T H E S E N A T E R E C O R D
Volume 50—–October 18, 2016—–Number 2
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 OCTOBER 18, 2016
- MINUTES OF THE PRECEDING MEETING
Minutes of the September 6, 2016, Meeting in The Senate Record 50:1
- COMMUNICATIONS TO THE SENATE
Senate Curriculum Report of October 4, 2016
- REPORT OF SENATE COUNCIL – Meeting October 4, 2016
- ANNOUNCEMENTS BY THE CHAIR
- COMMENTS BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNIVERSITY
- COMMENTS BY THE EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT AND PROVOST
- FORENSIC BUSINESS
Educational Equity and Campus Environment – Office of the Vice Provost for Educational Equity
Student Life – Student Presentation by the Presidents of the University Park Undergraduate Association (UPUA) and the Council of Commonwealth Student Governments (CCSG)
- UNFINISHED BUSINESS – None
- LEGISLATIVE REPORTS
Committees and Rules
Establishment of the Standng Joint Committee for General Education Assessment
Revisions to Senate Standing Rules Article II Section 6 Committee on Research
Revisions to Senate Policy 67-00, Athletic Competition
Change to Senate Policy 43-00 (Syllabus)
- ADVISORY/CONSULTATIVE REPORTS
Faculty Benefits and Student Life
Smoking/Tobacco Use Policy
- INFORMATIONAL REPORTS
Health Plan Options for 2017: PPO Blue and PPO Savings
Admissions, Records, Scheduling and Student Aid
Committees and Rules
Confirmation of Voting Rights for Fixed Term Faculty in Senate Elections
Annual Report of Academic Eligibility and Athletic Scholarships for 2015-2016
Joint Committee on Insurance and Benefits, and Faculty Benefits
2015-2016 Annual Report on the Status of Benefit Changes
Science-U and the Eberly College of Science Outreach Office
New Member Reports (not presented at meeting)
Admissions, Records, Scheduling, and Student Aid
Educational Equity and Campus Environment
Libraries, Information Systems, and Technology
- NEW LEGISLATIVE BUSINESS
- COMMENTS AND RECOMMENDATIONS FOR THE GOOD OF THE UNIVERSITY
MINUTES OF THE PRECEDING MEETING
Chair Strauss: The September 6, 2016 Senate Record, providing a full transcript of all proceedings, was sent to the University Archives and is posted on the Faculty Senate website. Are there any corrections or additions to these minutes?
Senator: Move approval.
Chair Strauss: Is there a second? All in favor? Any opposed? The ayes have it. The motion is carried. The minutes of the September 6 meeting have been approved.
COMMUNICATIONS TO THE SENATE
Chair Strauss: The Senate Curriculum Report of October 4, 2016, is posted on the Faculty Senate website.
REPORT OF SENATE COUNCIL
Chair Strauss: Item C, Report from Senate Council. The minutes from the October 4, 2016, 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 on October 4. Any questions? Great.
ANNOUNCEMENTS BY THE CHAIR
Chair Strauss: Item D, Announcements by the Chair. First in opening, due to the limited bandwidth that we have in the auditorium, we ask all attendees to please limit their use of smartphones, tablets, and so on, so that the critical functions of Mediasite and Poll Everywhere have sufficient wireless service for the meeting. Please do not use video streaming during the meeting because of the large amount of bandwidth it requires. Thank you for your cooperation.
Do we have the students from Erie that were going to present? Why don’t you folks come up front and center and explain who you are and what you would like to present to us. You need this mic. Oh, there’s one on the podium you can use.
Erin Hostetler, Staff, College of Engineering: Hi everyone. My name is Erin Hostetler. I am a staff person in the College of Engineering. And I’m here to introduce to you the Multi-Campus Research Experience for Undergrads. So I will be the very short start. And then I’m going to turn it over to three students who participated in the program from the Behrend College, from Berks, and also from New Kensington, now here at University Park.
So, the objectives of the Multi-Campus REU: Number one, we want to promote undergraduates participating in research early in their career. The Multi-Campus REU was also founded to promote collaboration between University Park and other campus faculty.
It started in 2015 with seven campuses, and we grew to 14 campuses this past summer. Quick facts about the program– students participated in an eight-week extensive research experience. They spent six weeks at their home campus and had two weeks based here at University Park. During that time, they were supported by two faculty persons, one from their home campus and one based at the University Park campus.
At the end of the program, we had a symposium held at the Penn Stater here at University Park campus, where students had a poster presentation, they had a research oral presentation, and they also completed a research paper at the end of the program. So I’d first like to turn it over to our student from Berks campus, Derek.
Derek Stufflet, Berks Student: Hello, everyone. Thank you for having me today. My name is Derek Stufflet. I’m from Berks campus. I’m a seventh semester Mechanical Engineering undergraduate student, and my research is on deriving the power balance of a human driven bicycle.
During my research, I had the privilege to work with two truly brilliant professors– Dr. Joseph M. Mahoney at Berks and Dr. Joseph P. Cusumano here at University Park. The project was conceived mostly by Dr. Cusumano, and Dr. Mahoney helped me with the logistics and implementation and the every day-to-day activity.
So, a little bit about my project. It covered a little bit of literature review. But most of it was makeshift things. There are companies out there that are working on electronic bicycles that have propulsion systems and give a way for a means for alternative transportation methods.
I focused more on the analytical side, determining how much force is being put in by the human, how much force is being put out by the entire mechanism. We achieve that by determining and evaluating velocity and torque, which I’ll get into a little bit.
So, then we cover the design aspect of the project. Basically, how is this going to run? How is this going to be operational? How are all the instruments going to be tied together? And how are we going to attain the measurements that we’re looking for?
So, the instrumentation that I used specifically was a Hall Effect sensor on the fork of the front wheel, and then a magnetic spoke that rotated. There was one magnet, so every time the magnet was detected by the Hall Effect sensor, it equaled one rotation. From that, you get revolutions per minute and you can derive velocity.
On it also I had a torque sensor on the rear axle of the bicycle. We are looking for the torque of the crankshaft. But there is no real feasible way to have the pedals rotating and also have wiring rotating with it– not even with a slip ring. It doesn’t really work in unison.
So if you take the torque of the rear axle, you can derive the torque at the crankshaft. They’re linearly related. And in addition I had a GPS unit to double up on the velocity. I utilized a great-circle equation, which pretty much says, if your sampling size is short enough between distances, there’s a certain equation that relates distance and time, and you can achieve velocity.
From that, then, you collect the data, recognize if it’s usable or not, and pretty much attach different methodologies for it, like rehabilitation or even just implementing it for an electronic bicycle and realizing how much energy you’re really losing when you ride a bicycle.
Now I’d like to get a little bit more into the program itself. I had the privilege, like I said, of working with two professors. And for one week, actually at University Park, I worked with them both simultaneously in the same room. It gave me a good knowledge of both industry and academia, which as a hopeful graduate of Penn State in two semesters, is something that’s on my mind a lot.
I got a good taste of academics. And that research in itself has a lot to do with academia. It’s a little bit of self-teaching, free will, and things like that. And the industry, I expect, came from communicating with somebody who wasn’t necessarily always there day to day, someone who I had to communicate with through email, sending photographs, links to websites, and receiving their input, and keeping them updated day to day, week to week, month to month.
So I was very honored, and I gained a lot from the experience. I think I’m leaning a little bit more towards academics, to be honest, which I’m sure people in this room are kind of glad to hear, considering most of you have taken the same route. But I got a good taste for both, and it was truly a great experience. So thank you for listening.
Tyler Delancey, New Kensington Student: Hello, my name is Tyler Delancey. I’m from the New Kensington campus. And I just transferred here in the Fall to University Park. I am a Mechanical Engineering student. I’m going to go briefly over what I did over the summer and how this program affected me in the transition phase.
Technical editor’s note: Approximately 30 seconds of this video were not captured due to technical difficulties.
Tyler Delancey: –cooling system that with the temperature difference creates electricity. With the [INAUDIBLE], it came out that the design I had really wasn’t as efficient as it could possibly be. Materials could have been improved upon, and the overall design could have been improved, to which the thermoelectric material could have been inside the exhaust, as opposed to around it. And overall, just further design and improvements, and working more with it would have definitely yielded more results.
But really, I want to focus on that I was a transfer of the 2+2. Dr. Fathi was my advisor here at University Park. He treated me really well. And actually, it really helped me with my transition coming from New Ken, which is one of the smaller campuses in Penn State, to the biggest campus, which is here. And you know, talking to kids that also transferred with me, I definitely have more knowledge of where things are. And I was much, much more prepared for the transfer as opposed to what they were.
So, really this program– not only did it help me tremendously academically, but it also really helped me with the transition. So, thank you.
Scott DeLaney, Behrend Student: Hi. I’m Scott Delaney. I’m a junior Mechanical Engineer from Behrend. Everybody’s seen about the Samsung Galaxy S7 Note. It blows up in everybody’s pockets. This is that.
So, what happens– the batteries are very powerful. They explode whenever you let all that power out at once. The issues are that we can’t really do this in a laboratory, at least not safely. So I was tasked by my faculty member here at University Park to design something to allow them to do this.
I actually not only got to do the design but actually build that entirely myself by hand, as you can see. That’s the thing being put together. We were able to not only build it and design it but also test it on real-life batteries. And just as you would imagine, whenever you stab a battery, it explodes. So that was the gist of my research.
But what is wonderful is knowing this and moving forward, we are not only able to collect data from while this is happening– so maybe in the future, they’ll design a phone that whenever it blows up it doesn’t burn your house down. But I have been able to move forward with my research with faculty, both at my campus and at University Park. So, this program has allowed me to branch out beyond what I would normally be able to do and expand my network and bring collaboration between the campuses that would never be possible without it. So, I would like to thank the program for the funding and the ability that they have given me to be able to do this. Thank you.
Erin Hostetler: The last slide is just my contact information. If anyone would like any more information about the program, I’m happy to talk to you offline.
Chair Strauss: So, how’s the mic working now? Great. Thank you very much. Remember that one of our goals this year–
–was to try to feature students upfront in our meetings and talk about some of the different groups and activities. One of the things we did with this particular group was remind us that we are one university geographically distributed at multiple locations across the state of Pennsylvania, and some really great important research is being done by all four of these students. Thanks very much.
Okay. Some announcements by the Chair. I’m sad to announce that Thomas L. Merritt, former Senate Chair in 1988 through 1989, passed away on September 1. He was a faculty member in the College of Agricultural Sciences before his retirement. I note when I did a little bit of research on Dr. Merritt that he actually continued to teach a course for many years after he retired in Dendrology. In fact, his course was somewhat nationally recognized as the Dendrology course to take as an undergrad. He is missed.
My personal announcements. Quick update– the Senate officers have been very busy. We just completed our annual visit to seven different campuses. September also saw us attending Board of Trustees meetings, Faculty Advisory Committee to the President meetings, Senate Council meetings, and adding to that for myself, I got to attend an Alumni Society Council meeting, and actually several Academic Leadership Council meetings, a very inspirational Diversity in Arts evening meeting at Eisenhower Auditorium that featured the Essence of Joy gospel choir, who were really great. And for me, a really memorable day and a half serving as an honorary coach for the Penn State Nittany Lion football team against Minnesota. How did you like my sideline call in overtime, folks? And I’ll also say, if you see what the time commitment that our student athletes have to put forth in any of these venues, be it football or women’s volleyball or whatever, and all the preparation, it is still astounding to me that these folks are remaining academically eligible, and not only remaining academically eligible but performing at a very high level that you’ll see a report later this afternoon.
I’m also going to say, one of the reasons I believe you folks elected me as Chair is I try my very best to be honest and transparent, and I take the Faculty Senate’s shared governance role quite seriously. So, being honest and transparent, I’m going to tell you– and I sent you yesterday– the fact that LionPATH remains a work in progress. And some of the essential functionings are still not working. This became very apparent during our campus visits, and I have basically taken a lot of these critiques and a lot of these lists, and I tried to identify five immediately critical areas for improvement. I passed those on, along with more detailed lists to Michael Busges, and he took time to update me on his progress last Sunday. I passed that progress report on to you folks, and you can see what he wrote about that. I’m just going to basically say we remain patient and hope for some real progress soon on these five major issues that we identified.
Secondly, I’ll say as faculty members, we represent the intellectual capital of our institution of higher education. As such, we enjoy sharing our ideas and discussing issues facing our institution in the Faculty Advisory Committee to the President. We understand everyone at Penn State has a very busy schedule, particularly our top administrators. While we’ve enjoyed sharing our ideas with the Provost, most politely our current FAC Committee has not been able to meet with President Barron, and we’re going to have to wait until January to have that first communication opportunity. And I’ll just simply say, this represents opportunity lost for all parties involved.
I also report that in September, Senator Larry Backer provided a forensic that noted a slight hitch in properly communicating and vetting the AD80 policy to our Faculty Affairs Committee for their review and comment. We’ve been assured that this communication has been worked out.
However last Thursday– it’s kind of like Deja vu all over again, folks– Senate officers note that a new policy was added to GURU, Policy AD92, on political campaign activities. Yet again, without review and comment from Faculty Senate. Depending on your discipline and motivations, this policy potentially impacts academic freedom, a core principle for faculty everywhere, and one repeatedly discussed in last year’s Big 10 Academic Alliance Meetings, which I attended along with the administrative fellows. I hate to say it, but I’ll say it. Faculty Senate might again be petitioned to release the hound of truth and justice, otherwise known as the Larry Backer Forensic.
In conclusion, can we please talk about something fun? And I’m going to. What does it mean to be All In? I’ve found from our campus visits, if you really want to learn what’s going on at a campus, speak with a staff person. And better yet, maybe speak with a staff person who carries around a walkie-talkie for real ground level report. Listen to this guy tell you why the grounds at every campus that we visit look so great, so perfectly manicured, the buildings so clean, and why everyone seems to be so friendly and helpful.
And he’ll reply to you, “Simple.” He tells us,” Point blank, every student counts. How well I do my job might be the difference between those parents and their son or daughter deciding to come here or not.” And this person went on to say, at a campus our size, every student really counts. From my perspective, this grounds maintenance worker is, I’m going to use the quotes, “All In.”
And then you have got a meeting with a small group of students, and you meet what I’m going to categorize as the student that embodies why every student really does count. The student happens to be an African-American male student. He’s from an economically challenged upbringing. And yet he is so very enthused, jets for the opportunity to be educated at this campus in Administration of Justice. You’d swear he’s talking about Stanford and not– and I’m not going to reveal where.
