T H E S E N A T E R E C O R D
Volume 52—–September 18, 2018—–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 http://www.senate.psu.edu/senators under “Publications.”
Except for items specified in the applicable Standing Rules, decisions on the responsibility for inclusion of matters in the publication are those of the Chair of the University Faculty Senate.
When existing communication channels seem insufficient, senators are encouraged to submit brief letters relevant to the Senate’s function as a legislative, advisory and forensic body to the Chair for possible inclusion in The Senate Record.
Reports that have appeared in the Agenda for the meeting are not included in The Senate Record unless they have been changed substantially during the meeting, or are considered to be of major importance. Remarks and discussions are abbreviated in most instances. Every Senate meeting is webcast via MediaSite. All Senate meetings are digitally audio recorded and on file in the Senate office. Transcriptions of portions of the Senate meeting are available upon request.
Individuals with questions may contact Dr. Dawn Blasko, Executive Director, Office of the University Faculty Senate.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
FINAL AGENDA FOR SEPTEMBER 18, 2018
- MINUTES OF THE PRECEDING MEETING
Minutes of the April 24, 2018, Meeting in The Senate Record 51:6
- COMMUNICATIONS TO THE SENATE
Senate Curriculum Report of August 28, 2018
- REPORT OF SENATE COUNCIL– Meeting of August 28, 2018
- ANNOUNCEMENTS BY THE CHAIR
- COMMENTS BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNIVERSITY
- COMMENTS BY THE EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT AND PROVOST
COMMENTS BY THE ACADEMIC TRUSTEE
- FORENSIC BUSINESS
- UNFINISHED BUSINESS
Committees and Rules
Revisions to Constitution; Article II-Membership, Section 1 (introduced at the April 24, 2018 meeting)
Revisions to Bylaws; Article II-Senate Council, Section 3 (introduced at the April 24, 2018 meeting)
Revisions to Bylaws; Article X-Amendments (introduced at the April 24, 2018 meeting)
- LEGISLATIVE REPORTS
Admissions, Records, Scheduling, and Student Aid
Aligning Requirements: Changes to Senate Policy 82-20-General Requirements
- ADVISORYADVISORY/CONSULTATIVE REPORTS
Libraries, Information Systems, and Technology
Proposed Changes to the University Faculty Senate Website
- INFORMATIONAL REPORTS
Libraries, Information Systems, and Technology
Analytics and Business Intelligence Strategy at Penn State
Student Time Management Resources
2017-2018 Campus Planning and Capital Construction
- NEW LEGISLATIVE BUSINESS
- COMMENTS AND RECOMMENDATIONS FOR THE GOOD OF THE UNIVERSITY
The University Faculty Senate met on Tuesday, September 18, 2018, at 1:00 p.m. in room 112 Kern Graduate building with Michael Bérubé, Chair, presiding.
DUE TO AUDIO-TECHNICAL DIFFICULTY, THERE ARE MANY ‘INAUDIBLE’ MOMENTS WITHIN THIS TEXT.
Chair Bérubé: Hello everyone, and welcome to the first plenary meeting of the University Faculty Senate for 2018-2019. Thank you all for accommodating the shift in time from 1:30 to 1 o’clock. Good to see so many people were aware of it.
I have to start off with a few unscripted apologies. For everyone trying to join remotely by way of Zoom; that didn’t work. Apparently, Zoom Incorporated was unaware that we hold 15 meetings for our 15 committees and would not authorize us holding more than one.
That will never happen again. But I apologize for it happening the first time. One good thing that has come out of that is that I’ve now had an impromptu conversation with Libraries, Information Science, and Technology Chair, Roger Egolf, about possibly doing an Informational or Advisory/Consultative Report about our communication technologies.
True. All right.
MINUTES OF THE PRECEDING MEETING
Chair Bérubé: We will start with the Minutes of the Preceding Meeting. The April 24, 2018 Senate Record, providing a full transcript of the proceedings of the meeting, was sent to the University Archives and is posted on the University Faculty Senate website. Are there any corrections or additions?
Faculty Senate Member: [INAUDIBLE]
Chair Bérubé: Sorry?
Faculty Senate Member: [INAUDIBLE]
Chair Bérubé: I love this. Great. It has been moved and seconded. All in favor?
Chair Bérubé: All opposed?
COMMUNICATIONS TO THE SENATE
Chair Bérubé: Next, Communications to the Senate– the Senate Curriculum Records of June 26, 2018 and August 28, 2018 are also posted on the Senate website. This year, the Senate Curricular Affairs Committee had a special summer meeting to expedite approval of Gen Ed Recertification and the offerings of inter-domain and linked courses.
This was a massive work. They approved a remarkable 425 courses and 14 programs. The reports are posted on the University Faculty Senate website. I just want to thank Curricular Affairs for all their work.
And I also want to thank Provost Jones, who paid for that meeting.
That was a chunk of change.
REPORT OF SENATE COUNCIL
Chair Bérubé: Report of Senate Council. Minutes from the August 28, 2018 Senate Council meeting can be found at the end of your agenda. Included are the minutes. In the minutes are topics that were discussed by the Faculty Advisory Committee to the President at their April 28 meeting.
ANNOUNCEMENTS BY THE CHAIR
Chair Bérubé: Moving on. D, Announcements by the Chair– this would be me. I promise you that, in future plenaries, I will keep my remarks under five minutes. This is an exception because I have a few important reports to make.
So last April, when Matthew handed me the reins and the gavel in what was mostly a peaceful transfer of power, I made some brief remarks, during which I referenced a Chronicle of Higher Education article on the sorry state of many faculty senates in American higher education. I need the headline. No, the other way.
Faculty Senate Member: [INAUDIBLE]
Chair Bérubé: Right, that. Because it was 5:30 in the afternoon when that happened, only about 15 people heard my remarks. But I want to thank them all for staying. This is the article I mentioned. I urge all of you to read it, because if you do, I think you’ll have a little greater appreciation of what we have managed to do in this body over the past few years.
