Meeting Minutes

Intra-University Relations


March 13, 2018

Present: Petrilla (chair), Palmer (vice-chair), August, Aurand, Clifford, Eberly, Kahl, Koudela, Mahan, Maurer, McDade, Pratt, Ruggerio, Schmiedekamp, Wagner

Excused: Saunders

Absent: Dunn, Elias, Funk, Maluwa, Shrugalla, Subramanian, Van Der Wegen

  1. Announcements by the Chair
    1. Chair Petrilla discussed the topics addressed at the leadership meeting the previous evening, noting two reports from IRC for today’s Senate meeting.
  2. Approval of the Minutes April 25, 2017
    1. Minutes approved
  3. Discussion of subcommittee informational reports
    1. CWC Promotion to Full Professor Subcommittee
      1. The changing ratio of Tenured & Tenure track faculty to Fixed-term faculty is not unique to Penn State University. There was some discussion of the role of the geographic distribution of the campuses in this discussion.
      2. The report was reviewed with notation that there is a significant variability between units and campuses.
      3. The criteria for some units is different, and those considering application may be hampered by lack of mentoring from few tenured faculty. This may lead to decreased submissions to the University Promotion & Tenure Committee.
    2. Mid-year Survey of Progress Implementing AC-21
      1. The report was reviewed with input from members following their discussions with their faculty.
      2. There continues confusion of the process in many cases. Smaller units may not have a process for mentoring junior faculty. It was felt that there is little thought toward career planning for Fixed-term planning, at the same time that their prevalence within the institution continues to grow.
      3. There was also some discussion of the role for STRE and/or peer evaluations in the process of promotion.
  4. Update on Multi-Year Contracts
    1. Leadership of the Senate and two committees will be meeting with administration in early April to discuss the recent response by the President and possible ways to improve sense of stability for fixed-term faculty who currently rely on yearly contracts.
  5. New Business
    1. University Survey Coordinating Committee
      1. Chair Petrilla notified the committee that she will be leading the additional committee on University survey coordination.
    2. For next meeting
      1. Chair Petrilla suggested that the committee members consider areas for the committee to address in the next Academic year
  6.  Adjournment
    1. Motion for adjournment made and seconded. Meeting adjourned following unanimous vote

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January 23, 2018

Present:bPetrilla (chair), Palmer (vice-chair), Aurand, Clifford, Dunn, Eberle, Kahl, Kondela, Mahan, Maurer, McDade, Pratt, Ruggerio (by phone), Sanders, Schmiedekamp, Subramanian

Excused: Shurgalla, Wagner

Absent: August, Cusumano, Elias, Funk

  1. Announcements by the Chair
    1. Chair Petrilla discussed the topics addressed at the leadership meeting the previous evening when the President’s letter of response to the recent Senate report on Multi-year contracts for fixed term faculty.
  2. Approval of the Minutes April 25, 2017
    1. Minutes approved
  3. Discussion of Committee Charges
    1. CWC Promotion to Full Professor Subcommittee
      1. The initial informational report was presented by Member Mahan for discussion along with the recent letter by Senate leadership.
      2. It was felt that a better measure of promotion to Professor might be done looking at cohorts of faculty within units in an effort to adjust for different disciplines and units.
      3. The role of pre-reviews with candidate permission driven by peers would lend itself to more transparency.
      4. The idea of using interviews with individuals who have gone through the process recently might also shed some light on issues for differences between commonwealth campuses and UP.
      5. There were some suggestion that some of the previously thought etiologies for disparity were less significant, and further issues might be addressed with further study.
    2. Midyear survey of progress implementing AC-21
      1. Results of the survey were reviewed, noting that it was difficult to make global statements regarding progress as response rate was quite low for both administration and faculty leadership.
      2. Some units seem ready to begin the initial process in the coming months, while others have yet to make appropriate changes in their bylaws/constitutions.
      3. Respondents note variation in criteria and levels of faculty involvement in design of the process.
      4. There also seems to be some financial resource issues and variation in promotion criteria which should be addressed within some units.
  4. New Business
    1. The discussion of Committee charges B1) review of annual merit raises and B2) drafting of an advisory/consultative report with Outreach requesting World Campus to provide information to faculty on online teaching.
    2. The first was felt to be a possible informational report with particular attention to the current use of two budgets as many faculty do not seem to understand the processes involved.
    3. The committee agreed that the second report would come primarily from Outreach, and we would play a supportive role.
  5. Adjournment
    1. Motion for adjournment made and seconded. Meeting adjourned following unanimous vote

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December 5, 2017

Present:  Petrilla (chair), Palmer (vice-chair), August, Aurand, Clifford, Dunn, Eberle, Kahl, Maurer, Ruggerio, Sanders, Schmiedekamp, Shurgalla, Subramanian