And he took the invitation to take part in our meeting so very seriously that he wears a brand-spanking new blue and white Penn State logo Polo, he’s wearing Penn State lion logo earrings, and he addresses all of us so very politely with sir and ma’am. And he’s incredibly articulate and sincere with his intention. And he’s got big plans to help local communities following graduation.
He embodies All In, but ironically he doesn’t even know that that larger kickoff event is going to be happening at University Park literally that same evening. And then he about brings us to tears when we hear that he was about to attend the All University Day at the Penn State-Minnesota football game. But the bus that he paid for got canceled. But not to be deterred, he and some friends pull enough money together, somewhere they find a car, they get enough gas money, and they go anyway. They’re almost thwarted by the exorbitant costs of game-day parking. They find money somewhere. They do that.
And he can’t stop talking about how inspirational the win over Minnesota was and how great it was to attend big University Park. And I’ll just say, this is why I think so many of us work so very hard at Penn State. And it’s for great students like this one, who are definitely All In, and they don’t even know it. That’s the conclusion for my remarks. I hope you enjoyed them.
What I’ll say is, for all Senators that are using Mediasite, please use the Ask the Question box to send a message that you have successfully connected to the live feed so we can add your name to the attendance sheet today. As a reminder to Senators that are joining today’s meeting via Mediasite, we’re using the voting system called polleverywhere.com/facultysenate. Instructions for using this voting system are posted on the Senate website. Please log into polleverywhere.com/facultysenate now.
Linda Caldwell, the NCAA Division I Faculty Athletics Representative, will step down from her position in summer 2017. The Faculty Athletics Representative is appointed by the University President after nomination from our Committee on Committees and Rules. We are requesting that you please send nominations for qualified individuals to Paula Brown at the Senate Office, and we will begin reviewing such applications on November 1. I do want to make it very apparent, because it’s only about two weeks from now, that we will continue to accept applications past that deadline. So, if you can’t make that, you can still apply.
The other announcement I have is the 2017 Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemoration Week Activities will include the day of service on Monday, January 16, Speak for Peace on Tuesday, January 17, from 7:00 to 9:00 PM in Heritage Hall, Community Showcase on Wednesday, January 18, from 5:30 PM to 7:00 PM in Heritage Hall, a debate event on Thursday, January 19, from 7:00 to 9:00 PM at Heritage Hall, a celebration featuring Dr. Cornel West on Friday, January 20, from 6:00 to 8 o’clock that evening in Schwab Auditorium. And I sincerely hope that Senators will take the opportunity to participate in these important events.
COMMENTS BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNIVERSITY
Chair Strauss: Unfortunately, President Barron is unable to be with us today, due to unexpected travel.
COMMENTS BY THE EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT AND PROVOST
Chair Strauss: Item F, Comments from the Executive Vice President and Provost of the University. I’m very pleased to recognize Provost Jones, who will prevent the informational report sponsored by University Planning, titled “The 2016-17 Operating Budget.” It appears as Appendix B in your agenda. Fifteen minutes has been allocated for the presentation and discussion. Nick?
Nicholas Jones, Provost: Thank you, Jim. And just to be clear, I’m going to present it, not prevent it.
So, I would actually like to– in honor of the recognition last week of Bob Dylan as the recipient of the Nobel Prize for Literature, I’d like to rename my presentation “Money Blues,” the first two lines of which go, “Sittin’ here thinking, where does the money go?”
These were actually lyrics from an unreleased Bob Dylan song. It’s true. They should have been on the album Desire. And if you don’t remember, this was the album cover for Desire. I come prepared. I think it was displaced by the much more popular song “Hurricane,” which was the lead song on Desire.
And just another little piece of trivia. The second song on the Desire album was entitled “Isis.” I understand there’s a re-release of Desire coming out. And in that re-release, that song is being retitled “LionPATH.” But unfortunately, the release has been delayed due to technical difficulties. Sorry. I couldn’t–
I couldn’t resist. I’m sorry.
Okay. So, this afternoon, I am pleased to share with the University Faculty Senate details about Penn State’s operating budget for 2016-17, as well as details on our tuition and fee structure. I’ll also speak briefly about our state appropriation request for 2017-2018.
The total operating budget for 2015-16 was just over $4.9 billion. For 2016-17, budget changes for all Penn State units across general funds, restricted funds, and auxiliary enterprises total $85 million. In addition, budget changes totaling $154.7 million, for the Milton S. Hershey Medical Center. Those adjustments put Penn State’s total operating budget at $5.142 billion for the fiscal year that began on July 1, 2016.
I began on slide two. OK. This pie chart shows the sources of Penn State’s revenue for this fiscal year. Tuition and fees provide almost 33% of operating revenue. For the first time, hospital and clinical revenues at 35.1% exceed those from tuition and fees. Auxiliary enterprises and restricted funds activities are self-supporting and mostly externally funded. They also provide reimbursement to the University for the General Funds based services that provide support for all units. The Medical Center also provides support to the College of Medicine.
The General Funds budget comprises four main areas– Education and General, Agricultural Research and Cooperative Extension, The College of Medicine, and the Pennsylvania College of Technology. Three sources of revenue support the General Funds budget of $2.1 billion. Tuition and fees represent the significant majority, at nearly 76%, and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania appropriations account for a little over 13%. Other sources combine to contribute the remaining 10.9%. These include support from the Medical Center for the College of Medicine, indirect cost recovery from grants, and income from the short-term investment of the University’s operating cash.
Historically, we have presented the General Funds budget without including the College of Medicine. So, the breakdown shown here is provided for comparative purposes. With that support excluded, the General Funds budget totals $1.971 billion. Tuition and fees still represent the significant majority of that amount, contributing more than 79%. The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania appropriation provides 13.6%, and other smaller sources combine to contribute the remaining 7.3%.
On July 13, 2016, the final pieces of the Commonwealth’s 2016-17 budget were passed by the General Assembly and signed by Governor Wolf. The budget included increases of 2.5% for Penn State’s general support appropriation, Agricultural Research and Cooperative Extension, and the Pennsylvania College of Technology, and additional funding for the Medical Center’s expansion of the Regional Medical Campus at University Park.
The state’s increased investment in Pennsylvania’s Land Grant Institution contributes to our ongoing efforts to provide access to a world-class education for all qualified Pennsylvanians and support to one of the state’s most significant industries, agriculture. The breakdown of the total appropriation is shown here. It includes general support of $230.4 million, $20.1 million for Penn College, $51.8 million for Ag Research and Cooperative Extension, and an estimated $13.4 million for the Hershey Medical Center from state and federal medical assistance funds.
This chart shows the state appropriations for the past 15 years, including this year’s total of $315.7 million. The next few slides focus on the Education and General budget, which is supported by the general support appropriation, that with this year’s increase, stands at $230.4 million. The Education and General, or E&G, subset of the General Funds budget is heavily dependent on tuition and fees, at more than 81% of the total. With this year’s increase in state support, the percentage of the E&G budget provided by our state appropriation is 11.2% of the total. And that supports the cost of attendance for Pennsylvania resident students.
Detailed planning for the 2016-17 operating budget began nearly a year in advance, with preparation of the budget plan and appropriation request that is normally submitted to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in September. We delayed the submission of the appropriation request until November last year in the hope that the 2015-16 appropriation would be finalized. Governor Wolf had indicated in his 2015-16 executive budget that one of his priorities was the restoration over two years of the 2011-12 cuts in state higher education funding.
In that context, Penn State requested full restoration of the 2011-12 cut as part of the 2016-17 budget plan and appropriation request. Restoration of those cuts would have provided a general support appropriation increase of $39.5 million, in addition to the $10.7 million increase included in the 2015-16 state budget that was finalized in March 2016. At the requested appropriations level, no base tuition increase for Pennsylvania resident undergraduate students was planned for the second consecutive year. When Penn State submitted its 2016-17 appropriation request in November 2015, the 2015-16 appropriation still had not been finalized.
As the 2015-16 state budget impasse continued over the next several months, it became clear that the actions to provide the revenue increases, which would be needed to carry out Governor Wolf’s plan to restore higher education funding over two years, did not have sufficient support in the General Assembly. When Governor Wolf presented his 2016-17 executive budget in February 2016, he acknowledged that the time frame for restoring the cuts would need to be extended. His plan called for an increase of 5%, or $11.2 million, in Penn State’s 2016-17 general support appropriation.
After the Governor presented his budget plan in February 2016, Penn State adjusted the planning parameters for the 2016-17 operating budget to include the lower appropriation increase in the executive budget. The operating budget incorporates the final 2016-17 increase of 2.5%, or $5.6 million, for the general support appropriation.
The parameters and priorities that guided our 2016-17 budget planning were focused on getting to the lowest possible tuition increase and adding to the pool of institutional student aid for our neediest students. To achieve this goal, while still providing the necessary resources to address the cost increases associated with institutional priorities and mandates, we identified nearly $20 million in expense reductions and re-allocations.
The 2016-17 E&G budget includes a net increase of $57.4 million for a total budgeted amount of $1.9 billion. This operating budget balances the need to fund critical priorities and mandated cost increases while keeping base tuition increases low or at zero for Pennsylvania undergraduate students. Cost increases associated with salaries, employee benefits, facility needs, innovation, and student aid, combined with targeted budget reductions, combine to yield a net increase in the E&G budget of $57.4 million.
The budget includes nearly $20 million of internal reductions. These include operating savings associated with restructuring the post-retirement health care liability, a combination of capping and reducing the subsidy provided to the World Campus and Outreach, increasing the tax that applies to the prior year’s revenue from auxiliary enterprises, and reductions from capturing savings across multiple budgets that resulted from prior actions to reduce worker’s compensation, health care, and dependent grant and aid costs.
This budget includes resources to fund contractual amounts for the labor agreements that apply to Penn State’s technical service employees and campus health professionals. It also covers centrally funded amounts for faculty promotions in the professorial ranks, a 3% increase in graduate assistant stipends, and a 2% pool to provide merit-based salary adjustments for faculty and staff and to make equity or market adjustments. Also included in the $25 million for compensation adjustments are the related costs of the increased employer contributions to Social Security and retirement plans, as well as compensation increases for employees of the Dickinson Schools of Law.
For 2016-17, the cost of the University’s benefits program is expected to increase by $11.8 million. The cost for the employer’s share of health care for employees, graduate assistants, and fellows is projected to increase by $6.5 million. The University also budgeted an additional $5.3 million for mandatory employer retirement contributions.
The University included in the 2016-17 budget an increase of $750,000 for property and liability insurances and a total of $14 million to address facility and maintenance needs. Included in this amount is $4 million for the maintenance and operations of new or newly remodeled facilities scheduled to come online this year.
About $5 million is included to fund the utility costs associated with these new or newly renovated facilities, the loan amortizations for the wastewater treatment plant at University Park, and energy savings projects, as well as an allocation to restore unfunded costs from prior years.
The E&G Capital Improvement Program was established to address the overwhelming need to provide modern laboratory and classroom space as a supplement to the capital funds received from the Commonwealth. These funds enable the University to incur debt for building construction and renovation. Extraordinary budget pressures, including the sharp appropriation reduction in 2011-12, prompted delays of any additional investments in the Capital Improvement Program for a period of three years. In 2015-16, the planned increase of $3.9 million, which was slated to support borrowing for the Agricultural Engineering Building and for part of the Chemical and Biomedical Engineering Building, was lowered to $1.6 million as a step to enable freezing of the base tuition for resident undergraduate students that year. In order to keep the Chemical and Biomedical Engineering project on schedule, $5 million was budgeted to support borrowing in 2016-17.
The 2016-17 budget includes $8 million for innovation initiatives to advance the thematic priorities outlined in Penn State’s strategic plan. The budget also includes $2 million to increase the recurring pool of need-based student aid, along with $2.4 million for grants-in-aid.
An additional $2 million is budgeted to meet instructional resource needs for higher cost programs. Budget changes related to the Dickinson Schools of Law, closing the remaining 2015-16 budget gap, and student fees make up the other $11.2 million.
The sources to support the 2016-17 operating budget are summarized here. The tuition rate increases, which are presented in more detail on an upcoming slide, provide $33.6 million. A 4% tuition increase for the law schools adds $6.1 million.
Additional tuition income of $6 million is budgeted from the prior year’s enrollment growth and resident and non-resident mix change at University Park. And $3 million is available from the modest increase in the upper division differential for higher cost programs and the rate increase that applied to the summer session in the previous budget year.
Other E&G income changes include a $5.6 million increase in the general support appropriation, $600,000 from the student initiated and approved increase of $1 per semester in the student activities fee, and the $2 per semester increase in the facilities fee. Also budgeted is two and one-half million from an increase in indirect cost recovery and the continuation of the plan to gradually phase out the historical E&G appropriation transfer to The College of Medicine.
Targeted budget reductions and captured cost savings, strong enrollments, and addressing some needs with nonrecurring sources make it possible to have an aggregate based tuition increase for Pennsylvania resident undergraduate students of 1.76%. This aggregate includes no tuition increases for Pennsylvania resident undergraduate students at eight of our Commonwealth Campuses.
Pennsylvania resident tuition rates for lower division students at University Park increased by 2.29%, or $190 per semester. Increases for Commonwealth Campus resident lower tuition division students range from zero at eight campuses to $81 to $105 per semester at our other campuses. This slide provides a summary of all the lower division resident and nonresident tuition rate increase percentages and dollar amounts.
As part of the strategy to drive down the total cost of a degree, 2016-17 marks the second year in which the student information technology fee was not increased. When this fee was introduced more than two decades ago, Penn State needed a dedicated and immediate revenue stream to fund newly emerging technology. Today, the infrastructure supported by the Information Technology Fee revenue is as integral to the operation of the University as any other cost that is supported with tuition.
Our students have said that they want to include the fee as part of the tuition so the allocation of all separately assessed mandatory student fees will be under their control. To that end, we would like to eliminate the fee by combining it with tuition. However, this combination, while not raising the cost of a degree, could appear as a large tuition increase to students, parents, and the public, if they did not at the same time understand that the IT fee had been eliminated. Therefore, to have a seamless transition to a new tuition and fee structure, this future change will need to follow an awareness effort that brings visibility and understanding to both our students and their parents.
For reference, shown here are some of the publicly reported resident tuition increases at other major public research universities. The list includes many of our Big 10 peers, all of whom receive more financial support from their states.
Agricultural Research and Cooperative Extension are also included in the General Funds budget. But unlike the Education and General component, these activities are not supplemented with tuition revenue. The welcome appropriation increase of $1.3 million fully funds the inflationary costs for employee salaries and provides much needed funding for program needs.
