September 12, 2017 Record

T H E   S E N A T E   R E C O R D

Volume 51—–September 12, 2017—–Number 1

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 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. Dawn Blasko, Executive Director, Office of the University Faculty Senate.


  1. Final Agenda for September 12, 2017
  2. Minutes and Summaries of Remarks
  3.  Appendices
    1. Attendance


    Minutes of the April 25, 2017, Meeting in The Senate Record 50:6
    Senate Curriculum Report of August 22, 2017

    Seating Chart for 2017-2018
  3. REPORT OF SENATE COUNCIL – Meeting of August 22, 2017
    Senate Committee on Committees and Rules
    Revision of the Bylaws, Article I (Officers) Section 1 (Introduced at April 25 meeting)
    Senate Committee on Committees and Rules
    Revisions to the Standing Rules; Article III, Other Functions of the Senate, Section 11 
    Revisions of the Bylaws, Article III, Election to the Senate, Section 7 
    Senate Council
    Report on Spring 2017 College Visits

    Senate Committee on Faculty Affairs
    Faculty Tenure Rates: 2016-2017 Annual Report

    Faculty Rights and Responsibilities Annual Report for 2016-2017
    Senate Committee on Intercollegiate Athletics
    Annual Report of Academic Eligibility and Athletic Scholarships for 2016-2017
    Murray Nelson, Professor Emeritus, Social Studies Education and former Senate Chair- Potential removal of Rec Hall as a faculty/staff facility

* No Presentation of reports marked with an asterisk.

The University Faculty Senate met on Tuesday, September 12, 2017 at 1:30 p.m. in room 112 Kern Graduate building with Matthew Woessner, Chair, presiding.

Chair Woessner: Good afternoon. As we begin the new academic year, I want to take a moment to welcome all of you to the first Senate meeting. We have a busy agenda planned, and I want to express my appreciation to the Senators who have spent much of their time– including over the summer– in preparation for this and the forthcoming meetings. These colleagues took time away from their families, research, and other activities in the service of the University. So we sincerely appreciate your hard work and dedication to the mission of the Senate.


Chair Woessner: The April 25, 2017 Senate Records providing a full transcription of the proceedings, was sent to the University archives, and is posted on the Faculty Senate website. Are there any corrections or additions to these minutes?


Chair Woessner: All in favor of approving the minutes?

All Senators: Aye.

Chair Woessner: All opposed? The ayes have it, the motion carries. The minutes of the April 25th meeting have been approved.


Chair Woessner: The Senate Curriculum Report for August 22, 2017, is posted on the University Faculty Senate website, as Appendix A. The seating chart for 2017-2018 appears on Appendix B. You may notice that the seating chart is different this year, and that it is not strictly alphabetical. This is because we’re attempting to make the meetings more efficient by placing chairs and vice chairs of the standing committees on the main aisles so they can more easily access the front of the room for reports.


Chair Woessner: Item C, Reports to the Senate Council. Minutes from the June 27, and August 22, 2017 Senate Council meetings 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 August 22.


Chair Woessner: Item D, Announcements by the Chair. Due to limited wireless bandwidth in the auditorium, I will ask that attendees try to limit their computer, smartphone, and tablet access, so we can work the critical functions of Mediasite and Poll Everywhere. Please do not use video streaming during the meeting, because they are excessively demanding of our bandwidth, and would make it more difficult to conduct the meeting efficiently.

All members of the University Faculty Senate are asked to sit in their assigned seats for each Senate meeting. The assigned seats make it easier for the chair to distinguish members from visitors, and be able to recognize them appropriately. Senators are reminded to wait for the microphone and identify themselves and their voting unit before speaking on the floor. Members of the University community who are not Senators may not speak at the Senate meeting unless they request and are granted the privilege of the floor by the Senate Chair at least five days in advance of the meeting.

Now, it is my pleasure to introduce my fellow Senate officers. And I have to say, I am really pleased with my team. This is a great group of people. We’ve worked well together over the summer, and I think this will be a very productive year.

First, my friend, Chair Elect Michael Bérubé, Annie Taylor, our Senate Secretary for her second year, and our Senate Parliamentarian, Beth Seymour.


Now, I would like for the Chairs and Vice Chairs of our fifteen standing committees, and our special committees, to stand and be recognized. As you are aware, much of the work of the Senate is accomplished by these committees, so please join me in applauding these colleagues for their significant contributions to the Senate.


Next, I am pleased to introduce the 2017-2018 Administrative Fellows– Laura Miller, Senior Energy Engineer for the Office of Physical Plant, who will be mentored by David Gray, Senior Vice President for Finance and Business/Treasurer, if you’re here. And Michelle Schafer, Alumni Relations and Stewardship Coordinator, Office of Donor Relations and Special Events, will be mentored by Neil Sharkey, Vice President for Research. Are we here? Ah, they’re way in the way back. Congratulations, and we welcome you both.


This fall, the Senate officers will visit seven academic units– Altoona, Dickinson Law, Fayette, Hazleton, the College of Medicine, Penn College, Penn State Law, Schuylkill, Wilkes-Barre, and Worthington-Scranton, which will soon be just Worthington. Plans are underway for the visits, and specific dates will be posted on the Senate website. A report of the officers’ visits will be presented to the Senate in January.

All senators using Mediasite, please use the ‘Ask a Question’ box to send a message that you have successfully connected to the live-feed, that we may add your name to the attendance sheet. As a reminder, Senators joining today by Mediasite, the voting system is on Instructions for using the voting system are posted on the Senate website. Please log on to now.

I would like to welcome our new Executive Director, Dawn Blasko.


Director Blasko has had a long and distinguished career in the Senate, serving five years as a Senate officer, as Secretary from 2004 to 2006, and Chair Elect, Chair, and Immediate Past Chair from 2006 to 2009. She brings a wealth of experience to the office of the Executive Director and we are grateful for her continued service to the Senate. And if I can go off script for just a moment, Dawn, it has been a pleasure working with you so far, and I know we’re going to have a great year. So thank you very much for your dedication.


This year, the Senate will convene two special committees. The first, the Special Committee on Tenure and Equity, co-chaired by Delia Conti and Cynthia Young, the details of which Michael Bérubé will provide later in the meeting, will convene this year. And the second, the Senate Centennial Committee, chaired by Roger Egolf and vice chaired by Mary Miles. This committee will begin the process of exploring the vast digital archives in order to piece together an outline of the Senate’s forgotten history.

The committee will recommend legislation to CC&R that establishes the post of Senate Historian. And finally, in preparation for our forthcoming centennial celebrations, the members will try to locate historical documents and photographs to display in the Senate offices. I would like to thank the faculty and students who have agreed to serve on these important committees in the forthcoming year. It is 2021, so we’re in our 96th year. And it may take that long to dig up the records and find out where we come from.


I would like to take a moment to recognize the passing of Professor Brian Curran. On July the 11th of this year, he passed away from ALS. An expert in Italian Renaissance art, Brian joined the College of Arts and Architecture in 1997. He won awards for his teaching, his scholarship, and working with his students. And consistent with his commitment to the University, he served as a University Faculty Senator from 2000 to 2004.

For all of his professional accomplishments, Brian Curran was most proud of the role he played in helping to turn back the Wellness Program in 2013. As the leading figure in the wellness discussions, he authored the now famous petition that galvanized employees to share their concerns about the program. Through his tireless work, he played a decisive role in helping to change policy. Even as he battled ALS, as president of Penn State’s AAUP chapter, he continued to champion the cause of shared governance, transparency, and institutional accountability.

In the year since the passing of Professor Brian Curran, and since the publishing of his famous petition, the Senate has made important progress in building more collaborative relationship with the administration. And it’s because of his passion, his courage and his dedication that Brian Curran made this a better place.

As the University Senate begins its 97th year, we stand at a crossroads. And whereas many universities are quietly extinguishing the traditions of shared governance, pursuing the corporate model of institutional leadership, our Senate has worked diligently to enhance the influence of faculty. In working together with President Barron, Provost Jones, I believe we are moving in the right direction.

Good governance does not flow from good intentions, however. It is a function of a healthy political culture, and strong political institutions. In the last year, we’ve seen evidence that our political culture is growing stronger, with healthy resurgence of activism within the Faculty Senate. Faculty and administrators working diligently to solve longstanding issues together. When the administration adopts a policy that raises concerns among the faculty, Senators pose challenging and sometimes even pointed questions.

When the administration is charged with the decisions concerning our day to day operations, I believe that their decisions are enhanced by our input and scrutiny. And perhaps as importantly, like all great senates, we have the capacity to keep the focus on the University’s academic mission. Whatever the formal institutional powers granted to this Senate, like the ancient Senate of Republican Rome, ultimately our influence flows from our prestige, which is why we should use our influence on our voice wisely.

With the progress we’ve made in promoting a strong political culture, the Committee on Committees and Rules will begin the discussions about ways to improve our basic political institutions, with the goal of making the Senate more transparent, more democratic, and ultimately more effective.

