T H E S E N A T E R E C O R D
Volume 50—–April 25, 2017—–Number 6
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.
The publication is issued by the Senate Office, 101 Kern Graduate Building, University Park, PA 16802 (telephone 814-863-0221). The Senate Record is on file in the University Archives and is posted online at http://www.senate.psu.edu/senators under “Publications.”
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 insufficient, 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 that have appeared in the Agenda for the meeting are not included in The Senate Record unless they have been changed substantially during the meeting, or are considered to be of major importance. Remarks and discussions are abbreviated in most instances. Every Senate meeting is webcast via MediaSite. All Senate meetings are digitally audio recorded and on file in the Senate office. Transcriptions of portions of the Senate meeting are available upon request.
Individuals with questions may contact Dr. Daniel R. Hagen, Executive Director, Office of the University Faculty Senate.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
FINAL AGENDA FOR APRIL 25, 2017
- MINUTES OF THE PRECEDING MEETING
Minutes of the March 14, 2017, Meeting in The Senate Record 50:5
- COMMUNICATIONS TO THE SENATE
Senate Curriculum Report of April 4, 2017
- REPORT OF SENATE COUNCIL – Meeting of April 4 , 2017
- ANNOUNCEMENTS BY THE CHAIR
- COMMENTS BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNIVERSITY
- COMMENTS BY THE EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT AND PROVOST
- FORENSIC BUSINESS
- UNFINISHED BUSINESS
- LEGISLATIVE REPORTS
Admissions, Records, Scheduling, and Student Aid
Revisions to Senate Policy 34-68, Auditing and Visiting Courses
Revisions to Senate Policy 06-20, Articulation Agreements
Committee on Committees and Rules
Revisions to the Standing Rules Article II Section 6(f)
Revision of the Standing Rules, Article II, Section 6(b)
Revision of the Bylaws, Article I (Officers) Section 1
Changes to the Standing Rules, Article II, Section 6(c)
Revisions to the Standing Rules, Article 1 Rules of Procedure
Revision of the Standing Rules, Article II (Senate Committee Structure), Section 6(I)
Curricular Affairs, Undergraduate Education, and Admissions, Records, Scheduling, and Student Aid
Revisions to Senate Policy 59-10, Requirements for the Minor
Educational Equity and Campus Environment
Modification of University Faculty Senate Policy 43-00 Syllabus to Include Report Bias Website
Joint Special Committee on First-Year Students’ Well-Being and Safety
Curricular and co-Curricular Learning Pathways to Promote the Well-Being and Safety of First-Year Undergraduate Students
- ADVISORY/CONSULTATIVE REPORTS
Joint Special Committee on First-Year Students’ Well-Being and Safety
Curricular and co-Curricular Learning Pathways to Promote the Well-Being and Safety of First-Year Undergraduate Students
Libraries, Information Systems, and Technology
Library Space Planning
Report of Grade Distribution
Course and Classroom Scheduling Recommendations
- INFORMATIONAL REPORTS
Admissions, Records, Scheduling, and Student Aid
Annual Report on the High School Students Enrolled Nondegree in Credit Courses*
2018 Medical and Prescription Drug Plan Design and Cost Sharing
2016-2017 Report on Faculty Salaries
Travel Safety Network
Penn State Cooperative Extension
Research, Scholarship, and Creative Activity
New Members Document*
- Report of Senate Elections
Senate Committee on Committees and Rules
Faculty Rights and Responsibilities
Standing Joint Committee on Tenure
University Promotion and Tenure Review Committee
Faculty Advisory Committee to the President
Senate Secretary for 2017-2018
Senate Chair-Elect for 2017-2018
- Comments by Outgoing Chair Strauss
- Seating of the New Officers
- Comments by Incoming Chair Woessner
- NEW LEGISLATIVE BUSINESS
[Resolution introduced by Senator Wenner (College of Medicine) after suspension of the
rules during the Legislative Reports]
- COMMENTS AND RECOMMENDATIONS FOR THE GOOD OF THE UNIVERSITY
The University Faculty Senate met on Tuesday, April 25, 2017 at 1:30 p.m. in room 112 Kern Graduate building with James A. Strauss, Chair, presiding.
Chair Strauss: Good afternoon. I would like to call our April, 2017 meeting to order. Opening our meeting, as usual, is a student group, an organization. The student group is the Penn State Thespians. They are the oldest, continuous student organization on campus. They are currently celebrating 120 years of existence at our University. The two students are Melissa Elliott. She’s a freshman in Bio-behavioral Health, also minoring in Theatre Performance. Jon Harris, a junior in Advertising. They both were part of the recent play performed by the Thespians, Beauty and the Beast. And as you can see when they stand up, Melissa played Belle, and Jon played Gaston. Each will be performing a song from that performance.
Melissa Elliott and Jon Harris performed songs from the Penn State Thespian’s production of Beauty and the Beast.
MINUTES OF THE PRECEDING MEETING
Chair Strauss: OK. Onto business, Minutes of the Preceding Meeting. The March 21, 2017, Senate Record, providing a full transcript of the proceedings of the meeting scheduled for March 14, was sent to the University Archives and is currently posted on the Faculty Senate website.
Unidentified Senator: Move to accept.
Unidentified Senator: Second.
Chair Strauss: Didn’t even get it out. That’s great. All in favor of accepting this?
Chair Strauss: Wonderful. The motion carried. The minutes of the meeting have been approved.
COMMUNICATIONS TO THE SENATE
Chair Strauss: Item B, Communications to the Senate. The full Senate Curriculum Report of April 4, 2017, is posted on the University Faculty Senate website.
REPORT OF SENATE COUNCIL
Chair Strauss: Items C, Report from Senate Council. The minutes of the April 4, 2017, Senate Council meeting can be found at the end of your agenda. Included in the minutes are topics that were discussed by the Faculty Advisory Committee to the President at the April 4 meeting.
ANNOUNCEMENTS BY THE CHAIR
Chair Strauss: Item D, Announcements by the Chair. Let’s see where we’re at with things.
I’ve got a quick spiel, but fortunately for you folks, I’m not going to sing. But I will offer you a couple things to think about from my perspective. And the first perspective from this photo is, geez, we’ve got a really beautiful campus to be proud of. Here’s our Nittany lion framed in red bud from just a few days ago photo. Isn’t campus beautiful?
I was– well, I’m exceptionally flattered to be elected as your chair. And undoubtedly this is a highlight and probably the highlight of my academic career, such that it is, here at Penn State. I could not have accomplished anything this year without the stunning and steadfast support of the Senate officers, Mohamad Ansari, Ann Taylor, and Matthew Woessner. You folks have just been fantastic, and I really appreciate your support.
Andy Warhol famously said, “In the future, everyone will be famous for 15 minutes.” Based upon that, I think I have used up about 14 minutes and 55 seconds, at least on a relative time scale. That doesn’t mean the meeting is over in five seconds, by the way.
Andy also said this: “They always say that time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself.” And the Senate is certainly an illustration of this. And we have to do a lot of deliberation amongst ourselves to find our way. But we do find our way.
This is actually from my physiology presentation. But I thought this was a great picture of me trying to navigate the pitfalls and perils of being Faculty Senate Chair. There’s a very narrow tightrope that you have to walk. And balancing between all of this are really the needs of our students, the needs of our faculty, the needs of our staff, the urges of our administration, the needs of the University Park larger entity, and as well as balancing that with the needs of our Commonwealth Colleges. And it’s a tightrope walk at times. We try to do our best as chairs.
So what did we do this year? And I’m going to zip through these pretty quickly. First and foremost, I am very enthusiastic about students and very happy that we’ve featured students upfront in every one of our meetings this year. And we really tried to consciously include students in our governance and in our actions this year. I feel that’s very important. Here’s Mohamad at one of the student meetings of the Student Senators.
And then some of the things that we did in partnership with students this year included Smoke-Free Penn State, a mental health statement on all course syllabi; something up for a vote today that I urge you to strongly consider, the Report Bias Statement in all course syllabi. And again, we’ve featured students upfront at every one of our meetings. And these included the Glee Club, the Commmonwealth Campus Engineering Research interns, Essence of Joy gospel choir, the Chair of THON, the chair of the Penn State Student Foodbank, and Penn State Thespians today.
Diversity– we really tried to include diversity in every one of our meetings this year. And my thanks go out to Rob Loeb and the EECE committee for its fantastic work. We started off things with a bang. We had a student diversity panel. A lot of folks were very skeptical. That was a great discussion. The report bias that’s up today is part of their efforts as well. We had an interesting discussion about gender neutral bathrooms, as well as reports by LGBTQ and the Commission for Women.
Scholarships– everybody wants to be here at the end and graduate. In order to do that, we need money. And we have had an ARSSA committee here for many, many years. And much to my dismay, we’ve never really had an overall scholarship report. But Michel Haigh got us one this year, along with Anna Griswold’s work. And it said some things that are really revealing. We have a $500 million endowment. That sounds great. We distribute $37 million every year. That too sounds great. But when you divide this out with 75,000 students, it comes up to about $511 per student. And we can’t fix this overnight. But the illustration is that we need to work hard on building this endowment up and offering more scholarship opportunities for students. I think the Open Doors in the current campaign is very important for doing that. The recommendation was, we ought to have at least 25% of this current campaign going to student scholarships. I think it’s a powerful message.
Library space– I don’t want to steal the thunder of this report, but we got a report together on this. And it was very difficult to negotiate between all the different parties. Our aim basically is to strike the right balance between space occupied by books and bound journals and space utilization by students. Students came to me very early on and said, “Anything you can do to help out with library space for us would be appreciated.” So that’s what this report actually identifies. And I’m not going to steal the thunder of the report. We’ll go on to the next slide. But the report is offered up today.
Assessment—I met with Lance Kennedy-Phillips, and he said, “Geez, one of the good things we could do with assessment is to get learning goals and objectives in all our course syllabi,” which of course if you were paying attention, we passed that last meeting. And that’s going to be the law of the land. And it’s a way through disciplinary communities to make sure Chemistry 110 or English 15 has continuity across our One University Geographically Distributed.
Benefits– As you know, there’s two primary benefits plans: PPO Savings, PPO Blue. And I’m really, really proud of the way that three committees that were working on health care today basically coordinated their actions, and at the end basically fell onto the same page for the 2018 Benefit Plan that’s going to be presented at the meeting today. Renee Borromeo chaired our Faculty Benefits Committee. Jamie Myers chaired the Joint Committee on Insurance and Benefits. There was also coordination with the President’s Health Care Advisory Committee. And all three of these, I think, came to general agreement on what this plan should look like, and we worked together on it. And I’m very proud of that.
Communications– One of the things that we emphasize now in our blue book rules is that if you’re going to be a Senate counselor, we expect you folks to communicate what the Senate is doing back to your units of origin. We outlined some best practices in our blue books for you to hopefully follow. But we really, really want to emphasize communication and the importance that Senate counselors have communicating back to their units of origin. You represent your units.
There were a few challenges on the way, or along the way. It looked sort of easy on paper that eLion was going to transition to LionPATH seamlessly. That ended up maybe not being quite as seamless as we had hoped. That said, our LionPATH is improving. Some of the financial aid and class scheduling issues are now cleared up. There’s going to be a student focus group that’s going to look at the interface and make it a little bit more user friendly, hopefully, by next August when students come back here.
Yes, we still have issues with transfer credits, pathway to graduation, checking, and even our Penn State Alumni Society is having issues getting their roster of recent graduates transferred onto their docket, because LionPATH isn’t allowing that. We do have good people that are working on this, and I’m hopeful.
The other unexpected challenge was one of weather. I took these two shots– one in October and one on March 14, which was one of our rare snow days. This also happened to be the day when we had scheduled our March Faculty Senate meeting. I had to make the tough decision Sunday morning to basically postpone this meeting. We didn’t cancel it. We postponed it for the following week.
And it’s really a credit to the hard-working Faculty Senate staff and Dan Hagen, Paula Brown, that everybody came together and made that postponed meeting actually happen, an incredible amount of work. There’s our Nittany Lion under snow. And the next slide is, that said, you know what? Even adults like a snow day. This is the campus at 11 o’clock in the morning. I have four wheel drive; I drove in. Nobody’s here. It was beautiful.
Governance– We actually had some conversation about this this morning in CC&R, about the importance of the SCUG report by John Nichols. And there are some items coming up for your vote today that are going to better align our service terms. We have faculty senators that actually serve on the Board of Trustees; to align our calendar with their calendar. And starting in September of this year, we’re going to have six non-voting faculty members on the Board of Trustees and on six out of their seven committees, which I think is pretty landmark.
Basically, those folks are going to be the Senate officers plus two folks chosen by the chair, by the rules. But this is great. This is shared governance in action. Look at Michael Bérubé. He looks great in that shot.
Uniform titles for fixed-term faculty– Michael Bérubé and the Faculty Affairs Committee have worked hard over the last two years. Started under Mohamad Ansari’s administration, continued on mine, likely continued under Matthew’s, to try to get better titles, better promotions, those kinds of things, for fixed-term faculty.
This year what we did is we tried to establish uniform titles. You’ve seen these before. We passed this last meeting. It was approved by President Barron. So we’ll go on. Next slide.
And we’re going to conclude with one of my rising favorite University standards that’s out there in terms of statues. The lion is great, and the Penn State University below the stadium is great. But as time goes on, I’m really, really liking this statue.
Here’s a little bit more of a close up. And I actually thought this was a botched photo when I looked at it. And then I really started liking some of the details on here a little bit more. The sun is gleaming in the reflection. This statue is really a reflection of us. And it says “We Are.” And the “we” is “us.” It doesn’t say “I are Penn State.” Carey would be all over that as really grammatically poor English.
But it says “we,” like we together. And that means students and that means faculty and that means staff. And this is who Penn State is. And one of the reasons I thought this was a little– actually, go back to the slide– a little botched, if you look really carefully, I’m actually there in my reflection. But I said, oh, I got this construction equipment and sort of the elephant, because this is next to the IM building that they’re doing phase 3 construction on– which is a fantastic building, by the way.
But it really says that “We Are” is a state of construction. And we’re not perfect, but we’re working on it. And we’re getting better at it as time goes on. And last, we’ll leave you with a really nice picture of our logo in the flowers. And it’s been a great year. And I really thank each and every one of you for your support and hard work in Senate this year.
More announcements. This is always the meeting of announcements and thank you’s. President Barron has provided a follow-up letter regarding an Advisory Consultative Report that was passed January 26, 2016, meeting, including the revision to policy HR23, which is Promotion and Tenure Procedures and Regulations. He’s also accepted four Advisory Consultative Reports approved by Senate at the January 24, 2017, meeting. They include the coordination of duties; the TPA choice for PS medical, or for Penn State medical and prescription drugs coverage; disciplinary communities revised; and addressing issues of classroom climate and bias in the classroom.
The president also accepted two Advisory Consultative Reports, revision of AD84, Preferred Name and Gender Identity Policy, and the proposed revision to HR21, Recommendation for Standardizing Non-Tenured Faculty Titles Across Units. That legislation, or that Advisory Consultative Report, was actually approved at our March 21 meeting. The president’s response letters will be posted in the agenda for the respective Senate meetings when the reports were actually approved by the Senate.
I’m very happy to announce that at the April 4 Senate Council meeting, we elected a new ombudsperson. It is Mohamad Ansari. Where’s Mohamad?
After working for a year with the incumbent faculty ombudsperson, Pam Hufnagel, Mohamad will actually serve a four-year term as a University faculty ombudsperson. Thank you very much, Mohamad.
On April 4, council members voted to place the following information reports on the Senate agenda and the website only for their presentation. The Annual Report on High School Students Enrolled in Non-degree and Credit Courses, Priority Enrollment and New Members Document. These reports will not be discussed at today’s meeting. If you have comments or questions about these reports, you can email at email@example.com. Your questions will be forwarded to the appropriate committee chair for a response. The remaining informational reports on the agenda will be discussed today.
I’m very pleased to invite Alex Shockley, the Chair of our Senate Committee on Student Life, to introduce the John White Fellowship recipients.
Alex Shockley, Student Senator: Thank you, Chair Strauss. Each year, the Senate Committee on Student Life recognizes outstanding undergraduate students who are graduating with highest distinction and who plan to enroll in graduate study. The John White Graduate Fellowship is one of the oldest continuing fellowships at Penn State. The award was established in 1902 by James Gilbert White to honor his father, Reverend John W. White of Milroy, Pennsylvania. Joining me on this year’s review committee was Margaret Michels, Senior Lecturer of Communication, Arts, and Sciences, University Park. This year, five students were chosen to receive a John White Graduate Fellowship. Each student will receive a $975 award. I am pleased to introduce the fellowship recipients. As I say your name, please join me at the podium. Senators, please hold your applause until all recipients are introduced.