The Milton S. Hershey Medical Center and the College of Medicine have an overall budget of slightly more than $2 billion. The final component of the General Funds budget is the Pennsylvania College of Technology, a wholly owned subsidiary of Penn State based in Williamsport. The Board of Directors approved a 2016-17 budget plan on June 23, 2016, prior to the finalization of the state appropriation. And therefore the approved budget did not include the two and one-half percent appropriation increase of $490,000.
The 2016-17 budget includes increases in General Funds expense and income of $261,000, and reductions in restricted funds and auxiliary enterprises that total more than $4 million, for a total Penn College operating budget of $150.4 million.
Before I conclude, I’d like to address briefly our state appropriation request for 2017-18. Penn State’s request was due to the Pennsylvania Department of Education on September 21, 2016. Our proposed request for state support for operations in 2017-18, next fiscal year, includes an 11% requested increase in the General Support line. An increase of $25.3 million would make it possible to hold tuition flat for Pennsylvania resident undergraduate students across all of Penn State campuses for the second time in three years. The proposal also includes the same percentage increase for the Agricultural College Land Scrip Fund, the Pennsylvania College of Technology, and medical assistance funding for the Hershey Medical Center.
The support requested through the Department of Education includes $22.3 million for Penn College, for a total of $278.1 million. The request through the Department of Agriculture for the Scrip Fund totals $57.5 million. Including an increase for the funding allocated through the Department of Human Services for the Hershey Medical Center, the total amount in our proposed appropriation request is approximately $350 million.
Thank you for your attention. I welcome any comments or questions you may have.
Chair Strauss: As a reminder, for questions, please stand and wait for the microphone to come your way. Please give your name and unit before asking your question. Do we have any questions for Provost Jones? In the back. Larry?
Larry Backer, Penn State Law: Thank you very much for a very interesting presentation. There are a couple of questions. I’m just going to ask one for the moment. I’m intrigued by the idea of collapsing the technology fee into tuition. And in fact, all other fees into tuition.
Your hesitation comes from one angle, which is the kind of visibility angle. It looks like a tuition increase. My worry is that generally speaking, when institutions do that, within a year or two, they come up with a good reason for instituting a new fee. So that effectively what you’ve done is now effectively increase tuition. If you do this, would the University pledge– I know you can’t do this, but maybe it will give us some sense that in fact you won’t then turn around and a year or two later institute a new fee– you won’t call it a technology fee, you’ll call it a whatever fee– to effectively substitute one fee for another and then pad the– not pad– add it to our tuition what had been the fee?
Nicholas Jones: Yes, we’ll call it a Senate Fee. Yeah. Larry, that’s a great point. And I can say in all frankness that that is absolutely not the intent. The situation we have now is we have tuition of $10, an IT fee of $1. We think we should roll those together and have tuition of $11, because the notion of separating IT as a separate cost to our students is something that’s probably a decade out of date. So, no, there is no intention of doing a bait and switch.
The complementary piece that is important is that then leaves all fees that remain under the control of our students. And so the University will control tuition, and the students will control fees. And I think the students will be very mindful of any fee increases that they have– and they would like to actually have one consolidated fee– and the University does not intend to increase that $11 to $15 with the addition of a Senate tariff, or equivalent.
Larry Backer: And just a tiny, tiny little question, if I may. How much of the Medical School’s income is represented, or includes the amount of money that they receive for the services that they provide for giving benefit-related services to Penn State faculty and other covered members?
Nicholas Jones: I’ll give a tiny answer to that question. I don’t know offhand, but I can get that information for you.
Larry Backer: That would be useful. Thank you.
Chair Strauss: Yes, question?
Sharon Holt, Abington: Thank you. That was very interesting. A quick question for you, given the disappointment this year in terms of the actual appropriation. I’m sorry. I’m Sharon Holt from Abington. Do you have a judgment on how likely we are to see that $350 million?
Nicholas Jones: There was information released– I think it was last week, within the last 10 days, that showed that the Commonwealth was seeing a revenue shortfall at this point in the fiscal year of, I think, $200 million or something. That is probably not a good positive sign in terms of what we could be thinking about, what the Commonwealth can be thinking about, for its next year’s budget, and then as a result of what our appropriation might be.
But at this stage in the appropriation process, the request process, we feel it’s appropriate to put out best foot forward. You know, we are in good faith taking the Governor at his word that his intention was to restore the cuts. And we, of course, want to support that inclination in every way that we can. But we realize that as the fiscal year rolls out and the budgeting process proceeds, we may need to revise that scenario that we’ve submitted. It’s very much the preliminary submission, and we stand ready to adjust it as circumstances on the ground demand.
Chair Strauss: Any other questions for Provost Jones?
Peter Dendle, Mont Alto: Hi. Dendle, Mont Alto. Along with many other Senators, I was interested to read AD92 over lunch today. And I guess some of us were curious, do HR and AD and other offices– is it sort of selective to pick and choose what is going to come to the Senate for consultation in advance? Or is there a mechanism by which anything major should go through the Senate? Or how does that work?
Nicholas Jones: Thank you for that question. And in fact, Michael Bérubé and I met earlier today to have a conversation about a version of that question. And I think it’s clear that we need to do better. I think while we want to be careful that we don’t overburden the Senate and the Senators with reviewing grammatical or really very, very simple changes, it feels to me like too many policies, for which we as an institution could benefit from the robust consultation from the Senate, seem to be pushing through the system faster than they should be. And so we talked about it today, and I’m committed to look at that process and ensure that we allow time for adequate consultation with the Senate on all of these policies.
Joyce Furfaro, Liberal Arts: Furfaro, Liberal Arts. Question about the possible restructuring of post-retirement health care liability. I was wondering if you could speak a little bit more about that and say who would be involved in the decision process on that and how it might affect retirees coming up.
Nicholas Jones: Are you talking about what I mentioned in the presentation? No, there is no impending– we’re not talking about an impending restructuring. We did some already in terms of how the institutional resources had been set aside to cover that liability. And as a result of having done that, we were able to effect some budgetary advantages to the institution. And so those have already been done. And they have no practical effect on individuals. It’s really just a– it was a financial vehicle that created additional resources that we didn’t previously have at our fingertips.
Asad Azemi, Brandywine: Azemi, Brandywine. You mentioned a 2% merit-based increase for salary. Is that the baseline or is it the minimum or is it the average?
Nicholas Jones: The 2% salary increase this year?
Asad Azemi: Yeah, I guess.
Nicholas Jones: So, the best way to describe the 2% is if we were spending as an institution $100 total on salaries, we increase that number to $102. So it is a 2% increase in the resource allocation that we make to salaries. And that gets distributed by budget executives across the University for merit, for market adjustments, and for equity in a manner that they see fit. In some instances, budget executives are able to use existing budgetary resources to supplement that amount, in particular for merit and equity. But the 2% represents, really, the average that is provided centrally to support salary increases.
Chair Strauss: No questions?
Nicholas Jones: Thank you all very much for laboring through that presentation.
Chair Strauss: We have a robust schedule in large part because our committees have been working very hard and have delivered a number of different reports, some of them actually early, ahead of schedule, which is great. As we move into the Forensic and Informational Business segments of today’s meeting agenda, I would remind our presenters to please try to adhere to the time allotted by Senate Council for the presentation and discussion. I will inform each presenter when there are five minutes remaining.
Office of the Vice Provost for Educational Equity
Chair Strauss:The first Forensic Business item, which appears as Appendix C in the agenda, is from Educational Equity and Campus Environment. It is entitled “Office of the Vice Provost for Educational Equity.” Vice Provost Marcus Whitehurst will give a presentation and lead the following discussion. Twenty minutes is allocated for the presentation and discussion. Marcus?
Robert Loeb, Dubois: I’m going to take the liberty of just reading two questions that are the basis of this forensic session. The first one is, what is the Office of the Vice Provost for Educational Equity doing to foster diversity at Penn State? And the second question is, does the Faculty Senate have suggestions on how this office can further advance diversity? Obviously I’ll be back.
Marcus Whitehurst, Vice Provost for Educational Equity: Thank you, Dr. Loeb. And certainly thank you for your leadership as Chair of this Senate Committee on Educational Equity and Campus Environment. Also, thank you, Chair Strauss, for your leadership as Chair of the Faculty Senate, and for an opportunity to speak with the Senate this afternoon.
In my short time with you this afternoon, I hope to cover just two things. One, a brief overview of the Office of the Vice Provost for Educational Equity, and to address the two forensic questions that were presented to you, with a twist on the second one. I hope to be able to provide some suggestions on how faculty can further advance diversity and inclusion at the University.
So, the Office of Educational Equity was established in 1990. It was charged with fostering diversity and inclusion at Penn State. In 2001, our mission expanded to include first generation and low income students across the University. Our mission focuses on college access programs, student success programs, leadership throughout the institution as it relates to diversity and inclusion, strategic planning, as well as what we like to call institutional expertise on diversity and inclusion that advance the institution’s mission.
Beyond Penn State, we target high schools and the surrounding counties. We assist, again, low income youth and adults with overcoming certain social barriers that relate to access and barriers to higher education. We also support historically under-represented populations, individuals with disabilities, veterans, women, and individuals who identify with the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer communities.
Some of our office programs are at an educational opportunity center located in Philadelphia. We’ll be looking to move that particular center to Berks County in 2017. That particular center focuses on providing resources for adults who did not necessarily go to college after high school but went to either start a family or went right into the workforce. We also have our Multicultural Resource Center, Student Disability Resources, Office for Veterans Programs, our Talent Search Office, which is funded by the United States Department of Education, through our TRiO programs. We have three sites for that particular grant– here at University Park, Penn State York, and we have a new one that will be located in the McKeesport area. And we also have several outward bound programs.
We also support three equity commissions. These commissions provide information to both President Barron and myself as it relates to women in general, issues of racial and ethnic diversity, and issues relevant to our lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender community. Our office also provides seed funding for start-up programs across the University that are related to diversity and inclusion and enhancing the diversity mission for the University.
Our history includes a Framework to Foster Diversity. This was a separate diversity strategic plan that existed– it started in 1998. There were three different iterations of it. But starting this year, under Provost Jones, we were able to successfully integrate the diversity plan into the new University Strategic Plan. And I’ll provide a little bit more information on what that looks like as we go further.
So, why do we do this work in educational equity? Many of you may be aware that the Supreme Court says that states can ban Affirmative Action. And as you can see here, there have been several states that have taken that opportunity– Oklahoma, New Hampshire, Arizona, Colorado, Nebraska, Michigan, Florida, Washington, and California. But if we look at some of the changing demographics according to the Western Commission on Higher Education, particularly as they look at public high school graduation rates in the State of Pennsylvania– again, this graph does not include private schools or charter schools but it focuses on what the expectation or the projection will be as it relates to diverse graduates from the public schools in Pennsylvania. The top grid line illustrates the Asian-Pacific population, yellow is African-American, green Hispanic-Latino, blue is our white-Caucasian population.
As you can see, this graph is illustrating that we can expect that we’ll see increases of about 60% by 2019- 2020, as it relates to graduation rates of our Hispanic-Latino students from public high schools in the state of Pennsylvania. And you’ll notice also the top lines across, they all expand at the end near the 2027- 2028 time on this particular graph. And the blue area is the one area that starts to decrease.
How does this particularly affect, or look like at Penn State? Let’s look at this table, for example, here at University Park. For example, in 1990, 91% of our student population identified as white. As of the fall of 2015, that number was at 68%. For African-Americans in 1990 at University Park, we saw 3%. As of fall of ’15, that number is now 4. For Asian, it was 3% in 1990, 6% as of ’15. And Hispanic was 1% in 1990. And as of fall of ’15, that has increased to 6%. And the fastest growing population at University Park was our international population. In 1990, that was 1%. And as of last fall, we saw an increase to 11%.
So, how does this look at our campuses? Same thing. In 1990, 94% identified as white. And as of fall of ’15, that number has now decreased down to 69%. And all the other areas, you’ll see a similar increase in those populations from diverse backgrounds.
How does this look for our faculty? As you can see I think the chart speaks for itself. This is a 2014 illustration. I was looking to do a comparison, but I ran into our good friend LionPATH and Work Lion. But as I came to the meeting today, I was able to speak with Susan Basso, who provided me updates on what these numbers look like for 2016.
So, the Caucasian area there is now at 73%. And there’s a slight increase for Asian population faculty. That’s now 10.1%. African-American is also up at 2.92%. And all of the other areas were slightly down by maybe one-tenth of a percent.
So if we remove, for example, race and ethnicity out of the conversation and just look at gender for example, this bar chart is showing that the first line there represents our full professor faculty. Second bar shows our associate professors. Third assistant, fourth senior lecturers. The fifth line is our lecturers.
But if we look at just the full professor faculty members, for example, this bar is showing that 75% of our full professor faculty at the University are represented by men. And 25% are women. So part of what we’re trying to figure out is how do we bridge that gap between men and women who have that full professor faculty status.
So, what are some of the things we’re trying to do in Educational Equity? We have partnered with Dr. Keith Gilyard, who’s a Sparks Professor of English and African-American Studies. He’s also a former Chair of the Promotion and Tenure Committee. He serves as our senior faculty mentor, and he provides supportive services and resources to our tenure track faculty, members from diverse backgrounds. He provides one-on-one consultation, review of dossiers, some supplemental funding for professional conferences, and networking activities such as receptions and colloquiums for junior faculty going through the P&T process.
We’ve also put together a University statement on diversity, equity, and inclusive excellence. The statement is essentially a call to action. And we want to encourage everyone to pay attention to some of the things I highlighted in this particular statement as we all can work together to hopefully improve where we are in terms of diversity and inclusion.
For our students, we have created a report bias website. This generated a lot of interest back in 2001 when some of our students held some demonstrations on campus and asked the University to provide a 24-hour reporting hotline for students to make reports of incidents that occur after 5 o’clock or on the weekends when many of us are away from the office. And essentially, we encourage our students to be proactive and be the difference and essentially stand up for themselves and keep us alert as University employees, should there be incidents that occur that may have some bias associated with them.
In terms of strategic planning, this graph here, courtesy of the Office of Planning and Assessment. Essentially what we want to do, we have a section of the plan– I know many of you have read it– “Fostering and Embracing a Diverse World.” As you can see in the third bar there, we’re looking to have diversity interwoven throughout the five thematic areas and three supporting element areas. And we have representatives on each of these eight executive committees that will focus on diversity and inclusion as we move and implement this strategic plan.