Now given my dim view of history, I loathe revolutions. With the best of intentions, leaders who strive to create utopia usually make the world worse. So in looking at the institutions of the Senate, I believe that we should pursue our lofty goals with a great sense of humility. When undertaking thoughtful policy, even small changes can make important difference in strengthening our influence in the policy-making process, but we must pursue them carefully.

While CC&R is charged with beginning these discussions, ultimately, even these modest changes, are up to you. The Senate is the sovereign power– you are the ones who ultimately control our destiny.

So we will begin these conversations, but the fate of these proposals will lie in your hands. I look forward to engaging in these discussions with you in the coming year, and I am confident that whatever the outcome of these debates– whether we move forward with modest institutional reform, or maintain our present course– I am confident that together we will make history.

For almost a century, our predecessors have worked to preserve the faculty’s unique role in governance. And if we do our jobs well, a century from now, Penn State University Faculty Senate will remain a force in higher education. Thank you.



Chair Woessner: Item E– Comments by the President of the University. President Barron will now make comments, and stand for questions. President Barron.

Eric Barron, President: Good to see you. How are we doing? Good. I feel the same way.

Okay, I just picked a couple of topics that I thought you might be interested in. And then I’ll open things to questions on any topic, as usual.

So the first thing on my list is the state appropriation. Everything looked good, the budget was passed, and we got our appropriation. They did break with tradition of having the state-related’s, and the PASSHE system got the same percent increase– the state-related’s were flat. And PASSHE, which is under a certain amount of stress, had 2.5 percent increase.

But okay, so we will deal with a flat budget. But when it came time to pass the revenue package, this did not manage to get through the House. And so we have a budget and an expectation, but not the revenue package that allows us to go forward, although we’re assuming those dollars will be there.

On the one hand, I have this thought in my head, that every year it’s an election year we’re going to get our budget on time, and every year that it’s not an election year, it’s going to take forever. So, thinking in that mode, okay. But quite frankly, to me, this feels different than the last time.

And part of the reason why it feels different is that we have some leaders who are suggesting that the state-related’s should not have any funding from the state whatsoever, and that they can focus on the state universities. In some cases– and you can read it in the paper, for Speaker Turzai who has said this, he has said that in particular, Pitt and Temple, which were privates, that are now on the public rolls, can do without. And Penn State, which is closer to an institution and service to the state as a land grant, should get some funds.

But obviously, this is a completely different world if something like this happens. So we have been worried, and slowly ramping up our advocacy efforts. But I will tell you, they did pass the budget. And when we talk to individuals at all levels, the suggestion is, ‘no, we’ll get there, we will get there’. But no vote has been held. And the Speaker has said that he believes the solution to the $800 million deficit that the state has, plus the 1.2, or whatever it is, amount that they have to recover from last year, that this is an easy way to fill that gap.

But this should be a good week, because the Speaker has said that the House will stay in session until the revenue package is passed. And individuals at all frame level, political attitude, have said that they are assuming that we will get our appropriation. But we are being rather cautious because of this– I’ve got my fingers crossed that this week will come a vote, and I’m hoping that it does follow that budget.

But, just so you know, we have a whole series of steps to ramp up our message if it continues to drag out and we have trouble getting our appropriation. We would be a very different University without that appropriation.

Okay, second topic here– Greek Life. Sometimes I think the University is doing this exactly right. Now, we know there’s no such thing as exactly right because I’m being pummeled from both sides on this particular issue. So, that seems suggestive of something. I have many, many alumni and students who are saying, “It’s time to be done with this– you’re not being hard enough.” And I have many, many other people that are saying, “You know, let’s work to involve more people, let’s discuss this, we can work this out.” And so both sides.

What I would tell you is that we’re working at it very systematically but deliberately. Fifteen areas for which the Board signaled that they wanted us to go in those directions, a group of individuals who were there to assign the tasks of the fifteen, a larger group of people for which these ideas are being bounced off of to get reactions, and then an effort to put out information and to implement them.

We are hoping that most of this will be done by November. We have some things that are a little experimental, and for which not all problems are solved. But we do not want to have too abrupt a change because of, I think, the unintended consequences that might occur. But as you can imagine, many different views.

But the simple fact of the matter is, no matter what anybody tells you, our objective is to make sure that Greek Life can be successful, and therefore to enhance all the good things about it, and do our best to mitigate all of the negative things. Anybody who is paying attention realizes that there very few universities not concerned about this problem, and some are saying, “Educate, educate, educate.” Others are saying, “We’ve educated, educated, educated– didn’t have any impact.” Some are saying, “No, we’re done.”

It’s interesting to watch Harvard’s discussion after making some strong decisions, then not having them work, and then make even stronger decisions. But we’re seeing several privates decide that they’re done with Greek Life entirely, and others that are working on that. Let’s hope we can educate people enough to change behavior. We are in the middle of those two, to see if we can do things better.

I’m happy to hear any of the Senate’s thoughts in this space.

Two things, third topic. Two things that are capturing a lot of people’s attention and discussion are Richard Spencer speaking on campuses, and DACA– and what’s going to happen to DACA.

In both cases, I would say the attitude of the University is really rather simple, that is guiding us. Number one, we accept qualified students. And, we don’t think about the qualified student based on where they’re from or what their history is. We accept qualified students.

We see ourselves as an educator. And if you’re qualified, you’re hardworking, you’ve put in that effort, welcome to Penn State. We’re going to help you succeed. We don’t think about it in any other way. We don’t sit there and say we will take X number of students from this particular country in South America, for example. We accept students that meet our performance standards. And then we’re here to make sure they’re successful.

They cannot be successful if they’re not safe. So the other litmus test in this process is we will work hard to make sure that our students are safe.

The decision about Richard Spencer– and I have to tell you that my view was that this institution must have Richard Spencer come speak, and I felt that way until I watched what was happening at different universities. And the first question that I asked was, “What will it take to protect those students?” Because I believe free speech is fundamental to the functioning of a university, even when I think it is offensive.

And what the police presented was a considerable expense, for which they then concluded, that this will not ensure that we can protect the students on the Penn State campus. And to have a considerable expense and not be able to protect students, to me, is a sign that the level of violence and agitation that would occur there is too great a risk. And you will note that the same decision was made at Texas A&M, and at Florida, and at Michigan State, and at Penn State, and at North Carolina.

But we will see lawsuits over this. We will see other actions. I thought it was quite fascinating that Richard Spencer said, “Well, they have a police force and they have an endowment, they can afford to do this.” Well, I don’t think any of us wish our endowment to be spent, even if we had flexible money, to make sure that we had a large police force on campus, and were still unable to protect the students.

So, we’re going to do our best there. I don’t know what the outcome will be, but our objective is simple. We need to protect the students, the faculty, and staff of this institution. And that threat of violence is too great. And frankly, I couple this with the fact that– I don’t know whether you know that I have been an academic adviser in Homeland Security– and we were briefed that campuses are being used intentionally to promote violence. And that if you’re watching a lot of the things going on at different campuses, it’s not the UVA students, it’s not the Berkeley students, it is people from off-site. And so we’re a testing ground here in this process. So if the action is to promote violence, ends up to be deliberate, it’s very hard to defend against it. So with that, I will stop; state appropriation, Greek life, Spencer, DACA, and life is fun and rosy. But perhaps those are things that are important to you as they are to me, and I’m happy to take questions on those topics or any other topic.

Chair Woessner: Are there any questions for President Barron? Please remember to rise, state your name and your location, please, when you get the microphone.

Kevin Reuning, Graduate Representative: Hello, I’m Kevin Reuning, I’m actually the Graduate Representative to the Faculty Senate. President Barron, thank you for your time here. I spent the last week going back and forth to the Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board hearing, where Penn State is spending a sizable sum of money to argue that graduate assistants are not employees.

I want to know if you were aware of some of the claims that Penn State administrators and their lawyers are making there. Penn State administrators claim that they cannot be certain that teaching assistants reduce the amount of work a faculty member has to do to teach a class. That, since dissertations can change, all research– no matter what it is– could eventually go into a dissertation. And that if they walked into a lab, the administrator would not be aware, or would not be able to ascertain, if a TA was teaching that lab or actually working on their dissertation at the time.

Were you aware of some of these claims? And do you personally feel comfortable knowing that these claims are being made on your behalf?

President Barron: I’m more than happy to go back and look at specific claims, so that I both understand what they are, and the context of what they’ve said. I mean, the University does believe that graduate students are, first, students. And this is the basis for our position.

And I, personally, believe that there are a lot of unintended consequences where to treat them not as students would be problematic. So this is the position.

But I will tell you, I will go look. There is a lot of misinformation out there from lots of different perspectives about who is doing what. And of course, this is precisely the reason why it’s in front of the Labor Board, right? So, that this is not our decision, your decision, but the decision based on people that have expertise that are going to listen to all of the information, and all of the data, and make a decision on what will happen next.

Chair Woessner: Other questions? Immediate Past Chair Strauss.

Jim Strauss, Eberly College of Science: President Barron, on behalf of my colleagues, I wish to take this opportunity to thank you for approving our Senate’s legislation for Fixed-term Ascension Pathways, HR 23, and also for Fixed-term Titling, HR 21, last May, 2017. This is a very important step to promote equity and harmony among our faculty ranks, and again, we thank you for approving these.