Elizabeth Catchmark will graduate as a Schreyer Honors Scholar with four B.A. degrees in English, Philosophy, African American Studies, and Women’s Studies. She will pursue graduate studies either at the University of Delaware or Lehigh University. Elizabeth plans to produce scholarship that is sensitive to issues of race, class, gender, sexual orientation, religion, and ability. The focus of her scholarship indicates her drive to become a scholar-activist whose work impacts not only the field of literary criticism, but contributes to creating a more equitable, just world. Elizabeth has worked as a teaching assistant, a research assistant, and a DC Social Justice Fellow, where she designed a curriculum for teaching social justice issues to high school students. Her diverse experiences have enhanced her ability to create engaging lesson plans, to effectively facilitate conversations, and to improve student writing through collaborative, nondirective learning techniques.
Christopher Covert will graduate with a B.S. degree in Aerospace Engineering and will serve as the Aerospace department’s Student Marshal. He will be attending Stanford University to pursue a graduate degree in Aeronautics and Astronautics. Christopher has held concurrent titles as the President and Student Team Leader of the Penn State Lunar Lion team, leading the team to their first two technical milestones: the first successful takeoff and landing. He has also served as the Lead Controls Engineer for a Penn State team constructing a full-scale human powered aircraft, building flight simulations and flight test equipment. In addition, Christopher has conducted research with the Applied Research Lab’s Autonomous Control and Intelligent Systems division, in the field of multi-agent autonomy.
James Frisbie will graduate as a Shreyer Honors Scholar with a B.S. Degree in Immunology and Infectious Diseases and a Minor in Bioethics and Medical Humanities. James plans to pursue Medical School and become a physician who has a positive impact on others around him and in his community. He has been accepted to several prestigious Medical Schools. James has been working for three years as a research assistant. His Honors thesis focused on the enzymatic synthesis of a metabolite of EPA, which is an Omega-3 fatty acid that has shown anti-leukemic effects in mice. James has also shadowed physicians in a variety of medical specialty areas, such as pediatrics, oncology, radiology, and pharmacology.
Noah Lingwall will graduate as a Shreyer Honors Scholar with a B.A. in History, and an enhanced Spanish Minor. He plans to attend the University of Virginia School of Law. Noah will apply to the Program in Law and Public Service, which will equip him with the tools necessary to begin public service work on his first day as a lawyer. His work with a family law practice and Children and Youth Services in Brookville, PA raised his awareness of the need for individuals who will represent children and families. Thus, Noah is particularly interested in gaining experience with the school’s Family Alternative Dispute Resolution Clinic and the Child Advocacy Clinic for a public service career focused on securing justice for families and children. While at Penn State, Noah co-founded and became president of the Penn State University Music Service Club, which serves State College’s disadvantaged through musical performances and social interaction.
Naseem Zomorodi will graduate as a Shreyer Honors Scholar with a B.S. in Life Science. She will attend Penn State Hershey College of Medicine in order to become a physician. Conducting research as an undergraduate student and learning about the basic science in the context of medicine has been one of the most meaningful experiences in Naseem’s life and has inspired her to pursue a medical profession. Currently, she is conducting biomedical research on rotator cuff injuries at the Hershey Medical Center, as well as working on her Honors thesis, which is an analysis of the relationship between influenza vaccination coverage and disease outbreak across demographic factors. Through clinical experiences, volunteer work, research conducted for her Honors thesis, and a recent service-learning trip to Peru, she has become aware of the disparities in access to healthcare that exist in the United States and around the world. She hopes to learn how she can use her skillset as a doctor to create long-term changes in her community.
Please join me in congratulating these outstanding students.
Chair Strauss: Thank you very much, Alex. And I should actually take this time to recognize the most important leadership contributions Alex Shockley has made for our students in Faculty Senate this year. Alex will be the Vice President for UPUA in the upcoming year. He boldly co-chaired and really ended up chairing our Student Life Committee. Alex and I had numerous meetings this semester on a number of different topics, and he’s just an outstanding young leader. And I’ll just say, if our larger political leadership in this country could establish a model like Alex, we’d be in great hands. So thank you very much, Alex.
Certificate presentation– And it says I’m supposed to move to the center podium, so I will follow my directions. I’d like to offer special recognition to 11 elected faculty senators who are sadly leaving Senate this year. And they have exceptionally distinguished records of service over the course of really longer than 11 years here. As they come forward, I will present each one of them with a certificate signed by President Barron, and as a special bonus signed by myself as well, acknowledging their dedicated service to Senate. Please come forward when I read your name, and I’ll ask that you hold your applause, audience, until all 11 have been introduced.
The first is Martha Aynardi. She is a Berks campus senator. She chaired Faculty Benefits, the JCIB, Admissions Records, Scheduling, and Student Aid. Where is Martha? Thank you very much, Martha.
Next is Dawn Blasko. Dawn, as you know, is a Behrend faculty senator. She served as Senate secretary, Chair-Elect, Immediate Past Chair, Vice President of Intra-University Relations, and is currently the Chair of the Committee on Committees and Rules and Faculty Rights and Responsibilities. Thank you very much, Dawn.
John Boehmer. He’s here. Great. Faculty senator from the College of Medicine. Served as Senate Secretary, Vice Chair, and Chair of University Planning. Also Vice Chair of Committee on Committees and Rules and Chair of Intercollegiate Athletics. John, congratulations.
Michel Haigh. She’s a faculty senator from Communications, served as the Vice Chair of Curricular Affairs; Chair of Admissions, Records, Scheduling, and Student Aid. Thank you very much, Michel.
Pam Hufnagel. Pam is a senator from Dubois, served as Senate secretary twice, Vice Chair of Admissions, Records, Scheduling, and Student Aid; and Chair of Committee on Committee and Rules and Outreach. Thank you very much, Pam, for your service.
Patty Koch. Patty I know is here. She’s a senator from Health and Human Development, served as Chair and Vice Chair of Faculty Affairs. She also served on Senate Council, Faculty Benefits, Committee on Committees and Rules, Intra-University Relations, and Faculty Affairs. Thank you very much, Pat.
Jonna. Jonna Kulikowich, senator from College of Education, served as our Senate Chair-Elect, Chair, and Immediate Past Chair. This year Jonna graciously chaired our Intercollegiate Athletics Committee; also previously chaired Undergraduate Education. Thank you very much, Jonna.
Rob Loeb. Rob Loeb is another senator from our Dubois campus. He served as the Vice Chair and Chair of Educational Equity and Campus Environment, and also Chair of Research. Thank you very much, Rob.
Jamie Myers. Jamie is in the back. Jamie is a senator from the College of Education. He served as Senate Secretary, Chair, Chair-Elect, and Immediate Past Chair, also as Vice Chair of Outreach, Chair of Undergraduate Education, Chair of our JCIB Committee on Insurance and Benefits. Thank you very much.
Bob Ricketts, fresh from a sail to Cuba and made it back. I can’t believe the Coast Guard didn’t stop him and detain him for something. He is our senator from Health and Human Development, served as the Vice Chair of Undergraduate Education and Outreach. Thank you very much, Bob.
And last and certainly not least– and he’s not here, but Larry Backer, who’s a former Chair of our Senate, and I’ll just simply say, a champion of good causes. Spent 11 years on Senate. You will be missed. So thank you very much, all of you, for your very important contributions to our organization. You will be missed.
I already acknowledged the senate officers and their important contributions in our slide presentation. I didn’t get a chance to acknowledge the really important contributions from our Senate Parliamentarian, Senator Beth Seymour. Thank you very much for your service this past year.
Additionally, the service of Senator Steinn Sigurdsson. He is our liaison for Graduate Council. Thank you very much, Steinn, for your contributions.
Now we’d like to recognize this year’s leadership of our Senate standing committees and the special committees. If you are a chair or vice chair of these committees, please stand so you can be recognized. These colleagues have provided us with effective leadership to Senate this year. Without their contributions, Senate couldn’t have accomplished anything. It’s not me. It’s these folks. Thank you very, very much for all the hard work that you do.
I’d like to also acknowledge the important contributions of Jon Leslie and Lee Fessler of Media and Technology Support Services for their work on Mediasite and providing the technology to support our Senate meetings. I’d also like to recognize Dave Test and other staff from Teaching and Learning with Technology, who provided support with our clickers.
I’d also like to acknowledge the important service from our Senate staff, without whose dedicated efforts the Faculty Senate would simply cease to function. Allison, Anna, Kadi, Patti, and Paula, thank you very, very much for your work with Senate this year.
I have two things that aren’t on my script, but they need to be. So I put them on myself. Dan Hagen. Dan Hagen is our Executive Director. He is a former Senate Chair. He is a professor in the College of Agriculture, expert in reproductive physiology. And this is his last plenary Faculty Senate meeting. And Dan is a wealth of knowledge and has been immensely helpful in guiding for me this year. Dan, I actually have a special gift for you that you need to come up and accept.
It’s hard to give the man who has everything something. But I thought this would help you commune with your horses.
Daniel Hagen, Executive Director: And they’re also a great source of Vitamin A.
Chair Strauss: Gee, I’ve got more things I jotted down here off script. Paula Brown. Paula is our Senior Administrative Assistant. And all I can say from the depth of my heart, she has provided outstanding organization and support for me this entire year. She served as my confidant, my part-time psychological counselor when I needed it. She embodies grace, good manners, compromise, just an outstanding individual to work with. And I know it’s going to seem like I’m playing favorites, but I just– I’ve got to give these to you. Thank you very, very much for all your help this year.
Finally, I’d like to thank each and every one of you for your willingness to serve on our University Faculty Senate. Your time, dedication, and expertise helps Senate to successfully complete its important work. And for that, I am very much grateful for your important contributions.
Your collective– Dan totaled this up. It’s hard to believe. Your collective efforts resulted in a total of 115 forensic, legislative, advisory, consultative, and informational reports. But if you’ve been to our meetings to the bitter end, you would probably believe that figure.
COMMENTS BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNIVERSITY
Chair Strauss: Item E, Comments by the President of the University. President Barron is attending a national conference this week. He is unable to be with us today.
COMMENTS BY THE EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT AND PROVOST
Chair Strauss: Item F, Comments by the Executive Vice President and Provost. It’s my pleasure to recognize Provost Nick Jones for his comments today. Nick?
Nicholas Jones, Executive Vice President and Provost: Thank you, Jim. I figured I’m going to steal some of Eric’s time, seeing he’s not here. So I have a few things I want to run through, and I’ll try to get through as quickly as possible. First, as to– some of them are business oriented. Some are a little bit more philosophical.
First is the matter of a couple of new policies that we have just posted around the SBIR/STTR space. For those of you who are not familiar, SBIR’s are Small Business Innovation Research grants, and STTR’s are Small Business Technology Transfer grants. These are two special categories of federal award.
And just to give you a sense of what they are, which is important for understanding why we’re doing what we’re doing. The SBIR is given to small business by the federal government. There are two goals of the program. One is to have research deliverables. And the other is to stimulate small business.
If Penn State is involved in an SBIR, our role is as a subcontractor to a small business. There are strict limitations on subcontracting. In a Phase one award, two-thirds has to be done at the small business. And one-third may be contracted to a university. It’s not required, but may be contracted. In Phase two, no more than 50% can be performed at a university.
STTR’s are very similar. But the small business receiving an STTR award must collaborate with a nonprofit research institution. For those of you involved in the research business and have dealt with regular grants and contracts, you can imagine in this space there is potential jeopardy if we do not follow very strictly the regulations and ensuring that there are no conflicts.
So there’s been actually increased government scrutiny. And I mean increased, examining participation of small businesses, universities, and their employees in these types of programs. Some key aspects of the regulations that have been subject to scrutiny include the limitations on subcontracting that I just mentioned, affiliation issues– and this happens if another entity is deemed to be an affiliate of that small business. Then they are treated as one for evaluating whether the size meets the criteria for a small business. And then third, and this is an important one, the principal investigator for the small business must be a full-time employee of said small business, at least 51%. In fact, the government has brought cases against full-time faculty members who start their own business and who serve as PI of the small business, arguing that you can’t be the 51% contributor in the small business and a full-time faculty member at a university.
As I indicated, there is increasing scrutiny. And we are currently, Penn State, under a bunch of it, for a number of small business collaborations with Penn State under the umbrella of these two award categories. We felt it was in the best interest of the University in the absence of specific policies addressing these two types of awards, that we have some policies in place post haste, I would say.
And so there are two. And they were reviewed at President’s Council a week or two ago. And we will be posting them. They were shared with the Senate Committee on Research, and a thumbs up was given. However they haven’t been fully– we’re pushing these out in a hurry, and we do want to get them out now, before you all recess for the summer. What these policies contain is, first, a set of 11 general principles in each policy that sort of set the tone for what has been covered, a collection of relevant federal regulations, existing University policies, such as use of University resources, proposal submission, conflicts of interest principles, and bright line rules in one place, for one-stop shopping whenever a member of the University faculty, staff, or other personnel are involved with SBIR or STTR programs. And third, allowing flexibility where appropriate– specifically creating a separate STTR policy from the SBIR policy to account for the nuanced differences between these two award types.
I wanted to bring your attention to these. If you’re looking for something to do Friday evening, you can go to GURU and look these two policies up– it’s RA06 and RA07– and read them. We welcome and value your feedback. And any feedback will be carefully considered, and we can, as you know, make revisions to these policies. I didn’t want you to be blindsided by these. But I can tell you, I can assure you, it is important that we have these policies in place now. And I’ll just leave it at that.
But we’re not trying to rush it out to get it off people’s radar screen. So I’m telling you, we welcome your review of these policies. I think they’re fairly informative and pretty innocuous. They form, as I said, one-stop shopping points. But please, by all means, if this is an area that is of interest or concern to you, take a look at these. And we can– as I said, if there are concerns about specific elements in them, we can certainly revisit them and make revisions as necessary.
A few weeks back, one of our Board of Trustees members made a statement that referred, among other things, to victims of the Sandusky situation. And I’m actually very proud to report– and I think most of you are probably aware of this, but it is worth mentioning here at this full meeting– that what happens quite rarely, the Academic Leadership Council, the Faculty Senate Council, and the University Staff Advisory Council together issued a joint statement on April 7 that read as follows: “Penn State’s Academic Leadership Council, Faculty Senate Council, and University Staff Advisory Council take exception to recent statements by Albert Lord, a Penn State Board of Trustees member, that are insensitive to the victims of child abuse as well as inconsistent with Penn State’s values and ongoing commitment to prevent child sexual abuse through training, research, and education. We consider his decision to withdraw himself from consideration for re-election to be appropriate.”
What is most important here is– some have quibbled over the strength of the statement. Should we have said more? Could we have said more? What is really important is that the academic leadership of the institution, the faculty of the institution through the Senate Council, and the staff of the institution through their advisory council, spoke with a single voice on this issue and communicated clearly that what was expressed by that trustee was not consistent with who we are. So I think that was a powerful statement. And I thank the Senate Council leadership for their participation in that effort and the leadership that they showed.
WorkLion– I’ve been sharing with you, from the beginning of the WorkLion project, I promised that I would keep you up to date on any developments. There is a potential development. At the last sharing of information, I would have indicated that we were planning on going live with WorkLion mid-June, so this summer, a few months away, if we were ready. We have been working very hard over the last couple of months, in addition to advancing the project, to also ensure that indeed we are ready, and that every T is crossed and I is dotted that needs to be, for a successful go-live.
At this point, it’s probably appropriate to share with you, because this is the last meeting, that at this stage we are not convinced that we really are ready for a robust rollout. We will be meeting to be briefed next Tuesday, May 2. But if I were a gambling man, I would think that we are going to delay the implementation of WorkLion until later in the fall, perhaps the end of the year– we’re evaluating now– so that we can be assured that we are indeed ready to go live. I think we have learned lessons from LionPATH, that there is jeopardy associated with adhering to a schedule that is forced upon us. So we’re evaluating the consequences of delaying the rollout. But ultimately, I think, we will likely reach the decision that that is the prudent thing for us to do. So just so you’re aware, this probably quite likely will not be happening over the summer, as originally intended.
Many of you– OK, so I’ll talk about something positive now. Many of you are aware of the announcement that was made last Friday by President Barron that the College of Communications is now the Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications. That is a really significant event for Penn State. Don Bellisario– I think, as many of you are probably aware– has had a very successful career as a producer, including– I should be able to see based on the body language how old everybody is– starting with Magnum PI, through to shows such as JAG and NCIS. Actually, what was quite interesting was I ran into Jim Houck, the interim dean of Penn State Law, at that event. And I sort of pulled Jim aside and said– because Jim Houck actually was a JAG, before he came to Penn State in his current role, the Judge Advocate General. And so I pulled Jim aside and said, “Come on, Jim, how realistic was the show”? And Jim said, it was actually pretty good. I think he enjoyed watching it. I’m pretty sure he was the JAG, and he didn’t just watch it. But he was the JAG.
Anyway, this is an extraordinary gift. It was a $30 million commitment to Penn State, and it goes down as one of the University’s largest gifts ever. And really, serious congratulations are in order to Dean Marie Hardin from the College of Communications, and President Barron for their hard work and bringing in this major commitment to Penn State. So, very exciting.
