunteer work to employment.

The next University Faculty Senate meeting will take place at 1:30 p.m. Oct. 27 in room 112 Kern Building.

Last Updated September 17, 2015