As you know, the Fixed-term Promotion Committees were to be set up as of July 1, 2017. However, what I’m hearing from many of my Senate colleagues and faculty, they’ve approached me wondering when these committees might be set up, or in some cases, why they haven’t been set up, what the timing might be, and when they might hear more formally about some of the titles that might apply to their position. So I guess a brief question is, is there anything that our administration can do to further aid in the implementation of these important legislative items? Thank you.

President Barron: Do you wish to answer the question, or– if you want. We strongly support what was recommended, and I know that we have some parts that are not moving as fast. But let’s have an expert comment, rather than having me say the wrong thing.

Kathy Bieschke, Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs: My understanding is that there was an implementation of this policy– that it wasn’t July 1, but that there was some time to implement the policy. And my recollection, it was three years. And the other thing we’re doing is that– I’ve already met with a contact person, Kari Allatt in HR, and every month that we meet, she is going to report to me on what progress the units have made– so that we’re asking them this question, we’re letting them get themselves together at this point, but then we’ll increasingly ask the question if they don’t change soon enough.

So we are on top of this. It is, as President Barron said, very important to us that this happen, but we want to do it within the guidelines the Senate has laid out.

Chair Woessner: Other questions? Okay, thank you very much. Wait, was their another question? Oh, there we go. Hold on, please wait for the microphone. Thank you.

Rosemary Jolly, Liberal Arts: I just wanted to ask, in terms of the follow-up of potential lawsuits relating to the decision not to have the speaker. There must be a lineup of universities waiting to be sued over that? I mean, we’re the third university, right?

President Barron: No, we’re the fifth. We were fourth, there was a fifth after us.

Rosemary Jolly: So it doesn’t seem as though we would be the first in line to be sued.

President Barron: We’re not. As a matter of fact, something has already been filed against Michigan State University, so we’ll watch what happens there. “University of Florida,” Richard Spencer said, “I’m coming anyway– I’m going to walk on your campus and speak out on the lawn.” Florida has offered to defer this– not as you’re completely rejected, but we want distance from Charlottesville. I don’t know how that will work.

There is one case out there where Auburn rejected it after Mr. Spencer’s proxy had a contract, and the courts ruled that Auburn had to have the speech, and they fined Auburn. And the fine was paid to the speaker. So there is legal activity that is associated with this.

And I can’t tell you what will happen next, but we will watch it carefully. And we will make sure that we’re working with expert opinion on the topic, so that we are prepared.

Chair Woessner: Other questions? Very good, thank you President Barron.



Chair Woessner: Item F– Comments by the Executive Vice President and Provost of the University. Provost Jones typically makes comments next, however, he’s out of town and has asked Kathy Bieschke, our new Vice Provost of the Faculty Affairs, to speak to us about her vision, the position, and to stand for questions. Welcome Vice Provost Bieschke.

Kathleen Bieschke: Thank you everyone for letting me have a few minutes today to introduce myself, and share a bit about my vision for the Office of Faculty Affairs, and my approach to this office. So as Matthew said, Blannie Bowen retired at the end of June after being here for over a decade. And every day, I am aware of how much I appreciate what Blannie has done for this University.

He definitely left big shoes to fill. And Blannie’s office, the name of Blannie’s office was– he was Vice Provost for Academic Affairs. And when he stepped down, we took that as an opportunity to rename the office. Blannie, for a long time, shepherded the University’s accreditation processes. That’s being– I think I saw Lance here early today– that’s now been moved to the Office for Planning and Assessment. The thought was that Academic Affairs encompasses accreditation, but also undergraduate and graduate education.

So the name was changed to the Office of Faculty Affairs to really emphasize what the scope was of this office– what the true purpose was for this office. So I started serving in this new position, but same position– Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs– on August 1.

And for those of you who don’t know much about me, I’ve been a faculty member here at Penn State since 1991. I served as a department head in the College of Education for three years. Went on to be interim dean of Schreyer last year, and so started, as I said, August 1.

So my whole goal in this position is to be dedicated to ensuring that all faculty at Penn State have every opportunity to be successful. I would describe that as kind of my mission statement. I work closely with Nick Jones– the Provost. We work on faculty development, leadership training, promotion and tenure, executive searches. I’m also the Provost’s contact person for the Big Ten’s Academic Alliance, which has some faculty development associated with it. And then I served as the liaison for the Provost to the deans and chancellors.

So you can learn more about me at our website, which is the– Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs. And hopefully there’s resources here for all of you. We have administrator resources, which includes links to policy documents, information about promotion and tenure, and this Senate. We have resources for faculty, sabbatical leave, SRTE’s, and workload policies. And then we have what our events are– faculty development programs, we just sponsored new faculty orientation, for example, last month with 150 new faculty who came in this year at Penn State.

So, Blannie used to talk about the website being like Wal-Mart. Has anyone ever heard him say that? It was a common thing he said– he wanted it to be one-stop shopping. And so I hope that this is useful for all of you.

So what will change, as I move forward here, is I think there are two key areas of attention that I’ll focus on in this office. One is human resources, and the other is faculty development. So in terms of human resources, I can say that it’s definitely what I spend a lot of my time on every single day. It’s a steady drumbeat of questions.

There’s often timelines associated with the questions that I get, or there’s just time sensitivity. People need an answer quickly. So for right now, it is sabbatical season in my office– I answer questions almost every day about sabbatical. Who’s eligible, when can they go? You name it, I’ve answered a question. I know more about sabbatical now than I ever knew as a faculty member.

So I spend a lot of time in this job looking at policy. I’m the policy steward for all of the academic policies. I see it as my job to make sure we have the right policies, written in the right way. That they’re applied with integrity, and that they’re applied consistently across the University.

It sounds simpler, maybe, than it is– I think most of you know we have about 6,500 tenure-track, and full-time faculty– tenure-track and non-tenure track line. And this is probably where I intersect the most with the Faculty Senate– I serve as a member of the Faculty Affairs Committee of the Senate, and we spend a considerable amount of our time talking about academic policy.

And of course, a lot of the HR issues I come in contact with aren’t really well covered by policy. So I have those to deal with as well– things that don’t neatly fit within an existing policy.

So because this office is so often engaged in issues pertaining to human resources, and they’re right here in front of us, it’s pretty easy for faculty development to get pushed to the side. They’re pressing, you’ve got to pay attention to these human resources issues. And so one of the things we’ve done since I’ve taken on this position is we’ve put out, and are interviewing, for an Assistant Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs, who’s exclusive focus will be human resources. This person and I will work closely on these issues. I can tell you, for example, that I shouldn’t have to answer the same– I’m pretty sure next year if I don’t do something, I will get the same questions about sabbatical that I got this year. And I think that if I had more resources, which I will, we can work to make some of those resources available to faculty, and people can answer their own questions instead of feeling like they have to call the office to find out what to do.

And then because we’re– this shift away from focusing exclusively on human resources, at least by one person, allows us to spend more time on faculty development. We have some offerings in this area– we have new faculty orientation, for example. But that’s pretty much the extent of our faculty development plan from my office.

We also have a more robust offering, I think, for helping to identify and train administrators. We sponsor the academic leadership forums, we sponsor a new administrator’s seminar. Of course, we have the administrative fellow program. We participate in the faculty development programs through the Big Ten Academic Alliance.

But my thought is that, as we open up more space, we can start to think more strategically about what do our faculty need to thrive in an ever-changing world of higher education? We are not going to look the same as a faculty right now as we will in 10 or 20 years. So my goal, as we move forward, is to think about a strategy for how can we ensure that our faculty can thrive in this changing environment?

I think about this a lot. I think about diversity– how do we hire a more diverse array of faculty? How do we better serve our diverse students? And if we want to retain high-quality faculty, high-quality students, this will have to be some of the focus of my office.

So if we want to change anything at Penn State– we’re big– it can’t happen because I say it is so. It takes some time, it takes some energy, and it takes some planning. So that will be what I’ll be also focusing on.

So I’m excited about the new direction in this office– focusing a little bit more on human resources, as well as faculty development. I look forward to working with the Senate. I met with the Faculty Affairs Committee today, and I can tell you that I learned a lot in a two and a half hour meeting. And I’m happy to take any questions you might have.

Chair Woessner: Questions? Microphone’s coming around, remember to stand and announce your name and location.

Carolyn Mehan Penn State, Altoona. And I have a question about the human resource part of your office. So as a faculty member, if we have a human resource concern, is now the home office for that – you, or is it Human Resources?

Kathleen Bieschke: It is still Human Resources. We will have– it’s a shared position with HR, so it’s a dual report between my office and HR– and we will have a lead academic human resources person. So your HR person in your unit will have a consistent point of contact about this. So you don’t have to call my office, you can call your own HR person.

Carolyn Mehan: What if it’s on the academic side of things that my HR person, perhaps, is not very experienced with?

Kathleen Bieschke: So that’s why we have a person in my office now, so they can contact that person. But if you– I mean, obviously, if you ever felt like you wanted to ask more questions, or you felt like you weren’t getting your needs addressed– you could contact that person.