There are plenty of faculty senates out there that are rudderless and plenty of faculty senators at other institutions who worry that they are ineffectual. I’m very happy to report that, at Penn State, we don’t have that problem. Last year, for example, we worked on two critically important University policies. And I want to report back to you on them in order to close the loop, largely because, on one of them, no one knows what went on. It was all in private meetings.
The first of these is Policy AC80, Private Consulting Practice, Outside Business Activities, and Private Consulting. Many of you will recall that our contract for this was Clint Schmidt, Director of the Conflict of Interest Program in the Office of Research Protections, housed in the Office of the Vice President for Research, Neil Sharkey. Those of you who are returning from last year will remember that we pretty much put the bow on this in April. And yet, there were a few threads left lying around that Vice Provost Cathy Bieschke and I wrapped up in a meeting last month.
Now, if you’re in the humanities as I am– my degree is in English– you might think this policy won’t pertain to you. At first, I thought it was directed only at STEM faculty, who are always off patenting things and creating new startup companies and consulting with major corporations. But actually, AC80, pertains also to anyone who might be offered a short term visiting scholar gig at another university, as has happened to me twice– for six weeks at Cornell University in the summer of 2013 and for four weeks at Cornell College in Iowa in the summer of 2011. For some reason, I’m really popular at places called Cornell.
AC80 does not prohibit such activities. It merely requires me to report them to my department head. Now, in some cases, your activities in private consulting will require approval. And in some cases, cases involving potential conflict of interest with your responsibilities as a Penn State faculty member, they will be prohibited. When the policy was revised two years ago, almost to the day, Clint Schmidt and his office understood the new policy as a liberalization of the old policies, permitting a greater variety of activities and streamlining the process for prior written approval.
But when it came to Senate, we read it over and came to the conclusion that there were some gray areas that needed clarification. We worried that some language in the policy might be read as giving Penn State jurisdiction over our every waking hour and parts of our REM sleep as well. That was an overreaction. But we were doing our due diligence. And most important to my mind, we pointed out that there was no appeals process built into the policy. If you thought your activities were ‘X’ but your department head determined they were ‘Y’, where do you go to resolve this disagreement? Do you go to the next highest administrative level? That seemed to us to be suboptimal, since you’re putting one administrator in the position of potentially contradicting or undermining another administrator.
So we suggested a horizontal appeal system, whereby disputes would be resolved by the Committee on Faculty Rights and Responsibilities, which includes representatives from both faculty and administration. I’m happy to report that, working together with Clint Schmidt’s office, we hammered out these differences with care and thoughtfulness. And the result, we think, is a much better policy.
We worked on this for two years not because we were delaying, but because this one is really hard. You get this policy wrong, bad things will happen, sometimes even to good people. And it is now the work of many hands.
The other policy was AD92, Political Campaign Activities. This is the one I don’t know that everyone knows about. It came from the Office of the General Counsel. The timing was unfortunate. It was announced a few weeks before the election of 2016, in which apparently some things happened. And it came as a surprise to many faculty.
The policy states, “It is the University’s policy that it and its employees and representatives, when acting in their official capacities for the University, may not directly or indirectly participate in or intervene in any political campaign on behalf of or in opposition to any candidate for elected public office.”
Well, first of all, we want to know what constitutes indirect participation in a campaign. Now, in 2008, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, my old haunt, announced a policy forbidding political bumper stickers on the cars in faculty parking lots. Seriously. Apparently, some local wing-nuts had the ear of UIUC administrators and were able to convince them to enact this ban, presumably on the grounds that professors are all flaming liberals and their bumper stickers have magical powers to indoctrinate students.
The policy lasted all of 15 minutes after being reported on in Inside Higher Ed, whereupon it was immediately ridiculed out of existence. We know that AD92 isn’t anything like the Illinois policy. But still, we want to know. Would this policy prevent faculty from canvassing door to door for a candidate? Would it prevent us from discussing the election in a political science classroom? Would it prevent a unit from showing a film on climate change?
Now, most of the policy was and is boilerplate and would have pertained to any nonprofit institution. Don’t use university resources, letterhead, email, computers if you are working for a campaign or an elected official. If you are involved in a campaign, make it as clear as you can that you are acting as a private citizen and not a representative of Penn State. Basic, right?
But Senate leadership asked for a meeting with General Counsel and staff so that we could talk through the gray areas. At first, they were puzzled and wondered what part of compliance with federal law we were objecting to. But we convinced them that the gray areas really are gray.
We’re not wage employees. Nobody knows when a professor is off the clock. And what if a campaign or an elected official solicits your expert advice because of your scholarly expertise? Part of your authority as an expert, after all, would derive from the fact that you are a professor at Penn State.
And then there was some ambiguity about what it means to use University resources. The policy forbids the use of University facilities for any political event. And the term “political event” includes any event that has the purpose or primary effect of promoting the election of a particular political candidate.
Well, we argued it’s one thing if an event has the purpose of promoting somebody’s election, but who determines if the event has a primary effect of doing so? That clause, I argued, opens the door to all kinds of mischief, whereby someone could complain about events devoted to the subject of climate change. So here, too, consultation with Faculty Senate produced a better policy, one tailored more specifically to the realities of our workplace and one that emphatically reaffirms the principles of academic freedom enunciated in policy AC64, which I strongly recommend you consult.
Scroll down on that a bit. I just want to point out one thing that pertains to what we’re doing right now, as related to the University. This is new. Not every faculty handbook has this. We are protected by the principles of academic freedom and teaching, research, and in extramural speech, but also to abide by the regulations. Right here. “Faculty members are free to speak and write on governance issues of their respective departments, et cetera, and are free to speak and write in all matters related to their professional duties without institutional discipline or restraint.” That’s like right now. That’s in response to a really perverse Supreme Court decision, Garcetti v. Ceballos, which said that public employees do not have First Amendment protection for things they say in the course of their duties. That also pertains to us. This covers us. Thanks to whoever put that in there.
Now, I don’t have time to go into the grainy details of these discussions. But I do want to make two important announcements about AD92, because we are about to head into what could be a consequential election cycle this fall. One, in response to our request for further guidance, the Office of the General Counsel has given us a series of examples of permitted and prohibited political campaign activities. That’s available also on the Senate website.