Excused: Mahan, McDade, Wagner

Absent:  Brown, Cusumano, Funk, Pratt

  1. Announcements by the Chair
    1. Chair Petrilla discussed the topics addressed at the leadership meeting the previous evening.
  2. Approval of the Minutes September 12, 2017
    1. Minutes approved
  3. Approval of the Minutes October 17, 2017
    1. Minutes approved with correction of Maurer being absent from the meeting
  4. Discussion of Committee Charges: A2) Shared Governance
    1. It was hoped that the recent Ethics survey distributed to the faculty would aid the development of a survey regarding shared governance within the units. However, the results of the survey were not completely available for discussion at this meeting; and were tabled until the results can also be presented to administrative personnel.
  5. Discussion of Committee Charges: A3) CWC Promotion to Full Professor
    1. Data continues to be gathered as the Time in Rank Report is not yet complete. While not ready for distribution the report includes information on the faculty as a whole with differences between UP & CC, Minority & Non-minority, male & female
  6. Discussion of Committee Charges: Multi-Year Contract for Fixed-Term Faculty A/C Report
    1. The most recent changes made for the presentation at Faculty Senate later that day were discussed; including the addition of language for standing non-tenured faculty. There was some concern express by faculty with 5-year contracts that this language might be used to reduce the time of their contracts.
    2. There is new emphasis on the rational for the changes; ie. transparency and improved communication between faculty and administration.
      1. It was noted that transparency is a priority for many other institutions similar to Penn State University.
    3. The recent input from faculty that stability regarding time was a greater personal concern than title was noted. The committee felt that this may be a transition in education that both administration and faculty will need to address for the future.
    4. While understanding the budget implications in many cases, the committee felt that there might be some administrative resistance to 5 year contracts which may have been paid through permanent funds.
      1. The issue of contracts from permanent funds versus other funds may need to be addressed at an institutional level by Faculty Affairs, as the origin of the system was unknown by the committee and it may be less efficient in the changing educational climate.
      2. It was also noted that with the President’s signature there may be changes regarding changes in the length of contracts from the current recommendations of 3 or 5 years.
  7. Discussion of Committee Charges: A) Mid-Year Survey of progress implementing AC-21
    1. A survey was designed and distributed to academic and administrative leaders at the various units with the help of Dawn Blasko. There was some concern by faculty that unit confidentiality might be an issue, but the committee assured them that the information received would only be distributed in aggregate form.
    2. Some members of the committee felt that some units were waiting for instruction from UP before submission to their individual unit constitutions.
    3. It was felt that the Thanksgiving Holiday may have affected return of the survey as there were only five answers returned from academic governance leaders and none from administrative leaders as of this meeting. The chair emphasized to the member of the committee that they should contact their individual unit representatives to complete and return the survey as soon as possible.
    4. A reminder was sent the week of 12/4/17
  8. New Business
    1. It is likely that in future years the Faculty Affairs and Intra-University Relations committees will include a yearly report on Fixed term promotion and contracts along with the current yearly Promotion and Tenure report
  9. Adjournment
    1. Motion for adjournment made and seconded. Meeting adjourned following unanimous vote

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October 17, 2017

Present:   Petrilla (chair), Palmer (vice-chair), August, Aurand, Brown, Clifford, Dunn, Cusumano, Eberly, Funk, Kahl, Mahan, Maurer, Pratt, Ruggiero, Saunders, Schmiedekamp, Subramanian, Wagner

Excused:  Elias

Absent:  Representative from Graduate Council Committee on Programs and courses

  1. Announcements by the Chair
    1. Chair Petrilla & Roland briefly addressed topics addressed at the leadership meeting the previous evening prior to proceeding with discussion of AC-21
    2. There was discussion of Standing Fixed Term faculty who were accidentally excluded from the text. They’re positions may be budgeted from permanent funds, but they remain without participation under old wording.
      1. The idea of changing the wording to include this group was put forward and passed
    3. The idea of Multi-Year Contracts being exclusionary of the promotion process was discussed. There was discussion of the Multi-Year Contracts being based on merit with 3- or 5-year contract via temporary money was discussed. The motion to make appropriate changes in the language was put forward and passed by the group.
  2. Approval of the Minutes September 12, 2017
    1. Minutes not approved, will approve for next meeting
  3. Discussion of Committee Charges
    1. The working groups divided to discuss their plans
  4. Old Business
    1. Review of “Provision of Multi-Year Contracts for Fixed-term Faculty” was discussed during joint meeting (see above). There was discussion of compiling information from the Big-10 Conference schools to establish possible benchmarks.
    2. The perceptions of shared governance practices work group discussed the items that should be included in a survey. Specific issues concepts to be addressed include:
      1. Protection of anonymity
      2. Communication & transparency
      3. Free speech
      4. Inclusion
      5. Voting rights
      6. Role of Adjunct faculty
      7. Faculty hiring
      8. Student admissions
      9. Leadership
      10. The survey is currently being designed with plans for discussion at next IUR meeting.
    3. Working group regarding variation in promotion to the rank of Full Professor between Commonwealth Campuses and UP met to discuss information on promotion rates. This is focused on information from OPA data related to promotion rates as related to discipline, unit, and time in rank. There was also information gather from informal interviews with faculty discussing assistance and obstacles to promotion to highest level.
    4. The working group for assessing campus/college status with regard to AC-21 met to discuss the areas and questions to be provided to both faculty and administrative representatives of each individual unit. The primary areas of interest include the process for developing the Fixed Term Promotions Committee/process, expectations of the faculty applying for promotion, and guidelines for promotion at the individual campuses/colleges.A survey will be developed and distributed with the help of Faculty Senate administration. The answers will then be collated for presentation at the December 2017 Faculty Senate Meeting.
  5. New Business
    1. None
  6. Adjournment
    1. Motion for adjournment made and seconded. Meeting adjourned following unanimous vote