Carolyn Mehan: All right, thank you.

Chair Woessner: Other questions? Very good, thank you very much.


Chair Woessner: Thank you President Barron and Vice Provost Bieschke. As we move into the business segment of today’s agenda, I would like to remind our presenters to adhere to the times allocated by Senate Council in their presentations and discussions.


Chair Woessner: Item G, Forensic Business. None.


Chair Woessner: Item H, Unfinished Business. Senate Committee on Committees and Rules, revisions of the Bylaws Article 1, Officers, Section 1, it appears in Appendix I. As a change to the Bylaws, this report was discussed on the April 25, 2017 meeting, and is now ready to be voted on.

Dawn Blasko, chair of the 2016-2017 Senate Committee on Committees and Rules, will respond to questions. Oh, Kent.

Revision of the Bylaws, Article I (Officers) Section 1 (Introduced at April 25 meeting)

Kent Vrana, College of Medicine: I’m not Dawn Blasko.

Chair Woessner: I am going to change my script.

Kent Vrana: I’ll go off script– welcome, Kathy. Delighted to have you aboard. It’s fantastic.

So just as a reminder, this is leftover business from last spring. You’ll find it in Appendix I, and briefly it goes as follows—“The Chair has always had the province for naming the six senators who serve on the committees, the six standing committees of the Board of Trustees.” And that was never codified in how that would happen.

So there is a single sentence paragraph added at the end of this that suggests that the four leaders of the Senate, and two Senators will be named by the Chair to serve on the standing committees of the Board of Trustees. Questions?

Chair Woessner: Questions?

Sharon Holt, Penn State Abington: Thank you, I’m Shan Holt from Penn State Abington. My question is only, how do the Senators, who aren’t officers, get nominated to be selected?

Kent Vrana: Well, the choice is made by the Chair. They can self-nominate, I assume. But the choice is made based on the purview of the specific subcommittee, and the expertise of the faculty member.

Sharon Holt: Okay, but there is an opportunity to self-nominate if one were so inclined?

Kent Vrana: Absolutely.

Sharon Holt: Okay, thank you.

Chair Woessner: Other questions? Are we ready to vote?

This report was brought to the floor by committee, and needs no seconds. If we’re ready to vote, Senators joining by Mediasite, you may cast your vote on Still waiting for it to come up on the board. Okay, we’ll wait just a minute while the technology catches up.

Okay, are there any objections to doing a voice vote? Well, we have a Mediasite issue, though. Why don’t we see if we can get this up first? I want to give the people who are online a chance to vote, even though I don’t think this will be close. Are we up?

Oh, here we go. All right, so are we really ready to start the clock on voting? Okay, to accept the motion, press A. To reject the motion, press B. And I will wait for the clock and for the online voting.

Okay, are we ready on Poll Everywhere?

Anna Butler, Faculty Senate Staff: On Poll Everywhere, I have three accept.

Chair Woessner: Motion carries. Thank you. Thank you, Kent.


Chair Woessner: Legislative Reports, Section I. We have two additional Legislative Reports– the Senate Committee on Committees and Rules proposes revisions to the Senate Standing Rule, Article III, Other Functions of the Senate, Section 11, as it appears in Appendix C. Do we have that up?

Because there are changes to the Standing Rules, this will be voted on in the next meeting. Kent Vrana will stand for questions or comments.

Revisions to the Standing Rules; Article III, Other Functions of the Senate, Section 11

Kent Vrana: Thank you, Matthew. This is the second of three that we’re going to take care of– we introduce it today, we vote on it next time.

Mohamad Ansari, Berks: [INAUDIBLE]

Chair Woessner: Oh, well then we’ll proceed to a vote– we’re good. We’ll hold on a vote, pending questions. Thank you.

Kent Vrana: Agreed. So, as Matthew suggested, this is a change to Article III, you’ll find it in Appendix C. Again, the Chair has always had– we have always had a Council of Past Chairs to serve as councilors and advisers to the Chair. But the description of that council was not well delineated. So all this does is specifies the conditions for those individuals, or that counsel.

If there are no objections, I would propose one change after conversation with the committee earlier today. And that is that we strike the sentence that says, “Members of the Council shall be currently employed by the University.” The original intent, of course, was to cover faculty members and former chairs who had left the institution. The unintended consequence, however, it was excluding the valuable counsel of our former chairs who are retired. And so what we proposed to do is just strike one sentence that says, “Members of the Council shall be currently employed by the University.” Otherwise, it just specifies when they’ll meet, and that the current, Immediate Past Chair serves as the Chair of their Council. Questions?

Chair Woessner: Can we proceed with unanimous consent to striking that sentence? No objections? Okay, we can strike the sentence. Are there any discussion? Are we ready to proceed to a vote? Immediate Past Chair Strauss?

Jim Strauss: So just to clarify, because I thought you had mentioned retired Senators, but they would no longer be employed. So are they on the council? Or actually, it would be retired faculty, meaning if you have retired, are you on this council or not?

Kent Vrana: If you’re a former Chair, not a Senator, a former Chair, and have retired, you are on this council.

Unknown Speaker: [INAUDIBLE]

Chair Woessner: Non-voting, correct.

Kent Vrana: Correct, unless they are elected to the Senate, they are non-voting.

Chair Woessner: Any other questions or comments? Are we ready to proceed to a vote? Okay. Oh, just for point of clarification, I read the wrong line in the script. Paula, you’re perfect as usual. So we’re good.

All right, this report is brought to the floor by committee, and needs no second. Are we ready to vote?

Kent Vrana: There’s some voting going on.

Chair Woessner: The staff is doing wonderfully. On Mediasite, press A to accept, B to reject. And remember, on, please register your vote.

Jim Strauss: Chairman Woessner?

Chair Woessner: There’s a question–

Jim Strauss: Could we read– I apologize if I am confused on this– but could we read the altered statement?

Chair Woessner: Sure, we want to hold the vote. We’ll just stop the vote, we’ll redo it. You want to enlarge that section, perhaps. Here we go. Laura has a– Senator Pauley, a question?

Kent Vrana: Does that help, Jim?

Chair Woessner: Senator Pauley?

Laura Pauley, Engineering: You had stated that sentence was first added to exclude past chairs who are now at a different institution.

Kent Vrana: Correct.

Laura Pauley: And if we omit that now, delete that, are we now including–

Kent Vrana: Correct, if they wish to come back and provide counsel, that would afford them the opportunity.

Laura Pauley: Okay, so this now–

Kent Vrana: At their own expense.


Except for the free lunch.

Laura Pauley: So past chairs who are at another institution can come back and be on the council?

Kent Vrana: Correct. We felt it was more important that our retired members who are in the community could continue to provide counsel.

Chair Woessner: Senator Egolf?

Roger Egolf, Lehigh Valley: I fully support this, but one thing we should clarify– just to get it in The Senate Record— with the change in that wording, it looks now that if an Immediate Past Chair, who has not won a new term, would now be a non-voting Past Chair– where currently, the Immediate Past Chair, even if they haven’t been elected to a new term, is voting. So will the immediate Past Chair, if they no longer hold a Senate seat, have a vote?

Kent Vrana: If they had a vote before, they will have a vote now.

Roger Egolf: Well, that’s not what it says, though. Because you struck the line– you just say, ‘it shall consist of past chairs of the Senate.’

Kent Vrana: This is for the Council. If a former Chair had been elected to a position, it doesn’t say that either.

Roger Egolf: A Past Chair remains a Senator? An immediate Past Chair remains a Senator?

Chair Woessner: My read on this is, they’re completing their three-year term to which they were elected, and they retain their vote throughout that process. At the end of the process, if they do not seek another term, they become non-voting. They would have to win election in order to retain any voting status.

Roger Egolf: Okay, I just wanted to have that on the record so we what the–

Chair Woessner: It’s a fine question, and I can see how that’s a little ambiguous. But that is the intent of the committee?

Kent Vrana: Thank you, Roger. Yes.

Chair Woessner: Okay, if there are no questions, we’ll proceed to a vote again. Thank you very much– this is very good input.

Okay, Senators joined by Mediasite, please cast your vote., press A to accept, or B to reject. Waiting for the results at Poll Everywhere.

Anna Butler: On Poll Everywhere, I have thirteen accept.

Chair Woessner: Motion carries. Thank you.

Chair Woessner: The final legislative report from the Senate Committee on Committees and Rules is a revision to the Bylaws, Article III, Election to the Senate, Section 7, and appears in Appendix D. Because this is a revision to the Senate Bylaws, it can be discussed at this meeting, but would be voted on in the October meeting. Are there any questions? Or, Chair (Vrana), if you’d like to discuss it–

Revisions of the Bylaws, Article III, Election to the Senate, Section 7

Kent Vrana: This is a very simple change to address an unusual circumstance in which a Senator was elected, had not assumed their seat, and left the institution. What we would normally do in this situation is give the alternate, the person who received the second most votes, would automatically become the Senator to fill that seat.

But the question arose, if they haven’t started their term, how can they complete it? And so to solve that problem, we just struck the word ‘complete’, and changed it to say, “In case an elected faculty Senator is unable to fulfill the duties of their elected term,” to solve that unique situation. Questions?