Two, in our October meeting, Assistant General Counsel, Zahraa Zalzala, will join us to discuss this policy and take your questions. Between now and then, I urge you to read this document. Distribute it widely in your college or campus. Reread AC64 on academic freedom, and bring your concerns and questions in October.
Those are just two examples of how the Faculty Senate has strengthened the practice of shared governance at Penn State, but they are important ones. I look forward to working with all of you over the coming year and continuing the critical work we are doing in the Faculty Senate. And now I turn to Comments by the President of the University to President Barron to make some comments and stand for a few questions. President Barron.
COMMENTS BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNIVERSITY
Eric Barron, President, Penn State University: Thank you. Good to see you. And let me start with a compliment. It seems like we had a year of breaking records. And if you read the news wires yesterday, you saw that we broke a big one in terms of our research expenditures, which went to almost $927 million dollars. That is a remarkable 7 percent increase; increase in almost every category; significant increase in federal support; all those things that you want for a successful research enterprise in a university. An incredible number of proposals that were submitted by the faculty. And clearly, we hope, in terms of the administration, that we enable you.
But the success here is your ability to compete against your peers for dollars. And I just want to make sure I say thank you for all of that tremendous effort. It’s something I love to brag about, along with many other things.
Well, this is an interesting statement up here. You may or may not know, we’ve had some consultants that have been busily benchmarking us against lots of other universities with the idea of where we might gain additional revenues, where it is we might make some savings. Just how do we compare with our peers? And we know we have worked to be an efficient university over a considerable period of time. Lots of targeted effort, some less targeted efforts, but we’ve been doing it for years, always tuning Penn State to try to save a dollar.
Well, what was an interesting statement from the consultants was they said, with Penn State’s academic rankings, history as an online pioneer, the strength of its brand, the fact that we are a financially stable University, the fact that we have technological capabilities and are growing in what we’re doing, and our efforts to tackle costs over the last decade, means that we’re in a place that’s different than a lot of universities. And they went so far to say that Penn State was in a position unlike others to really take on some of the innovative challenges for the future.
Now, this is interesting. One, because we’ve been working at it for a while, this very same topic. And two, our Board is keenly interested in seeing us have a vision and a plan that takes us into the next decades as a leader. And as you can imagine, everybody in the external world is asking, “What will universities be like?”
So it turns out, and I enjoyed putting this on the screen– we’ve been working at this for a little while– two years to think about what this future might be like. October 2016, I set up a task force for the future of online learning and the role of the World Campus. And the reasoning there was relatively simple. We had a growth rate of between 8 percent and 11 percent, 12 percent a year. Was it going to keep going like that? What were the implications, if you go five or 10 years out, to having that type of growth rate in terms of the weight of the whole University? I literally had someone approach me to take on the online education of a country, and that we would be the provider. And it raises the questions of whether or not you’re interested in volume or whether or not you’re interested in quality that drives a growth that makes the University more successful in terms of access and in terms of affordability.
Well, the task force gathered input from more than 600 academic leaders, faculty, students, and staff. And they expanded this role to really what was the future of a digital education. And, in the spring and coming into the summer, they finalized a report on five guiding principles that were associated with how they saw One Penn State in 2025. That’s very important here. We live this message of One Penn State.
I don’t know whether you remember when the middle states came in to do their accreditation. Some of the people that were on the team said, “You’re not One Penn State.” Every campus should be separately accredited. And at the end of their visit, they said, in fact, you are One Penn State. And we’re quite impressed. And we had a lot of glowing statements that were made about what we were doing.
Well, the team, in getting all that input, had a number of things in the vision– to be more integrated and flexible and responsive as an institution, have the access to curriculum processes across the campus be seamless, a University that functions 24/7, 365, serving the needs of people where they are, a higher level and strengthening of already existing commitments in this process, and to be more diverse and inclusive.
And they came up with the five governing principles that I alluded. And perhaps you saw the presentation that I gave to the Board on Friday on this very topic. And if that’s true, I’m repeating. And I’m only going to say a sentence or two about each one of these.
Seamless Student Experience– the way I like to say it and the way I heard it is– can we take all of these things that are transactional and require a lot of effort from bursar and registration and all of those different elements and have them integrated and seamless and less time consuming so that the transactional part about being a student is minimized, so that you can maximize the opportunity for education? That’s the first one of these.
What I like about each one of them is you are already working on all of these different elements. And so there’s progress in having some of these teams working together to say, “Okay, how can we minimize that transactional component of being a student at Penn State?”
Achieve Curricular Coherence. I have to tell you, one of the things that I’m incredibly proud of is the fact that I can host, at my house, math faculty from all across Commonwealth that are all sitting there, working together, in order to ensure that there is coherence in the curricula. This takes us up to another level in terms of making sure that everything we’re doing from degrees and course offering have all those necessary components that we can build upon them across every single entry point into this University, somehow without subtracting from the individualistic gifts that a faculty member provides to a student.
The third one, Design Relevant and Responsive Programs– and again, in each one of these categories, work is already being done in this by different departments and by different faculty. But we’re coming into this world of stacked credentials, where we’re coming into this world where you learn as you go, and the rate at which you complete a class might– so all these different avenues go under this notion of relevant and responsive programs.
Engage Learners Throughout Their Lifetime. In some ways, this is my favorite, I have to say. And I will tell you, I cannot go to any university in the country without people talking about lifelong learning and about the notion that if you have access to high quality online education while you’re a residential student, you are much more likely to take an online course in the future and much more likely to be a completer and to be successful.
We’re always thinking in terms of this notion of engaging learners throughout their lifetime and lifetime learning. I said it on Friday a little differently, and that is we would like Penn State to be your University for life. Part of the power in this is if you remove a lot of those transactional elements, and you have a portal. You can imagine a Penn State in which I don’t have to reapply. I don’t have to give up my email. I don’t have to give up my student number. I’ve heard some people say, does that mean I can keep my student ID? The picture might become a little dated.
But the idea here is that we’re your University for life. Whatever you need as you’re going through your life and changing jobs, either for fun or for work or for whatever else, Penn State’s there. We already accepted you as an undergraduate. Why shouldn’t we have you take that next undergraduate class?
