Penn State Intercom......February 7, 2002

Senate votes
to add seats for
retired faculty

By Allison Kessler

Retired faculty members may soon find representation in the Penn State Faculty Senate thanks to a constitutional change approved by senators in their first meeting of the new year on Jan. 29.

The Senate moved to add two elected retired faculty to its body, pending approval by President Graham B. Spanier. The changes provide that one retired faculty senator will sit on the committee on faculty affairs and the other on the committee on faculty benefits. There are issues addressed in both of these committees that have implications for retired faculty. The positions were created to better serve both the retired faculty population and agenda issues in the Senate itself.

According to the new procedures, the senate office will obtain a list of retired faculty members from the last 10 years who are living in Pennsylvania and contiguous states. This list will be compared with the names of those who served on the senate before their retirement. These former senators will be asked whether they wish to stand for election.

Consenting people will be listed on the final ballot, along with an option marked "other." The ballot will be made available to all current and retired faculty, thus enabling other members of the retired population to participate in the election.

Other business brought before the Senate included informational reports on the status of students who change campus locations, the recruitment and retention of women and minority faculty, and an update on classroom conditions.

Senators also were given an update on the World Campus, which completed its third full year of operation following the 2000-01 academic year. In that year, course enrollment rose to 5,119, with a student headcount of 2,714. Currently, more than 150 faculty enable the World Campus to offer 188 courses and 22 certificate and degree programs.

The report showed how the World Campus is reaching new students from beyond the traditional campus environment. More than 80 percent of this student body is 24 years old and older. Unlike the majority of students who attend traditional Penn State campuses, 63 percent of World Campus students are not from Pennsylvania. Students come from all 50 states and 49 countries around the world.

Spanier offered his customary remarks at the onset of the meeting. He discussed the University's financial status in the wake of a $10 million budget freeze.

"The state of the University is excellent," Spanier said. "The deans have worked hard internally in their budget allocations."

He added that his financial concerns rest in the upcoming appropriations hearing at the end of the month.
"We probably won't get all that we asked for," Spanier said. "Our goal is to maintain the quality of operations within the University while keeping tuition as low as possible. We will continue in efforts to make sure no student is denied a quality Penn State education."

The Faculty Senate next meets Feb. 26.