Chair Woessner: Okay, so no questions. We will vote on that at the next meeting.


Chair Woessner: Item J, Advisory and Consultative Reports. None.


Chair Woessner: Item K, Informational Reports. We have four informational reports on the agenda today, each report contains important information that represents the hard work of your colleagues. I ask the group for your full attention.

Presenters, please be sure to stay within the time limits approved by Senate Council. The first information report comes from the Senate Council. The report is titled, Spring 2017 College Visits, and appears as Appendix E. Note that additional privileged information is available in the Senator’s Box accounts.

Ten minutes are allocated for the presentation and discussion. And Senate Secretary, Annie Taylor, will present the report, and stand for questions.

Report on Spring 2017 College Visits

Ann Taylor, Faculty Senate Secretary: Thank you. So as you know, we visit academic units every spring, and campuses in the fall. This spring, we visited six academic units in the months of January and February. We got to see the College of Arts and Architecture, University Libraries, the Schreyer Honors College, the College of Information Sciences and Technology, the College of Agricultural Sciences, and Smeal College of Business.

At each of these, the Senate officers meet with separate groups– students, faculty, staff, and with the administrators. And we have very frank and confidential conversations. They’re welcome to share anything that’s on their mind, but we do have two basic questions that we like to always ask– what do you enjoy about your college and your position? And what are the challenges that you’re facing at your campus, college, or position?

The report that we have, the short version, is in our Senate agenda. A very long and detailed version, for those who are interested, is also available to Senators online. The common themes that we heard about this year were LionPATH, CollegeNET, the grad school with the new Category P and R designations– there’s now a Q, but that didn’t exist when we were meeting with these groups, the proposed changes to HR 21– which are no longer proposed but now have taken place, and general issues around the changing role of staff and the changing role of faculty. And then finally, a common theme about risk management, and issues related to that.

So I do hope that you will read this report. We very much enjoyed these visits, and learned an awful lot. And this is a great way to get to know your colleagues across the University. Any questions?

Chair Woessner: Past Chair Ansari?

Ann Taylor: Be kind.

Mohamad Ansari: I don’t have a question, but I know how hard it is to take notes and minutes at these meetings, having been there many times. So I want to commend you for the excellent job that you have done. The long report, and also the short version that is on the agenda today. Thanks so much.

Ann Taylor: Thank you.


Chair Woessner: You stole my thunder. I was going to say that to watch Secretary Taylor take these copious notes, and then move through them in such a clear and methodical way, it’s a labor of love. She does a great job.

And we’ll be continuing our visits both to the campuses and to the colleges. This is an excellent opportunity for faculty, staff, students, and administrators to be extremely candid with us about the things that they like and the things that are going wrong. It’s a chance to really cut through the layers of the hierarchy, and give information directly to the administration in a way that’s both sensitive, but I think effective.

So thank you, Secretary Taylor, for all the hard work you do, and we have another round to go this year. Do we have questions? Is that a question to our secretary?

Unidentified Speaker: This betrays my ignorance, but what is category P and R?

Ann Taylor: Oh, thank you. Yeah, this is so ingrained in my world, my daily world, that I forget that’s not common. The graduate school had developed new categories of membership to address the teaching-advising needs of professional programs. And so instead of being a regular member of the graduate faculty, there are special categories a department can put a faculty member up. P being focused on the professional programs, R being focused on research.

And don’t ask about Q, because I can’t remember.


Chair Woessner: That was a great example where there were issues, and I think we were able to amplify those issues and eventually it was resolved. But I think the system works very nicely, and immediate Past Chair Strauss did a masterful job of leading those discussions and keeping us on time. So it worked out.

Okay, our– make sure I’m on the right report here. Okay, our second informational report is from Senate Committee of Faculty Affairs. It is titled Faculty Tenure Rates 2016-2017 Annual Report, and appears in Appendix F. Ten minutes are allocated to the presentation and discussion, 2016-2017 Chair of Faculty Affairs, Michael Bérubé, will present the report and stand for questions.

Faculty Tenure Rates: 2016-2017 Annual Report

Michael Bérubé: Right, just need the one chart? Thank you so much. And this is what all the trouble is about.

So every year, the Committee on Faculty Affairs gets the tenure flow report, and this is what it looks like for last year. And I’m passing along the concerns of last year’s committee, that these gender disparities– if you start in the cohort in 2003-2004, they’re not too bad. Wait, do we have the same numbers?

Well, what we’re looking at long term– with the exception of the 2008-2009 cohort, which is overwhelmingly male, two-thirds male, to begin with– is a persistent double digit disparity in tenure rates between men and women. The disparity between minority and non-minority entrance is not as dramatic, but still concerning, because it’s persistent. And so I did a little elementary math– when we hire, over the course of these past 10 years– 646 women, and 937 men, that means, the entering cohort is 41 percent female.

When we tenure the women at the rate of 53 percent and the men at 62 percent, that means at the end of the tenure process, 37 percent of the faculty is female. For minority, non-minority status, initially 30 percent of our hires are minority entrants– not a bad percentage. But the 60 percent to 55 percent differential tenure rate, what you get– which again, is not dramatic– but still, means that the end of the process only 28.5 percent of the faculty are minority status.

So because this is a persistent thing, the community on Faculty Affairs asked me to pass this along to Chair Woessner, and we’ve discussed over the summer the possibility of establishing a special committee to look into this. Not to rehire people, or to go over what the last 10 years were about, but to ask how we can do better. You know, what sort of mentoring processes? What sort of best practices from college to college, from campus the campus, what can we implement to see if we can get at this, and improve it? Any questions?

Chair Woessner: Senator Egolf?

Roger Egolf: My question on both female and minorities– which both have lower tenure rates there– but when I looked into the other charts, which showed the percentages of people who go forward, and what the positive or negative recommendations are– they looked equally good with males. It seemed, maybe I missed something.

But what I was wondering– and both of these could be problematic– but is the reason that female and minority are lower, is it because they’re being denied tenure more often, or are they leaving for other opportunities? Both of which could be problems, but how you approach the issue is different.

Michael Bérubé: Absolutely– TBD. This is why we have a committee. I mean, if, in fact, we’re losing minority candidates and women because they feel like it’s not a healthy environment for them, that’s bad in and of itself. If there is something professional in the process that is skewed against them, also bad.

So I don’t want to suggest we’re not going to look at this at all– when I say we’re not going to rehire people or re-hear tenure cases, I mean we’re not going to redress this somehow magically by undoing the past– but we’d like to know. And we’d like to know whether it’s a retention problem, or whether it’s a tenure problem.

If you go further, if you drill further down– I only asked for this one chart, but the tenure flow report is about eight pages long, if you want to scroll– is broken down at request of Faculty Affairs Vice Chair, Esther Prins, two years ago– not by department, or by unit, or by campus, because that would eventually violate confidentiality with small units, but by general area. Arts and humanities, social sciences, physical sciences, and the results are kind of unpredictable.

You know, it’s not the case that the arts and humanities are happy land, and the physical sciences are all boys. It’s just not falling out that way. So again, I feel it’s like the old academic joke– faced with a crisis, thinking quickly, they formed a committee. I really think this requires–


The fire has broken out, we have a fire committee. But it’s not a fire, it’s actually a long, slow erosion process, and I think that requires further study before we do anything about it because we don’t know what to do. But something should be done.

Chair Woessner: Other questions? Hold the microphone, just a second. There we go– wonderful.

Sharon Holt: Thank you– Shan Holt, again, from Abington. Two questions in the further information category. I would love to see this statistical analysis done intersectionally. I think it’s very important to acknowledge that some of our colleagues are both female and minority, and that if we did it intersectionally, the picture might look a little more like a fire. Just a thought. Just a thought.

Second thought, I would love to know how these rates across time correlate or do not correlate with success for our female minority, and non-minority students. Because I think it’s pretty well understood that without faculty presence, young women, minority and non-minority, are less likely to succeed in their education.

I also know that at our campus, we’re facing a 22 percent graduation rate in six years for our minority female students– and that’s a fire. And we are working on solving that problem in all the ways we can think of. But I think it would be important for the University to see the numbers both in terms of student success, and in terms of intersectional oppressions.

Michael Bérubé: I’m just letting the committee co-chairs know that the committee charge has just widened considerably.


No, but I’ll leave it to them– and I think you’re right, of course. First of all, the intersection of race and gender statistics like this is where Kimberle Crenshaw came up with intersectionality in the first place. And now every person knows what it means. Good.

But on top of that, inferring from these data what these things mean for student success is, I think, going to be exceptionally difficult. I mean, it’s on the one hand, almost goes without saying, but on the other hand, I don’t know if we can come up with correlative data about it. The point is, it’s bad in and of itself, if this kind of trend has persisted for this long.

And of course, it should have some implications for classroom atmosphere, student expectations, and intellectual climate. But yeah, the committee’s charged– by the way, the committee, this is a two-year committee. I’m, on the one hand, loathe to make their charge as wide as possible, but I do think, to put it as anodynely as possible, we’re on to something here. And we’re on to something important, and we should try to fix it, one way or another.