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September 12, 2017

Present: Petrilla (chair), Palmer (vice-chair), August, Aurand, Clifford, Dunn, Cusumano, Eberle, Funk, Kahl, Mahan, Maurer, Pratt, Ruggerio, Sanders, Schmiedekamp, Shurgalla, Subramanian, Wagner

Absent: Lobo, Maluwa, McDade

    1. Announcements by the Chair
      1. Chair Petrilla discussed the topics addressed at the leadership meeting the previous evening.
    2. Approval of the Minutes April 25, 2017
      1. Minutes approved
    3. New Business- Discussion of Committee Charges
      1. Provision of Multi-year Contracts for Fixed-term Faculty
        1. Faculty Affairs will be taking the lead on this with IUR supporting their effort. Current goal may be for report as soon as possible; possibly October meeting.
      2. Informational report on perceptions of shared governance practices at both University Park and the Commonwealth Campuses
        1. This will require two surveys: one of faculty and another of administrators to compare their perceptions and define differences or areas of conflict. The goal would be to improve shared governance at the individual campuses/colleges, and possibly identify best practices. Altoona campus is currently doing this on a local level.
      3. Report on reasons for relatively low representation of Commonwealth Campus faculty to Full Professor
        1. Senate Leadership charged IRC (lead) jointly with Faculty Affairs to survey the campus faculty & administration regarding reasons behind relative difference between UP and CC (46% vs 21%) in Full Professor faculty.
        2. Dr. Mahan is currently working at Altoona to address this issue at a local level and volunteered to work on this within IRC.
        3. The idea that this topic may be associated with variations in hiring practices between campuses/colleges was discussed.
      4. Mid-year progress report on status of fixed-term promotions committees
        1. The committee will survey individual campuses regarding their development of committee membership, development, rubric development for promotion compared to Tenure Committee, timeline for implementation, and number of faculty expected to apply for promotion.
        2. Chair Petrilla & Vice-chair Palmer will develop survey questions for committee members to use when appropriate resources at individual campuses have been identified.
        3. The issue of connection for promotion in non-tenure track and fixed-term faculty contracts was discussed. There may be some conflict of interest issues to be considered. In general the committee felt that the connection of fixed term contracts with title present many complications that would need to be addressed.
      5. Merit raises as related to equity across Commonwealth Campuses
        1. The distribution of 2% merit raises appears to have some variability among campuses & colleges. The Senate Leadership & Chair Petrilla is working to define the parameters outlined by the Provost to the individual Campus/College units. Then variability between the individual campus/college may be based on variability by local administration to those parameters.
        2. There was discussion regarding hiring policy variation between campuses/colleges. This topic was identified by Senate leadership as a possible area of concern as there appears to be some variation. Chair Petrilla has reviewed the University Policy, and committee will consider survey of variable practices within the institution.
      6. Advisory/Consultative report requesting the World Campus presentation to faculty (in conjunction with Outreach)
        1. It was felt that this might better be an informational report regarding how commonwealth campuses can take advantage of teaching on-line. The issues of current options and campus/instructor reimbursement need to be addressed.
    4. Old Business
      1. The committee reviewed various issues that arose with earlier rendition of the Provision of Multi-Year Contracts for Fixed Term Faculty. Two addition items were developed to provide definition of length of contract and faculty feedback regarding the reasons multi-year contracts are not offered.
      2. Issues involving Human Resource consultation were discussed, as well as connection of promotion to the contracts with complications that might ensue.
    5. Adjournment
      1. Motion for adjournment made and seconded. Meeting adjourned following unanimous vote

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