And you might start to imagine discount models, package deals for alumni, but a way in which this University starts to serve our population. Because once a Penn Stater, always a Penn Stater. This means when you graduate, that’s not an end point. Right now, it’s an endpoint. People come up to me all the time and say, your most profound impact on the economy is called commencement. Okay? So why should that be an endpoint in this world when we know it really isn’t?
And the last part of what’s on this list is, again, focusing on the Highest Level of Efficiency with University Resources. But in fact, each one of these elements promotes efficient and effective use of University resources if it works. This is a vision.
One of the things that I emphasized to the Board of Trustees is our success in this depends on the continued effort that you put into advancing the curricular success and minimizing the transactional part and maximizing the educational part and maximizing the opportunities that are presented by a digital revolution that still has a long way to go.
And the other thing that I’ve said is that this has to have resources to match with it, if it’s going to be successful. And multiple times, I have heard now, from the Board, that cost savings that we accomplish, they believe should be reinvested into topics like this. And that’s a good story after many, many years of cutting and that tuition increases too high.
That’s not to say we won’t still be fighting over those tuition increases. I’m certain that we will, because we don’t want them to be too high. But I think this is a partnership. And I think it goes directly to this shared governance partnership that you were mentioning in terms of its potential.
Well, I said this in public and to the Board and a considerable amount of discussion. And I’m quite thrilled by the report that has come out. I know Renata may be better at answering some of the questions related to this than I am. But I just want you to know that I’m very excited about the progress on these topics.
I know there’s a lot of hard work that is there yet to do, but I’m going to do my best that I can to aid people that are looking at this and making sure that they’re successful. And with that, I will conclude. And I will happily take questions. And as you know, I’m happy to take a question on any topic.
Chair Bérubé: Of course. All the way in the back– Mike.
Mike Krajsa, Lehigh Valley: Thank you, President Barron. Number four is also my favorite one, but for a different reason. I have the privilege of running Lehigh Valley LaunchBox. And, in that time, we funded a 14 and 15-year-old who spent a month at MIT’S Entrepreneurship Camp. We also funded the youngest one, a nine-year-old, Kedar, whom you met in Harrisburg and who is going to be speaking at the 10th anniversary of Global Entrepreneurship Week, who won Microsoft’s Paradigm Challenge in California last year.
So I like that you want a continuous [INAUDIBLE] graduation. But what are we doing as [INAUDIBLE] using, Invent Penn State? And number four, to capture all these smart nine, 14, and 15-year-olds around the world through World Campus by getting them into our courses at some discount or something and begin to tap into that knowledge at an early age. Two of these kids are home schooled.
President Barron: My belief is this opens a pretty wide door for Penn State as being your University for life with lots of different entry points that may occur. And in the entrepreneurial space, why not? And of course, the LaunchBoxes are in that category anyway, because they’re open to community and alumni and faculty and staff and student.
I just did 30 minutes on a TV show on the venture capital now starting to come into this program. And we’re seeing a growing investment and excitement about what’s going on. And people are extremely excited about the fact that it’s not restrictive. It is a lifelong learning opportunity there, through the LaunchBox. And reaching people that are younger, I’m game to see this as part of this. This is just the vision. A lot of implementation work in there, to be able to pull that off.
Chair Bérubé: Right here.
Spencer Katz, College of Medicine: I’m a Student Senator. I’d like to ask about an article that came out in the New England Journal of Medicine last week, just brought to my attention today. And it’s called “Ending Sexual Harassment in Academic Medicine.”
It presented survey data from a report that came out in July about, in particular, sexual harassment among female medical students at Penn State University and University of Texas. And the article makes it clear that this is a nationwide issue among medical schools. But considering that we are one of the two institutions that are mentioned by name, I was wondering if there’s any sort of plan at the leadership level to respond to this and address this issue.
President Barron: Jean, do you want to comment on that? Do you want to comment on that?
Chair Bérubé: While the mic is getting to Jean, I can say that this was already brought to my attention. And I’ve sent it over to Alicia Decker and Borja Gutierrez of the Education Equity and Campus Environment Committee. We are on it.
Regina Vasilatos-Younken (Jean), Dean, Graduate School: Yeah, so a few things– this is a very important report. I will tell you that the pre-print that was made public, because that is a pre-print. [INAUDIBLE]
President Barron: I think you just have to speak loud, more loudly.
Jean: OK. How’s that?
President Barron: Better.
Regina Vasilatos-Younken: The institutions that contributed data were not given the pre-print to review before that came out to the public. The data that were reported for Penn State is, number one, a little conflated. So for example, it was listed as medical students in the figure. And, in fact, it includes graduate students at the College of Medicine and medical students. They misunderstood how the data were shared with them. That doesn’t, certainly, minimize the significance of it. But, I do say that because there is a significant national conversation around medical education and even female physicians and female medical students. In the data that was sent in or shared, was part of a climate survey that was conducted here at Penn State. It is in the public domain by location. And I can only speak to graduate education here. So keeping in mind that what was reported in that report– and it’s been corrected, so the final report that comes out should label it correctly. But if you look at graduate students at other locations that are graduate students alone, the results vary significantly from that merged data at the College of Medicine all the way from the Great Valley School of Graduate Professional Studies. For those of you that are not as familiar with that special mission campus, it’s all graduate education, no undergrad, or maybe a few IUG students that go there for classes. But it’s all professional master’s students. And the category that was mostly cited in that academies report especially were verbal diminishing of women’s legitimacy in medical education. At Great Valley with graduate programs, the report was zero percent for that.
So there is great heterogeneity when you start looking within Penn State by location. At University Park, the numbers for graduate students were merged with law students at Penn State Law. Again, it is not clean data. I will only say we’re a big institution. There was definitely a concern about some of the verbal statements that are made. But I will just tell you that the data is not pure in terms of whether we’re looking at some campuses, medical and grad or medical or law and grad or pure graduate students. But there is great diversity across the responses.
Ira Ropson, College of Medicine: Ira Robson at Penn State Hershey Med Center. I don’t think that’s really the answer to the question, because the fact is–
I don’t care which students they are. That number is ridiculously high. And there has to be a plan to deal with it.