Chair Woessner: Other questions or comments? Very good, thank you. Thank you, Michael.

The third report is the 2016-2017 annual report– the Senate Committee of Faculty Rights and Responsibilities, is found in Appendix G. Five minutes are allocated for presentation and discussion. And this time I am correct in stating that Dawn Blasko, chair of the 2016-2017 Faculty Rights and Responsibilities Committee will present the report and stand for questions.

Dawn Blasko: For the last time.

Chair Woessner: That’s right.

Faculty Rights and Responsibilities Annual Report for 2016-2017

Dawn Blasko: So those of you who do not know much about Faculty Rights and Responsibilities, this is the committee that can deal with situations that come up where people feel like they’re not being treated well for a variety of different reasons. It’s governed within the scope of HR 76, which is policy that discusses whether things are procedurally fair, whether there is an academic freedom, and whether there is professional ethics. And within the scope of those different charges, the committee– which is made up of deans and faculty, with a faculty chair– can conduct informal investigations of situations that fall within its scope, and then provide recommendations to, now Kathy’s office– congratulations, Kathy.

And so what this is, is each year we do an annual report– we do not talk about particular cases, obviously, but we try to give you an idea of the types of things that are happening. And the one thing I want to point out is that if there is a case which involves issues of discrimination, a parallel investigation can occur. So that petition will then also be sent to the Office of Affirmative Action.

Similarly, if there was research misconduct or any other thing like that, that is reportable, the case would also be reported. The committee can continue with an investigation on the issues that are brought up. In other words, if there was a problem with a procedural irregularity.

So this year, you might notice in the report, we had a bumper number of cases. Most of those actually came in at the end of the year, and so a number of them are carrying forward to Richard Robinett’s great oversight– he’s back there, if you want to talk to him. He’s hiding.

And so the cases can take some time. I’m often asked about the timeframe of the committee? It’s a very deliberative process, and we try to move steadily through it.

Are there any questions?

Chair Woessner: Question down here.

Carolyn Mehan, Penn State Altoona: And Dawn, I’m sorry if I missed this in the report, but if you’re a faculty member, or if you’re mentoring a faculty member, and they want to bring something forward to your committee, is it sent through the Chair?

Dawn Blasko: It can be sent to the Faculty Senate Office, or to the chair of the committee. If you go to the Faculty Senate website, which I know is not easy to deal with, type ‘Faculty Rights and Responsibilities’. There is a website with the form that’s filled out. The one thing I should mention is, Faculty Rights and Responsibilities would prefer to take– really wants to take cases after they’re attempted to be solved at a lower level. And so we require that you seek some sort of earlier resolution. We ask that you see your college or University Ombudsperson first.

Carolyn Mehan: Okay, thank you,

Chair Woessner: Other questions or comments?

Cynthia Young, College of Liberal Arts UP: So it says here that four petitions were sent over to the Affirmative Action office for parallel review– so are those the ones that were carried over to this year, or not necessarily?

Dawn Blasko: No, those would be ones who, if they came in and said, “I believe there was a procedural irregularity in my tenure case”, for example, and also, “I think that had to do with gender bias”, for example, then we would send the petition also to Affirmative Action, and then we would carry out FR&R –just the part about procedural irregularities– so in other words, the case could have a dual review according to HR 76.

Cynthia Young: And can you say anything about whether there are deviations in the findings from this committee, versus the Affirmative Action, or are they still ongoing? Or is that not something you–

Dawn Blasko: You mean about what happened in Affirmative Action?

Cynthia Young: Yeah, I was just curious whether the results were–

Dawn Blasko: Yeah, I don’t have the information on Affirmative Action.

Cynthia Young: Thank you.

Rosemarie Petrilla, Hazleton: Are you hearing cases, or what is the percentage from fixed-term faculty that bring cases to FR&R. And then I have a follow-up question.

Dawn Blasko: Fixed-term– all full-time faculty can bring cases, we do not see petitions from students. They can be administrators, or they can be any full-time faculty. So the answer is yes, we get fixed-term faculty. The percentage of cases varies from year to year, but in the last years there have been at least a few cases from fixed-term faculty.

Rosemarie Petrilla: Have there been any related to promotion?

Dawn Blasko: Not yet. No.

Rosemarie Petrilla: Okay, thank you.

Chair Woessner: Any other questions or comments? You have one minute left– I can see in the back of the room. Very good. And for the last time, thank you, Dawn.


Chair Woessner: Our final report of the meeting is sponsored by the Senate Committee on Intercollegiate Athletics. It is titled the Annual Report of Academic Eligibility and Athletic Scholarships, 2016-2017, it can be found at Appendix H. Ten minutes are allocated for the presentation and discussion. Dennis Scanlon, our new Faculty Athletics Representative will present the report and answer questions. Welcome.

Annual Report of Academic Eligibility and Athletic Scholarships for 2016-2017

Dennis Scanlon, Faculty Athletics Representative: Great, thanks Matthew. Happy to be here. And I should note that this report, which typically comes to the agenda for this September meeting was drafted by outgoing faculty athletic rep, Dr. Linda Caldwell, whose tenure ended at the end of June. I officially took over on the 1st of July. I helped finalize the report and update the report with some statistics that became available in the summer after she left.

So that report is obviously available on the website. I won’t go through it all, but I’m happy to take any questions anyone might have.

I wanted to introduce the role and myself, and make sure that everyone understood the role of the faculty athletic representative. The process actually began, I guess, with Linda indicating that she was going to retire last fall. A call for nominations, I believe, by the Committee on Committees and Rules was sent out in October or early November, asking for nominations of individuals interested in assuming the role.

I put my nomination in. The committee had reviewed those nominations– my understanding is forwarded several candidates to President Barron. President Barron interviewed candidates, and then ultimately asked me if I would be interested in assuming the position in March of 2017, with an official start date on July 1st. For about four months, I was able to shadow Linda and learn everything that’s involved in the role, which is fairly extensive. And actually, in the position description, these are the variety of things that one does. It seems like a lot more in my short time.

But I’ll emphasize a few things. For example, serving as an ex-officio member on the Committee for Intercollegiate Athletics, which is chaired by John Regan this year. Acting on behalf of the University faculty to certify eligibility of all student athletes– we did that in the course of two day-long meetings in August, and one in early September at the beginning of the semester. That involves looking at GPAs, looking at academic progress rates, other academic metrics relative to majors and making sure student athletes are in good standing with NCAA regulations, as well as Big Ten requirements.

Assisting students in pursuing awards that are available for good academic and athletic progress. Administering coaching examinations and a variety of other activities.

So there’s a lot in this role. Fortunately, I think we have a lot of support here at Penn State, in terms of our Compliance Office, which is separate from athletics, our Office of Athletic Integrity, which is also separate from athletics, and then the Intercollegiate Athletics department itself, as well as the Morgan Academic Counseling Center. So I think our student athletes are in good hands with lots of resources. And my role is to work collaboratively with everyone, reporting to the president, and accountable to the committee in making sure that we maintain academic integrity in our athletic program.

Just a couple other things I’ll highlight again– the report is informational and available for you to take a look at. Really, the report contains these kind of categories of information; reviews committee activities during the 2016-2017 academic year, so not only the charge from the Faculty Senate Chair, but other activities the committee took on; provides academic performance metrics for student athletes in teams, including awards received. That also would include graduation success rates, which is a six-year rate computed per formula by NCAA standards, as well as an academic progress rate which looks at student progress towards a degree in their major, so that they’re not just taking classes and taking lower level classes, but they’re actually making progress towards achieving the degree in the major that they so choose.

And I would note that here at Penn State, unlike what I understand to be at some other institutions, we do not restrict our students from choosing specific majors, or we do not restrict them or have them choose specific majors. Our students are allowed to choose any major, and the athletic program accommodates that, which I certainly think is a good thing.

There are some comparisons to Big Ten and national benchmarks on graduation rates and academic progress rates. And just by way of highlighting a few of what I think are more successful statistics, we have about 850 student athletes, about 498 achieved a 3.0 GPA or higher, with 24 of 31 teams reporting an average team GPA of 3.0 or higher. That is for the fall 2016 semester. Similar numbers in the spring of 2017, with 24 teams, again, achieving that team GPA of 3.0 or higher.

The Big Ten has– and the NCAA– has a number of awards. You can see the trend here on statistics for the Distinguished Scholar Award recipient. Each of these, of course, have different requirements. Academic All-American awards have a both an athletic performance requirement, and an academic requirement, as well.

A number of our students have received postgraduate scholarships that are available. That information is listed here, as well. We have a graduation success rate, which again is a six-year cohort– so the NCAA looks at graduation within six years of matriculating, and our rate is 89 percent. It’s due to be updated shortly here in the next couple of weeks, hopefully moving upward. We’ll see.

On the academic progress rate, the way that’s computed is– I won’t get into the details– but 1,000 is the maximum score, that’s a perfect score meaning that all your student athletes are making adequate progress towards degree. Eighteen of our 31 teams had a perfect 1,000 score, with the other 13 teams doing quite well, also.