I’m messing with you a little bit here. I feel that in President Barron’s absence, I should say a little bit about the Greek situation here at University Park. It’s been a very difficult three months, I think as most of you are aware, beginning with a very unfortunate tragedy that happened at the beginning of February with the death of a young man at a fraternity just down the road here, under quite tragic circumstances. I think as all of you are aware, fraternities are private organizations living in private residences on private property. And yes, that includes the fraternity houses that are down the road here on Burrowes. That is private land that was deeded to those fraternities about 100 years ago from the University, when they really were on the periphery of the University, rather than being right in the middle of it, as they are now.
The fact that these are private organizations limits our ability to manage or oversee or have responsibility for what goes on in them. And in fact, for the houses down Burrowes here, those are policed by State College Police, rather than Penn State Police. Penn State Police look at everything around them, but it is the State College Borough police that have jurisdiction over those houses. So there’s a lot of complexities.
Two, after the death of this young man, we began our own internal investigation. And the State College Police began an investigation as well. We moved our investigation along to the point that we became comfortable, if not compelled as an institution, to act. And we did act. And we revoked the charter of the Beta fraternity forever. So that fraternity is no longer a part of Penn State and will never return. That’s a pretty strong action.
We also issued a number of directives to the rest of the Greek system in an attempt to manage their behaviors through the end of the semester, so we could get a better handle on things, perhaps taking some of the time over the summer to regroup and think this through. During Parents’ Weekend, there was a little bit of latitude granted because parents were in town and spending time with their sons and daughters, and what could be the harm of that?
Five fraternities violated at least one of the rules. One violated all of them. We continued to do spot checks. And so last week we moved to suspend the charter of that fraternity for a two-year period. That is one that is over in the Borough proper rather than here. So we took very strong action against what I would just characterize as considerable headwinds and resistance in doing so.
The big thing that is about to happen any time– and by “any time,” I mean it could be today– the Centre County District Attorney formed a grand jury to do an investigation of the circumstances surrounding the death of the young man at Beta House. And when that grand jury does its presentment, we do not expect it to be good. This will be a bad Penn State day when that happens. And as I said, it could happen any time.
We are very seriously and carefully rethinking our relationship with Greek life. Some people have said, are you going nuclear? Are you going to blow the whole thing up and get rid of fraternities? No, that is not the intention. There is a lot of good that can come from fraternities and sororities. And I have seen much of it myself, as have many of us.
But this cycle and spiral that we are in, that ultimately in this most recent incident leads to an absolutely tragic and terrible loss of life, just can’t continue without intervention on our part. The one opportunity we have is the opportunity that we have taken, which is to revoke recognition of these entities– one permanently, one a suspension– but we are drawing a pretty clear and bright and firm line on what we will accept in terms of us being willing to continue recognizing these organizations.
So this is a very difficult situation. There are many, many complex factors and considerations, of course. But it is very important. And it is important to the institution that we are clear about where we stand and how we should manage these moving forward.
I want to finish by just talking about a few departures myself. Dan Hagen was recognized. Dan has the either enviable or inenviable role of serving both the Senate and reporting to me. He might be able to write that up in a memoir at some point, I guess. But Dan plays a critical role, has played a critical role, as Executive Director of the University Faculty Senate, in facilitating shared governance at Penn State. So Dan, thank you from me and the administration for your considerable contributions during your term as Executive Director. And we wish you well with the carrots.
I usually see Paula Milone-Nuzzo. Paula, you’re not here, are you? So I think many of you are aware– Paula, who regularly participates in Faculty Senate meetings, has announced that she is leaving. She is going to be the president of Mass General’s Institute of Health Professionals in Boston. This is an extraordinary opportunity for Paula. And while we are very sorry to see her go, we wish her very well with this opportunity.
Amr Elnashai and Bill Easterling are not here. But I want to mention them as well. Amr, of course, Dean of Engineering, is going to University of Houston as Vice Chancellor for Research. And Bill Easterling is going to the National Science Foundation as a program director. And given what Bill is doing at this time, I’m actually pretty proud that one of our Penn State leaders is going to be in the role that he is going to be in at NSF to help us navigate through probably what is going to be a challenging period, particularly in the climate space. So congratulations to them and kudos.
I will say that, as we embark on multiple searches for new deans, you kind of wonder if it was something that you said. But I have to say that I think it is a very, very positive reflection on Penn State. We know we have great deans. But unfortunately the risk is, so do other institutions see that we have great deans. And so they look to a place like Penn State to recruit the next leaders. And that’s what we have experienced in the last number of months.
I do also want to acknowledge Kathy Bieschke– who I know is up in the back of the room– Kathy, I think as everybody knows, has served this past year as interim dean of the Schreyer Honors College and has done an extraordinary job as we have searched for a new permanent dean, whom I hope we will be able to announce very soon. So Kathy, thank you for your contributions.
I would also personally, and on behalf of the president, thank the Senate leadership and the entire Senate for really a great year. I think we have had a lot of really– I guess I would characterize them as– robust discussions and engagements throughout the course of the year. But this is the nature of the business, and this is the nature of shared governance, and this is what makes us who we are and makes us actually perform at our best. So thank you.
And one last person– and I have to begin this with a musical introduction that actually goes like this–
[MUSIC – GEORGE THOROGOOD, “BAD TO THE BONE”]
So some of you may recognize that as the opening bars of “Bad to the Bone,” made famous by George Thorogood and the Delaware Destroyers. It turns out when I was a graduate student, I was kind of a groupie for George Thorogood. And lo and behold, he was in town last fall. And so I thought, under cover of darkness and not wearing a suit, I could sneak in to the George Thorogood concert and relive my days as a graduate student.
And it was all going pretty darn well until I turned around and saw Linda Caldwell standing in line behind me. And I realized that I was busted and discovered that Linda was in fact a George Thorogood groupie as well. And so we enjoyed the concert together. And I pleaded with her to not tell anybody about my behavior at the event. Anyway, I’m bringing that up because Linda, who has served very capably and admirably as the Faculty Athletic Representative, is also stepping down. And so Linda, thank you on behalf of Eric and from me, for your contributions as well.
And I saved the best for last, or the worst for last. June 30, we will be losing somebody who has contributed immensely, directly and indirectly, to the work of everybody in this room, and that is Blannie Bowen, who is Vice Provost for Academic Affairs and sits in the office beside me. I have to say, since I arrived at Penn State, now almost four years ago, hard to believe, that Blannie has just been not only a constant source of information but a source of inspiration as well. I can tell all of you, you should heave a collective sigh, because if any of you have any dirt on you at all, Blannie is the one person who knows about it. And so as of June 30, the slate will be wiped clean, and you can begin again.
But I wanted to do a special shout-out to Blannie. I know he has been absolutely committed to the Senate and Senate processes; participates actively in a number of committees. I don’t think he’s always a pushover. But don’t feel bad. He’s not always a pushover for me either. But Blannie’s contributions to Penn State have been absolutely tremendous. And he represents a major, major transition for the University. So Blannie, thank you. And congratulations, and we’re going to miss you.
And I think I’ve gotten myself in enough trouble. So this is probably a good time to stop. Thank you.
Chair Strauss: Any questions for Provost Jones? Rose?
Rosemary Jolly, Liberal Arts: All right. I hate to do this, and I hope it doesn’t take away from congratulations and celebrations of the gifts of those we have among us. But I just wanted to point out my mixed feelings of obviously we’re doing what we have to do with the fraternities and sororities, but just my sadness that it takes a death. There are also untold numbers of sexual assaults that are still going on, have gone on, and that we know about. And so I have, without wanting to in any way undermine what the death of a child can do to parents, I want to point out that the assault and rape of the children who come to this University who also have parents is something that we need to consider.
In both instances, the sexual assault, rape, and of course the death– there is abuse of alcohol. And so we have one cause for these events to the extent that I tend to think in my work of that kind of liquor as the pre-rape kit. And I just want to point out that at the same time as we need to act, we should not always have it eventuate in this particular kind of way, because we know already what’s going on on a weekend basis in some of the fraternities and sororities in terms of sexual assault. Thank you.
Nicholas Jones: Actually, probably my appropriate response to that would be, “amen.” Really, I couldn’t agree more with everything that you said. The notion that we would deal with the fraternity/sorority challenge one death at a time, we are not going to do that. And we weren’t doing that. We were taking action. I think this just really galvanized our resolve to make that action more aggressive. And I can assure you that this is not easy work. There is a lot of resistance, and we have to navigate through that resistance in order to be effective.
But more broadly, and this actually applies to this death case as well, this is a tragedy on a whole bunch of different levels. And it is going to continue to be a tragedy, mostly first and foremost for the family that lost a son. But it is going to go well beyond that. And you’re absolutely right that every week, every weekend here, there are tragedies playing out of different types.
President Barron’s resolve in both of these areas, I hope, is clear to everyone. He did put together a task force on sexual assault. It issued, I think, 14 recommendations, and every one of those has been implemented. We have upped our game. Have we solved the unsolvable problem? No, but we have really made a dent. And there is more to be done. We’re not one task force and done. There is more to be done, for sure.
On Greek life, the President also formed a task force on Greek life. They met this past year and a half 26 times for, I think, at least a couple of hours of each time. There was broad representation on that committee from both inside and outside the University. It was challenging for them to find a way forward. And unfortunately this tragedy happened before they reported out. But there was a lot of good work and a lot of good thinking done that we plan to implement.
So I couldn’t agree more. There’s a lot to be done. There’s a lot to be done in areas where we have very little ability to control or influence. But I can assure you that this is a responsibility, and I would probably even say a calling, that we are taking very, very seriously. And basically, we need everybody’s help. We need your insights, we need your thoughts, we need your ideas, and we need your sleeves rolled up with us to help us figure out how we can show real leadership in this space. So thank you.
Chair Strauss: Galen?
Galen Grimes, Greater Allegheny: Hi. Grimes, Greater Allegheny. You mentioned the delay in WorkLion, saying it’s probably going to be delayed over the next few weeks or months or so. And earlier Jim made mention of the some of the problems or difficulties we’ve had with LionPATH. And it was announced recently that a new user interface for students would be coming up for LionPATH. But nothing was mentioned for the user interface for staff. Can you give us a possible estimate on when that’s going to be available?
Nicholas Jones: I can give you an explanation of why we are in that position. So, the things that were on Jim’s list, for example, the connection to the alumni database, we’ve been doing things in a very structured and strategic way trying to respond to the most pressing issues first. The due date for the connection to the alumni database is this Thursday, for example. So in advance of commencement, we’re fingers crossed that everything is going to go well in the finalization of the testing and we’ll have that working. And some of the other things that are on that list are also, we’re making tremendous progress.
As far as the user interface goes, we will be rolling that out to students about a week after commencement. And we’re doing it then because that is the time that we start bringing in wave after wave after wave of students for new student orientation. And so we want all of the incoming freshmen to have seen one interface, not have to learn one and then very quickly switch to another. A strategic decision was made to focus on our 100,000 student users first and what they see and what they interact with.
There simply were not the resources, as we dealt with the various other issues, to develop a version of this for faculty and staff. We have talked to students about this. A student who has the new interface up, up in, I think, the top right corner, taking a leaf out of Coca-Cola’s book, there’s a little button that is labeled LionPATH Classic, if we can call it that, which was the original interface. And so with one click, you can basically flip and be back on the original interface. All of the information is the same. It’s just presented in a different format. And so practically speaking, in the short term, we would envision if there is a situation where an advisor, a faculty member, a staff member, needs to look over the shoulder of a student, they can very quickly just flip back to the interface that the faculty and staff are familiar with.
There’s another important reason why we’ve not moved in that direction just yet. And that is, there is an updated release to the core LionPATH infrastructure going to be released by Oracle very soon. And it is our understanding that tools for building better graphical user interfaces are available with that new release. And so we’re holding off a little bit. We’re going to know more in the summer. And so I think coming out of the summer, once we’ve seen the previews of this new release and what’s available to us, we’ll be in a better position to say when we can and/or will update that interface. It may behoove us to wait, or it may behoove us to move into it on a fairly short time frame. But we need to see what these new tools look like. First priority was to ensure that the students had an interface that they felt was more intuitive and they’d be more comfortable with.
Chair Strauss: Thank you very much, Provost Jones.
Chair Strauss OK. Forensic Business, we have none.
Chair Strauss: Unfinished Business. We have none.
Chair Strauss: Legislative Reports. As usual, we will be using clickers for voting today. It provides a precise count for each vote taken and also provides for confidential voting and gives immediate results. Please make sure that your clicker is in workable order, and you can raise your hand if you need a clicker.
The first two legislative reports are from Admissions, Records, Scheduling, and Student Aid. Both reports will be presented by Committee Chair Michele Haigh. The first of these reports appears as Appendix B. Michele.
Revisions to Senate Policy 34-68, Auditing and Visiting Courses
Michel Haigh, Communications: Hello. I’ll keep this pretty short. Basically, 34-68. In fall of 2015, the Special Senate Committee on LionPATH proposed changes to 34-89, the drop policy, as well as 34-87, the add policy, and those were approved by the Senate. And then looking at 34-68 this year, it actually wasn’t updated at that time. So we’re asking the language be modified to follow the past. So you’ll see that we basically just made the language say “add period,” rather than any length of time, so that way moving forward we won’t run into this again.
Chair Strauss: Are there any questions for Michel? Seeing none, we are ready to vote. Senators joining us by Mediasite, you may cast your vote on polleverywhere.com. To accept the motion, please press A. To reject the motion, you may press B.
Anna Butler: On Poll Everywhere, I have four accept.
Chair Strauss: And the motion carries. The final legislative report from Admissions, Records, Scheduling, and Student Aid appears in Appendix C. Michel?
Revisions to Senate Policy 06-20, Articulation Agreements
Michel Haigh: I know this is out of order, but I would just like to thank the members of ARSSA that I’ve chaired the last two years. Because on this agenda, we have five reports. And that’s been– we’ve had one or more reports this entire year. So I really do appreciate my committee’s willingness to get things done.
And so basically, this starts back with Patricia. CC&R updated the ARSSA information to include the articulation agreements subcommittee. And then when ARSSA was asked to put together a new members’ document this fall, we thought maybe removing the information about the ARSSA subcommittee from the rules information into the policy itself would be a better fit for that information. So basically we’re removing it and putting it in 6-20 with all the other articulation agreement information.
Chair Strauss: Any questions for Michel about the report? Seeing none, we are ready to vote. And again, senators joining via Mediasite, you may cast your votes on polleverywhere.com. To accept the motion, please press A. To reject the motion, you may press B.
Anna Butler: On Poll Everywhere, I have nine accept.
Chair Strauss: The motion carries. Thank you very much, Michel, for you and your committee’s hard work.
Resolution introduced by Senator Wenner (College of Medicine) after suspension of the rules during the Legislative Reports
Bill Wenner, College of Medicine: Mr. Chair, motion to suspend the rules. I’d like the Senate, at this time, to consider a resolution– Bill Wenner, College of Medicine. I’d like to have a motion to suspend the rules for the Senate to consider at this time a resolution in support of the activity that the administration and the leadership is taking to create a safe environment in response to the tragic events. To do it now, rather than to wait till the end of the meeting.
Chair Strauss: A motion has been made from the floor. It’s been seconded. Discussion? Your motion has been made and seconded. You are essentially in charge. You have the– oh, yeah. So vote on the motion. All in favor?
Chair Strauss: Opposed? Would you give–
Bill Wenner: As a pediatrician and a parent of children at Penn State, and as a faculty member, I’ve been following, as many of you have, these recent events. And I think it would be important for the faculty to take a position in support of the administration in what they’re doing to try and create a more safe environment. So over the weekend, I drafted this, didn’t have the time to bring it to the leadership, and I apologize for that. But in view of the Provost’s comments, I thought it would be important that we as a group take a position on this.
Resolution in Support of the University Addressing Student Safety Issues:
“Whereas, the death of Timothy Piazza was overwhelmingly tragic, and what is known of the story is incomprehensible;
Whereas, alcohol, when consumed in high volume is a deadly poison;
Whereas, behaviors such as dangerous alcohol consumption, hazing, bullying, and sexual misconduct have no place in the University community;
Whereas, the laws of Pennsylvania are clear regarding the distribution and legal age of alcohol consumption;
Whereas, while the Pennsylvania State University cannot reverse this loss of one of our own, we can allow his death to stimulate the University to lead the nation in developing a more comprehensive, legal and safe environment for all our students;
Be it resolved that,
- The Penn State Faculty, through the Senate, expresses its deep condolences to the family of Timothy Piazza;
- The Penn State Faculty, through the Senate, expresses its strong support for the efforts of the Board of Trustees, President Barron, the administration, and the student body in their efforts to address the issue of creating a safe, supportive environment, in which our students can learn and mature.”
Unidentified Senator: Point of clarification: You said ‘committee’ but you meant ‘community’.
Bill Wenner: Could you repeat that? I didn’t quite catch that. Did I misread it?
Chair Strauss: It’s written correctly. Any other– motion’s been moved, seconded. We should probably do a– can we do a quicker vote on this? OK. Voice vote. OK, all in favor of the resolution as presented, please say ‘aye’.