Chair Bérubé: Any further questions? By the way, I have not given EECE a charge. I just sent this along to Alicia and to Borja so that they were aware of it. And we’ll work on what a Senate response should be. I don’t know what that would be yet.
President Barron: Do you want to comment on that?
Chair Bérubé: Provost Jones.
Nicholas Jones, Executive Vice President and Provost: –one thing to Jean’s comments. The reason why Penn State and Texas were identified in that study was that we are two institutions who had done a survey and I think this goes, in part, to your question. We were two institutions who had done surveys to try to better understand the scope of this issue. And we were two institutions that shared out, made our data available for the report.
So I can’t run through a list of specifics of what we are doing. But believe me, we did the study. And we’re on it because we think it’s important. But we were singled out not as bad actors, but because we are ahead of everybody else in asking the difficult questions, determining what the responses are, and then taking action.
Chair Bérubé: Thank you.
Josh Kirby, College of Education: Hi. Different topic– my name is Josh Kirby, from the College of Education. I work with the Learning, Design, and Technology Program. We are particularly excited about principles two and three. Because we are a technology program, we are trying to educate teachers– those in higher-Ed, those working in instructional design– to be ahead of the curve so that they can integrate learning technologies at a faster pace.
And this is a three way charge that includes us, as faculty, but also for the Provost and for you, sir. And that is that our curriculum process needs a way to be responsive to changing technology. So whether we are allowed to have greater breadth for certain types of courses so that we can update them without having to go through an 18-month long review or if we can find ways that a little bit more self-governance in that curriculum process will allow us to be responsive to those changing trends.
And we know that we’re feeling the pressure economically and that smaller institutions with a lower tuition price are able to respond to technology infusion faster than we can. And that pressure is starting to come out in our enrollment numbers. So it’s a real process for all of us. And I think that we can work together on that.
President Barron: Yeah. I completely agree. And I think part of our issue is we’ve got a lot going on. And we have to find a way to invest more in making it successful. We have to.
And this is part of this strategic planning exercise. And it is part of the reason why I asked last year for innovation dollars to be an explicit part of the budget that the Trustees approve and that we want that number to grow. We’re just not going to be able to pull this off by always looking to save and not investing in some of these areas. It’s a challenge, but that’s what we have to do. Thank you for saying that.
Chair Bérubé: Thank you, President Barron.
President Barron: Thank you.
Chair Bérubé: It is now my pleasure to recognize Provost Jones for his comments. Provost Jones.
COMMENTS BY THE EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT AND PROVOST
Nicholas Jones, Executive Vice President and Provost: Thank you very much. I have a lot of material here. I’m going to just touch on a lot of topics to give you the best update I can. But there’s obviously much more I could say about many of these.
First, let me give an update on our searches. We have several underway right now– first, Dean for the College of the Liberal Arts. That search committee is chaired by Marie Hardin, Dean of the Bellisario College of Communications.
We are anticipating that, by October 1, the committee will have reviewed all of the applicants and will have named those with whom they will conduct a preliminary interview. So that process is going along very well. I spoke to Marie this morning and she is happy with the progress they have made.
Dean of Dickinson Law in Carlisle, that search is chaired by Susan Welch. And by mid-October, the committee will have reviewed all their applicants and have named those with whom they will conduct preliminary interviews also. So that, too, is moving along well.
The Dean for the College of Arts and Architecture; that search committee is chaired by Hari Osofsky, the Dean of Penn State Law. We have identified a search firm to partner with us in that process and are just ironing out the contractual details. But we will be getting that one up and moving very quickly.
And then I will mention– I don’t usually mention specifically unless asked– we are also doing a search for Vice President for Human Resources. That’s under David Gray’s leadership. We’ve retained a company named Koya Leadership Partners. And they have that process well underway. We’re hoping to get interviews scheduled during the fall and the late fall and, hopefully, an appointment for that critical role early in the new year.
And last but not least, and I saved this one for last for a reason, we will be beginning, very soon, a search for Vice Provost for Global Programs. We’ll be naming the search committee soon. And the reason we’re doing that, as many of you are aware, is that Michael Adewumi has announced that he will be leaving us and joining the Institute for International Education in Chicago starting in January. And I wanted to take this opportunity in front of the Senate to recognize Michael, who is sitting here, and thank him for his many years of service to Penn State.
Thank you, Michael.
Just a few comments on the implementation of AC21. I think I’m just going to give a very high level view, nothing broken down by campus or rank, although, of course, we have data from which this bird’s eye view is determined. We’re having great success with this. I think we should all feel very pleased about the progress we’ve made. There’s a lot to be done yet. But this is where we are so far.
One hundred eighty-four non-tenure track faculty members have been promoted over the course of the past year. Of the 184, 40, or 22 percent, were promoted to assistant X professor, where X is teaching, research, clinical. Ninety-four, or 51 percent, were promoted to associate X professor. And 50, or 27 percent, were promoted to X professor.
Of the 184 total, 150, or 81 percent, hold a multi-year contract. And 34, 19 percent, hold a one year contract. Of the 150 who hold a multi-year contract, 35, or 23 percent, hold two-year contracts. And 115, or 77 percent, hold contracts of three years or more.
Please note that some of these contracts were actually in place prior to the promotion taking place. Not everybody received a new contract on promotion. But even allowing for that, these are really great numbers, I think. We are not done. There is more work to be done on this as we go through this year.
And we will be able to present more detailed data to you at some point in the future, respecting, of course, the fact that the more disaggregated we become, the less confidential it becomes. We have to be a little bit careful about that. But, all in all, to Michael’s comments before, just a great example of shared governance and action, I think, where we’re really partnering to make this a great success and a leadership opportunity for the University.
I want to just slip into opine mode for a moment and opine about rankings. Penn State, in US News & World Report, as I think most of you are aware, usually hovers around 50 in US News & World Report. There was a moment, in 2014, or the 2014 rankings, which came out just a few months after my arrival, where the ranking went up to 37. And I would note that this year, as most of you are aware, right after Michael assumed the chair of the Senate, it went from 52 to 59.