We are second among all Big Ten institutions, with 5,875 academic All-Big Ten honorees since we joined the conference in 1991 and 1992, second only to Ohio State. And then for the Big Ten Academic All-Big Ten selections, you can see a number of different ways of looking at the statistics here. But I think, through the years, we certainly have had a number of our student athletes that are doing quite well.

And I think, in large part, from what I’ve seen, in many respects attributed to our Morgan Academic Counseling Center. This center has individuals who are highly committed to our student athletes, who monitor their athletic performance. I spoke to the new student athletes and the parents at orientation in August, and I told them they probably know more about your son or daughter’s academics than your son or daughter does, these counselors, because they really are keeping on top of our student athletes, making sure that they’re going to class, understanding what their grades are, helping them facilitate and access tutoring, if that’s needed, and really doing time management and planning, which obviously is important for athletes who are on the road a fair amount of time and have to juggle their schedules.

So with that, I will stop and entertain any questions. Again, the details in the report are available online. And one of the things we talked about at our committee meeting this morning is the content in the report. Again, Linda produced this, and I think the format has taken shape over the years.

We had a discussion this morning of a few other statistics that some committee members might like to see in the future, and so I will work with that committee to take a look at the current content and think about whether that should be modified in any way.

Chair Woessner: Questions or comments for our few remaining minutes? Senator Jolly?

Rosemary Jolly, Liberal Arts. I just wanted to ask—Sandy Barbour had been asked this question recently, as well. She was asked a more general question about culture, but I understand the academic success of our athletic scholars. What I’m really interested in, though, is the two questions that have been already raised in other contexts, which is the question of minorities and participation in sports. And the second one is a question about gender equity education in the sports education process. And I feel that, whenever we present these statistics, we’re not necessarily paying attention to these particular areas– not that they are in trouble, but it would be nice to know more about those efforts. Thank you.

Dennis Scanlon: Sure, and I would note that in the report there are some of these statistics– graduation rates, and progress rates– broken down by different demographic categories, including by gender, also by sport. And then also by race and ethnicity. So some of that information is included as appendices in the report.

And of course, if you look at the demographics of– in my short tenure in this position– when you look at the demographics by sport, there would appear to be interesting demographics on some of those dimensions. Obviously, for men’s and women’s sports, we have differences in gender, but when you look at socioeconomic differences, or you look at differences by race or ethnicity–

Rosemary Jolly: Yeah, I’m thinking about the interaction between genders at the age that they’re at, not so much only representation.

Dennis Scanlon: So looking at, for example, how female athletes who are minority, or non-minority, do on some of these statistics?

Rosemary Jolly: No, I’m thinking about all of the efforts other colleges are making in prevention for alcoholism, sexual assault, and sexual violence activities, and so on and so forth. Where football teams frequently, and other sports teams, frequently become a hotbed for that, because there haven’t been appropriate educational prevention measures.

So I’m not about who’s done it, I’m about how do we prevent. So I’m not really interested in trying to use what could be interpreted as spectacular language, but I was obviously couching it too politely. Thank you.

Chair Woessner: Any remaining comments? Okay, thank you. Our time has expired.



Chair Woessner: New legislative business. None.


Chair Woessner: Comments and Recommendations for the Good of the Order.

Before we move to our next item, I wanted to mention, I received a note that the memorial for Brian Curran will be held on September 22nd at 3:00 PM, at the Hintz Family Alumni Center. So if you want to go at September 22nd, 3:00 PM, they will be remembering our colleague, Brian Curran.

Now, it’s my pleasure to welcome Murray Nelson, Professor Emeritus, Social Studies Education, and former Senate Chair, requested permission to address the Senate. The topic is the potential removal of Rec Hall as a faculty and staff facility. Ten minutes are allocated for the presentation and discussion.

Murray Nelson, Professor Emeritus, Social Studies Education and former Senate Chair- Potential removal of Rec Hall as a faculty/staff facility

Murray Nelson, Former Faculty Senate Chair: First, I’d like to thank Senate Chair Woessner and the University Senate for the privilege of addressing this body today. I’ll keep my remarks brief, and hope that they might provide some impetus into examining the continued use of athletic facilities, particularly Rec Hall, by the faculty and staff of Penn State.

I’d like to express four major concerns, which I’ll enunciate now, and then elaborate. First, the closing of the faculty-staff locker room in Rec Hall. Second, the poor community outreach that the University is fostering with its severe closure of access for community members to Rec Hall. Third, the intimated closure of Rec Hall for all faculty and staff after the first of the year. And finally, the overarching concern with all of this, that is the lack of informing faculty in a timely manner, let alone seeking faculty input.

Since I requested this opportunity to address the Senate in June, a number of letters to the editor, television coverage on news– I believe WTAJ– and a petition with more than 2,800 signees have been produced in this regard. These only reinforce the points that I would like to make, and to which I hope higher administration of the University will respond.

When I came to Penn State as an assistant professor in 1975, I was thrilled to find a nearby outlet for my need to stay in good physical health, which is Rec Hall, as well as a basketball game for noontime play. Unfortunately, I had to wait more than a year to gain a space in the faculty-staff locker room, because there was a waiting list. Now, as of the end of the semester, that locker room will be taken from faculty and staff, as Rec Hall transitions from Student Affairs– or from Campus Rec– who no longer wishes to be responsible for the building, to intercollegiate athletic auspices.

Admittedly, that locker room is now less than two-thirds full. And I should just say, as an aside, with no Intercom, which some of you may not ever have known about, the hard copy of information that was given throughout the University– there have been no announcements of availability for a number of years, so it’s largely been through word of mouth that people even could ask to be in the locker room. But the complete elimination is certainly a discouragement for faculty and staff trying to stay active and healthy, which, in the long run, costs the University less money in health care, and fits with the ostensible encouragement of the University to live healthy.

Surely there must be a better solution. The faculty have had no input on this campus conundrum. Just as an aside, the access to gym facilities is a useful recruitment and retention device for many faculty hires.

This locker room loss seems to be a fait accompli for reasons unknown, and decisions made by parties unknown. What is planned for this location? What larger goals are being pursued here? Why are faculty to be shut out, when the University encourages us to be healthy– since it at least saves money in both the long and short run?

What is still uncertain is whether the faculty and staff will even have access to Rec Hall or White Building after the end of fall semester. Athletics is requiring daily, monthly, semester, or a year-long passes for use of athletic facilities, but there’s no assurance of what these facilities would be.

When one pays for use, a disclaimer states that “Rec Hall may not be accessible for the duration of your membership term. Campus recreation will be unable to refund this membership, due to Rec Hall not being a part of the membership, at any point during the membership period.”

For those at this end of campus, use of the IM building would be difficult during the day, considering the distance, even with Link connections. Interestingly, one statement that I have seen says that other universities already do this; that is, restrict or charge faculty. That Penn State is just behind the curve. This is a similar argument countered by our parents that, if everyone was jumping off the Empire State Building, would you?

PSU should set its own way, not just be a follower. And where does such a claim originate? Where is such data, and who gathered it? Communication during this period from June until now has been abysmal or nonexistent. What is the plan for these facilities, and who is driving this plan? These plans allow for a small number, 200, of community members who must be dues paying members at the Alumni Association to join as facility users. This flies in the face of community outreach, and makes Penn State look as an uncaring member of a community wanting to interact with the University.

Racquetball courts, for example, only exist in this community on the Penn State campus. Having Penn State and non-Penn State community members interact at squash, racquetball, basketball, or just walking or running on the track, makes us all stronger and better at understanding each other and our points of view.

All of this is happening without any faculty input or even the sharing of these changes with the Senate. Generally, nor with those committees most appropriate to these issues– for example, Faculty Benefits, Faculty Affairs, Outreach, and Intercollegiate Athletics. Thus my reason for speaking today. That is, what is going to happen to these facilities as far as faculty-staff access is concerned? And why has there been no Senate involvement in any way with the contemplated, and already determined changes in policy? Better policy thrives in an open environment, especially when those most affected have some input. This has not been the case. I hope that will change very quickly.

The faculty have not been put in an adversarial position in these matters. Far worse– the faculty have been seen as irrelevant to them. Thank you for your attention and assistance.


Chair Woessner: Thank you, former Chair Nelson. Any other comments for the good of the order? Senator Grimes?

Galen Grimes, Greater Allegheny: We brought up this issue in Faculty Benefits this morning, in fact we had representatives from the recreation department come in, and discuss with us the future of it. I’ve received a number of emails over the summer asking if Faculty Benefits would look into the closing of Rec Hall.

We were told this morning that Rec Hall is not being closed, that a final determination has not been made. What they are doing, because of low usage of Rec Hall, they are combining it with the other athletic facilities on the University Park campus. They will be looking to impose a yearly charge for faculty members to come in and use it.

We also– I believe the woman’s name was Laura Hall– we did ask her, point blank, why they had not consulted Faculty Benefits in forming these policies, or making it, and she informed us, she was not aware the Faculty Benefits Committee existed. [LAUGHS] But after, we did get an agreement from her that, in the future, before they made a final determination on the final outcome of the final policy, that they would be consulting Faculty Benefits, and allowing us to work with them to come up with the final draft of the final policy on the use of all of these facilities.