Chair Strauss: Any opposed? The motion carries. Thank you for your input. We have six legislative reports from our Committee on Committees and Rules. Committee Chair Dawn Blasko will present the six reports, which are all brought to the floor by committee and therefore need no second. The first is found in Appendix D of your agenda. Dawn.
Revisions to the Standing Rules Article II Section 6(f)
Dawn Blasko, Erie: So this is so you can exercise your clicker fingers. Get ready. Here we go. It will be quick. The Senate Committee on Faculty Benefits reviewed its membership and duties in response to a charge from the Senate Chair. And the committee has requested that revisions be made to emphasize the importance of benefits provided to the faculty and the relation between the Committee and the Office of Human Resources. So I’m assuming you probably took a look through this. Does anybody have any questions before we vote?
Chair Strauss: Seeing none, we’re ready to vote. If you’re joining via Mediasite, you may cast your vote on polleverywhere.com. To accept the motion, please press A. To reject the motion, you may press B.
Anna Butler: On Poll Everywhere, I have nine accept.
Chair Strauss: The motion carries. The next report is also from Committee on Committees and Rules. It is seen in Appendix E. Dawn?
Revision of the Standing Rules, Article II, Section 6(b)
Dawn Blasko: So the Committee on Admissions, Records, Scheduling, and Student Aid has recommended updates to the Standing Rules to reflect current practice and move procedural details regarding articulation agreements from the pertinent Standing Rules to the policy agreement. So this is the partner to the report that we just passed on the rest. Any questions?
Chair Strauss: Michel?
Michel Haigh: Yes, I’d like– I have a question. For the add, under the first part, you have Assistant Vice President for Undergraduate Education. And that was not in the documents that we sent you. We didn’t ask that person to be added to ARSSA. So you’ll see, there on number three, you have add. We didn’t ask that person to be added to ARSSA. And you– so I’m wondering– we asked that Anna Griswold’s title be updated.
Dawn Blasko: So that is her full title.
Michel Haigh: Her full title is Assistant Vice President for Undergraduate Education and Executive Director for Student Aid. So you have that correct under number four. So number three, you added somebody onto the committee that wasn’t there. And that wasn’t in the document that we originally sent. So can I make a motion to amend? And I didn’t notice that. I’ve been out of town till today. So, yeah.
Dawn Blasko: So you want to make a motion?
Michel Haigh: I’d make a motion to amend the report that in number three, where you say add Assistant Vice President for Undergraduate Education that that be stricken.
Chair Strauss: We have a second in the back.
Michel Haigh: I just wanted to make sure, because that’s not in the report that we sent to them.
Dawn Blasko: It was updated?
Michel Haigh: OK.
Dawn Blasko: So it is correct?
Chair Strauss: So it is correct as–
Michel Haigh: It’s fine. They told you, and they didn’t tell me. That’s fine by me. I’ll withdraw my motion, then.
Dawn Blasko: All right. I think we’re ready to vote, then, unless there’s anything else.
Chair Strauss: Any other comments? OK. So we’re ready to vote. If you’re on Mediasite, you may cast on polleverywhere.com. For the rest of us, to accept, please press A. To reject, you may press B.
Anna Butler: On Poll Everywhere, I have 11 accept.
Chair Strauss: OK. Motion carries. The next report is a proposed change to the bylaws. It is also from Committee on Committees and Rules. It is found in Appendix F. Dawn?
Revision of the Bylaws, Article I (Officers) Section 1
Dawn Blasko: So this establishes that the Chair will assign the Faculty Senate representatives to the Board of Trustees Committee. There will be a Faculty Senator seat for each of six standing committees of the Board of Trustees. Currently there’s no procedure for these assignments.
Chair Strauss: As this is a Bylaws change, we cannot vote on it today. It has to be introduced, and it will be voted on in our September 12, 2017, meeting. The next report is from Committee on Committees and Rules. It is Appendix G in your agenda. Dawn?
Changes to the Standing Rules, Article II, Section 6(c)
Dawn Blasko: This is a change to the Standing Rules for Curricular Affairs. They’ve requested the addition of a certificate subcommittee to enable more efficient review of new certificate program proposals and renewals. Any questions?
Chair Strauss: I guess that’s not a question. OK, any questions? OK, seeing none, we’re ready to vote. Again, if you’re remotely dialing in, you can vote on polleverywhere.com. For the rest of us, to accept, please press A. To reject, you may press B.
Anna Butler: On Poll Everywhere, I have nine accept and one reject.
Chair Strauss: The motion carries. Our next report from Committee on Committees and Rules may be found in Appendix H. Dawn?
Revisions to the Standing Rules, Article 1 Rules of Procedure
Dawn Blasko: This is Revisions to the Standing Rules, Rules of Procedure. Service terms for Faculty Senate Board of Trustees Committee membership. The purpose of this report is to align the terms of the Board of Trustee faculty committee members with the Board of Trustees. Currently our schedule does not match the Board’s. And so the purpose is to make sure that those people are there for their full term.
Chair Strauss: Any questions? Seeing none, we are ready to vote. And again, on Mediasite, you may cast your vote on polleverywhere.com. For the rest of us, to accept the motion, please press A. To reject the motion, you may press B.
Anna Butler: On Poll Everywhere, I have 11 accept.
Chair Strauss: The motion carries. I just knew that mentally. Telepathy. All we really need to do is just poll the Mediasite folks. They’re the pulse of the Senate. The final report from Committee on Committees and Rules appears as Appendix I. Dawn?
Revision of the Standing Rules, Article II (Senate Committee Structure), Section 6(i)
Dawn Blasko: So this is a revision to the Standing Rules, Article II, Senate Committee Structure, Committee on Research. During the fall, the Senate Committee on Research was charged with reviewing their structure, duties, and developing a document for new committee members. The review led to proposed changes in the committee membership and duties to reflect current and future needs for the important function of the University Faculty Senate. So this has a number of changes, take a look in your agenda, including calling it the Committee on Research, Scholarship, and Creative Activity.
Chair Strauss: Any questions for Dawn? OK, seeing none, we are ready to vote. You may vote on polleverywhere.com or use your clicker. To accept the motion, please press A. To reject, please press B.
Anna Butler: On Poll Everywhere, I have 12 accept.
Chair Strauss: The motion carries. Thank you very much, Dawn. OK. Our next legislative report is joint, and it is presented by Curricular Affairs, Undergraduate Education, and Admissions, Records, Scheduling, and Student Aid. It is found in your agenda under Appendix J. The report will be presented by Michele Duffey, the Chair of Curricular Affairs.
Revisions to Senate Policy 59-10, Requirements for the Minor
Michele Duffey, Health and Human Development: Thank you. This is a modification to the current language in 59-10 that currently requires at least six additional credits from any other major program. We’d like to change that to state that the student must have at least 6 credits of the minor to be unique from the prescribed courses of the student’s major.
Chair Strauss: Are there any discussion items for Michele? Seeing none, we are ready to vote. Senators joining on Mediasite, you may cast your vote on polleverywhere.com. For the rest of us, to accept the motion with your clicker, please press A. To reject the motion, you may press B.
Anna Butler: On Poll Everywhere, I have 12 accept and one reject.
Chair Strauss: The motion carries. Thank you very much, Michele. Our next legislative report is from Educational Equity and Campus Environment. It appears in your agenda as Appendix K. Committee Chair Rob Loeb will present the report. Rob?
Modification of University Faculty Senate Policy 43-00 Syllabus to Include Report Bias Website
Robert Loeb, Dubois: This legislative report holds its history in the first report that EECE made to the Senate. It actually was the panel of students that I had the distinct pleasure and honor to be able to present with. And the good will and the good thoughts and the sharing that we had at that time engendered an action by these undergraduate students, which is this motion that– recommendation, excuse me– it might be more exact– if I put my glasses on, I can actually read what I’m seeing– resolution, excuse me– that the Report Bias Website be included as a standard part of the syllabi.
The EECE considered the resolution, considered actually many discussions that the Senate had, as far as the subsequent reports that EECE put forward, and thought the resolution well-constructed and decided to be able to support its implementation within our syllabi 43-00. So they put forth that recommendation here and ask for the Senate’s support.
Chair Strauss: Any discussion on this? Alex? Wait a minute. I actually recognized Alex first. So we’ll take Alex, then Rose, then Ira.
Alex E. Shockley, Student Senator: Alex Shockley, College of HHD. So I actually have a statement from one of the students that did serve on the panel last semester. And he was not able to make it today due to class. But he did ask that I read it for him. His name is Jorge Zurita-Coronado. He’s served in student government before. He is a Latino student here at Penn State. And he also attended the Board of Trustees meeting when they had a diversity panel there and spoke there.
“Faculty Senate members, I would like to thank you for allowing a vote on the Report Bias Requirement for Senate policy 47-10. As I’ve said to this body before, conversation is good. It is important to know where each side is coming from. It is important to understand each other’s struggles and their story. Conversation is important when it comes to issues dealing with diversity and inclusion. It is the first step to bringing change to our campus and to our world.
However, conversation cannot be the only thing that we do. Conversation alone will not fix the issues that students from minoritized communities deal with each and every single day. Myself and my fellow students look to you for your support today. We realize that we cannot do it alone. Today I ask you on behalf of the many students that I have had the opportunity to speak with about this issue; to take this second step. That second step is action. We know the problem, and now it is time to take some actions to address it.
The conversations that we have had in this room will not change what is happening outside of it. Your action to pass this requirement will bring to light the resources that are available to students and impact the lives of students outside of this room. Faculty have a very important role as we move our University to become more All In. Today my fellow students look to you for your support. There is no doubt about it– your support of the report bias resources on course syllabi would send a strong message across the University. Best regards, Jorge.”
I just want to echo what Jorge said on behalf of the UPUA. We did pass a resolution unanimously supporting the inclusion of this on all faculty syllabi also. Thanks.
Robert Loeb: I should point out that I had the pleasure of being at that same Board of Trustees panel with Jorge and other students presented as marvelously well as we had the pleasure of seeing as well.
Chair Strauss: OK. Rose?
Rosemary Jolly: Rose Jolly, Liberal Arts. I agree with this completely. I just have one question. I just want to open up one issue for reflection by Senate, which happened– I teach, amongst other things, literature and human rights. And I’m not sure that all of my students understand what bias is. That is to say, when I teach, for example, that the Israeli government has in its history gone against United Nations Declarations on Human Rights, that’s a fact. It’s not me being– I happen to be Jewish, they don’t always know that– but it’s often interpreted as bias against Israel. So I just wonder if there’s any statement of what the difference is between bias and academic freedom and truth.
Because often people will say to me, well, don’t you think, Professor Jolly, you are biased against one of the states that has indeed in fact committed human rights violations, that it is my professional role to teach? So I just open up that question. And I’m totally for the bias report. Don’t take me wrong. I’m just not sure that all of my undergraduates that I teach, between 66 and 120 at a time in human rights, understand what that bias refers to. Thank you.
Robert Loeb: I want to personally thank you for taking the point of bias and teaching it in your class, the one that you’re referring to. I think that’s something that is– forgive me, I’m expressing my own view– is all of our responsibilities, something that we have to teach the students beyond the standards of what our classes are. This is part of, for me, the University experience. And how we get at it in our individual ways is not my place to tell you. But I think it is our responsibility. And so in the marvelous ways that we all teach our classes differently, I don’t know that I want to hamstring anyone in how they would teach. And so I’m not sure that– I’m not sure how to answer your question. But I do trust in my colleagues.
Rosemary Jolly: [INAUDIBLE].
Robert Loeb: I understand what you’re saying. And what I’m trying to say is the report bias website is not just a plaster on the board. There is a whole process that the students go through, and they get to learn and get to explore and get to talk these things through. Will I tell you that this is a perfect process? It is not. But it’s far better than what we have now, where the issues are not addressed. So in essence, I’m trying to say thank you.
Chair Strauss: Ira has–
Ira S. Saltz, Shenango: Thank you. Saltz, Shenango. Again, I also want to echo that, you know, I strongly support this. And so really, again, my comment is just for the general. We keep adding more and more things to put on the syllabus. And in talking with faculty, I think we’re getting confused as to everything that needs to be on there, what exactly is the statement.
My hope is that somebody may create a very simple link that will have all of the statements that need to appear on a syllabus there, so that we can all have a standardized statement and make sure that none of us are missing things that should be on the syllabus. But again, bravo for this.
Robert Loeb: I heartily applaud that idea.
Chair Strauss: Question in the back?
Steven Andelin, Schuylkill: Steve Andelin, Schuylkill. Not so much a statement here or a question to ask, but more of a statement about this. The students are to be lauded for calling this to our attention. I certainly support the University position about bias. I think it is excellent that there is a website, a link that students can go to to report incidents of bias that affect them.
However, I think we are getting away from the purpose of a syllabus by putting this kind of thing on the syllabus. It appears that the intent of this is to communicate to the students the availability of a facility. A syllabus should be limited to policies, standards, processes, procedures that relate to the class. I do not believe that this fits within that definition of a syllabus. I urge you to reject this proposition. Thank you.
Chair Strauss: Michel?
Michel Haigh: I just wondered, whenever we usually vote on 43-00, it comes from the Undergraduate Education Committee. And I’m wondering why this report wasn’t co-sponsored, or if UE approves of this, because they’re usually the ones that send syllabus information to the floor of the Senate.
Chair Strauss: More questions? Mark?
Mark A. Casteel, York: Casteel, York. I stand in support of this. I have heard from some of my own colleagues about the syllabus may be the inappropriate place to put this, and the length of the syllabus is already long to begin with. But at the end of the day, I’m swayed by two things. First of all, the students really are pushing this. And second of all, it’s no skin off my nose to add another paragraph to the syllabus.
Chair Strauss: Looking at the length of our meeting, I’m asking if we have additional substantive comments that folks would like to make that are different than what we have heard? Seeing none, we are ready to vote. If you wish to vote via Mediasite, polleverywhere.com. For the rest of us, clickers, please press A if you are supportive of this legislation. You may press B if you are not.
Anna Butler: On Poll Everywhere, I have six accept and six reject.
Chair Strauss: The motion carries. Thank you very much, Rob. Our final legislative report on today’s agenda is from the Joint Special Committee on First-Year Students’ Well-Being and Safety. It appears as Appendix L in your agenda. The chair of the special committee is Patty Koch. She will present the report. Patty?
Curricular and co-Curricular Learning Pathways to Promote the Well-Being and Safety of First-Year Undergraduate Students
Patricia Koch: Hello. I also want to point out that my co-chair was Yvonne Gaudelius, who is the Associate Vice President and Senior Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education. And she could not be here today. I’d like to thank my hardworking committee, who are committed and knowledgeable about this topic.
We’ve actually talked about this topic a few times already in our meeting today. Provost Jones actually brought up about the presidential task force that happened three years ago. I’m going to make a few opening remarks before we stand for questions. However I’ll point out that there were 18 recommendations that came out of that task force and that the president and administration have really implemented 17 of those recommendations.
But recommendation 13 has to do with the faculty. And that’s why it’s a legislative report. And this special subcommittee worked for two years in order to bring it forward to you for the faculty. And just to say what the recommendation 13 was in the original task force, it stated that the task force recommends the creation and implementation of various educational experiences that reflect students’ evolving developmental needs during the course of their college experience, including a required course for all first-year students that explores issues of student well-being and safety, with an emphasis on building positive relationships and preventing sexual misconduct and alcohol misuse.
So that was the original recommendation that came forward from the task force. Then we were charged by Faculty Senate to look at this recommendation. And in our charge, it was extended a bit. It said to develop curricular and/or co-curricular learning pathways. So it’s still with respect to an educational program on well-being and safety, beginning with first-year students. Such programming should emphasize the building of positive relationships and the prevention of alcohol misuse and sexual misconduct.
And then it was added into our charge, as if that wasn’t large enough, to help ensure financial well-being issues, issues of financial literacy can be addressed as well. So you can see that we had a task, and we’ve worked very hard on that task. And one of the things I’ll tell you that we worked the hardest on was we are not endorsing the original task force recommendation that all students take a class. That was envisioned perhaps to be the same class that all our incoming students would take.
Being a faculty member here, working on Faculty Senate, as my certificate says, for 10 years, I know of the challenges for faculty, for students, et cetera. I also know that we are suffering a bit from curriculum fatigue, because we’ve just gone through a lot of General Education. And in a way, the last thing people want to hear about is something else with the curriculum. And I understand that.
But again, I want you to think of what we just heard with the resolution that the Faculty Senate just supported and for the 10 years that I’ve worked on Faculty Senate, every year something comes up about alcohol misuse, something comes up about sexual misconduct. We’ve done Student Life, the administration, we’ve tried different things like shutting down St. Patty’s Day, different things of that nature. But it’s time that we have something more systematic that as faculty we are really going to step up and endorse. And that’s what we’re bringing forward to you.