Chair Bérubé: We have an incomplete data set on that.
Provost Jones: I can’t miss an opportunity for it. Anyway, I actually bring that up on purpose, because, of course, it had nothing to do with Michael. And it had nothing to do with me. These rankings are machines of their own. They are somewhat opaque, although among them US News & World Report is one of the algorithms that is easiest to interpret. But we did fall this year from 52 to 59, which I know caused some consternation.
And I just want to speak to that for a moment and the Wall Street Journal ranking, which came out about the same time. We know that this year, US News & World Report introduced a new component into their rankings, which they called a social mobility factor. And that was really to address the effectiveness of institutions in promoting the process of social mobility upward. That was about five- percent of the ranking. That five- percent was pulled first from a couple of areas where Penn State did reasonably well. So that was one impact.
But you would think, given our institution, our focus, and our unique structure, which really promotes social mobility, that the addition of such a factor would benefit the University and our ranking would improve. This is not the case with the ranking. And the challenge is and the problem is that we are one University geographically distributed.
The way we promote social mobility very effectively is through our unique structure. There are no other institutions in the US News & World Report rankings that are structured the way that we are. And so when a ranking like this is introduced, it is somewhat, I would say, incapable of capturing the way students flow through our University.
Many start at one campus then transition, after a couple of years, to University Park or to another campus. This is a very important part of the way we do business. And US News & World Report is really challenged to capture that aspect. And so, as a result, we didn’t do well in that new consideration as we might have. So that, as you can imagine, that is quite frustrating.
Second, Wall Street Journal rankings came out around the same time. We were ranked around 100. There, we actually did a little better than we’ve done in past years. That process is almost completely opaque. We don’t provide any data to Wall Street Journal. They develop their own ranking using data sources that they can access publicly. Again, it is difficult for us to know exactly what they are using or what data sets they draw from. And also, they have an algorithm to which we are not privy, except in very coarse terms. We don’t quite know how they pull their ranking together. That one is a little frustrating to us.
And there are other rankings like that- that are constructed without any input from us. We don’t live and die by rankings. We do, as an institution, what we think is right. And the rankings follow.
That said, we’re not completely naive that rankings are not important, because they are. And so one of the changes I’ll share with you that we are implementing and have been over the course of the past year is all rankings material that is submitted– and we don’t have any control over, of course, what is not submitted– runs through Lance Kennedy-Phillip’s office, the Office of Institutional Research and the Office of Planning and Assessment. And Lance’s team does a review of everything that goes out just to make sure that it’s consistent.
And if you’ve been reading the newspapers about institutions like Temple, correct, which is important as well. I just wanted to mention the rankings. We’re actually feeling pretty good about the vector that the University is on, even though this recent US News & World Report ranking is, perhaps, a little frustrating.
Eric got to talk about One Penn State 2025 vision, which aligns with the transforming education theme of the strategic plan. I want to just give you a preview of something that we are going to announce next week about which we are very excited. And I wanted to share that with you first. And this comes under the enhancing health umbrella.
And it is the launch of the Penn State Consortium to Combat Substance Abuse. And I have alluded to this in prior meetings. But we are ready to announce a consortium. And I’ll just read a couple of paragraphs that you will read yourselves next week.
“In its role as the Commonwealth’s Land Grant University, Penn State is consolidating its resources to address the opioid crisis and the larger problem of substance abuse in Pennsylvania and beyond via its Consortium to Combat Substance Abuse. It will be led by interim director, Stephanie Lanza, Professor of Biobehavioral Health.
The consortium will draw on the expertise of researchers, educators, and practitioners from Penn State campuses across the Commonwealth to develop and implement effective programs, policies, and practices aimed at preventing and treating addiction and its spillover effects on children, families, and communities.
We’ll be hiring a number of new faculty to support this consortium. And a national search for the consortium director is going to be launched, permanent director, is launched immediately. There is an advisory board comprised of representatives from 12 colleges, campuses, and offices across Penn State. And they will guide the consortium’s activities. They will provide seed grants and also are planning to sponsor a national conference envisioning a future free from addiction.
Research programs and practice to prevent substance abuse to be held in April of 2019. Its home will be in the Social Science Research Institute, one of our seven cross-university research institutes. That is overseen by Neil Sharkey’s Office of the Vice President for Research.”
This is a really exciting development for the University, I think. We are thrilled to have Stephanie at the helm as we kick it off. A lot of people across the University played a big effort in pulling this together, chief among them Nan Crouter, as former dean of College of Health and Human Development, and Kathy Drager, the current interim dean, Craig Hillemeier, other deans involved, campus chancellors, Neil’s office, obviously. So I thank all of them for their efforts. And this is really something that you should all be excited about and proud of.
Next, let me turn to admissions. And I’m going to be very brief. There’s not much to say about admissions. We’re at a critical time point, where we’re close to census at the beginning of October or so. The numbers are all settling down. It’s a little premature to talk pre-census numbers at this point, while we’re trying to finalize those. And of course, we are very early in this year’s admissions cycle. The numbers are small and hard to extrapolate from.
So really not much to say other than this year you may have noticed that, for the first time, Penn State is using the Common App as well as the Coalition App and, of course, the direct application process to Penn State. We’re anticipating that our use of the Common App will drive additional applications to the institution.
A couple of other comments about the Strategic Plan that I should share. The Academic Leadership Council met on August 13 and discussed, in general terms, where we are in strategic plan implementation and what the future may look like. And we’ll be getting some more information out about this soon.
Two things, mainly, are important. One, there is a misalignment between unit level plan implementation periods and the institution plan. They are off by one year, with the unit plans finishing earlier. We’re going to align those time periods. All the unit plans will basically be extended a year so that they are align with the institutional plan, number one.
Number two, we’ve started the process of thinking about what will the next strategic planning process look like. And we could do, A- nothing and just keep going with the same plan; B- start all over with a blank sheet of paper and identify new areas of priority for the University; or C- something in between, which capitalizes on the work that has been done in the existing plan, but looks to do a robust assessment and some course corrections in order to do better.