We’re looking at four simple goals for diversity. And this is where I think members of the Faculty Senate certainly can participate and help advance diversity and inclusion. So, the first goal for each of the faculty members, I think it would be important to consider and maybe ask yourself, what do you do to create a welcoming campus climate? What can you do to advance and build a diverse student body? When you’re asked to serve on search committees, what can you do to advance and build a diverse workforce and management? And most importantly, when you develop your syllabi, what can you do to develop a curriculum that fosters United States and international cultural competencies?
So, these are some of the things that we’re hoping our faculty can also participate in. As Chair Strauss indicated, on October 6 we kicked off All In at Penn State, a Commitment to Diversity and Inclusion. Essentially, this is our ongoing commitment to spotlight the importance of diversity and inclusion at Penn State. We want to inspire all members of the University community to take an active role in promoting respect and inclusivity in the work that we do. I encourage you all to visit the website at allin.psu.edu.
And lastly, I think I would encourage you all to support our fellow faculty members and professors of law as we look to have an open discussion on the First Amendment and its intersections with diversity and inclusion. This will be held on Thursday, October 27 at 7:00 PM, Freeman Auditorium, which is located in the HUB. We will also livestream this panel, and we will record it for future use as well. Thank you so much. And I will take any questions.
Matthew Wilson, Harrisburg: Wilson, Harrisburg. I think if I remember your statistics correctly, it said that the total percentage of African-American students at University Park is 4%, but at the non-University Park locations it’s 8%. Did I get that right?
Chair Strauss: 6 here, I think.
Marcus Whitehurst: Let me go directly back to that slide.
Chair Strauss: I thought it was 6 at UP.
Marcus Whitehurst: You’re asking specifically the African-American number?
Matthew Wilson: Yes. But my question is why do you think it’s higher at the non-University Park locations than it is at University Park?
Marcus Whitehurst: I think there’s many variables that could address that question. I think many students feel comfortable staying at a campus closer to home. Many students in general like the smaller, intimate campus environment. And the cost differential. The campuses are a little bit more affordable than University Park.
Chair Strauss: Question up front.
Samantha Geisinger, UPUA: Samantha Geisinger, University Park Undergraduate Association. Do you think there would be any benefit to incorporating the report bias system into a class module so that students knew about its existence and were able to find it easier?
Marcus Whitehurst: Yes, I think there is some relevance to allowing our faculty to highlight the importance of resources on campus, such as report bias. Each semester the Office of the President sends out an e-mail providing the University community with resources to report various acts of intolerance or issues that may occur on campus, and the report bias is listed on that particular email. So, if the faculty could highlight that and just mention that we do have these resources available for students, I think it could only benefit the awareness that our students may have around areas that they can report incidents like bias, or whatever incident may occur.
Chair Strauss: Other questions? Yes.
Willie Ofosu, Wilkes-Barre: Willie Ofosu, Wilkes-Barre. We do have a senior mentor for the faculty. Is there any plan to have a similar thing for students? Like, in terms of a mentorship.
Marcus Whitehurst: Many of the offices within Educational Equity have various support programs for students. There are women of color groups that exist. There are groups targeted for mentoring for our Asian student population. I know the Paul Robeson Cultural Center has a program called Blueprint that’s a mentoring program for students, as well as Fast Start, the University-wide mentoring program, geared toward matching first-year students with an upper class student, as well as a University administrator in addition to an alum. So there’s various mentoring programs available for students. So, great question.
Chair Strauss: Question in the front.
Ljubisa Radovic, Earth and Mineral Sciences: Radovic, Earth and Mineral Sciences. Is the large increase in the international student population just a consequence of globalization, or of some recruiting policy?
Marcus Whitehurst: That’s a great question. And there is a person that has that expertise sitting with us today, Dr. Adewumi. I’m sure that he would be able to answer that much more eloquently than I could. But I think it’s partially because of the work of his great office. Michael, I don’t know if you wanted to come up and answer that question.
Michael Adewumi, Vice Provost for Global Programs: It’s a national phenomenon. So I think it’s partly recruitment. But also, we have increased engagement around the world. So that also helps. But in addition to that, there is a lot of desire for a lot of people around to world to actually get an American education. You also can look at the population around the world– China is an example– where you have a growing middle class population who can actually afford American education. So all those things combined is what is responsible.
Chair Strauss: We are out of time. I will take one more question, however. Does anyone have?
Marcus Whitehurst: OK, thank you so much.
Student Presentation by Presidents of UPUA and CCSG
Chair Strauss: The second forensic business item appears as Appendix D in the agenda. It is from our Student Life Committee and is entitled “Student Presentation by the Presidents of the University Park Undergraduate Association and the Council of Commonwealth Student Government, CCSG.” Committee co-Chairs Mary Miles and Alex Shockley will introduce the speakers. Fifteen minutes is allocated in total for both presentations.
Alex Shockley, Student Senator: Alex Shockley, Co-Chair of Student Life. So, it’s my pleasure to introduce President Terry Ford of the University Park Undergraduate Association– that’s the undergraduate student government here at University Park– in addition to President Pavel Shusharin of the Council of Commonwealth Student Governments. That’s the overall student government for undergraduates of all the commonwealth. Today, they will be addressing the question, ‘What efforts are being made by UPUA and CCSG to better student life for all undergraduate students?’. And we’ll start with President Terry Ford.
Terry Ford: Good afternoon, everyone. Thank you, Alex, for that introduction. My name is Terry Ford. As Alex just mentioned, I am the President of UPUA this year. It’s great to be with you all again once again. And today I’d like to talk a little bit about some of our strategic priorities for the year and some of the events that we’re hosting throughout the year to sort of enhance the student experience and promote student well-being.
But before I do that, allow me a brief moment to explain a bit more about UPUA and how our structure is. We have four standing committees. We have a Committee on Student Life, Facilities, Governmental Affairs, and Academic Affairs. Many of our members in the Academic Affairs Committee work frequently with all of you, including our Chair, Samantha Geisinger, and we really value that relationship not only with all of you but with our friends in the administration as well. And that’s something that we use to our advantage every year to make sure the student voice is being heard fully.
So, as I mentioned, I’ll talk a little bit about our priorities for the year. And every year when somebody runs for UPUA president, they make a whole list of promises to the student body. But this year I thought it would be really useful when I ran for president to outline a top three list of priorities. And the first and foremost priority for us this year, I think, is ending the mental health care funding crisis. And this is something that many of you know much about. You’ve heard a lot about this issue and its effects upon students.
And for many years, UPUA and other student groups have been promoting mental health awareness and well-being through events throughout the year. And essentially what we’re trying to do is encourage students to seek out help should they need it, or should one of their friends need it.
But the reality is, as we all know– and this is not a Penn State specific problem but really a national problem– there really aren’t enough resources to take care of students to a level that they might need or expect. And earlier today, Provost Jones mentioned a bit about student fees and how some things are changing in that regard. And one of the things that will be happening that we’re very excited about is the creation of a student fee board. And essentially what this will do will combine all the fees that currently exist into one, which will be overseen by students, as the Provost mentioned. And there will be actually two fee boards– one for University Park, one for the Commonwealth Campuses.
And here at the University Park, I think, one of our top priorities using this new fee board is to allocate additional resources to CAPS using student fee dollars. We all know how tight the University budget can be sometimes. And because this is something that students are so passionate about, we feel that it’s incumbent upon us to do what we can to advance that interest. And because we now have this new flexibility with the student fee board, we see that as a good vehicle to address this issue, financially at least.
Another one of our top priorities for the year is student civic engagements. And again, a national problem, but something that we think we can address here at Penn State specifically. But as you all know, students tend to vote less than their older peers. They tend to participate less in local and state politics. And especially here in the State College Borough, where decisions made by our borough council directly impact the everyday student experience, we’re especially passionate about getting students registered to vote and involved in the discussions of the State College Borough Council.
And so last spring, we created an elections roundtable with about 20 other student organizations. And a few weeks ago, we had something called PSU Votes Week– and I’ll talk more about that in just a moment. But the idea of the week was to engage students, get them registered to vote, educate them a bit more about both the presidential election but also future elections that may not be happening in November but later on in the year, including local elections.
Additionally, in the spring, we began a conversation with many in the State College Borough about the property maintenance code and zoning requirements for student housing areas in the borough. And there are a number of issues with that in particular, including new ordinances that have been proposed that really would, in our opinion, negatively impact the student everyday experience. So we’re working very closely with officials in the borough, and we’re happy to report that based upon student engagement and student input, the borough will be eliminating one of their recommendations, one of those proposed ordinances. And it actually is the one that we thought was most negative for students. So we’re very happy that they’re willing to do that. And I think that shows the power of student engagement. When students get involved, things really can happen.
And finally, our number three priority of our top three– not in any particular order, of course. But the third one is promoting diversity and inclusion. And I think this is important for a number of reasons, but especially this year. We see the University engaging on this issue with the All In campaign.
And many of our partners– student organizations like the Student Black Caucus, the Latino Caucus, Asian-Pacific American Caucus, and others– this is something that they’ve always been passionate about. And it’s time for us as the student government, as everyone’s student government, to really get hands on with this issue.
And so we’ve done a number of things this year that we think will advance diversity and inclusion at Penn State. We’ve formed a student diversity commission, which includes members of both the UPUA and some of those other groups which I just mentioned. One of the things that that group is doing is planning a town hall event for members of the Penn State Board of Trustees to talk specifically about diversity and inclusion.
And we’re also forming a committee in conjunction with the Office of Strategic Communications, to allow that office to have and hear direct input from multicultural students regarding some of the events and issues that they’re dealing with on a year-to-year basis. And I think that’s going to be a very good avenue for some of those students to promote their own events. Because all of those groups, and other multicultural groups, host a number of really fascinating cultural events throughout the year. And one of their main priorities is making sure that all students know that those events are happening and that they’re open to all students. So we’ll be happy to work with both those student groups and the Office of Strategic Communications to make sure those events are being well publicized.
And finally, I’ll talk a little bit, very briefly, about some of our programming events this year. In September, we had three action weeks, if you will. The first one was the Stand for State Fall Action Week. Many of you know the Stand for State Bystander Intervention Training Program is something very recent here at Penn State.
And our role during the week in September was mainly informational. We had information tables in the HUB and across campus, engaging students and letting them know more about the program and how to intervene effectively and safely in situations where violence may ensue. And we also worked with the national It’s On Us Campaign to promote Stand for State and Penn State’s efforts on social media.
Additionally, we produced an It’s On Us video with athletes and administrators from Temple University to be played at the Temple football game a few weeks ago. And we’re very happy about that. Also in September, we hosted and organized a test preparation week, where we handed out a number of free graduate school preparation test booklets to students. We also provided free practice exams and discounted review sessions for students. And all in all, we’re happy to report that because of this program, students were able to save thousands of dollars on this preparation, and we hope that it serves them well in the future.
Finally, this past week we had the “What to Fix Week”. This is something we do every year. It’s designed to directly engage the student body and hear their input as to what they think should be fixed at Penn State. We received a number of suggestions once again this year, including things such as mental health funding, as I talked about before, and the importance of including report bias information on course syllabi, the need to have a syllabi database and online access to syllabi, all issues which we’ve been talking about and all issues that I think students care very much about.
Finally, in November, we will be having our Mental Health and Wellness Week. Again, I talked a lot about how we promote well-being and student’s seeking help should they need it. But the issue, in our view, is that there really aren’t enough resources to help those students, even if we do encourage them to reach out for help. So that really underscores the importance of the funding aspect of all this. And hopefully sometime soon, with the creation of the student fee board, we’ll be able to address that issue directly.
That concludes my report. I’d be happy to take any questions, or unless you’d like to have Pavel go first.
Alex Shockley: Now I’m happy to introduce Pavel Shusharin, President of the CCSG. He’s going to take a few minutes to explain some of their goals and initiatives.
Pavel Shusharin: Thank you, Alex, for the introduction. Hello, everyone. This is the first time for me to speak in front of this group. I’m very thankful that you’ve invited student organizations to interact with yourselves. I think it’s really important to get our points across and to really try to understand each other’s side, and what are we trying to do in order to advance student experience.
So, I guess I’ll start a little bit like Terry did and explain what CCSG stands for, which is Council of Commonwealth Student Governments. And the way our organization runs, I think it’s very interesting and unique in a way. We are both a student government and advocacy body for Commonwealth Campus students.
What we do, and what I think we do best, is we try to unite student governments at each individual Commonwealth Campus together around some of the same goals and concerns that they have that University might face. We do it by means of so-called Council Weekends, where we have all of them come into University Park or another Commonwealth Campus– and I think this year we’re doing it at Worthington-Scranton in November.
So they all come in for a two-day event full of different breakouts and meetings that concentrate on specific topics ranging from things like mental health concerns, like concerns of nontraditional students at Commonwealth Campuses, student engagement, and so on. Some of the big things that we have talked about already this year were, first of all, that we showcased the new proposal for the insurance policy that is going to affect all of the students at not only Commonwealth Campuses but University Park as well. So we try to use that platform to educate students on different initiatives that they might not be aware of, as well as encourage their participation because we really do need their voices to be heard, especially here in University Park, and being geographically disconnected for most of the time.
So, apart from student insurance, one of the big, big topics for us is student engagement. And we address it in various ways. The most important one is to understand the unique nature of all of the Commonwealth Campuses. It is really hard to paint with a broad brush on one issue that they might be concerned about or find one solution that would work for all the campuses. However, there are similarities. And we do our best to try to find them and to try to provide solutions for those type of situations.
And when it comes to student engagement, a particular concern for us is student engagement at the commuter campuses, the ones who do not have on-campus housing. It is a very intricate problem to try to engage not only the students who do not live on campus but also nontraditional students in the activities that you see students engaged in here every day. We try to provide different means and ways for student governments at their respective campuses to tackle that particular issue.
Another concern when it comes to student engagement is the so-called 2+2 Program, where students transition from a Commonwealth Campus to University Park. And the bottleneck in that process is that students who already established some sort of presence at their campus and are already part of groups, have their community around them, come to a new environment that everyone– it seems like everyone–already has their own friends. So it’s really hard to break through that cycle.
So we try to collaborate with different campus organizations at University Park to ensure that we start early in this transition process, so that the students who do come to University Park as part of this program already have connections, already have people that they know and can engage in those extracurricular activities that really do shape the Penn State experience.
Some of the upcoming events for us, some of the bigger ones, is we’re partnering with the Invent Penn State Initiative, which has already opened at various Commonwealth Campuses. They’ve opened their launch boxes, and I think it’s a great way to really promote entrepreneurship and innovation across the Commonwealth Campuses.