But also, just very quickly, if you didn’t get to look through, there was a link to the 2015 survey on sexual misconduct. And I just want to reiterate the findings– and this was University Park– that almost 28% of our female students, 6% of our male students, 26% of our LGBTQ students report that they’ve had an experience here of non-consensual penetration or attempts at penetration. But unfortunately more than half of the students, about 55% in this survey, reported that they know how to prevent sexual misconduct. So about 45%, they just don’t think that they know how to do that. And about one in 10 of them are aware of campus resources. So just to kind of emphasize that.
So what we’re bringing forward to you is we worked very hard to not add any credits to students’ graduation requirements. We looked at pathways that students could use. And the way that we could identify this is to identify courses that we already have that deal with the issues we’re talking about here. And we didn’t do, I would say, an exhaustive detailed examination, which we would think an implementation would go through a more exhaustive examination. But just through our examination, we found 60 General Education courses that would meet the requirements that we’re asking for here. We found about 40 US/IL courses that would also meet these requirements.
So we were proposing a model that US/IL uses, where students could take a course identified as a Well-being and Safety course, either in their freshman seminars or first-year experiences in their General Eds, in their US/IL, or in their major. But what we’re saying is that we know that we offer many co-curricular activities. We also already have these courses on the books. But we’ve done surveys. We’ve heard from students that these are voluntary. And so not the majority of our students really volunteer to be in these co-curricular activities.
And if we want to become a leader in the prevention, not just the treatment, not just the adjudication, of alcohol misuse; sexual assault, we need to look at education. Because education is the key. And that’s the missing piece that we are here now as faculty, being asked in a legislative report to consider. And that’s the other thing. If we just continue with having voluntary activities, that’s not going to lead to real change. It’s not going to lead to culture change.
President Barron says he wants our University to be a leader in this area. All other universities we study do the same thing we do– offer co-curricular activities, have courses on the books, but just let it up for people’s voluntary participation in them. And then we wonder why we have such high rates of these problems on our campuses– because we’re not reaching everyone. And unfortunately, the only way to reach everyone is to have some type of requirement that they’re responsible for.
And so I just want to say, again, the committee worked really hard. We are not proposing a new institute. We’re not proposing actually new classes, although new classes would be great, if people could develop them. But we are just using the structures that we already have. Looking at the new revised General Education curriculum, we could use more integrative courses. And while we’re bringing in the new General Education curriculum, this could fit very neatly and easily within that, as I said, following the model of US/IL.
We already have commitment from our Schreyer Institute for Teaching Excellence. They’ve already committed to us a website and a repository for resources that could be used by faculty and communications among faculty. The Office of Sexual Misconduct Prevention and Response has already been set up, actually, through the other recommendations from the task force and they’re on board with us. They want to work hand-in-hand with the faculty as well. We have the expansion of learning assessment with the new office there so we can assess really what change may happen, or what inroads we can make.
So I know people have said to our committee they’re concerned, they don’t want to put any extra burden on the students. But we have not heard from all of the focus groups, lunches, and surveys we’ve done of students. We have gotten almost unanimous support, students feeling that this is needed, it would be useful, and that they would step up for it. So we’re just asking for faculty to also make a commitment to use the structures that we already have, but to identify courses that would contribute to educational well-being and safety.
Chair Strauss: Do we have any comments or questions for Patty? Let’s take Victor first.
Victor Brunsden, Altoona: Brunsden, Altoona. Patty, I’m curious. I’ve got a couple of things here. I commend the task force for the intent behind this. But the route that you took with establishing a new curricula designation and then urging students to take these courses as early in their college career as possible– I mean, that’s obviously the desirable thing. Why did you not consider making this a part of the requirement for either a first-year seminar or first-year experience?
Patricia Koch: Yes. Thank you for asking that question. So, two responses to that. First of all, because there are other ongoing committees that are looking at first-year seminars and first-year experiences. So our guidance was to– we recommend that that should be looked at. But at this point, that was not under our purview to do that. So we were opening it up to as many different pathways as possible.
And then the second one, about doing this as early in your career– that’s why we had the recommendation about designation, that there would be sections of courses for first-year students only. Because honestly, I know this– because in many of these courses, actually, students try to take them their whole time when they’re here. They have waiting lists. And then they don’t get them until their last semester as a senior. And they’ve gone through their whole career without having a chance to get into a course.
Victor Brunsden: Right. And so that’s why I find it puzzling that the task force did not reach out to the first-year engagement. I find that the addition of a WS designation to be something of a curriculum bolt-on. And we’ve spent a lot of time and effort recently– recently being the last couple of years– retooling a lot of the General Education curriculum, the common curriculum for all of our undergraduates. So I would like to move that recommendations 3 and 4 be struck from this report.
Chair Strauss: Discussion of– a motion has been made. It’s been seconded. Discussion?
Patricia Koch: So I think we need a discussion about the motion, is that correct?
Chair Strauss: The discussion is on the motion. Any further discussion on the motion? Yes?
Colleen Connolly Ahern, Communications: Connolly-Ahern, Communications. Bellisario. I was a member of the task force, and we thought long and hard, I will say, from a faculty perspective about whether or not we could get the same things. First of all, the first-year experiences throughout the University and the campuses are very different. So implementing it at that level seems like it would be very, very difficult to do.
And really, what we’re trying to do is have people utilize classes that already exist that they would be able to take. There are a lot of choices in Gen Ed, and we do want that. But if we’re serious about education as a way to help with these problems– and I think as a group we believe in education– then doing it as part of the curricular, or at least partially through a curricular pathway, I think does have value.
Chair Strauss: OK, Martha first. Comments on the motion.
Martha W. Aynardi, Berks: Aynardi, Berks. Just to add to the point that she made– I’m also on the committee– first-year seminar and first-year experience touch on lots of different topics. And we really felt that there wasn’t time in a one credit course or less– because some campuses put this into the new student orientation, which is packed with other information– to really address the serious issues in the way they should be addressed and allow time for students to write, reflect, and discuss, the way you can do in a three-credit course.
Chair Strauss: OK. Thank you. And do your– question or not? No? Any other comments on the motion? Matthew Wilson.
Matthew Wilson, Harrisburg: Could we project those two motions so that everybody knows what they’re actually voting on?
Chair Strauss: So the motion, as I understand it, is to remove recommendation 3 and 4. Is that correct, Victor? OK. Any further discussion on that?
Patricia Koch: Could I make a comment about that, Jim?
Chair Strauss: I’m looking for the floor first here. Alex?
Alex E. Shockley: Shockley, University Park, College of HHD. So UPUA also supported a resolution unanimously in totality of supporting all these recommendations. And I’ll speak to this motion specifically and hit a little bit at that argument. I honestly find it somewhat concerning that we can stand before Faculty Senate today and support a resolution that condemns the recent actions of students and then not support something that is going to greatly benefit our students in general.
We always talk about having to better the student experience here, and we need more education for students to talk about diversity and inclusion and sexual assault and alcohol usage. This is a solution to that. Discussions about first-year seminar, frequently they get packed. And I’m aware that the discussions to include increased education through that first-year student experience isn’t always the best route, because there are so much other topics going on. And sadly, not everything is included in there.
So as a student who recognizes the need for increased education, maybe not for myself but my fellow 70,000 undergrads here that are a part of Penn State, this is an opportunity where we can fix that issue. So I don’t see how it’s fair to students and to advocate for increased education to fix these problems, and then we’re trying to take an opportunity away that’s going on significantly and directly impact that increased education.
Chair Strauss: OK. Chair is going to rule at this point that we have discussed both sides of this. We have a full agenda. I think it’s clear what we are voting on, so I’m going to call for a vote. Let’s do a voice–
Chair Strauss: Well, I was– no, no, no. So we’re voting on the motion. And I think the best way to vote on the motion is likely a voice vote in here. Oh, pardon? Are we set up to do this via clicker or not? I’m not sure that we are right now.
So I will explain. So we’re set up for this, Anna? OK. So the motion is to remove items 3 and 4 from the legislation. If you are supportive of that motion to remove items 3 and 4, then you vote A for yes. If you do not wish to remove items 3 and 4, then you reject the motion and you vote B.
Anna Butler: OK. So on Poll Everywhere, I have seven accept and six reject.
Chair Strauss: My math suggests that the motion is rejected. So we are– so the motion has been defeated. We are back to the original legislative report and its consideration. Is there any further sub-discussion on that, recognizing that we need to be clear on our discussions here and not labor them too long? So, accept Kim Nelson.
Kimberlyn Nelson, Science: All right. So the College of Science caucused a bit on this particular motion. I think it’s disingenuous of us to suggest that by not adding an additional course to a student’s credit count is not also impacting our students’ abilities to complete their degrees. And I’ll give you an example from the College of Science. I’ll give you a couple of examples. College of Science students in the Schreyers Honors College have no room in their freshmen curriculum for an additional course. Between their honors requirements and the requirements for the College of Science, there is no room. So those students will not be taking a course such as this in their first year.
In addition, many of our students are on career paths of which those programs require particular courses in order to meet the requirements for admissions, like medical schools, dental schools, optometry schools. Those require a significant number of those students’ General Education courses to meet those requirements for sociology, psychology, ethics courses. Again, they do not have room to add an additional check mark in their curriculum for US/IL, WS, our new multi-disciplinary courses for which we haven’t even really started seeing the impact of those on students’ conditions either, unless we’re going to start triple and quadruple counting courses, and then I think we start defeating the purposes.
So the College of Science urges our colleagues to vote no. I’m sure we have other members whose programs and academic programs and career paths are packed already, for which this course would have an impact. I am not saying we don’t need to educate our students about alcohol, drugs, and finances. But I’m not sure the burden of some academic programs can handle an additional three-credit course requirement, even if it is just, yet, a WS education.
Patricia Koch: Thank you. I appreciate that. Again, we are encouraging that students take these experiences during their first year, but it isn’t a mandatory thing about that. And I realize what you’re saying is double counting, et cetera. But we actually tried to work through various requirements for students that have quite tight schedules, such as in engineering and accounting and nursing. And as I said, with the amount of General Education courses that go over these topics and also the amount of US/IL courses– and I know what you’re saying is, you feel like it gets to be a fruit salad. But I think the fruit salad comes out of the idea that faculty have said it is important for students to have diversity courses in diversity experiences. It is important for students to be considering their own risks and healthy behaviors as well as their major classes and their major occupations. OK. I’m sorry. I’m sorry, she can’t–
Patricia Koch: Is this for all seven recommendations, Jim? All seven recommendations. Gotcha. OK.
Chair Strauss: If you accept the legislative report by the Special Committee on First-Year Student Well-Being and Safety, please press A. If you reject it, please press B.
Anna Butler: On Poll Everywhere, I have eight accept and seven reject.
Chair Strauss: The legislation has been rejected. Thank you, folks.
ADVISORY AND CONSULTATIVE REPORTS
Chair Strauss: OK. Moving along on our agenda. Advisory and Consultative Reports. We have four advisory and consultative reports on the agenda for today. The first one is ironically from the Joint Special Committee on First-Year Students’ Well-Being and Safety. It appears as Appendix M. Special Committee Chair Patty Koch will respond to questions.
Patricia Koch: OK. So our committee was asked to make two separate reports. The first one you just dealt with, which had to do with what faculty do here at Penn State. The second one deals with what administration and staff do here at Penn State. And you’ve already heard that they have endorsed and they’ve been doing many things.
So all the recommendations on this co-curricular report don’t have to do with what faculty does or what happens in the classroom. It all has to do with faculty showing our support and approving that we would like things expanded in co-curricular, which includes through University Health Services, which is Recommendation One. Recommendation Two is through a new student orientation. Recommendation Three is through Residence Life. Recommendation Four is with the bystander intervention, which is run by students. Recommendation Five is with the Schreyer Teaching and Learning Excellence Institute. Recommendations Six is that there will be assessment for all of those efforts through the assessment processes that are already in place.
For all of these recommendations, all of the people in administration and Student Life spoke with our committee. And they were the ones who made these recommendations, and so they’re supportive of all of these recommendations. So we would just like to have the faculty be supportive as well. Question?
Chair Strauss: Questions? Rose?
Rosemary Jolly: I just have a quick question, which is whether the services that we are being asked to support includes targeting male victim survivors of gender-based violence, and also whether it involves targeting potential perpetrators as well as being targeted towards sexual survivors.
Patricia Koch: Yes. Thank you, Rose, for asking that. All of these services are very aware of the diversity of perpetrators as well as victims and survivors. And so they’re trying to target particular groups of people, such as the LGBTQ community, male victims and survivors, people with disabilities, also international students, et cetera.
Chair Strauss: Other questions? Seeing none, are we ready to vote? You may vote on Mediasite, polleverywhere.com. For the rest of us, you can use clickers. To accept the motion, you can press A. To reject the motion, you may press B.
Anna Butler: On Poll Everywhere, I have nine accept and two reject.
Chair Strauss: The motion carries. Thank you very much, Patty. Our next advisory/consultative report is from Libraries, Information Sciences, and Technology. It appears in your agenda as Appendix N. Committee Chair Bill Butler will respond to questions.
Library Space Planning
William Butler, Dickinson Law: The origins of this report lie largely in space issues arising out of the library. We’re overcrowded by all anecdotal evidence. And so LIST is recommending a number of things. Number one, that we get some very hard data on the actual use of the library, particularly in the late afternoon and early evenings. I may say that anecdotally they also suggest that the student union is also heavily used at these particular times.
Moreover, that we do what we can to publicize the ability of the library to supply materials from off-site sources. They’re doing it quite rapidly and efficiently, actually. But I don’t think that everybody is completely aware of how prompt and efficacious that service happens to be. We visited the off-site facilities that exist at the moment. There are four of them. Some are better than others. None of them are properly built for the purpose that they’re being used for. Some of them are being leased.
We think that ideally we should move towards a single consolidated source along these lines. And the implication of that would be that we wouldn’t have off-site storage anymore. We would have centralized on-site storage and less centralized on-site storage. And in effect, faculty and students would be able to go to either place, but they would find more comfort and more space in the Pattee-Paterno. We also suggested that the library take steps to make the faculty and staff more generally aware of library services generally. With that, I’ll be glad to entertain any questions, if there are any.
Chair Strauss: Questions for Bill on this LIST report? Yes.
Carolyn Mahan, Altoona: Is this report limited to the University Park library facilities?
William Butler: Primarily, but not exclusively.
Carolyn Mahan: What do you mean by that? Can you elaborate?
William Butler: Well, it was Pattee-Paterno that instigated the inquiry and the charge from our president. We did not visit any off-site UP facilities. But the implications of some of the things we’re saying will beneficially affect the Commonwealth Campuses.
Carolyn Mahan: Yeah. I guess I would just want it noted to this body that these issues of overcrowding and lack of resources are prevalent at many campuses other than University Park. Oh, Mahan, Penn State Altoona. Thank you.
Chair Strauss: Yes?
Steven Andelin: Steve Andelin, Schuylkill. I have a question. Does your recommendation imply a change of budget for the libraries?
William Butler: If we were not to find a donor who was willing to help us build a consolidated facility, then I think the answer is probably yes, in due course.
Steven Andelin: Thank you.
Chair Strauss: Other questions? Seeing none, we are ready to vote; polleverywhere.com remotely. Clickers, if you are here in person. If you favor acceptance of this report, press A. If you do not, you may press B.
Anna Butler: On Poll Everywhere, I have nine accept.
Chair Strauss: Report carries. Thank you very much, Bill, for your service to the Faculty Senate. Our next report is from Undergraduate Education. It appears as Appendix O on your agenda. Committee Chair from Undergraduate Education Matthew Wilson will respond to questions.
Report of Grade Distribution
Matthew Wilson, Harrisburg: And Dave Smith will be joining me. He gave me so much help last time. This is the proposal. And I’d like to start– scroll down to the second recommendation. We’ll start with that one first. We recommend an annual report produced by the Committee on Undergraduate Education on Grade Distribution be discontinued. As currently produced, the report is not particularly useful in gauging learning outcomes among students.
And it’s that second point that I want to emphasize. I probably would say it’s not useful at all in gauging learning outcomes among students. And then could you scroll up to the first– I won’t read it, but one of the things that we thought was much more important was being able to drill down into the information that the University has about grade distribution so that you could find on, say– a college, or that you could find on a department level, or even a major level, that you could look into issues of grade distribution. Currently we cannot do that.
I also wanted to remind you, since we had a debate about this in our committee meeting today, what that report actually looks like. So could you put that up for me, please? [INAUDIBLE]. Go down to the table, please.
The most useful information that this report gives us is Table 4, which gives you college information about GPA. And what we can do, if we look at that, it seems to me that pretty much everything with a couple of outliers at the high end and the low end sort of falls into much the same range. And so this information is not useful at all in determining and helping us assess the student outcomes. That has to be done at, as I said, in a much more local level.
And the committee felt unanimously that this information is not useful– and this is just my opinion, that this is a waste of University’s time and money, and that if we’re serious about looking into grade distribution, it has to be done on the local level. And the University, as we say in the first recommendation, needs to develop an instrument that’s going to allow us to do that. I mean, as Roger said at a meeting, an instrument that would allow us to look at grade distribution across one course, across the University. That would be extremely useful to the disciplinary communities. Dave, is there anything you want to add?