And that’s where we’ve sort of ended up. We will be recommending, broadly, including to the Board of Trustees, that that is the approach that we take. The things that we have identified and achieved in the current Strategic Plan are worth continuing, because many of them have very long runways in order to be transformative. As you heard from the President, 2025 is a ways out well beyond the strategic plan period. So stay tuned for more on that.
Just a quick update, too– in the latest round of the request for proposal process, I’m happy to share we got 58 proposals in this round. What is interesting this time is we got a lot in Transforming Ed, as we usually do– about 20. But in Arts and humanities- we had nine, Enhancing Health- eight, Driving Digital Innovations- seven, Stewarding Resources- four, Outreach and Communication- four, Infrastructure and Support- four, and Organizational Processes- two. That’s a much better distribution across those different areas than we saw in the first two. Clearly, the word is getting out. People are rolling up their sleeves and submitting great proposals. So that review processes is underway.
Just a couple of quick updates on IT related matters– three. First, we, and I think I’ve shared some of this with you before, we are consolidating firewalls across the University. We had order of 170 firewalls spread across the institution. That actually creates, ironically, security vulnerabilities for the institution, rather than additional security. And so we’re consolidating all of those firewall for the entire University behind two firewalls. We’re going to get rid of basically 168 firewalls. I suspect some of them we’ll have to go after in person. But basically rationalizing that whole process, putting two big, institutional firewalls in place that will be aggressively and actively managed and provide better protection. It’s a great success story. And that’s underway, led by Don Welch, the CISO.
We’re also doing an institution-wide roll-out of Office 365. I talked about that before. We are well along in that process, probably two-thirds or 60 percent at least of the way through that, by and large going smoothly. A few bumps, a few challenges, but I can tell you, the opportunity that this presents to offload the routine processing of email by the University and basically leaving it to Microsoft to handle it there, in the Cloud and with their servers, is a big step for us and very important.
In addition, third thing, you will be hearing, over the course of the next year, a lot of conversation about what Michael Kubit, our Vice President for IT and CIO, is calling Reimagining IT. And the goals for this fairly major effort are to improve efficiency and cost effectiveness of IT delivery, improve security further– very important– improve support for both specialized and commodity IT across the University, retain and vastly improve the career tracks for IT employees, and create capacity to support innovation- most important, probably, of that list. You’ll be hearing a whole lot more about this.
I know my remarks are long. I won’t say anything else at this point. But stay tuned and, please, engage as the opportunities present themselves to influence our thinking and the development and rollout of this initiative.
Just a couple of quick comments on LionPATH. We have had some pretty good success with LionPATH enhancements over the summer. We’ve completed development efforts in support of early action for Undergraduate Admissions. Continuing efforts in support of early awarding of financial aid are underway. And new aid summary page design was approved and has moved to development. So that’s all going well.
There’s a new transfer credit tool. I think most of you in the room are aware that transfer of credit was an area of some angst as we did the transition to LionPATH. That’s being released on both public and internal LionPATH sites. It allows a user to search two ways to see how courses taken at other institutions will transfer to Penn State and to search by Penn State courses and view equivalents at other institution. And the uptake on that tool has been pretty much overwhelming. We’ve had tens of thousands of uses of that within a month of it going live, a bunch of improvements for faculty advisors and students in the user interface that I think have been very positive.
And I have to share this with you to give you plenty of warning. We are planning for a LionPATH upgrade in 2019, July, in fact. So mark your calendars.
This is something we really need to do, because the version that we currently have, supplied by Oracle, is basically timing out. And we need to keep up with technology. We know what happens when we don’t. I know I’ve stood before you and said this before. I think it will be a relatively benign upgrade.
But it really will just address minor issues of functionality, but keep us current with the Oracle product. SIMBA, the business information system, started in June. And I’m very pleased to report that, as of September, it is on time and on budget. It’s a two and a bit year process. The team is all fully in place now and getting all of their configurations sorted out and so on. There will be a Faculty Advisory Committee including Senate representation. We’re putting that together now. So that is going to be an important group to advise the forward progress on this effort.
And then finally, finally, truly finally, WorkLion– it’s been a challenging rollout of WorkLion, probably more challenging than we thought it seemed like it was being, back in the January, February time frame. We had a lot of activity over the summer, a big focus on the 4500 plus graduate student appointments that we needed to process.
And it turned out that WorkLion just didn’t work as well as we had envisioned for on-boarding large numbers of students at a single time. It’s one thing to on-board staff or faculty continuously over the course of the year. But that big influx of graduate students was really, really a struggle.
There have been some other roll-outs of adjusted processes and so on over the course of the summer. And we did get through the graduate student appointment process. Just some challenges that are being faced– last minute submissions from units continue to be a challenge and exacerbate the backlog that the Shared Services Center has. We’re working on that. And we need your cooperation and units to help make that happen.
There’s a couple of integrations with existing processes that have not worked as well as anticipated. Those need to be addressed, specifically I-9 processing and the central person registry. And there are some limitations within Neocase, which is the WorkLion portal that have produced a lot of challenges. And so we’re currently looking at that to see if we can make changes to Neocase or if we have to think differently. And it may be that some of what we now do in Neocase will actually be ported to the WorkDay functionality, rather than using that separate application.
General salary increases– even in a year where we had to do them retroactively to July 1 seemed to, by and large, go smoothly. That is something I usually hear about fairly quickly if things were messed up. But it seems that just a great effort to make that work correctly.
And the challenge ahead is Open Enrollment. That is just around the corner for benefits. And so the team is focused on, again, making that process as smooth as possible. That was a very lengthy update. I apologize. But I will stop and be happy to take questions if there are any.
Chair Bérubé: There’s a great deal going on. Thank you. Are there questions for Provost Jones?
Provost Jones: Aside from former deans.
Daniel Larson, Science: Is this on? Nick, if you’re talking about rankings, I think, one, you ought to include– well, there are a few that you could include of world university rankings. The Times’ higher education world university rankings puts Penn State at 77 in 2018. And what I go around saying, and I’m very confident in this, is that Penn State is one of the 100 best universities in the world.
Provost Jones: Right. Yes, thank you, Dan. I should have mentioned that one for context as well. I focused on the two that just came out and were a little quirky. But you’re right. Obviously, that’s a ranking that we like.