Chair Woessner: Very good. Thank you, Senator Grimes.


Chair Woessner: Senator Grimes, who is–

Murry Nelson: Who again?

Galen Grimes: It was Laura Hall from the Recreation department was the primary speaker.

Chair Woessner: Any other comments for the good of the order?

Galen Grimes: And we also had representatives from UPUA, and the Vice Provost for Student Affairs.

Chair Woessner: I see a question, or a hand here.

Michele Duffey, Health and Human Development: I have a brief statement from our Senators, but I will add that they have already imposed the fee, and require people to pay to enter any campus recreation facility, including Rec Hall. So anybody in this room who would like to even use the track would need to pay the fitness membership to be able to go in and walk or run in Rec Hall, or use the racquetball courts. So that is already in effect– even though it sounds like they were saying it would be.

Thank you, first of all, Dr. Murray, for your comments, and standing on behalf of our H&HD Senators. Our group joins you in your concerns. We are very concerned that the actions of the University to restrict facility usage is counter to the University’s strategic plan, which specifically talks about promoting our health. Removing access to facilities like Rec Hall is counter to messaging and encouraging employee health and wellness, particularly as we continually point to the rising health care costs, and the need for prevention and health and wellness. Thank you.

Chair Woessner: Thank you.


Chair Woessner: Mindful of the clock, I see a couple more hands, so–

David Post, College of Education: Thanks, Murray, for bringing that update. I’m David Post, College of Education. I’d just amplify what Murray said, and emphasize that it’s not only a parochial concern for us as faculty members, thinking about our own benefits, I think part of what Murray said goes to the heart of the public good that is offered by Penn State, and the slippery slope we see between, at one time being an outreach and offering services to the people of Pennsylvania, and beginning to restrict access to the University.

At some point, at some time, somebody may ask the same questions about access to the library. That worries me.

Chair Woessner: Additional comments? I see one more, and I think–

Jake Springer, Student Center for the College of Ed: So as a student, I actually knew a lot about this, because students have to pay the $57 every semester now, which none of us are happy about. But there are extremely good qualities about this movement. For example, gym times have expanded about six hours or more. They’re growing wellness– meditation, yoga classes for people that just don’t go to the gym or run on the track, but want to become well mentally, physically, socially.

So there are good things about this. I think it would be great to have Laura Hall come in and speak to Faculty Senate about this, and have people from the Rec Advisory Board, because just like they didn’t know about the Faculty Benefits, we don’t know a lot about them. So I think it would be good to have this conversation in the future.

Chair Woessner: Thank you. And I think in the fine tradition of the Senate, Faculty Benefits will be taking this up, and we’ll get more conversation and find out what some of the facts are. So thank you, Senator Grimes, for pursuing this.

Any other comments for the good of the order?


Chair Woessner: May I have a motion to adjourn? All in favor, please say, aye.

All Senators: Aye.

Chair Woessner: All opposed? Motion carries. The Senate is adjourned until October, 17, 2017.


The following Senators were noted as having attended the September 12, 2017 Senate Meeting.

      • Adewumi, Michael
      • Aebli, Fred
      • Andelin, Steven
      • Ansari, Mohamad
      • Aurand, Harold
      • Azemi, Asad
      • Barron, Eric
      • Beahm, Mary
      • Bechtel-Wherry, Lori
      • Belanger, Jonna
      • Berg, Arthur
      • Bérubé, Michael
      • Bieschke, Kathleen
      • Bishop-Pierce, Renee
      • Blakney, Terry
      • Borromeo, Renee
      • Breakey, Laurie
      • Brennan, Mark
      • Bridges, K. Robert
      • Brigger, Clark
      • Brown, Richard
      • Brunsden, Victor
      • Bryan, Julia
      • Casteel, Mark
      • Chen, Wei-Fan
      • Cios, Theodore
      • Clark, Mary Beth
      • Clifford, Matthew
      • Conti, Delia
      • Davis, Dwight
      • Debellis, Hunter
      • Decker, Alicia
      • DeFranco, Joanna
      • Dendle, Peter
      • Dietz, Amy
      • Douds, Anne
      • Duffey, Michele
      • Dunn, William
      • Duschl, Richard
      • Eberle, Peter
      • Eckhardt, Caroline
      • Eden, Timothy
      • Egolf, Roger
      • Elias, Ryan
      • Enama, Joseph
      • Engel, Renata
      • Farmer, Susan Beth
      • Franklin, Wendell
      • Funk, Raymond
      • Furfaro, Joyce
      • Gallagher, Julie
      • Garey, Richard
      • Garrett, Bradley
      • Giebink, Noel Christopher
      • Grigley, Lisa
      • Grimes, Galen
      • Griswold, Anna
      • Guay, Terrence
      • Han, David
      • Hanes, Madlyn
      • Hanses, Mathias
      • Hardin, Marie
      • Harrison, Terry
      • Harwell, Kevin
      • Hayford, Harold
      • Heaney, Peter
      • Holt, Sharon
      • Horn, Mark
      • Hughes, Janet
      • Jaap, James
      • Jett, Dennis
      • Jolly, Rosemary
      • Jones, Maureen
      • Jordan, Matthew
      • Jurs, Peter
      • Kahl, David
      • Kalavar, Jyotsna
      • Kalisperis, Loukas
      • Keiler, Kenneth
      • Kennedy-Phillips, Lance
      • King, Brian
      • King, Elizabeth
      • Kitko, Lisa
      • Korner, Barbara
      • Krajsa, Michael
      • Krasilnikov, Andrey
      • Kubat, Robert
      • Kurian, Mathew
      • Lang, Teresa
      • Larson, Daniel
      • Lawlor, Timothy
      • Levine, Martha
      • Linehan, Peter
      • Linn, Suzanna
      • Lobaugh, Michael
      • Lobo, Hansel
      • Love, Yvonne
      • Mahan, Carolyn
      • Maitland, Carleen
      • Mangel, Lisa
      • Markle, Jacqueline
      • Marko, Frantisek
      • Maurer, Clifford
      • Mazzucato, Anna
      • McDade, Kevin
      • McKinney, Laura
      • Melton, Robert
      • Michels, Margaret
      • Miles, Mary
      • Miller, Charles
      • Mookerjee, Rajen
      • Nelatury, Sudarshan
      • Nelson, Keith
      • Nelson, Kimberlyn
      • Neves, Rogerio
      • Noce, Kathleen
      • Nousek, John
      • Novotny, Eric
      • Ofosu, Willie
      • Ogrodnik, Monica
      • Ozment, Judith
      • Palmer, Timothy
      • Pan, Bing
      • Pangborn, Robert
      • Passmore, David
      • Patzkowsky, Mark
      • Pauley, Laura
      • Pawloski, Barry
      • Pearson, Nicholas
      • Perkins, Daniel
      • Petrilla, Rosemarie
      • Pierce, Mari Beth
      • Plummer, Julia
      • Poole, Thomas
      • Posey, Lisa
      • Post, David
      • Prabhu, Vansh
      • Pratt, Carla
      • Regan, John
      • Reid-Walsh, Jacqueline
      • Reuning, Kevin
      • Rinehart, Peter
      • Robertson, Gavin
      • Robinett, Richard
      • Ropson, Ira
      • Rothrock, Angela
      • Rothrock, Ling
      • Rowland, Nicholas
      • Ruggiero, Francesca
      • Safran, Janina
      • Saltz, Ira
      • Samuel, George
      • Saunders, Brian
      • Schmiedekamp, Ann
      • Schulz, Andrew
      • Seymour, Elizabeth
      • Shannon, Robert
      • Shapiro, Keith
      • Sharma, Amit
      • Shea, Maura
      • Shockley, Alex
      • Shurgalla, Richard
      • Sideck, Mark
      • Sigurdsson, Steinn
      • Silveyra, Patricia
      • Sims, Damon
      • Singer, Richard
      • Sinha, Alok
      • Smith, David
      • Smithwick, Erica
      • Snyder, Melissa
      • Song, Jim
      • Specht, Charles
      • Springer, Jake
      • Stephens, Mark
      • Stifter, Cynthia
      • Stine, Michele
      • Strauss, James
      • Strickland, Martha
      • Subramanian, Rajarajan
      • Suliman, Samia
      • Sutton, Jane
      • Swope, Kayley
      • Szczygiel, Bonj
      • Taylor, Ann
      • Thomchick, Evelyn
      • Thompson, Paul
      • Travagli, Renato
      • Troester, Rodney
      • Vollero, Mary
      • Vrana, Kent
      • Walker, Eric
      • Wang, Ming
      • Warren, James
      • Webster, Nicole
      • Wenner, William
      • Whitehurst, Marcus
      • Williams, Mary Beth
      • Wilson, Matthew
      • Wolfe, Douglas
      • Wood, Chelsey
      • Young, Cynthia
      • Yun, Jong
      • Zambanini, Robert
      • Zorn, Christopher
    • Elected           166
    • Students           21
    • Ex Officio           5
    • Appointed         13
    • Total             205