David Smith, Division of Undergraduate Studies: I was part of that subcommittee that worked on this. And I think the real intention, as Matthew has tried to explain, is to really find something that is more useful to understanding what’s happening with grades and not to hide grades by any means, but to really try to create a tool that would be more beneficial to departments, to department chairs, to improving instruction, and to improving learning outcomes. And so that’s really the thought behind the work that went into this effort.
Matthew Wilson: And I think that we’ve been producing this for 20 years, and nobody has used it. I mean, what it does is simply confirm the news that we get nationally. Grades are going up.
Chair Strauss: Questions or comments for Matthew? Carey? Yes? Just make sure you get the microphone back.
Carey Eckhardt, Liberal Arts: Eckhardt, Liberal Arts. I am going to propose an amendment and Paula has this. This relates precisely to Recommendation 2. Thank you for your comments. And, Matthew and I have been emailing about this. Recommendation 2 of the Grade Distribution report would discontinue the annual University-wide report on grade distributions]. The Liberal Arts Senators Caucus has discussed this recommendation and disagrees with it. Instead, we want to see the annual Grade Distribution Report continued, so we are proposing an amendment. Although a report on trends in grading is obviously not, in itself, a measure of student learning outcomes, the annual Grade Distribution report serves other important purposes.
Analyzing grading within academic departments and disciplines may be useful also, but does not take the place of the University-wide data. I think we need both.
For one thing, within small departments it may not be possible to provide much analysis without risking a loss of confidentiality.
Further, the Grade Distribution Report, with one of its several charts reaching all the way back to 1975, is a resource that permits various kinds of inquiry at a glance. For example, instructors who may hear from students that grading is too hard — which we do sometimes hear, especially in General Education courses — may benefit from being able to point to the data on grading trends in lower-level courses at UP, at World Campus, and elsewhere. In the other direction, instructors who may hear from their supervisors that their own grading is too easy — which we also sometimes hear — may benefit from being able to point to the University-wide or WC or UP or campus data now available. For reasons such as these, for many years my own home department, Comparative Literature, has included two summary tables from the current Grade Distribution Report in its departmental Handbook for Instructors; we discuss the pedagogical implications as well as looking at the numbers themselves. It’s not correct that nobody is using the Grade Distribution Report.
Also, there is a key question of transparency. As the report from Undergraduate Education points out, at Penn State (as elsewhere), average grades have been gradually moving up. Now we can all see this in the currently available Grade Distribution Report. To suddenly discontinue that report would suggest that we have something to hide. Whether we are glad to see higher average grades, because they may represent an improvement in student learning, or whether we are concerned about higher average grades, because they may represent an erosion of academic standards — these are interpretations we should study and debate, not make impossible by hiding the data. Also, some of us are interested in knowing whether the recent change to allow unlimited Late Drops will correlate with a further increase in GPA – or not. To even start to address that question, we need to continue to have the type of transparent access to the University-wide data that we have had before. Administrative offices at various levels will continue, and rightly, to have access to grading trends on a broad scale. We as faculty have had that access up until now. In the interests of transparency we see no reason why faculty should not continue to have that access too.
For all these reasons, the Liberal Arts Caucus would like to see the Grade Distribution Report continue, and thus we have moved to amend the report by deleting Recommendation 2. Deleting that Recommendation will allow the current Grade Distribution Report to continue, while leaving the door open to possible improvements to the report. For example, Angela Linse, director of the Schreyer Institute for Teaching Excellence, who is here as a resource-person, has said that she thinks the point about not decreasing transparency is important, and that rather than doing away with the grade distribution report, it might be better to see the distributions reported in ways that are more meaningful and useful, without assuming that higher grades mean grades that are not deserved. If we work together to improve the University-level Grade Distribution Report, that would be a real gain. But eliminating it would not move us forward. Therefore the LA caucus recommends the amendment on the screen. Supporting the amendment would mean allowing the Grade Distribution Report to continue. Thank you.
Chair Strauss: The motion has been seconded. Discussions on the motion?
Joyce Furfaro, Liberal Arts: I feel like I’m kind of in the middle of this, because I’m on the LA Caucus, and I’m on Undergraduate Education. I agree that it doesn’t do what you’re saying that it should do. But as I said during our meeting, that’s not a good enough reason to just get rid of it because of that. I agree and want to fully support what Carey said, so thank you. Oh, sorry. Nevermind.
Roger A. Egolf, Lehigh Valley: Egolf, Lehigh Valley. I totally support this amendment. I applaud the first recommendation. I think, as Matthew has mentioned, I have spoken in favor of a lot of what the first recommendation speaks about. But I do not agree with taking away the annual distribution. And I think there’s a lot more things that are useful in that report than just Table 4. I like to look at that table every year, and I see a lot of very interesting data throughout that report. And I’d like to see it continued.
Chair Strauss: Any further comments on the motion? Seeing none, we are ready to vote. We’ve been doing everything via clickers. We’re not going to change. We’re voting on the amendment. So yeah, I’m running the meeting. I will explain this.
So if you wish to support Carey’s motion, which would remove Recommendation 2 from the report, then you press A. If you wish Recommendation 2 to remain in the report, then you may press B. Vote early and often.
Anna Butler: On Poll Everywhere, I have nine accept and one reject.
Chair Strauss: So the motion carries. So Recommendation 2 will be removed from the legislation. The remainder of the legislation moves forward for your consideration at this point in time. Discussion on the remainder portions of the legislation? Seeing none, I believe we are ready to vote. If you accept the legislation, press A. If you do not accept the legislation, press B.
Anna Butler: On Poll Everywhere, I have seven accept and two reject.
Chair Strauss: The motion carries. The legislation passed. Thank you very much, Matthew, for the work in your committee. Our final advisory/consultative report that is on the agenda is from University Planning. It appears as Appendix P. Committee Chair Laura Pauley will respond to your questions. Laura?
Course and Classroom Scheduling Recommendations
Laura Pauley, Engineering: I’d like to make a few comments first.
Chair Strauss: Absolutely.
Laura Pauley: OK. The University Planning Committee was asked by Faculty Senate Chair Strauss to review and evaluate the course and classroom scheduling process that uses LionPATH and CollegeNET. The committee conducted a thorough investigation of the current course scheduling process. There are two University policies that describe classroom scheduling. Policy AD-82, titled Classroom Scheduling, describes the process for rollover of classroom assignments from one year to the next when seat utilization is above 70%. AD82 also describes the process for priority scheduling of general purpose classrooms, GPCs. Neither of these procedures are currently being followed in the classroom scheduling through LionPATH and CollegeNET. Recommendations 2 and 4 address the need to apply policy AD82.
Academic administrative policy C1 describes the required distribution of courses across the time periods during the day. This policy also is not currently being implemented. Recommendation 6 describes the need to distribute classes across the available times to increase class utilization.
Todd Clouser, Associate Registrar and IT Manager, attended two UPC meetings to present information about the CollegeNET optimizer and answer questions. He provided utilization reports for UP classrooms, classrooms over 200 seats, and recently-reclassified General Purpose Classrooms. In looking at the utilization of rooms that were recently reassigned as GPC, we found that those classrooms were being scheduled with the same regularity as other GPCs. Recommendation 5 requests that the newly reassigned GPCs be only used as a last resort. Todd told UPC that this capability was possible in CollegeNET but was not currently implemented.
Members of UPC talked with staff in their department offices to learn about difficulties and concerns in using LionPATH and CollegeNET. Some additional departments that schedule many courses, such as the math department, were also contacted. Two primary challenges in the new system arose– the desire to have course and classroom schedules automatically repopulated each year and the desire to request the same room for sequential course sections when the same instructor is teaching. These requests appear as Recommendations 1 and 3.
I would like to thank Todd Clouser for meeting with the committee two times and generating the Classroom Usage Reports for review. I would also like to thank John Messner and Nick Pearson, members of UPC, who prepared this report. I can answer any questions that you have.
Richard Singer, Altoona: Singer, Altoona. I guess my question relates to the fact that we haven’t had a heck of a lot of success getting LionPATH to change anything. And so I wonder if your committee talked to them to see if this was feasible or if it’s going to cost us $10 million and two years to implement.
Laura Pauley: No. We asked Todd, and Todd said he was not aware of these classroom scheduling policies. It is possible to roll over classroom scheduling. It is possible to– what are the other ones– to have the newly reassigned GPCs be used as a last option in times when there are more desiring rooms than classrooms available. All of these recommendations are currently available in CollegeNET, and many of these are also in LionPATH, that LionPATH– say, the rolling over the classrooms, that would be done in LionPATH. Those available room slots would never even go to CollegeNET for consideration by the optimizer. Yes. Todd is the IT Manager in the Registrar’s Office. And so he told us all of that would be possible.
Lisa Posey, Business: Hi. Posey, Business. I’m just concerned about rolling over classrooms that are not what we want, because now we’re living with people all over the place that aren’t– yeah, so could we get it the way we really would like it before we rolled over?
Laura Pauley: Sure. It would be only rolling over if you desire that.
Lisa Posey: Well, but if other people–
Laura Pauley: And there is a requirement that you need to– the AD82 requirement is that you need to have filled that room to at least 70% capacity in order to have that option of rolling it over.
Lisa Posey: I’m just saying that other people might roll over into classrooms that– so for instance, in our building we have this big building. And since this happened, most of our– not most– many of our people have been leaving and walking across campus, and then people from other parts of campus were coming to our building. And if, let’s say, they roll over into our building, then we can’t get– so, is there a way to sort of not have that rollover happen until the different units feel that things are a little bit more like they used to be in terms of comfortability with the classrooms?
Laura Pauley: I mean, the optimizer is supposed to maximize happiness. But–
That’s what optimizing is. It’s an issue of what you define as happiness. But optimizing is to maximize happiness. We need to define what is happiness for the optimizer. And it will do that. For example, we are only currently using two levels of choice for scheduling. There’s a local area that you can choose as your first choice, and then you can choose other sections of the campus as your alternate choice for classrooms.
The CollegeNET actually has four levels of priority that you can set. And Todd told us it’s also possible as your first priority to really narrow this down, be more specific to a particular building that you would like to have as your top priority. That’s not the way CollegeNET is currently set up, but there is that capability. And Todd said the University was trying to simplify things by having just two levels of preference instead of using all four. But there are options available.
Chair Strauss: Do we have additional questions for Laura’s very thorough report? Seeing none, I believe we are ready to vote. All in favor of accepting the report, please press A. If you do not see things that way, you may press B.
Anna Butler: On Poll Everywhere, I have 10 accept.
Chair Strauss: Advisory/consultative report is accepted. Thank you very much, Laura, for your committee’s work.
Annual Report on the High School Students Enrolled Nondegree in Credit Courses
COMMITTEE ON ADMISSIONS, RECORDS, SCHEDULING, AND STUDENT AID
Annual Report on the High School Students Enrolled Nondegree in Credit Courses*, Appendix Q. Tables and graphs provide the information the Senate requires annually from the Undergraduate Admissions Office and additional historical data from the two previous academic years.
COMMITTEE ON ADMISSIONS, RECORDS, SCHEDULING, AND STUDENT AID
Priority Enrollment*, Appendix R. Informational Report outlining the process for determining priority registration needs for categories of students.
Chair Strauss: Item K on the agenda, Informational Reports. The first informational report to be presented today is from Faculty Benefits. It appears on your agenda as Appendix S. Susan Basso, the Vice President for Human Resources, will give a presentation and respond to questions. Fifteen minutes has been allocated for the presentation and discussion.
2018 Medical and Prescription Drug Plan Design and Cost Sharing
Renee Borromeo, Mont Alto: I’m not Susan. I’m Renee Borromeo. I’m the chair of Faculty Benefits. I’m actually going to introduce Greg Stoner who will actually give the presentation. We kind of switched things on Jim. Sorry.
The University Faculty Senate Committee on Faculty Benefits has worked in conjunction with the Office of Human Resources, the Joint Committee on Insurance and Benefits, and the Health Care Advisory Committee to explore and discuss options or plans for the 2018 Medical and Prescription Drug Benefits. With the six guiding principles approved by the Senate in 2016 in mind, changes to the present plans have been considered and reconsidered, and the results are being presented to you today. Careful thought was given to present plans that are fair and equitable. Cost-sharing contributions between the University and employees, at 75% for the University and 25% for employees, have been preserved in the aggregate for each plan.
I would like to thank the Office of Human Resources for transparency and collaboration with the Faculty Benefits Committee throughout the development of the plans. It has been an educational and enriching activity for me. At this time, I would like to introduce Greg Stoner, Senior Director of Compensation and Benefits, who will present the changes for the 2018 plans.
Greg Stoner, Compensation and Benefits, Human Resources: Thank you, Renee. And good afternoon, everyone. I, too, would like to thank the members of all three committees that were intimately involved with reviewing several different plan design and cost-sharing scenarios, Renee chairing the Faculty Benefits Committee, along with Vice Chair Erica Smithwick, Jamie Myers, as chair of the Joint Committee on Insurance and Benefits, as well as David Gray, who chairs the Health Care Advisory Committee.
And with that, I just want to reiterate Renee’s point about the six guiding principles that were approved by Faculty Senate just over a year ago, as well as the president. Each of the committees involved with the decision-making process held each other accountable, not only to adhere to these guiding principles but institutionalize them as an important part of the planning and strategy for our health care benefits. Although each of the six are equally important, what you’re going to hear today and see today on these slides really illuminate the top three.
This gives you the opportunity to memorize all six of these. There we go. Thank you.
This slide should be familiar. I’ve actually shown this in a couple of different settings. But Penn State is a self-funded plan, which means Penn State pays the claims for our health care benefits as they are incurred. The gray boxes essentially kind of work top to bottom. I’ll get to a quick update on our RFP processes for our medical and prescription drug third party administrators. But what we’re working on through those RFPs are those gray boxes that lead down to the allowed charges. Those are the amounts against which all of our claims are paid.
So Renee mentioned the 75-25 cost-sharing. It’s a guiding principle. That 75-25 includes components of Penn State’s cost, which is the HSA seed that we’ll talk about under the PPO Savings Plan, and then the remaining cost of all the claims. All of us who participate in the health care plans have our own employee contributions coming out of our paychecks each month, as well as the other out-of-pocket costs, like deductibles, co-insurances, co-pays.
This is the current plan design grid for 2017. The only thing I want to reference on here is that all three committees determine that we’re trying to keep things simple and only focus on a couple of things for 2018 and really encourage a lot of communications and give employees the information they need to make the right decisions for them and their families. So you see circled on this slide the PPO Blue Plan. The only plan design changes that we’re considering and were finalized are the deductibles. And then for the PPO Savings Plan, the only things that are changing for 2018 are the HSA seed amounts.
So in terms of deductibles under the PPO Blue Plan, again, none of the other plan design features of the PPO Blue Plan are changing. The committees agreed to create a four-tiered deductible, based on the four quartiles of our pay within all employees of Penn State. You see individuals who are at or below the median of $60,000 will pay no more than they are this year, which is $375 for an individual, $750 for all other tiers. And in fact, those who are in that first quartile up to the 25th percentile will see their deductibles reduced down to $250 and $500. Individuals who choose to participate in the PPO Blue Plan who make above the median salary of $60,000 as well as $90,000 will see their deductibles increased to $500 and $1,000 and $625 and $1,250, respectively.
Likewise, on the PPO Savings Plan, a four tiered structure has been approved, also based on those same quartiles. You may recall this year that we introduced two layers of HSA seed– those who were $60,000 or less and those who were above $60,000. The committees agreed to add a third and fourth level of HSA seeding based on those same quartiles. The first quartile, those earning $45,000 or less, will see an $800 individual, $1,600 seed account for families. And there’s a fourth band being added for individuals who are above $90,000. Their individual HSA seed will be $200, and all other tiers will be $400. Those other $600-$1,200, and $400-$800 seed amounts remain unchanged for next year.
This is a busy slide. I just really wanted to show you how premium contributions are going to be impacted. The PPO Blue premium contributions– again, focusing on that 75-25 cost sharing, the PPO Blue premiums are actually being reduced for 2018. And there is an increase on the PPO Savings Plan premiums.
Here is just the focus on the dollar amounts that those translate to for each of these salary amounts shown. Again, these are just illustrative, but I’d like to refer you to the middle columns, the 2018 PPO Blue and the 2018 PPO Savings. These are hard-dollar amounts based on the formulas at the top of the page. But I wanted to point out here, you can see pretty much at every salary level and every tier shown here, the PPO Blue premiums are about twice as much as the PPO Savings Plan premiums.