So we try to consolidate these efforts in collaboration with student governments at the Commonwealth Campuses, as well as the entrepreneurship clubs that they have at their locations. We are already in the planning process for that event. We hope to unite them, not only to talk about the University issues that we always do talk about, but also to engage them in this experience and use University Park to give them an opportunity to showcase their innovation skills and so on.
Chair Strauss: Pavel, thank you. We’ve got about one minute, if you can summarize very quickly.
Pavel Shusharin: All right, last thing that I would like to mention, however, before I leave this place is, as you’ve seen from Vice Provost Whitehurst, the numbers for Commonwealth Campuses, when it comes to diversity and inclusion, are really impressive.
So, what we are going to try to do this year is not only we’re talking about it and working on different issues through our councils, but also have a united effort, a united so-called Diversity Summit, where we will invite scholars to showcase different issues, whether it’s women’s concerns in the workforce or concerns related to race issues and so on and so forth. So, we hope that it will be a big event for our organization this year. But other than that, I really wanted to thank you for inviting us to speak with you. Any questions, I guess?
Chair Strauss: Thank you very much.
Chair Strauss: We’re out of time. Item G on our agenda, Unfinished Legislative Business. There is none.
Chair Strauss: Item H, Legislative Reports. Please be reminded that parliamentary procedure requires that all motions be submitted to the Chair in writing. If needed, the Senate staff can provide you with pencil and paper. For voting, we will be using clickers today. The system provides a precise count for each vote taken. It also allows for confidential voting and gives immediate results. Senators should have received a clicker before entering the auditorium. Raise your hand if you need a functioning clicker.
Establishment of the Standing Joint Committee for General Education Assessment
We had planned that there would be two legislative reports from the Committee on Committees and Rules. One has been withdrawn. It is the item for General Education Assessment and setting up that new committee. It is withdrawn in part because in discussions this morning, it became apparent that the new Director of General Education didn’t even exist when we passed the legislation last spring. So we need a little bit of time to reformulate the best outcome for that.
Revisions to Senate Standing Rules Article II Section 6 Committee on Research
The second legislative report, however, will stand. This is the legislative report from the Committee on Committees and Rules, and it is titled “Revisions to the Standing Senate Rules, Article 2, Section 6, Committee on Research” and appears in Appendix F. Committee Chair Dawn Blasko will respond to questions. Dawn?
Dawn Blasko, Erie: Thank you. This committee change is also in response to changes in personnel. And we have right here– do we have somewhere the actual report? I want to show you just one change that we neglected to make but we caught in time. Thanks to the committee for pointing it out.
So you’ll notice that we have the Vice Provost for Graduate Education and Dean of the Graduate School, and the Vice President for Research. These positions were divided. And we now have two different people in them. But at the very bottom, we did not catch that the Senate advisory body to the Vice President for Research, and it should say Vice Provost for Graduate Education and Dean of the Graduate School. So we would like to ask that we are able to make that change. The committee brought it to CC&R’s attention. CC&R supported it this morning. So, is that OK with parliamentary procedure, to make that change?
Chair Strauss: We’re fine with that. That’s fine.
Dawn Blasko: Do we need a vote?
Chair Strauss: No, we do not, because it’s editorial in nature.
Dawn Blasko: OK. So then, what we will be voting on is to add the second person to the advisory section as well. Any questions?
Chair Strauss: OK. The report is being brought to the floor by committee, and therefore needs no second. Are we ready to vote? We need a clicker replacement over here to the right, and one down here to the left.
Senators joining the meeting via Mediasite, you may cast your vote on polleverywhere.com. To accept the motion, press A. To reject the motion, press B.
Chair Strauss: How are we doing with Poll Everywhere?
Anna Butler, Senate Staff: Are we ready for the Poll Everywhere votes?
Chair Strauss: OK. So I understand that there has been a suggestion that we extend the time, but noting the numbers of people– and I just took a quick preview– it’s overwhelmingly in favor. So I’d really like to not take anybody’s time to do a re-vote, if that’s OK with the floor. OK. Thank you.
But everyone’s vote is important. Thank you very much, Dawn. OK.
Revisions to Senate Policy 67-00, Athletic Competition
Our next legislative report is titled “Revisions to Senate Policy 67-00, Athletic Competition.” This report is from Intercollegiate Athletics and appears in Appendix G. Committee Chair Jonna Kulikowich and Faculty Athletics Representative Linda Caldwell will respond to questions. But I don’t see one of them, so– OK, are you wearing Linda’s hat?
Jonna Kulikowich, Education: Very simply, you’ve seen this report before. In April of this past year, it was passed as two legislative items, 67-10 and 67-30. At that time, the committee was still working on one section that pertains to 67-10. It is Grants–in-Aid.
And with the work that the committee did last year, the recommendation is to delete item B of section 3, Grants-in-Aid of 67-10, which reads “Student athletes may not receive a grant-in-aid unless they are otherwise eligible for participation in intercollegiate athletics.” And the reason is that determining receipt of a grant-in-aid should be the same for all students.
Chair Strauss: The report is brought to the floor by the committee and needs no second. Are we ready to vote, or are there any questions? Seeing none, again, Senators joining the meeting by Mediasite, you can cast your vote on polleverywhere.com. For everyone else with clickers, if you wish to accept the motion, please press A. To reject the motion, please press B.
Anna Butler: Well, Poll Everywhere I have four accept.
Chair Strauss: Super. The motion carries. Thank you, Jonna, for your committee’s report. Where’d Jonna go? Oh, and Kim Nelson.
Change to Senate Policy 43-00 (Syllabus)
Okay. The final legislative report on today’s agenda is from Undergraduate Education. It appears as Appendix H. The report is titled “Change to Senate Policy 43-00 of the Syllabus.” Committee Chair Keefe Manning will stand and respond to questions. Keefe?
Keefe Manning, Engineering: Thank you. So this is what I think is a very important change but rather simple. We, through a student initiation last year, wanted to increase awareness both to faculty and students about mental health. So we thought this would be a good idea to actually have some language included on the syllabi. So, that is what we have changed. We’ve added a phrase that now there needs to be something about mental health services included on all syllabi on all courses.
Chair Strauss: The report is brought to the floor by committee. It needs no second. Any discussion? Are we ready to vote? Again, 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, please press B.
Anna Butler: On Poll Everywhere, I have three accept.
Chair Strauss: OK. The motion carries. Thank you very much, Keefe, for the work by your committee.
ADVISORY AND CONSULTATIVE REPORTS
Chair Strauss: Advisory and Consultative Reports. We have one advisory and consultative report to consider today. The report is submitted jointly by Faculty Benefits Committee and our Student Life Committee. It is titled “Smoking Tobacco Use Policy” and appears as Appendix I in today’s agenda. Committee Chairs Renee Borromeo and Mary Miles and Alex Shockley will respond to questions.
Renee Borromeo, Mont Alto: Good afternoon. We’ll just read a brief statement prior to having discussion on this. The Faculty Benefits and Student Life Committees’Advisory and Consultative Report endorses the spirit of the student UPUA proposal for a smoke-free Penn State. Our primary endorsement is for the positive health effects smoke-free offers our students, faculty, and staff. We’ve heard passionate support from many of our faculty clinicians who directly administer health care, as well as from researchers studying healthy lifestyles.
Our report acknowledges a number of Penn State stakeholders who would potentially be impacted by the smoke-free proposal, including staff, Office of Physical Plant, international students, hotel and restaurant workers, outside contractors, and public visitors, including alumni. We also acknowledge that the large distances across University Park make implementation there especially challenging as compared to campuses with smaller footprints.
It is very possible compromises will have to be made in order to best implement the UPUA proposal. We did not wish Faculty Senate to become embroiled, battling, and managing such implementation details. These are not our areas of expertise. Instead, we recommend the administration establish a task force that includes stakeholders, including faculty Senators from University Park and the Campuses. It would be the job of the task force to further investigate implementation challenges as well as review implementation details for smaller policies and at other benchmark Big 10 universities, such as Ohio State and University of Michigan, as cited in our report.
Chair Strauss also coordinated with staff council who are likewise endorsing the spirit of the UPUA smoke-free proposal and also recommending the implementation of a task force for further study of this proposed policy. We ask that Faculty Senate endorse the healthy spirit of the UPUA smoke-free Penn State proposal and support the creation of a task force to explore potential implementation issues. Do Senators have further questions we can address?
Chair Strauss: Rosemary?
Rosemary Jolly, Liberal Arts: Rosemary Jolly, Liberal Arts. I just want to ask two very specific questions. The first is, as it relates to– it’s called smoke-free. I’m assuming that it does not extend to chewing tobacco and vaping. So clarification on that would be helpful in terms of understanding the “health” of the policy. Is the “health” supposed to be secondhand smoke, or is it going to apply to folks who are engaging in practices that don’t affect other folks? That’s just a point of clarification.
The second piece is that– or the second question is, I’m very delighted to approve of something that– I’ve never smoked in my life, so I’m very delighted to approve of it. But I am concerned that there’s always been a push from clinicians to prevent smoking, and it’s always been very well understood that the worst way to prevent smoking is through prohibition and stigmatization of smokers. So, I think we would need to understand that that’s an issue that is going to be taken up by the task force, because I could think of particularly vulnerable communities on campus, such as our very strong relationship with portions of the military, including military families with PTSD, where there’s a high correlation with smoking. And so those are the kinds of things I get concerned about. So, those are my two questions.
Renee Borromeo: Thank you. In response, I would think both of your questions would be better addressed to the task force. I think at this point there are so many questions surrounding the issue that that’s why we’re kind of focusing on getting a task force together who can really explore this and ask questions maybe specifically about tobacco use, vaping, chewing tobacco, smoking, sort that out. And then also, look, I think your second question about who would this affect and how would it affect really needs to be further explored before we would endorse more than just saying– simply what we’re saying here is we really endorse the idea of a healthy campus, healthy lifestyles. And if the task force feels that this kind of policy would contribute to that, then we’d be really anxious to hear that.
Mary Miles: I’m assuming that Chair Strauss would appoint members to the task force, or would administration choose members of Faculty Senate to serve on the task force? It says in the recommendation that members– a representative from Faculty Senate would be on the force. Because would that be the appropriate venue through which to pass the question? That’s the only reason I brought that up, that once the representatives are identified, they can introduce those questions to the task force?
Chair Strauss: If folks are looking for a response from me, the task force is not being appointed by Faculty Senate, to be clear. We are requesting that we would have membership on the force, but we would look to the administration to establish the membership. I think that’s pretty straightforward. That’s described that way in the legislation.
Alex Shockley: I just want to add a quick few notes. My name is Alex Shockley, the co-Chair of Student Life. I also served as the Speaker of the Assembly for UPUA, and I was in the assembly last year when this was passed. So I first just wanted to thank you guys for kind of listening to this idea that students did bring up last year and presenting it to you all. We’ve definitely been strongly advocating for it for about a year now, and I’m happy it’s finally coming around.
But one thing I did want to mention is that on behalf of the students in UPUA, I think we may have jumped the gun a little bit, on the part of suggesting recommendations right away to fixing this rather than kind of looking at the overall picture of everyone this affects. So as UPUA, we took the stance that as a student body this is something that we support, and we would like to move forward with. However, in conversations within Faculty Senate, I personally have recognized that this isn’t just a student issue. It affects our workers, it affects the professors, faculty, staff, our workers at the hotels on campus, at the restaurants, dining commons, everyone. And I recognize that, and speaking on behalf of UPUA, we do recognize that.
So, the formulation of this resolution is basically supporting the idea of a task force to be created to address these overall concerns. I think the conversations that everyone has been addressing and has been asking that I’ve heard are completely accurate and valuable to the conversation. But I personally, to address them, would need an area where everyone is equally represented from each constituency to speak on behalf of it. And that’s what this task force would do.
So today by passing this resolution, we’re not taking a stance that saying that Faculty Senate supports going smoke-free or tobacco-free or looking at e-cigarettes or any of that. It’s saying we recognize that we need to get into one room all together to address this concern to allow students to speak on what they believe, allow the UP staff, council, everyone to be in the room, including Faculty Senate. For me personally, I think there would be a high level of representation from Faculty Senate in addition to students. Staff Council would be there, administrative units, and then especially, especially the Commonwealth. I think that’s very important. And then of course borough members too, because we’ve had some concerns with borough affiliates.
So, all of that is recognized on behalf of UPUA. This is just taking that next step to really get there and hash out these issues and concerns.
Chair Strauss: Carey, do you still have a question? Carey?
Caroline Eckhardt, Liberal Arts: Eckhardt, Liberal Arts. I definitely support this set of recommendations, and I hope that the Senate will approve them, but again on the understanding that the task force to be appointed will indeed have strong representation not only from Senators, but also from staff, other employees, students, all locations. And I think that I hear all of you saying that that’s the intent.
Renee Borromeo: I think that’s definitely the intent.
Chair Strauss: Thank you. Any other comments from– seeing none, are we ready to vote? The report is brought to the floor by the committee and needs no second. Senators joining via Mediasite, you may cast your vote on polleverywhere.com. To accept the motion, please press A. To reject the motion, please press B.
Anna Butler: In Poll Everywhere, I have four accept and two reject.
Chair Strauss: And the motion carries. Thank you very much, Renee, Mary, and Alex, for the hard work of both of your committees to coordinate this.
Health Plan Options for 2017
Chair Strauss: Item J, Informational Reports. We have a variety of informational reports to be presented today. Arguably the most important one for everyone seated is the one from Faculty Benefits. It is titled “Health Plan Options for 2017, PPO Blue versus PPO Savings.” And it appears as Appendix J in your agenda. Vice President Susan Basso and Greg Stoner, the Senior Director of Compensation and Benefits, will present the report. Fifteen minutes has been allocated for the presentation and discussion. Thank you very much.
Susan Basso, Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer: Good afternoon, everyone. I would like to thank Chair Strauss for the opportunity to present highlights of the 2017 Benefits Open Enrollment, a very important time of year for all of us. Before we begin our presentation, I would like to acknowledge and thank the members of the Joint Committee of Insurance and Benefits, the Senate Committee for Faculty Benefits, and the Health Care Advisory Committee, all of whom collaborated very closely over the last year to diligently and thoughtfully review and provide recommendations on the final plan designs and cost-sharing structures you will hear from us today. These same groups will begin focusing on 2018 benefits later this fall.