We thought it would be helpful as well to look at total out-of-pocket costs. These are not only premium costs but anticipated costs that would be co-insurances, deductibles, co-pays, those types of things. Again, focusing on that 75-25% cost sharing within each individual plan design, obviously each of us may be different, our individual experience. But in the aggregate, that 75-25 cost sharing results in an anticipated reduction of out-of-pocket costs for PPO Plan participants, and in several cases a reduction in anticipated out-of-pocket costs for PPO Savings. Main drivers of that under the PPO Blue talked about the formula reduction and the deductible reduction for those earning under $60,000. On the HSA seed, with those additional amounts being provided, for those especially under $45,000, their anticipated out-of-pocket costs are lower than this year.
Lastly, a question that has come up in the past and I thought it would be helpful to show an illustration is, what are our health care costs in comparison to my pay? And so you see here again, using those same salary levels, focusing your attention on the 2018 PPO Blue column, 2018 PPO Savings column, you see a breakdown of the percent of pay that your total anticipated out-of-pocket costs will be. That would be your premium contributions, as well as your expected out-of-pocket costs.
For those of you who may be very familiar with the Affordable Care Act, they actually define affordability based on an individual premium amount, individual employee election of a premium amount, somewhere in the neighborhood of 10%. You see Penn State’s plans almost across the board, with some exceptions at lower paids, the total out-of-pocket costs– not just the premiums, the total anticipated out-of-pocket costs hover at or below that 10% affordability threshold prescribed under the Affordable Care Act. Translation meaning our benefits are affordable and very competitive.
I think this really helps to illustrate and stress the 75-25% cost sharing that the committees were very focused on this year. And I think it’s helpful to point out that, as you can see here, that 75-25% is being adhered to in each individual plan design. And really, the decision comes down to you, as an individual, where do you want to take on the risk? Do you like the idea of having that HSA seed account, but you anticipate having those and accept the fact that you’re going to be paying higher out-of-pocket costs upfront? Or do you want to buy that insurance under the PPO Blue Plan, pay more in premiums, knowing that you’re getting that lower deductible? So it really comes down to, the decision is yours. You see here that regardless of the decision being made, that 75-25% cost sharing is adhered to under each plan design. And I thought would be helpful to point out, to get to this structure– and you saw the numbers, that there’s a lot of anticipated out-of-pocket costs that are going down under each plan design, depending on your salary level– it’s a $2.7 million investment that the University is making to ensure that those guiding principles were met for 2018.
A couple of other things that the committee discussed. The first one is eliminating the tobacco surcharge. I will be the first to admit, it’s very ineffective. Individuals are either not answering the question, or they’re lying. And so as a result of that, I want to change the conversation. It’s not going to happen this year, but I want to change the conversation. Certainly, the President’s Task Force that Renee is part of, and I’ve been asked to participate on as well, depending on the outcome of that, I think we need to expand the conversation beyond just tobacco use.
Let’s talk about other types of lifestyle behaviors. Let’s talk about ways that we can create intrinsic rewards so individuals understand and manage their health more effectively. So that’s how I want to shift the conversation, rather than it being felt like it might be a punitive type of environment, where obviously we have most likely more than 60 employees and spouses who use tobacco in the entire University, since we have about 16,000 employees who participate in our benefit plan. But again, there is no enforcement. It’s an ineffective premium add-on. It’s $75 per month. And as you can see, the dollars collected from that surcharge are very nominal.
One thing that the new human capital management and payroll system Workday will enable us to do– and this is not uncommon for dually employed couples at other employers– individuals who choose to enroll them and their spouses and potentially their families under one contract, one subscriber, their premium will be based on the higher paid employee. So individuals are encouraged to take a look at the numbers depending on the delta between the higher and lower paid employee who are dually employed. It may make sense to actually split your contract and both of you elect individual coverage. The one thing we’re not doing and other employers have chosen to do is we’re not forcing dually employed couples to add their dependents also to the higher paid employee. So again, my suggestion is look at the premium structure and evaluate what may make the most sense for you from an employee perspective.
The last thing in terms of plan design relates to prescription drugs. For those of you who use brand-name drugs today, even if there’s a generic equivalent available, as long as your prescribing physician writes “dispensed as written” on the prescription drug and does that on your behalf, you can continue to get the brand drug at no additional cost. We’re just creating parity between the two plans. The PPO Blue Plan requires that today. The PPO Savings Plan does not. It was simply an oversight. So we’re just aligning those plans for next year.
Certainly a topic of interest I mentioned early on is our current Highmark contract, which ends the end of this year. There’s a steering committee which includes faculty representation, administration, as well as staff. And we’re very excited to see the light coming and flickering at the end of the tunnel. Still more work to do, but we’re looking at medical and prescription drugs. Highmark, the incumbent, obviously is in the mix. Many of these other vendors aren’t aware of the current status. So unfortunately I’m not able to disclose the other participants. But we are in the process now of getting best and final offers from those vendors. Certainly access, we’re not going to sacrifice in-network access. Administrative fees, lowering the cost for the University. In-network discounts– that’s what that gray box was at the very beginning of the presentation– we’re trying to reduce that as well.
Also looking at life, accidental death and dismemberment, disability contracts– we’ve committed, and you heard Susan say this in the town hall, to a short-term disability plan next year. We’re also looking at a spending account vendor, which is currently through Highmark and Bank of America. We think there may be better options there. And we fully expect these decisions to be made next month.
Chair Strauss: We are out of time. Any brief questions for Greg?
Asad Azemi, Brandywine: Azemi, Brandywine. In one of your presentations, you mentioned that you’re looking for ways to basically make some of the costs that you anticipate, like knee surgeries, things like this, reducing the cost, having some sort of contract with the place that they can do it, taking less money or whatever. Is this still something that you’re looking for for this kind of stuff? Or it’s not on your radar anymore?
Greg Stoner: No. I’m glad you brought that up. That’s part of the medical TPA negotiations. So we are looking for more flexibility. Not only do we expect whomever the medical TPA is to negotiate on our behalf much better network discounts, but we as a self-funded employer want the ability and the flexibility to have conversations with the providers on our own and perhaps negotiate even better rates. So surgeries is just one of many examples that we’d like to explore.
Chair Strauss: Thank you very much. Our next informational report is also from Faculty Benefits. It appears as Appendix T, Committee Chair Renee Borromeo will respond to questions. Five minutes is allocated for the discussion.
2016-2017 Report on Faculty Salaries
Renee L. Borromeo: The report on the faculty salaries is prepared each year by the Department of Planning and Institutional Research, with input from the College of Medicine, Libraries, and the University Budget Office. The Committee on Faculty Benefits would like to publicly thank the Department of Planning and Institutional Research, employees Betty Harper and Jackie Butler, for managing a very large amount of data, compiling it in the report, and providing excellent summary remarks. The data in the tables present a number of different perspectives on faculty salaries but do reflect a very limited view of faculty total compensation. While it can be difficult to draw inferences from the limited data, it is the hope of the committee that the faculty will find the data useful in comparing faculty compensation within Penn State and at some peer institutions.
Information for viewing the complete tables and obtaining full reports is available in your Senate agenda. That’s in Appendix T. And there’s a Box account that is available to senators. There’s also an email to– you can refer people to that to get a copy sent. But because of the nature of this report, it’s impossible to put it into an accessible format, so it can’t be publicly displayed in a Penn State website of any kind. So that’s why it’s not available, but you’re free to distribute it. We just can’t put it on a Penn State website because of the inability to make all those tables accessible.
Chair Strauss: Questions for Renee? Seeing none, thank you very much, Renee, for your hard work this year. Our next report is from Global Programs. It appears as Appendix U. Michael Adewumi, the Vice President for Global Programs, will give a presentation and respond to questions. Ten minutes is allocated for the presentation and discussion.
Travel Safety Network
Michael Krajsa, Lehigh Valley: Good afternoon. If you recall two years ago, when the Travel Safety Network was introduced, this body raised a lot of questions. I want to tell you that Global Programs has worked closely with the vice president here and also with Risk Management. And a lot of those questions that you raised have been taken care of. We still have a couple of moving parts on a couple of things, particularly on spousal travel, but we’ve made improvements on that.
I can also tell you that with the new administration’s executive orders, the Travel Safety Network proved to be a blessing for this institution in helping us to identify where our students and faculty were at certain given times, and continues to do so. And it also had another positive unintended consequence, or blessing again, in the fact that we’re presently renegotiating our insurance carriers. And because of this network, we are getting better coverage and lower prices soon to be announced. Dr. Adewumi.
Michael Adewumi, Vice Provost for Global Programs : Thank you very much, Mike. I think Mike covered most of the remarks that I wanted to make. But I want to thank the rest of you for your staying power, and of course Chairman Strauss for his standing power for the last several hours. But Gary’s going to make the presentation. Gary is not new to any of you here. Jennifer Campbell could not be here today because she has a death in the family. And so Gary kindly accepted to make the presentation, but he’s very familiar with this. He has been part of this from the beginning. In fact, we’ve been working together on these kind of issues for last nine years. Gary?
Gary Langsdale, University Risk Officer: Thank you, Michael and Michael. So my goal today is to tell you a little bit about the Travel Safety Network. Michael mentioned that when the executive orders came out, we were quickly able to determine who of our faculty and staff and students might be traveling that might have trouble getting back into the country based on all of the noise in the system with the customs and Immigration Services at the time. The good news for Penn State was there were very, very few. But we knew about it and could react to it. And that was a benefit to having the Travel Safety Network.
So why have a Travel Safety Network? This slide illustrates information about who our travelers were in 2016 based on people having registered their trip so that we could help them. The sole reason for having a travel safety registry, the sole reason, is so that we can help you if you are traveling and need assistance. I remember several years ago, there was an earthquake in Chile. There was the Arab Spring in Cairo. There were issues going on. And we kept asking, how many travelers do we have in that place? And we didn’t know.
We knew about some of our students and safely evacuated them from Cairo. We had a group of faculty and staff and students who were on their way to Santiago at the time of the earthquake, and we were able to reroute them and to help them to deal with the infrastructure that was at the moment incomplete. But since 2016, as issues have arisen, we have much better information today so that we can help the travelers when they might need assistance, whether that assistance is individual for medical or as a result of political or natural or man-made catastrophes.
So these are the kinds of things that we deal with on a daily basis, whether it’s natural, as I said, or man-made disasters, or political events. We have a travel insurance which is available– more than available, which is covering all of our students, faculty, and staff while they are traveling with a zero deductible, with no out-of-pocket costs, with information about First World medical services that are available wherever they might be so that you can get to good medicine, and they will pay the hospital or the medical provider directly, rather than you having to deal with your credit card or whatever the case may be. And in a worst-case scenario, once in a very long while, it will also take care of bringing back remains.
It also provides a number of other issues. It provides support in case a student is arrested or detained. Hopefully it’s a student, not a faculty member. But we have services available in all of these with the insurance. But the important thing is that it’s the Travel Safety Network. And we use that phrase “network,” because it is not just a registry. The registry is one piece. But through Dr. Adewumi’s office and the Office of Global Program and partnership with the Risk Management Office and many others, Office of Student Affairs, we are able to provide a network of programs and support services for our travelers.
It also provides– when you register, it will allow, if it is a group registration– so if a faculty member is leading a class overseas or a recognized student organization overseas– it will automatically enroll all the participants in the US State Department’s STEP program, so that if there is a problem in a particular country, not only do we know who is there, but the local embassy knows who to look for, knows who to ask about, knows who to expect might need their services as well. I’m just hitting a couple of the highlights on this. The appendix contains all of these slides.
Let’s see. So what it’s purpose is is to provide confidence so that you are prepared, and the University is more prepared when there are issues that are unplanned. A number of our peers in the Big 10 provide more or less some of the same services and travel registry as the Travel Safety Network, not only within the Big 10, more than half do. We were not the first, but ours is the best. And our national peers also have been moving in this direction, and many schools are moving in this direction to provide these kind of registries, so that, again, the sole purpose of why we ask you to enroll is so that we can help.
And the better information that we have– even down to people ask, “Why do I need to tell you my hotel? Who cares what hotel I’m staying in?” I don’t care what hotel you’re in, frankly. But if there is a bombing at a hotel, it would be helpful to us to know how to reach you, or the infrastructure is not robust, we’ve used it to get a hold of a hotel, to call the local hotel to ask to be connected to that room of doctor so-and-so, if we have that information available. Are you OK? Do you need assistance?
Just taking a snapshot of people who we knew were traveling in 2015, we had little information. We have not tripled the number of travelers, but we have tripled the information about our travelers in the second half of 2016, tripled that which we had in 2015. And I would say 2015 was triple the information we had in 2014. The Office of Global programs has surveyed travelers after they’ve used the Travel Safety Network. And the Travel Safety Network, I think it would be fair to say, has gone through some growing pains in its own right. It was a software that was developed in-house, so we had growing pains.
So even so, 82% of respondents to the survey had a good experience. Eighteen percent were not as happy. We’ve worked to address some of those issues. Same about the medical insurance. Ninety-four percent of travelers have been happy with the health and evacuation insurance that we have. And we hope, as Michael also forecasted, that with the change in insurance that we’re going to have effective July 1 that people will be even happier with the services that they’re provided. We have grown faster than our prior insurance provider.
And support staff, how has the Office of Global Programs supported travelers? Ninety-three percent have been satisfied with the services they’ve received. Some of the feedback that we’ve had has been, it’s nice to have this support. It is more streamlined than earlier versions, as an acknowledgment that we have tried to make improvements. There are a couple of things that are coming.
The feedback, the actionable items, it would be helpful if the faculty could be assisted by staff assistants. This was a significant limitation of the program. I’m happy to report on behalf of everyone that we will very soon be rolling out Version 2-point-something or another, which will include delegations, just like Concur, when you have assistance in filling out your expense reports for the University. That feature will be available as well.
And prior to approving– this is not an approval. This is a registry. Now, the only issue happens to be if you are traveling to countries that either the Office of Foreign Asset Control, OFAC, of the US Treasury, has determined are the Axis of Evil, and you should not be conducting business as a US citizen in, then we need to have a conversation about going to that country. There is also a list of countries that are on the insurance industry’s list of concern. And we work through those. We do not by policy prevent any faculty from traveling to any country in the world, but we want to talk about your plan so that we can get to yes and help you to make sure that we’ve mitigated your risks.
Chair Strauss: OK. Thank you. I note that we are out of time. Does anyone have questions of the Travel Safety Network that they wish to ask?
Gary Langsdale: Thank you very much for your time.
Chair Strauss: Thank you very much. Our final informational report to be presented is from Outreach. It appears as Appendix V. Dennis Calvin, the Director of Cooperative Extension, will give a brief presentation and respond to questions. Ten minutes has been allocated for presentation and discussion.
Penn State Cooperative Extension
Dennis Calvin, Associate Dean, College of Agriculture: Well, thank you. And good afternoon. Or maybe I should say now good evening, I think, at this point. But at any rate, we have 10 minutes here, and so I’m going to get into this. This is basically the fourth informational update that we’ve provided on the change that’s been underway within Cooperative Extension for now about eight years, and particularly in the last three or four years. And so I’m going to move along pretty quick here to try to get through this as quickly as I can, given where we are.
But you know, if we look at our vision statement at Extension is that we believe that all people should have access to science-based information. This is really the legacy of Extension, and this is our future as well. We’ve been in business for about 113 years, and we hope to be in there at least that long, if not further.
Some of the changes that are underway in Extension right now really relate to educational products and services, looking at those differently than we did in the past. Customer stakeholder relationship, as we interact with the 67 counties in Pennsylvania that we work with, and also moving to a digital online way to deliver many of the programs that we have. We’re really looking at how can we improve our relevance, the quality, the usability of the products that we have available to us, the diversity, reaching out both to diverse audiences but also diverse media that we do business within. But primarily we’re interested in extending our access and our reach as an organization.
So if we look at really what we’re trying to do, we’re trying to gear our organization to be more nimble so that we can deal with very complex priority issues that require cross-disciplinary treatments, such as water quality, food safety, new and beginning farmers as we work with, within Cooperative Extension. We’re moving to a new structure where we’re creating Extension units which are somewhat similar to academic units, in that we put people with similar kind of expertise in the same team or unit. They are then, it’s really their administrative home, and they report to the Associate Director of Programs.
So as I said, these educators that are field educators that are housed in all 67 counties around the state report up to an Assistant Director of Program who supervises these educators. But then they are supervised by the Associate Director of Programs within Extension. It looks a little bit like this. This would be the seven programs. We have 4H Youth Development, Animal Systems, Agronomy, Natural Resources, Energy Entrepreneurship, and Community Development, Food Families and Health, Food Safety and Quality, and then also Horticulture. These are the seven units that we now define within Extension.
These seven units, then we take individuals from those and we put them on teams to address the various issues that are important to the customers or stakeholders that we work with across Pennsylvania. And so we’ll take those both out of Extension units, but we also have faculty that sit in our academic units that also engage in these as well. So it looks something like this, where we have our seven extension units at the top. At the bottom, we have our nine academic units in the College of Agriculture, but this could go beyond the College of Ag.
If we were to address something like FSMA, which is the Food Safety Modernization Act, and the impact that it has on the industry, we would have one of our Assistant Directors of Program who would be responsible for that, and have a team leader to help guide that and bring the people together to facilitate that. But we would draw expertise from each of those units to that team to address that issue and to develop the programs and products that we’d be delivering across the state to our constituents.