I want to reiterate, the University is extremely committed to providing competitive, high-quality, accessible, and affordable health care coverage to our employees and families. As you know, Penn State has developed a five-year strategic plan that includes a thematic priority of enhancing health. In addition, the Faculty Senate approved in March 2016 guiding principles for Penn State’s health care plan that includes providing choice and managing to a 75% University, 25% employee cost-sharing structure. We believe what you will hear us share today supports all of these concepts, and we are committed to working together to ensure the aforementioned goals continue to be achieved.
It is important for all of us to take the time to thoughtfully evaluate our health care choices. Medical and prescription drug benefits can be extremely challenging to understand, and the University is committed to better informing our employees and their families through the availability of online tools and resources. We are also providing the opportunity to participate in live meetings and webinars to hear more about your 2017 options and to have your questions answered.
I have asked Greg Stoner, Senior Director of Compensation and Benefits, to present the 2017 Benefits Open Enrollment information to you today. Although you will have the opportunity to make decisions on all of your benefits during Open Enrollment, including medical, prescription drug, dental, vision, life, AD&D, LTD, et cetera, our focus today will be on medical and prescription drug coverages. After Greg’s presentation, I will be happy to return to the podium along with Greg to respond to any questions that you might have. I also want to acknowledge and thank David Gray, Senior Vice President for Finance and Business, for also joining us today. So thank you, and I’ll turn it over to Greg.
Greg Stoner, Senior Director of Compensation and Benefits: Thank you, Susan. And thank you, Chair Strauss, for asking us to be part of this Senate meeting today. As Susan mentioned, I will walk you through much of the same information that is already available on the benefits website. It’s openenrollment.psu.edu. I’ll be sharing with you a lot of important information as well as the tools and resources that are available to all of us. And, as Susan mentioned, at the very end of the presentation, we will take some time to answer any questions and have some discussion.
So, with that, I just wanted to mention to everyone that Benefits Open Enrollment starts in two weeks, November 1 through November 18. We will be focusing, as Susan said, mainly on our medical and prescription drug benefits today. But you do have the annual opportunity in November to make or update your benefit elections.
As was the case in 2016, Penn State will continue to provide choice to all of us in 2017. We have the traditional PPO Blue Plan as well as the PPO Savings Plan, which is the qualified high deductible plan. There’s a lot of similarities between the two plans. And what I mean by that is that all of the same services are covered, you have free preventive services– we’re talking about in-network coverage– it has the same network of providers, prescription drugs are covered, there is that co-insurance component once the deductibles are met, and hopefully you’ve all received a mailing regarding a cost savings opportunity through Quest Diagnostics for non-emergent lab services.
So, to give you a couple highlights of the changes, you see the PPO Savings and PPO Blue plans are lined up side by side here. There are some increases in the deductibles as well as the prescription drug cost sharing. The one piece I also wanted to mention on the PPO Blue Plan is that currently there is a separate out-of-pocket maximum of $1,000 per individual or $6,000 for families. That is increasing to $2,000 for individuals and $8,000 for families for 2017. There’s also some changes in the co-insurance out-of-pocket maximum as well as the total out-of-pocket expenses. I have some graphs later on that I think will help illustrate that for you.
Increases in co-pays on the PPO Blue Plan for various office visits. One important change to the health savings account, if you choose to participate in the PPO Savings Plan. For individuals earning $60,000 or less, we are increasing the HSA seed– that’s the amount that the University puts into your account– by 50%. This year, everyone who elects to participate in the HSA receives $400 for individual or $800 for all other tiers. If you’re earning $60,000 or less, those amounts will increase to $600 and $1,200 respectively.
Who is eligible for coverage? Again, no real changes here. But I did want to point out in that last bullet, there has been a slight modification. This was actually based on a lot of the good feedback we heard from the JCIB and the Faculty Senate Benefits Committee. Individuals over whom you have legal guardianship for the first time will be eligible as a dependent under your benefits coverages.
So, I thought it would be helpful to show you how these plans work. And what I mean by that– and again, this information is online. We have a digital e-magazine. I thought under the PPO Savings Plan it would be helpful to see, well, what is my total out-of-pocket exposure? What’s the maximum amount that I can spend out of my pocket before Penn State picks up all of the allowed charges, all the medical claims that I and my family occur?
So under the PPO Savings Plan, you see, if you’re an individual you cover the first $1,600. If you’re a family, you cover the first $3,200. So regardless of whether it is prescription drugs or you go see a physician or you have minor surgery or you have an in-patient hospital stay, that’s the upfront fees that you pay before Penn State starts to pay any portion of your medical claims.
So, what’s the next tier of that? The next tier is the amount that is subject to co-insurance. This is the point at which Penn State picks up 90% of your medical claims, the allowed charges that you incur, and you pick up the remaining 10%. So if you’re an individual, that equates to $1,975. If you’re a family, that equates to $3,950. So you can see on the right side, before Penn State will pay all of your claims from that point forward, you as an individual will need to incur $3,575 of out-of-pocket expenses. This does not include premiums, which remain in force regardless of the plan you choose.
And all other coverage levels, you will pay $7,150 before Penn State picks up all of the claims from that point forward, keeping in mind that some of your out-of-pocket expenses, you can use your HSA account for that, whether it’s the amount that Penn State puts in as your seed or any amounts that you also put in above that. So at that point, once you hit those total out-of-pocket maximums, Penn State picks up 100% of your costs from that point forward. So hopefully this helps to illustrate what your financial risk is, what your total exposure is, under the PPO Savings Plan.
Likewise, under the PPO Blue Plan, the deductible is much lower. Keep in mind, you’re paying a higher premium, but that upfront cost that you’re paying out of pocket is significantly lower. So instead of having that higher deductible, the $1,600 or the $3,200 deductible that you have under the Savings Plan, you have a much lower deductible, meaning those upfront costs that you pay out of your pocket in addition to your monthly premium are $375 as an individual and $750 for all other coverage levels.
Then the co-insurance kicks in. At that point, Penn State begins to pay 90% of any of those medical bills. You pick up the other 10% up until the point that you’ve incurred an additional $1,250 if you’re individual, or $2,500 for all other coverage levels. So you see there on the left side, once you reach an out-of-pocket maximum of $1,625 if you’re individual or $3,250 for all other coverage levels, Penn State will pick up your costs for your medical services from that point forward.
Now, the important thing to remember on the PPO Blue Plan– I had mentioned it earlier– is that separate prescription drug out-of-pocket maximum. That continues to grow, as does your co-pays, if you continue to see your physician, whether it’s a specialist, whether it’s a PCP, whether it’s a specialist. Again, this is not new in terms of the plan design, but I thought it would be helpful to see the graphical representation of the total maximum out-of-pocket exposure that you can have as a single individual, or as a family. So you see here, your total out-of-pocket potential exposure is $7,150 as an individual or $14,300 as a family. At that point, Penn State picks up the rest of your medical bills for the remainder of the year, keeping in mind that your monthly premiums continue to come out of your paycheck.
One difference, though, that I wanted to focus on for the PPO Blue Plan, for those of us who may be trying to manage a chronic condition, specifically high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or diabetes, under the PPO Blue Plan, you can actually register with Highmark and receive certain services– not prescription drugs, but certain services– at no cost to you to help you manage one of these three chronic conditions. This benefit is available under the PPO Blue Plan only. That’s because there are some IRS regulations about allowing free medical services under a qualified high deductible plan, like the PPO Savings Plan.
So, I wanted to mention that here. So when you think about your decisions for next year, you may want to consider if you’re managing one or more of these chronic conditions, these are free benefits to you that you would have to pay for under the PPO Savings Plan. So just something to keep in mind as you make your decisions.
For the PPO Savings Plan, I wanted to mention a key difference here is that Health Savings Account. That’s that accumulation of money, whether Penn State puts it in as seed money, or you can contribute over and above that up to the IRS permitted maximums, which for next year are $3,400 for an individual or $6,750 for a family. There are some catch-up contributions permitted as well for those of you who are age 55 or older. So Penn State’s contributions plus your contributions can be up to $3,400 next year, or $6,750, keeping in mind that if you’re earning $60,000 or less, you actually see a higher level of the HSA seed for next year.
One other important component that you should understand under the HSA, there’s that triple tax advantage. It gets deferred from your paycheck. It grows with interest, and it gets paid out to you for purposes of medical expenses, all tax free. So some individuals like to think about it as a retirement mechanism that you can tap into when you retire from Penn State or another employer, because it’s portable, to help you pay for medical expenses in the future.
In terms of the types of expenses, it’s very similar to a flexible savings account, which some of you may have under the PPO Blue Plan. You can pay your deductibles, your co-insurance amounts. And what’s interesting with this type of account, you can do it online through the Highmark website. You can actually pay the provider directly electronically. You can pay yourself, meaning you may write a check to the provider and then go in and have those funds put into your checking account. And you can use your debit card. The debit card is used in a lot of cases when point a sale, when you purchase prescription drugs. But otherwise usually you get a balance bill from your provider or the hospital. So, it is convenient. I’ve actually used all three of these payment methods– all very convenient, and you can use it online.
I did want to mention the premium structure for next year. These are a sample of salary ranges. It is based on a percent of your pay. It’s important to note here, there are some modest increases on the PPO Savings Plan in terms of the premiums. On the PPO Blue plan, there are no increases in the premium formulas for next year.
One opportunity you may want to think about if you choose to participate in the PPO Savings Plan next year, and you decide to move from the PPO Blue to the PPO Savings Plan, you may want to think about putting some or maybe all of that premium differential into the HSA account. This is simply an illustration to show you that if you calculate the difference between the employee premiums, whether you are an individual or a family, putting that additional money into your account really can help kind of accelerate the growth of your HSA account, which you can use to pay for out-of-pocket expenses for your medical services.
So in terms of online tools and resources– again, you’ll see this in the digital e.magazine– there are some examples. These are individuals who have similar claims experiences to our own employees. Let’s just take a quick peek at Natalie. If you click on Natalie, there you go, what you will see appear online is a synopsis of her claims history and what may happen next year if she incurs similar claims.
What’s interesting here, because of her particular situation with her having a pregnancy and having a child that needs some specific medical care, it’s pretty close in terms of whether or not she should choose the PPO Savings Plan or the PPO Blue Plan. So again, depending on your medical condition, the types of claims you may incur, it isn’t always certain which plan you want to participate in. But again, it’s a helpful tool. There’s four examples out there that you can use and see which may be similar to you.
There are also other health plan decision tools out there. I didn’t want to try to set up the online comprehensive decision tool because it would mean that I’d have to get out of PowerPoint into a website and open up an Excel spreadsheet. But I would encourage you to go out and view that tool. And the reason why is that you can enter a lot of key information about you. You can enter in your salary, what level of coverage, how many people are you covering under your plan, what do you anticipate putting into your HSA account, or if you choose the PPO Blue, what would you anticipate putting into your FSA. Then you can enter your claims information, and what will come back to you, it’s a personalized review of which plan may make the most sense for you simply based on your claims history and the financial impact it would have not only on your paycheck through the premiums but your additional out-of-pocket expenses.
There are some other tools online. It’s Highmark’s Care Cost Estimator, especially if you’re under the PPO Savings Plan, where you have more of that upfront deductible, but you have deductibles and co-insurances under both plans. There is a Care Cost Estimator that can show you by geography the cost of various services that you may utilize during the year.
And then lastly, I would just strongly encourage you to go to the benefits website, the microsite. It has a lot of helpful resources, access to all of this information I just reviewed, access to all the tools I just talked about. Penn State Today will continue to have articles in there on a very periodic basis. And lastly, the live meetings and webinars, we are having some regional live meetings which some of you may have already seen or been part of. And we’re also having those same meetings here at University Park and webinars in the coming weeks. So with that, I can take any questions if we have time.
Larry Backer: Thank you very much, a very informative presentation. It will probably take us a little bit of time to digest your numbers and perhaps suggest alternative versions. But we’ll get to that no doubt. I’ve got a very, very small question. And that is, I noted with some happiness that you mentioned that these savings accounts can be viewed as an investment vehicle. So I have two questions about that, and that we will earn interest rates. I was wondering if you could tell us if the interest rate was being paid. And since it is an investment vehicle, I’m assuming it’s managed by someone. How much the management fees are. And then, because it’s managed by someone, I was curious to know who it was that was managing it. It would be curious indeed if Penn State is managing it, charging us a fee that is significantly higher than the interest rate that we would pay for it. So in a sense, I would be curious to find out how much money has to be put in there before we can, I guess, break even with our tax-free money.
Greg Stoner: That was about seven questions. The accounts are managed through Bank of America. And once your account balance reaches $500 or more, you have the opportunity to choose mutual funds. Each of those mutual funds have their own investment structure, obviously.
Before you hit that $500 threshold, or even after, if you choose to do so, it is a money market account. So as you can imagine, those interest rates are pretty low right now. There is a $3 per month management fee. So I understand Larry’s comment regarding that. And I think I may have covered your questions.
Larry Backer: [INAUDIBLE].
Greg Stoner: Yeah, in terms of any sort of break even, I don’t have that detailed analysis. But suffice it to say, once you get above $500, that’s where you have the opportunity to make mutual fund choices which should hopefully help to accelerate the rate of growth of your HSA account.
Chair Strauss: Michael?
Michael Bérubé, Liberal Arts: Hi. Bérubé, Liberal Arts. I hate to ask such a self-interested question and something about policy, but I want to make sure I got something right early on. If you have legal guardianship over a person, that person can be covered by insurance regardless of age?
Greg Stoner: No. That’s an excellent question. Thank you for raising it. You still have the age 26 requirement or opportunity that any dependent would have. The difference here is, we are now including legal guardians.
Michael Bérubé: That’s still pretty generous. Thanks very much.
Greg Stoner: I appreciate you asking that. That’s a great clarifying point.
Chair Strauss: Question there in the middle here.
Richard Brown, Harrisburg: Hi. Rich Brown, Harrisburg. Am I right in saying that the savings percentage of income last year was 1.6%? For the PPO Savings, it was 1.6% last year? This year it’s 1.95%?
Greg Stoner: I believe the premium structure for families this year is 1.81%, and it’s going to 1.95% next year.
Chair Strauss: Other questions? We’re sort of out of time, but this is important. So we’ll take Roger’s question.
Roger Egolf, Lehigh Valley: Egolf, Lehigh Valley. From what it’s looking, prescriptions now are becoming vast. For someone who has a lot of prescriptions, the PPO Blue is now becoming likely far more expensive than the value plan, since there’s no longer that $1,000 cap. And now, did I read it right? Did the per person cap with the prescriptions plus doctor’s visits, et cetera, is an extra $5,000 or something like that?
Greg Stoner: For clarification purposes, you’re right. Under the PPO Blue, there is that separate out-of-pocket maximum, which that design hasn’t changed, which changes the dollar amount. This year it’s $1,000 per individual, or $6,000 for family. It is moving to $2,000 per individual or $8,000 for family for 2017. So I would just suggest individuals who have a high utilization of prescription drugs, take a look at the savings plan, because you’ve reached that out-of-pocket maximum potentially earlier, or at a lower cost–
Roger Egolf: Yeah, that’s what it’s looking.
Greg Stoner: –than you would under the PPO Blue.
Roger Egolf: Thank you.
Chair Strauss: Dawn, do you have a question?
Dawn Blasko: Dawn Blasko, Behrend. I have a question regarding a Senate Advisory and Consultative Report that we passed last March in 2015. And in it, we asked if you would provide a sort of dollar-to-dollar account of how the two plans compared in terms of the University contributions. And I admit, I have not had time to go through all the information you’ve provided in detail. So I’m just wondering, is that information provided on the website, or in some place that we can look at that? Thank you.
Greg Stoner: I believe– and I’ll kind of look to Jamie Myers in the back as well. There is an annual report, informational report, that the Joint Committee on Insurance Benefits submits specific to all the cost sharing and totals and that sort of thing. So hopefully that syncs up with what you’re asking.
Chair Strauss: Anything else? OK, I’ll allow it.
Richard Brown: The medical is 1.6% of gross pay. So you said there’s a moderate increase in the premiums, but that’s 22%. It seems quite not moderate. In additional to all the other benefits that are being reduced.
Greg Stoner: Sure. Understood. And one of the guiding principles that was passed this past March– and Susan alluded to it earlier– trying to find that right balance, that 75%, 25% cost sharing. In order to accomplish that under both plan designs, some of those types of changes were necessary.
Richard Brown: No, I understand. It’s just, to claim moderation with 22% is just, I think– just for the record.
Greg Stoner: Thank you.
Chair Strauss: Thank you. All right. Thank you, Greg and Susan, for a really timely and very important report for all of us to consider. We’d like folks to be able to make informed choices with their health care. Thank you very much.
Our next informational report is from Admissions, Records, Scheduling, and Student Aid. It appears in Appendix K. Committee Chair Michel Haigh will make a few comments and stand for questions. Michel?
Michel Haigh, Communications: Yes, I’m going to defer my time to Clark Brigger, who is the Executive Director for Undergraduate Admissions. And his office is the one that provided the data for this report.
Clark Brigger, Executive Director of Undergraduate Admissions: Thanks, Michel. And thanks, Chair Strauss. I’ll just make a couple of quick comments in the interest of time. And I think I can start out by just saying, it was quite a challenging year, from some of the other things that were stated earlier this year, in that Undergraduate Admissions is in a much better place this year because we are one year into LionPATH.
So, I’ll just highlight a couple things from the introduction in the conclusion area of the informational report. It’s extremely difficult to try to predict the behavior of 17 year olds and their crazy parents, one of which is standing in front of you. So, when you’re trying to model the behavior and predict the incoming class, and you have a new information system that’s very complex on top of a complex university and you have many, many different competing goals across the University, it becomes an enormous type of evolution.
Last year, we received over 86,000 undergraduate applications. From those numbers, we had about 68,000 that were first year applications, of which 55,000 were direct applications to University Park, and 13,000-some odd number were direct applications to the Campuses.
The largest out-of-state enrollments as far as states are listed in the report. But no surprise that the largest out-of-state enrollments come from those states that are contiguous to Pennsylvania. The largest international enrollment comes from China, then India, the Republic of South Korea, Saudi Arabia, Taiwan, and then Canada.
And then, what was referenced in the Provost’s remarks earlier was it was a challenging budget year. And we were leaning forward due to that budget situation and wondering what the state appropriation would be. And you all have read, and we’ve discussed at these meetings many times that the system had what has been termed a glitch, and effectively hit some students. And later they came back into the modeling, and we were sure to administer the right admissions decision to those students, all of which combined contributed to the overage that we have here at University Park this year with the incoming class.
And the University responded to the larger than anticipated class through a combination of flexibility, creativity, and adaptability, delaying some housing renovations, adding sections to classes, and funding the 1+3 Scholarship Program to offload, in some respects, University Park, which ended up being a win-win, in my opinion.
So, we’re in a far better place. And I’ll just conclude that, as far as my remarks. And if we have time to take questions, we can.
Chair Strauss: Sure. Any questions for Clark? Seeing none, thank you very much for your presentation, Clark.
I was going to say, our next informational report is also from ARSSA. Michel Haigh will introduce Jackie Edmondson, who will discuss the Raise.me Scholarship, in short basically encourages good behavior by high school students by financially incentivizing scholarships that might be available here for them at Penn State and other institutions. I first heard about this last year in a CEMG meeting, and I thought it was really worth your time to hear about this very unique program.
Michele Haigh: So, I had an easy job today, because now I’m passing it to Jackie Edmondson, who’s the Vice President and Associate Dean. I’m sorry. I’m passing it to Jackie Edmondson who’s the Vice President and Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education. And the information in the report also came from her office.
Jacqueline Edmondson, Associate Vice President and Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education: Just one minor correction. I’m an Associate Vice President and Associate Dean. Our Vice President is back there. So, it’s OK. Just for the record.
But I do want to thank you for the opportunity to talk a little bit about the Raise.me micro-scholarship program. I think we’re finding that it’s a really innovative way to address issues of access, affordability, student retention, and student success. So rather than restate what was in the informational report for you, I thought I would share a few slides that give you a view of the program from a student perspective that talks a little bit about where we’re hoping to go with the program. And that’s what we’ll do, just with the few minutes we have. So, I’m not sure how I advance this.
When students are in high school, one of our partner high schools, they’re able to log into the Raise.me micro-scholarship website. They see information about Penn State University. I apologize, the screenshot’s a little bit blurry. But the first landing page that they see for Penn State provides information about tuition, financial aid, just general information about the University in terms of demographics and those sorts of things.
And then if they’re with one of our partner schools, they can set up an account. And their account will show the kinds of things that they can do. These are criteria that we’ve established as a university that we think will help to have students successful as they transition from high school into the university, things that will reward them for habits of hand, heart, and mind, really. I mean, they’re curricular and co-curricular things we expect them to do.
If they earn grades in certain classes, if they improve their grade point average, if they participate in co-curricular activities, lead student clubs or organizations, or are involved in community service, they can earn money, scholarship dollars that will later translate into money at Penn State that will help to close the cost of attendance for them. So students can earn– if they’re accepted at Penn State and have Raise.me micro-scholarship money, they can earn up to $4,000 a year for four years, $16,000 total. And that’s stacked on top of other awards they may have.
Right now, we’re partnering with 24 schools across the state of Pennsylvania. We are approaching this a little differently than some of our peer institutions. We really believe that those partnerships with schools are important. In fact, Clark Brigger and I were recently visiting some of our partner schools in Philadelphia because we want to establish relationships with them that will help us to work well with their teachers, their counselors, their students, as we’re trying to help students come into the University successfully.
Some of our peer institutions aren’t doing it that way. They are instead making the money available only to students who are on free and reduced lunch programs. But we really feel like that partnership with high schools is critically important.
I think one of the most compelling things are the students’ stories. And so I’ve been able to visit with University Park and Abington students who earned micro-scholarship money, and their stories are just incredible. There are many Pell-eligible students, students who are first generation students. The New York Times featured one of our Abington students last year, and I think if you have an opportunity to read this, you’ll understand why this kind of scholarship can really make a difference for students.
And finally, we’re working on some wrap-around programming. Right now, the Division of Undergraduate Studies has two advisors, thanks to David Smith’s support, who are helping us think about mentoring programs for students who are coming to the University with Raise.me micro-scholarship money so that we can work with them while they’re here and make sure they’re successful. But we’re also looking at doing some programming for parents, initially in the Philadelphia Navy Shipyard space, so that students who are in that area– the flag waving back there, I’ve got a minute– so the students who are in that area can take advantage of the financial literacy resources we have and parent education. And we’re also working on academic programming for this summer coming up. We can leave that for questions.
Chair Strauss: We actually have time for a quick question or two, if anybody has anything they would like to ask.
Keith Shapiro, Arts and Architecture: Shapiro, Arts and Architecture. I’d like to thank you for bringing this today. I really very much support it. I think it’ll build a lot of community.
I was wondering about the high school list. It seemed like that wasn’t a random list. And I was wondering if you could tell us some ideas behind why that list was chosen.
Jacqueline Edmondson: Sure. That’s a really good question. Thank you for asking. I think what we have done is looked at schools where we see great potential for students to be successful at Penn State and schools where cost of attendance might be prohibitive for those students. And so we’re looking at schools that have high numbers of students on free and reduced lunch programs. And then we’re also looking at schools that will be partners with us. So for example, we knew Northeast High School was a really strong partner. The Abington campus had a great partnership relationship with them to begin with. And we knew that students coming from that high school were very successful when they came to Penn State. And so we really wanted to expand that relationship.
So, the first year we worked with five schools in the Philadelphia area. We added some rural schools in Intermediate Unit 8. I actually met with the superintendents from those schools to talk with them about the program, to try to establish those relationships. And now this year we’re adding schools in Pittsburgh, some additional schools in Philly. And again, we’re just looking at free and reduced lunch rates and Pennsylvania Department of Education information that indicates that students in those schools have potential for success at the University.
Chair Strauss: Do you have a question or not? Any other questions? In the back.
Patricia Hinchey, Worthington-Scranton: Yeah, I’d want to echo the thanks from my colleague. It sounds like a neat program. Do you have thoughts on what Penn State faculty can do to support this program, or to enrich its outreach?
Jacqueline Edmondson: Absolutely. I think one of the things that we’re really finding is that strong mentoring and strong advising is very helpful to students in the first year, in particular that when they come to the University, at some of our campus locations, the advisors and here in fact, their advisors are faculty. And so I really encourage just developing that strong relationship. And then as we look at developing wrap-around programming– so for example, when we looked at student performance, the first cohort of students, we’re seeing some challenges in some of the early math classes. And so I think what we’ll be doing there is tapping the expertise of our faculty to help us develop programming at the Campuses, or in the summer and through our campuses.
Chair Strauss: Thank you very much. I thought this was a really, really neat program, very worthy of our time.
Confirmation of Voting Rights for Fixed Term Faculty in Senate Elections
Our next report is from the Committee on Committee and Rules and appears in Appendix M. Committee members Larry Backer, Matthew Woessner, and Bill Kelly will stand for questions on the report, which is titled “Confirmation of Voting Rights for Fixed Term Faculty Members in Senate Election.” Ten minutes are allotted.
Matthew Woessner, Harrisburg: I’m waiting for my colleague here, who is the primary author of this illustrative opinion and the committee Chair. We’re not doing this alone.
Chair Strauss: I apologize. It was not in my script, for whatever reason.
Dawn Blasko, Erie: So, you all know that last spring we had a number of reports that came from Faculty Affairs. And in one of those, they established two separate sets of voting units for fixed term faculty and tenured faculty as it pertains to promotion and tenure for tenure faculty, and promotion for fixed term faculty. And at that point, when the president accepted those reports, he wrote back to the Chair and said this may require a change to your constitution, because at the Faculty Senate, all Senators have equal voting rights. And that’s primary in our constitution.
So, CC&R, which has the authority to interpret the constitution met, had extensive discussions about it, and ultimately determined– you can see the gist of it at the bottom of the report– that we were not in conflict, we did not have to change our constitution because we are not in any way saying that anyone in the academic units needs to vote. We’re talking only about the voting rights of Faculty Senators. And they are explicitly established to have voting rights over all matters that come forward to the Senate.
So, my two colleagues here actually drafted the report. And I’ll let them take questions about the technical language and the conclusions that we offer. Any questions?
Matthew Woessner: Mohamad Ansari, he couldn’t be here today, also was an author. So we thank him for his work.
Chair Strauss: Do faculty have any questions on the opinion? Thank you very, very much for your contribution.
Annual Report of Academic Eligibility and Athletic Scholarships for 2015-2016
Our next report is the Annual Report on Academic Eligibility and Athletic Scholarships for 2015-16. It is from Intercollegiate Athletics and appears as Appendix N. Linda Caldwell, the Faculty Athletic Representative, will stand for questions. Five minutes is allotted for the presentation and questions.
Linda Caldwell, College of Health and Human Development: Thank you for the opportunity to say a few words about our annual report on academic eligibility and athletic scholarships for 2015-16. I want to highlight a few things in the report, and then I’ll stand for questions. First, I’d like to recognize Russ Mushinsky who’s back there, who’s the director of the Morgan Academic Center, for providing statistics for the report and helpful comments on the first draft. Although the report that you have in your agenda provides a description of the committee’s activities during 2015-16, I want to focus my remarks on highlights associated with student athlete experience and academic success.
Each year, the committee hears a report on findings from the Student Athlete Experience Survey. As you’ve read in our report, generally student athletes rated their experience, or rate their experience, at Penn State as very positive. For example, in the 2014-15 survey, 95% indicated that if they were recruited again, they would definitely come back to Penn State.
Of note to this body is some of the comments student athletes make regarding their academic experience. Some student athletes felt that their peers should be held to a higher academic standard than other students. And others felt that struggling student athletes should not be connected to “easy majors”, but rather help to find a major that they cared about. Some student athletes also mentioned the need for a better tutor system and having more tutors available. Other student athletes noticed that some professors and instructors were not sympathetic to allowing student athletes to make up missed classwork due to travel to competitions. So our committee will continue to monitor these kinds of remarks from student athletes.
With regard to the Academic Progress Rate, also known as APR, 13 teams earned a one-year perfect score of 1,000, and four teams earned perfect multi-year APR scores of 1,000 for the period of 2011 through 2012, and 2012 through 2014-15.
Five hundred sixteen student athletes earned at least a 3.0 GPA during fall 2015, which is actually an increase of 10-1/2% since the fall of 2012. And 234 of those students earned a GPA of 3.5 or better, which is about 30% of the total number of student athletes. Sixty two percent of the 773 student athletes earned a GPA of 3.0 or higher in the spring. Furthermore, 23 of the 31 teams earned a 3.0 GPA or higher during the fall 2015, and 22 out of 31 teams had a 3.0 or higher in the spring. Combined, all teams had a 3.11 GPA for the fall, and a 3.10 for the spring.