So this is really just types of products that we might be providing. This is sort of our product line. We have articles that are online and hard copy. We have webinars. We have guides and publications that are provided through our publication distribution efforts. We have workshops, courses– those are sort of the traditional means by which we delivered what we were doing. We’ve added now what we call Learn Now videos, which are three to seven minute segments on topics. We have apps, tools, we have how-to videos, and we have online courses that we deliver to all our stakeholders and customers across the state.
So as we look at this, as we move from the program products, we talk about stakeholder customer relations. The goals of this really are to enhance our local relationships, because we get funding from the county commissioners at the county level but also funding at the state level. So we want to make sure those relationships are good. We want to strengthen our county boards. We want to build awareness of what we have available to provide to those individuals. And we want to connect and align local needs with the programs. We want to make sure we’re listening to the people bringing that back, building programs and products that they need. And this group is managed by our Associate Director of Client Relations.
So, under the Associate Director of Client Relations are 10 client relations managers, who are distributed across our 10 areas across the state. And again, they focus on the things that we just mentioned there a minute ago. If we look at where we’re going with this, we have a product development process that we go through, that the teams go through to determine what are the best uses of the resource that we have to help solve some of these issues. So we look at qualities, ability, diverse formats, and a number of other things. But we want to make sure that we’re addressing the self-interest of the people we serve out there.
As part of the change, we’re also changing how we do business. So we’re changing our organization and operational infrastructure as an organization. We’re also adding 10 business operations managers across the state. They then are responsible for managing our county offices; the personnel that’s in those office, the finances, facilities, and other things that need to be taken care of at that level. So going back, and we had the 10 client relations managers as well.
We look at the state. It’s divided into 10 regions. We also have two urban centers, one in Philadelphia; one in Allegheny County in Pittsburgh. But we have one customer relations manager and one business operations manager in those districts who work as a team to make sure that we’re doing the things we need to be doing to serve the people. We look at our overall administrative structure, it looks sort of like this. We have our extension educators who report to our associate directors of program. And then they report up to the Associate Director of Programs.
We have our client relations managers, who report up to the Associate Director of Client Relations, county administrative staff, who report then to the Business Operations Manager, who report to the Associate Director. And then we coordinate all these activities at the state level. We have our academic units that have a soft reporting line to the team. But we have those reporting to our department heads who then report into the Dean of the College.
The other area that we’re looking at is really focusing on the financial aspects of this organization. Extension’s financial approaches are very complicated, and we’re trying to simplify those so that we can manage the budgets. We have county budgets. We have three other types of budgets that are set out in the counties. We have budgets on campus that we operate through. So we want to simplify that. But we also want to assure that what funds we do have are being used most effectively toward what our goals are as an organization. So we’re moving a lot of that. We’re centralizing the control of those funds that are Penn State funds. We’re setting up consistent cost centers to charge against so we can keep track of our expenses better, making sure we got standardized processes in place. And this is an ongoing process that’s probably going to take several years before we fully get it implemented in place.
So moving now to the digital format that we’re working within. We’ve already built, actually, a new platform that’s really a business educational platform. It’s a seamlessly integrated system that basically has Salesforce at the center of this, which is a customer relations management system. It’s integrated with Plone, which is our content management system, as really the website structure. We have Cvent as an online registration system, Magento as an e-commerce system, and edX, which is an online course development tool that we’ve been using.
But all of this stuff is recorded within Salesforce. From that, we can serve our customers directly. We can interact with our industry customers. But we can use this for marketing, customer service, team communications, analysis, reporting, and event management as an organization. And bringing this Salesforce together, we had 800 separate databases spread across 67 counties. Those were all migrated centrally, cleaned up, the redundancy taken out of it. We have about 250,000 customers in this database now that are cleaned up. So anybody that may have passed away 10 years ago are no longer in there.
But anyway, we migrated that. We go through a requalification step because we have to make sure that the people who are in there want to be in there. The other thing we can do with this is we can now map out where every farm or every customer we have is located across the state. In this case, it happens to be dairy farms. This is a heat map. It shows you where the highest densities of dairy farms are in the state.
And what’s really nice about this is we get into something like High Path Avian Influenza that we’re looking at the possibility. And say it shows up in this area. We can just circle that area, and we can get information out to those people, you know, at a flip of the switch and get that out there to help in dealing with that situation. The new website that we’re putting out there that interacts with all of these is really sort of like an Amazon experience. It’s set up to be one-stop shopping, where every product that we have on a given topic is in one place. You can go there if it’s an event, if it’s an online video, if it’s an online course, if it’s a publication, whatever it is, you can go in, you can screen all that, pick what it is you’re interested in, and either order it online, have it show up at home, or you can register for events, pay online to do those things in ways we couldn’t do before.
This is just an example of what some of the topic areas are that you can drill down into. And you can even go further down into that if you happen to be interested in dairy and mastitis in cattle.
So just to give you an idea of how much is in this system, we have 4,000 unique articles, 135-plus online videos, Learn Now how to, 50 online noncredit informal courses, 150 publications and manuals, and we have 1,000 or 2,000 events every year across the state that are managed within this system. Those are all available to customers for whatever topic area they might be interested in. And if you want to take a look at some of the more details of this, this is really the website you can go to and take a look. And so that’s the fastest rendition I can give you on that to get you out of here, so you can go. A lot of details that you missed.
Chair Strauss: And you made the time. Thank you very much.
New Member Document
COMMITTEE ON RESEARCH, SCHOLARSHIP, CREATIVE ACTIVITY
New Member Document*, Appendix W. Document reflects changes proposed by the Senate Committee on Research, the predecessor of this committee regarding the name, membership, and duties.
REPORT OF SENATE ELECTIONS
Chair Strauss: OK, folks. A couple of quick items. I draw your attention to the report of Senate elections in Appendix X of your agenda. We wish to thank all those who stood for election in this year’s election.
Report of Senate Elections*, Appendix X. Listing of the 2017-2018 Senate election results.
COMMENTS BY OUTGOING CHAIR STRAUSS
Chair Strauss: Second, to last item here, Comments by the Outgoing Chair. That would be me. Indulge me please for about a minute and a half conversation.
I have a confession to make. All this year I’ve actually been using two different gavels depending– and Beth will tell me the difference between these two. This one is much heavier, actually, than this one. And this is the nice one that I actually got from Faculty Senate with my name. It’s great. I very much appreciate that.
This is the one that was actually handed down to me through my family. And I guess the lesson here is we all were immigrants or came from immigrants at some point or another. My family can trace its heritage to Dormeyers and Ibelhausers off the boat from Germany in Northern New Jersey on my mom’s side. And on my father’s side, Irish immigrants, McConnells and then Strausses, of curious heritage in the Pittsburgh area to work the steel mills.
And this gavel was actually handmade by my great Uncle Rudy Dormeyer. And he was an engineer and a machinist. And I think as immigrants do, they tried to get influence where they can. And it turns out that he made these in his basement on a lathe that he had and then distributed them throughout the judges in Northern New Jersey, I presume to get some influence somehow.
Of interest, Great Uncle Rudy was apparently quite renowned during prohibition for making apparently some of the best bathtub gin in Northern New Jersey. So I just felt it was fitting when my family sort of contacted me about my position. They said, “Oh by the way, we have one of Uncle Rudy’s gavels. Maybe you’d use it for a meeting.” I’ve used it for all the meetings. It’s been my pleasure. Gin to follow the meeting.
SEATING OF THE NEW OFFICERS
Chair Strauss: So it’s been my pleasure to be your chair. But the time for that is over. We have seating of the new officers. Michael Bérubé, you can come up front. You may take Matthew’s seat. Matthew, you can come and stand by me. Annie, by re-election, you can remain in your seat. Please join me in congratulating Michael and Annie for their election to our Senate officers.
And then, Matthew, I am very pleased to present you with your official gavel. And please join me in welcoming our new chair, Matthew Woessner.
COMMENTS BY INCOMING CHAIR WOESSNER
- MINUTES OF THE PRECEDING MEETING
- Matthew Woessner, 2017-2018 Faculty Senate Chair: Thank you very much. As much as I like to talk, I don’t like long speeches.I would like to take a moment to express my gratitude to my colleagues for their incredible work in the last year.Dan Hagen: Congratulations on the near completion of your Senate Service, both as a Senate Officer, Chair and as Executive Director.To the Senate Staff: Paula, Anna, Kadi, Patti, Allison. Thank you so much for your hard work. Without you none of this would be possible.Immediate Past Chair Strauss: I wish our colleagues could have seen your dedication to this job. You worked incredibly hard this last year because you care about the people that make up this great institution: the students, faculty, staff, and the administrators. This will have a positive impact on the University for many years to come.Past Chair Ansari: It has been wonderful working with you this year. Having completed three very successful years as a Senate Officer, I’m happy you’ll have a little more time to yourself, that is until you take over as the University Ombudsperson. I’ve always appreciated your thoughtful advice, your perspective and your friendship.Our Senate Parliamentarian Beth Seymour: I’ve had the pleasure of knowing you since I first came to the Senate. Even before we served together in the last year, I saw in you a rare combination of passion and intellect that is a hallmark of effective leadership.The Secretary of the Senate Annie Taylor: Aside from being brilliant, and hardworking, you’re one of the kindest people I’ve ever met. Even on the difficult days, you made my work as Chair-Elect enjoyable. I look forward to working with you again this year.Former Chair Larry Backer: Your razor sharp mind and boundless energy have been a great asset in the last year. I’m pleased that you have accepted my invitation to serve as the Senate’s Parliamentarian in the coming year.To my wife, my most trusted advisor, co-author, and friend Professor April Kelly-Woessner. You’ve taken on so much to give me this opportunity to serve as a Senate Officer. I’m extremely grateful for your love and support. Thankfully, as the current President of the Elizabethtown College Faculty Assembly, you understand all too well the challenges and joys of serving your colleagues in this capacity.
To my colleagues in the Senate, I’m so grateful for your work, your time, your passion and your vigilance. This Senate accomplishes great things because of your sacrifice.
As we close out the 2016-2017 academic year, it’s worth reflecting on the larger significance of our work as Senators.
This Senate first convened on a Thursday, October 6, 1921.
For nearly a century, we have met on this campus to oversee the curriculum, discuss promotion and tenure, and provide sage advice to Penn State Presidents, administrators, and the Board of Trustees.
In the day-to-day mundane work of the Senate, it’s very easy to lose sight of how our collective efforts, like those of our predecessors, play a role in shaping this great institution.
Whether a committee is writing an informational report, crafting an advisory/consultative report, or drafting curricular legislation, in a hundred different ways, our work shapes the outcome of critical decisions.
Working with administrators who value the traditions of shared governance, our informed opinion can have a significant impact on policy making.
Seen against the backdrop of our 96-year history, our efforts are not just about looking after this institution in our time. More significantly, the Senate’s work is about preserving and strengthening Penn State University for the generations which will come after us.
For this fleeting moment in the Senate’s long history, we stand as the guardians of this tradition.
Whereas many colleges and universities gradually relinquish higher education’s democratic traditions, moving toward a corporate model of institutional leadership, I am proud that our Senate remains an important force in university governance.
Recognizing our differences, I am grateful for the progress we’ve made in forging an increasingly collaborative relationship with both the administration and the Board of Trustees. In the coming year, with the ongoing support of President Barron and Provost Jones, we have an opportunity to strengthen the influence of our representative institutions by promoting efficiency, responsiveness and transparency. This will be an important task in the coming year.
As we approach our centennial, we should take the opportunity to think strategically about how the Senate can remain a strong and independent voice in university affairs. If we do our work effectively, whatever the trajectory of other institutions of higher education, Penn State will be among the great universities whose mission and identity are defined by a close collaboration of its trustees, the administration and the faculty. Thank you.
NEW LEGISLATIVE BUSINESS
Chair Woessner: Any new business? None. We can lengthen the meeting if you like.
COMMENTS AND RECOMMENDATIONS FOR THE GOOD OF THE UNIVERSITY
Chair Woessner: Comments for the good of the order? None.
Chair Woessner: May I have a motion to adjourn? All in favor? Motion carries. The Senate is adjourned till September 12, 2017.
The following Senators were noted as having attended the April 25, 2017 Senate Meeting.
- Abdalla, Charles
- Adewumi, Michael
- Aebli, Fred
- Andelin, Steven
- Ansari, Mohamad
- Aurand, Harold
- Aynardi, Martha
- Azemi, Asad
- Barlow, Jesse
- Barney, Paul
- Bartell, Paul
- Bartolacci, Michael
- Bascom, Rebecca
- Basso, Susan McGarry
- Baumer, Eric
- Bechtel-Wherry, Lori
- Bishop-Pierce, Renee
- Blakney, Terry
- Blasko, Dawn
- Blockett, Kimberly
- Boehmer, John
- Borromeo, Renee
- Bowen, Blannie
- Brentner, Kenneth
- Bridges, K. Robert
- Brigger, Clark
- Brown, Raymonde
- Brown, Richard
- Bruno, Michael
- Brunsden, Victor
- Butler, William
- Caldwell, Linda
- Casper, Gretchen
- Casteel, Mark
- Chen, Wei-Fan
- Clark, Mary Beth
- Clements, Ann
- Connolly-Ahern, Colleen
- Conti, Delia
- Copeland, Ann
- Cusumano, Joseph
- Davis, Dwight
- Dietz, Amy
- DiStaso, Marcia
- Douds, Anne
- Duffey, Michele
- Eberle, Peter
- Eckert, Jill
- Eckhardt, Caroline
- Eggebeen, David
- Egolf, Roger
- Elias, Ryan
- Ellsworth, Maura
- Enama, Joseph
- Engel, Renata
- Friedenberg, Marc
- Furfaro, Joyce
- Geller, Andrew
- Giebink, Noel Christopher
- Grimes, Galen
- Guay, Terrence
- Haigh, Michel
- Han, David
- Handzy, Nestor
- Hanes, Madlyn
- Harrison, Terry
- Harwell, Kevin
- Hayford, Harold
- Healy, Michael
- High, Kane
- Hufnagel, Pamela
- Hughes, Janet
- Jaap, James
- Jablokow, Kathryn
- Jett, Dennis
- Jolly, Rosemary
- Jones, Nicholas
- Jones, Raymond
- Jurs, Peter
- Kaag, Matthew
- Kalapos, Paul
- Kalavar, Jyotsna
- Keiler, Kenneth
- Kelly, Claire
- Kelly, William
- Kennedy-Phillips, Lance
- Kenyon, William
- King, Elizabeth
- Kitko, Lisa
- Koch, Patricia
- Korner, Barbara
- Krajsa, Michael
- Krasilnikov, Andrey
- Kubat, Robert
- Kulikowich, Jonna
- LaJeunesse, Todd
- Lang, Teresa
- Lasher, William
- Le, Binh
- Levine, Martha
- Linehan, Peter
- Linn, Suzanna
- Lobaugh, Michael
- Loeb, Robert
- Luke, Nancy
- Mahan, Carolyn
- Mangel, Lisa
- Marko, Frantisek
- Matsoukas, Themis
- Melton, Robert
- Messner, John
- Michels, Margaret
- Mookerjee, Rajen
- Myers, Jamie
- Nasereddin, Mahdi
- Nelson, Kimberlyn
- Neves, Rogerio
- Nousek, John
- Ofosu, Willie
- Ozment, Judith
- Palmer, Timothy
- Pangborn, Robert
- Passmore, David
- Patzkowsky, Mark
- Pauley, Laura
- Pearson, Nicholas
- Petrilla, Rosemarie
- Pierce, Mari Beth
- Poole, Thomas
- Posey, Lisa
- Potochny, John
- Preciado, Felisa
- Radovic, Ljubisa
- Regan, John
- Reuning, Kevin
- Ricketts, Robert
- Robertson, Gavin
- Robinett, Richard
- Ropson, Ira
- Rothrock, Ling
- Rowland, Nicholas
- Ruggiero, Francesca
- Saltz, Ira
- Samuel, George
- Scheel, Lydia
- Schmiedekamp, Ann
- Schulz, Andrew
- Scott, Geoffrey
- Seymour, Elizabeth
- Shannon, Robert
- Shapiro, Keith
- Sharma, Amit
- Shockley, Alex
- Sigurdsson, Steinn
- Singer, Richard
- Sinha, Alok
- Sliko, Jennifer
- Smith, David
- Smithwick, Erica
- Snyder, Stephen
- Song, Jim
- Strauss, James
- Subramanian, Rajarajan
- Suliman, Samia
- Sutton, Jane
- Taylor, Ann
- Trauth, Eileen
- Troester, Rodney
- Truica, Cristina
- Vrana, Kent
- Walker, Eric
- Welsh, Nancy
- Wenner, William
- Whitehurst, Marcus
- Wilburne, Jane
- Williams, Mary Beth
- Wilson, Matthew
- Woessner, Matthew
- Young, Richard
Ex Officio 4