With regard to the Graduation Success Rate, or GSR, the cohort of 2005-08 had a graduation success rate of 88%, and the Division I average is 83%. The Penn State GSR for African-American male students was 79%, compared to 65% nationally for Division I schools. For African-American female students, the GSR was 75% compared to 80% nationally. And although these latter statistics reflect small numbers of student athletes and are therefore more easily impacted by those small numbers, the committee is concerned about the GSR for female African-American students, and we also continue to monitor that situation.
So, with these remarks, if I may, I’ll stand for any comments on this presentation or the entire report.
Chair Strauss: Any questions for Linda? Thank you very much for your report.
Linda Caldwell: Thank you.
2015-2016 Annual Report on the Status of Benefit Changes
Chair Strauss: Our next report is titled “The Annual Report on the Status of Benefit Changes for 2015-16.” It appears from the Joint Committee on Insurance and Benefits and the Faculty Benefits Committee. It appears in our agenda as Appendix O. Joint Committee Chair Jamie Myers will stand for questions. Five minutes has been allotted for this report.
Jamie Myers, Education: Thank you, Chair Strauss. The Joint Committee on Insurance and Benefits is a representative committee that includes membership of the Faculty Senate, Teamsters, Nurses Union, and the Staff Advisory Council. So our charge is to review and monitor all of the corpus of benefits that we have. And if you haven’t had the opportunity to read the annual report, I encourage you to do so and make sure you relay that information through your caucuses to your colleagues at your various locations. So, if you have any questions on any specific item in the report, I’d be glad to attempt an answer. I thought I was going to get to sit down.
Dawn Blasko: In just a minute you can sit down. No, just a quick question. Dawn Blasko, Behrend. The Western campuses have been having problems because Highmark and UPMC have been quarreling. And we have gotten letters that have said that our benefits will no longer be honored by UPMC, where many of our doctors are. But there’s also a little caveat that says, unless you’re covered by the Consent Decree. When we try to search back to find the Consent Decree, we find an agreement about this year. But we’re not finding anything about what’s going to happen next year. And I’m just wondering if you had discussed this all on the committee.
Jamie Myers: Yes, that topic has come up in the Joint Committee. It’s my memory that the Consent Decree goes through 2018 and that that means that you should be paying an in-network Highmark rate for any services from a UPMC provider with whom you have an existing relationship prior to the Consent Decree. I don’t believe you can go to a new UPMC provider and have that now; that you can’t start with a new provider. You have to go to a Highmark provider for any kind of new service, I believe. Right. And that has been discussed in the Joint Committee.
And also being discussed in the Joint Committee is the request for information and request for proposal for the new third party administrator that would begin with the 2018 plans. And there is definitely attention being paid to the Western part of the state in terms of making sure that access and affordability with providers is provided at in-network rates for all the Penn State employees.
Chair Strauss: Any more questions? Thank you, Jamie, very much for your report.
Jamie Myers: Thank you.
Science-U and the Eberly College of Science Outreach Office
Chair Strauss: Our final informational report to be presented today is the Science U Program from the Eberly College of Science Outreach Office. Presenting is Mike Zeman, the Director of Science Outreach for the Eberly College of Science. And I will simply say that for the past seven years, quite possibly the best week of my life each year is spent instructing in this program for our youth in the general State College and surrounding area. This is near and dear to my heart, and this program would not be what it is without the great leadership that Mike has given us. So, Mike?
Mike Zeman: Thanks, Dr. Strauss. Mike Zeman, College of Science. And it’s an honor to be here. I was originally given 10 minutes, so I’m going to whittle these slides down very quickly for you. It’s not nice outside anyway.
But what I wanted to do is just share with you the impact that Science U has had over the last eight or nine years here running. And it’s kind of been a surprising result in a way. The actual ZIP codes these arrows are pointing to for just the last two years, we have introductory, exploratory, and immersive programming that we do on an annual basis that really pulls in college students to an engaged experience, an immersive teaching experience.
The K-12 students come to University Park from all over the country and all over the world. And of course, faculty are involved as well. So you can see that statewide some of our programs are drawing in. For example, our STEM Career Day for young women draws in all these ZIP codes just in the last year or two. Students are coming to University Park and engaging.
We put out a call for proposals, and we have a downselect process from undergrad and graduate student organizations just to select the sessions we’ll be offering. The events are filling up in 45 minutes now, with 150 kids when we open registration. And so on a national level, we have a nice presence. Science U has drawn in quite a few kiddos from all over the country. And then internationally– this is just the last two years where we’re pulling students to University Park that are interested in science enrichment for summer weeks, summer months. And so the investment is there. And we also have a signal out to Vega to have a galactic impact. So there’s no question that we’re trying to broaden our outreach.
Essentially, this is our overarching slide here, to show that we have kind of a trifold mission. One is to support and empower faculty in their broader impacts work, in their outreach. The other is to engage Penn State students in experiential learning opportunities. And the third would be to really work on the community partnerships, and specifically in the K-12 area to, I think, increase the critical thinking skills of the next generation.
So, I was on Facebook earlier today and I saw a post that October is now the hottest month on record. And 2016 is also the hottest year on record, beating out 2015. And so the question is, what do we do about that? And just as a quick example of educating the next generation, I know folks like Richard Alley speak to that. And Dr. Strauss’s ecology camp takes kids through those critical thinking skillset practices. So, that’s exciting stuff that we get to do.
We’ve worked with faculty in the College of Science for years and really had, I think, a whole host of engagement levels at the community level, writing broader impacts into grants and whatnot. I’m going to have to turn because this is different from what I brought. These are the other programs that we offer. I’ll say, coming up this weekend is Haunted U, our favorite kind of informal science activity. So we open a registration for this, and 90 kids signed up in about 15 minutes.
So I kind of feel like Walt Disney sometimes as we open these things up. Parents are really looking for the enrichment opportunity for their kids, but likewise, we’ve turned down something like 70 college students from volunteering at this event because we’re full at 80 volunteers. Which is really almost too many for the room. So we’ve kind of hit a glass ceiling with our programming. It’s kind of interesting to think about it in that regard.
So ultimately, I guess I’ll just finish by saying, we’ve tried to reduce the barriers for faculty in terms of time, not knowing what the opportunities were, funding, maybe a lack of training or concerns with working with students, minors and K-12 kids. And so through marketing efforts and working with student orgs, Penn State Youth Council, I think what we’ve done is broken down some of those barriers. We’ve created a Broader Impacts Resource Center for faculty to look at, specifically who are writing NSF grants.
And so, all these efforts have been to increase the pathway and inflow for folks in their busy research and teaching schedules to also do the service. So we’re hoping that that is still catching to some folks who are very busy. And I know Dr. Strauss is a great example of someone who’s made the time to prioritize this. And his personal impact has left hundreds of children over the years and college students, mentors, with these engaging experiences, these unforgettable learning experiences. One of our mottoes is, if it makes it to the dinner table, you win. And so I think we’re on our road to doing that. So thank you very much.
Chair Strauss: Any questions for Mike? OK. That is it for informational reports.
New Member Reports
ADMISSIONS, RECORDS, SCHEDULING, AND STUDENT AID
New Members Orientation, Appendix Q
New Member Information, Appendix R
EDUCATIONAL EQUITY AND CAMPUS ENVIRONMENT
New Member Orientation, Appendix S
New Member Information, Appendix T
New Member Information, Appendix U
New Members Orientation, Appendix V
LIBRARIES, INFORMATION SYSTEMS, AND TECHNOLOGY
New Members Orientation, Appendix W
New Members Orientation Document, Appendix X
New Members Orientation, Appendix Y
NEW LEGISLATIVE BUSINESS
Chair Strauss: Item K, New Legislative Business. I’ve been made aware that we have one to add from Keith Shapiro.
Keith Shapiro, Arts and Architecture: Shapiro, Arts and Architecture. I believe the staff has a copy of this here. I’d like to offer a resolution today for new business:
WHEREAS, the LionPATH Project has caused interference and delays with our admissions process;
WHEREAS, the LionPATH Project has exhibited ongoing difficulties issuing transcripts, degree audits, and transfer credits; and
WHEREAS, continued problems with LionPATH adversely impacts student financial aid and tuition payments.
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, the University Faculty Senate finds this situation to be unacceptable and urges, effective immediately, that the implementation of LionPATH be halted for at least one semester or until the problems are under control, and in the interim be replaced with our existing e-Lion system; and,
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, the University Faculty Senate urges that an assessment be conducted as soon as possible to explore how software upgrades, newer programs, alternative software, or other methods might more effectively accommodate the needs of the Penn State Student Information System.”
Chair Strauss: It does call for a second to be put on our agenda.
Senator (unidentified): Second.
Chair Strauss: So the motion has been seconded. This will appear as an item of business in our December meeting. I don’t believe we need further discussion. Thank you very much, Keith.
COMMENTS AND RECOMMENDATIONS FOR THE GOOD OF THE UNIVERSITY
Chair Strauss: Comments and recommendations for the good of the University. Are there any additional comments for the good of the University?
Chair Strauss: May I have a motion to adjourn?
Senator: So moved.
Chair Strauss: Second? All in favor, please say aye.
Chair Strauss: Thank you very much, folks, for your attention in a long meeting. Senate is adjourned until December 6.
The following Senators were noted as having attended the October 18, 2016 Senate Meeting.
- Abdalla, Charles
- Abel, Jonathan
- Adair, James
- Adewumi, Michael
- Ambler, Gilbert
- Andelin, Steven
- Ansari, Mohamad
- Aurand, Harold
- Aynardi, Martha
- Azemi, Asad
- Backer, Larry
- Barney, Paul
- Bartell, Paul
- Bartolacci, Michael
- Bascom, Rebecca
- Basso, Susan McGarry
- Baumer, Eric
- Bechtel-Wherry, Lori
- Bérubé, Michael
- Blakney, Terry
- Blasko, Dawn
- Blockett, Kimberly
- Boehmer, John
- Borromeo, Renee
- Bowen, Blannie
- Boyle, James
- Brennan, Mark
- Brentner, Kenneth
- Bridges, K. Robert
- Brigger, Clark
- Brown, Claudia
- Brown, Raymonde
- Brown, Richard
- Bruno, Michael
- Brunsden, Victor
- Bryan, Julia
- Butler, William
- Caldwell, Linda
- Casteel, Mark
- Chen, Wei-Fan
- Clark, Mary Beth
- Cockroft, Kevin
- Connolly-Ahern, Colleen
- Conti, Delia
- Copeland, Ann
- Davis, Dwight
- Dendle, Peter
- Dietz, Amy
- DiStaso, Marcia
- Douds, Anne
- Duffey, Michele
- Duschl, Richard
- Eberle, Peter
- Eckert, Jill
- Eckhardt, Caroline
- Eggebeen, David
- Egolf, Roger
- Ellsworth, Maura
- Enama, Joseph
- Farley, Timothy
- Finke, Erinn
- Freiberg, Andrew
- Funk, Raymond
- Furfaro, Joyce
- Geisinger, Samantha
- Geller, Andrew
- Glantz, Edward
- Goranson, Morgon
- Grimes, Galen
- Griswold, Anna
- Haigh, Michel
- Han, David
- Harwell, Kevin
- Hayford, Harold
- Healy, Michael
- Hickner, Michael
- High, Kane
- Hinchey, Patricia
- Hodgdon, Kathleen
- Holt, Sharon
- Horn, Mark
- Hufnagel, Pamela
- Hughes, Janet
- Jaap, James
- Jett, Dennis
- Jolly, Rosemary
- Jones, Nicholas
- Jones, Raymond
- Jurs, Peter
- Kalavar, Jyotsna
- Kass, Lawrence
- Keiler, Kenneth
- Kelley, Claire
- Kelly, William
- Kennedy-Phillips, Lance
- Kenyon, William
- King, Elizabeth
- Kitko, Lisa
- Korner, Barbara
- Krajsa, Michael
- Krasilnikov, Andrey
- Kreager, Derek
- Kubat, Robert
- Kulikowich, Jonna
- Lasher, William
- Lawlor, Timothy
- Le, Binh
- Lee, Barrett
- Levine, Martha
- Lichvar, Shawn
- Linn, Suzanna
- Litzky, Barrie
- Lobaugh, Michael
- Loeb, Robert
- Mahan, Carolyn
- Malek, Adam
- Mangel, Lisa
- Manning, Keefe
- Marko, Frantisek
- Matsoukas, Themis
- Mazzucato, Anna
- Melton, Robert
- Miles, James
- Miles, Mary
- Mookerjee, Rajen
- Myers, Jamie
- Nasereddin, Mahdi
- Nelatury, Sudarshan
- Nelson, Kimberlyn
- Neves, Rogerio
- Nousek, John
- Ofosu, Willie
- Ozment, Judith
- Palmer, Timothy
- Pangborn, Robert
- Pannaman, Joshua
- Passmore, David
- Patzkowsky, Mark
- Pauley, Laura
- Pearson, Nicholas
- Petrilla, Rosemarie
- Pierce, Mari Beth
- Plummer, Julia
- Posey, Lisa
- Potochny, John
- Prabhu, Vansh
- Preciado, Felisa
- Radhakrishna, Rama
- Radovic, Ljubisa
- Ricketts, Robert
- Robertson, Gavin
- Robinett, Richard
- Ropson, Ira
- Rothrock, Ling
- Rowland, Nicholas
- Ruggiero, Francesca
- Saltz, Ira
- Samuel, George
- Scheel, Lydia
- Schmiedekamp, Ann
- Schulz, Andrew
- Schwab, Jacqueline
- Scott, Geoffrey
- Seymour, Elizabeth
- Shannon, Robert
- Shapiro, Keith
- Shockley, Alex
- Shurgalla, Richard
- Sigurdsson, Steinn
- Sliko, Jennifer
- Smith, David
- Smithwick, Erica
- Snyder, Stephen
- Song, Jim
- Strauss, James
- Straw, Michael
- Subramanian, Rajarajan
- Suliman, Samia
- Sutton, Jane
- Szczygiel, Bonj
- Taylor, Ann
- Teye, Emmanuel
- Trauth, Eileen
- Troester, Rodney
- Truica, Cristina
- Vrana, Kent
- Wagner, Johanna
- Wang, Ming
- Webster, Nicole
- Welsh, Nancy
- Wenner, William
- Whitehurst, Marcus
- Wilburne, Jane
- Williams, Mary Beth
- Wilson, Matthew
- Woessner, Matthew
- Wolfe, Douglas
- Young, Richard
- Yun, Jong
Ex Officio 4