But it shows you how crazy and variable the methodologies are. Because in one like that, which we think does a reasonable job of capturing what the institution is about and weights things that we think are important, we do well. But in some of these other ones over which we have a little bit less control, not as well as we would like.
Chair Bérubé: Michael.
Michael Krajsa, Lehigh Valley: I’ve been asked by our faculty and staff and, also, in the caucus regarding WorkLion. Three things– one, we’ve traditionally got summer contracts. We didn’t get them. We didn’t know they were not coming, because I guess we were just put in there.
Number two, when I go in and look at my pay, it’s still all lumped together. I can’t tell what is my ongoing salary, what I get from World Campus. It’s not delineated. When I talk to HR, they could go into some backdoor and look at that. But it wasn’t very visible.
And the third and probably the most important thing, this August we had about 20 staff and adjunct faculty that we could not get into the system and on-board. And classes started. They didn’t have an email. They didn’t have Canvas. We had to MacGuyver things on our campus. Students missed some additional classes. And I just want to know, is that being looked at and addressed so when we do on-boarding of new faculty and staff come January that we’re not going to run into that?
Provost Jones: Yeah. Let me start at the back. Yes, absolutely. We know we had a few challenges there and some issues that some of them have been addressed already and resolved. Others are works in progress. I’m not sure about the salary differentiation issue. But I can certainly make some inquiries about that for you.
And the summer contracts, this is a notification issue, is it, that the contract is in place but you just were not informed?
Michael Krajsa: [INAUDIBLE]
Provost Jones: Yeah.
Michael Krajsa: In the past, we got written ones.
Provost Jones: Yeah. That’s a glitch thing that we can certainly address to make sure that’s smoother in the future.
Chair Bérubé: Right here.
Ray Najjar, Meteorology and Atmospheric Sciences Department: I’m Ray Najjar, from the Meteorology and Atmospheric Sciences Department. And this is the first semester I’ve taken a deep dive into [INAUDIBLE] all [INAUDIBLE] ability to handle equations. And for a university where STEM education [INAUDIBLE] I’ve been [INAUDIBLE] go in the details [INAUDIBLE] to get help both here, from Canvas support, off-site. And there’s a big problem, particularly with backwards compatibility with quizzes and things that are made in Canvas that have equations.
Provost Jones: Is that where the issue is, that you’re having trouble importing prior materials and having the equations convert correctly? Or is it just a more fundamental problem with the way you are perceiving that it treats equations in general?
Ray Najjar: It’s a few issues. One is that I had a course from last semester from another instructor. I imported all of the quizzes. I want to make modest changes to the quizzes. And I basically can’t. In many cases, if I touch any aspect of the quiz, the whole thing gets corrupted.
And I have other problems, too. For example, there’s a feature called Quiz Statistics, where you can look at how the whole class is doing on a particular quiz question. And you can’t actually see the equations in that. I can’t teach science without equations. And I suspect that others may have this problem, too.
Provost Jones: Right. That would be a challenge in a field like yours. Let me see if I can get somebody from the team to reach out to you and help you with some of those challenges that–
Ray Najjar: Well, I’ve reached out. We’re at this point where it– I’ve reached out. We’ll wait for the next version of quizzes to come along, quiz next or something like that. I’ve had a suggestion. Well, why don’t you take a picture of the equation and insert that? I mean, this is the kind of help I’m getting from Canvas. These are nice people. But I think that they don’t have the resources to handle things, to me. And that’s just fundamental aspects of assessment [INAUDIBLE] math and science, which is the ability to use equations in a crisp and efficient way.
Provost Jones: Yeah. Let me look into that. Frankly, I’m surprised. This is the first I’m hearing of this. And Canvas is being used in STEM classes all over the University and has for– that’s why I think we probably need to understand exactly what the challenges are you’re facing. And hopefully, we can come up with a solution for you. But I’m surprised that you’re having the experience that you are. But we’ll look into it.
Ray Najjar: It could be me.
Provost Jones: Could be.
Chair Bérubé: Keith, Matt.
Ray Najjar: It has been before.
Provost Jones: Well, actually it is you. We know it is you. It’s just what’s causing it.
Chair Bérubé: Keith.
Keith Shapiro, Arts and Architecture: Shapiro, Arts and Architecture. I’d like to add we’re having trouble adding images in any kind of way to Canvas. I’m sorry. [INAUDIBLE] this separate piece of software to work outside of Canvas in order to be able to work with images and add comments to them and those sorts of things.
I’ve done the same exact thing. And I’ve had about the same response on it. So I figured I’d let you know, because you may want to look at Canvas as being– because we were talking about maybe eliminating some of those home grown pieces of software that we’re spending a lot of money to develop or built in-house and with the hope of being able to use this Canvas product in order to do those things globally. And a lot of us are finding it is not working.
Provost Jones: This makes no sense to me, that a contemporary system like this could not handle equations and images. That’s a problem. We’ll get to the bottom of this.
Chair Bérubé: It’s only [INAUDIBLE]. Otherwise, we’re good. Matt.
Matt Jordan, Bellisario College of Communication: Hi. Matt Jordan, Bellisario College of Communication. So I’m doing my duty as a faculty rep in bringing a question to you from a colleague of mine who reads the fine print. And he wanted me to ask a series of questions about the new 0.052 surcharge to all TIAA-CREF accounts that was announced in May and is scheduled to go into effect at the end of the month.
And this is an additional fee that will cost us thousands of dollars over time. This new fee line supplements the investment expense fee already charged by TIAA. In some cases, such as if one chooses low expense index funds, it more than doubles the fees.
The first question is– and there’s a series of these– what is the justification of a second line bill item that is here to forward not been needed? Who generated the surcharge fee? And where does the extra revenue from it flow, into PSU or TIAA-CREF’s margins? Second, given that the so-called record keeping fees and investment management fees decline substantially when an employee retires, why does this surcharge remain the same as long as the account exists, even after retirement and/or the death of an employee?
Third, these combined TIAA fees, which eliminated the advantage incurred through an R3 Plan when combined, are trending higher at a moment when fees of all types imposed by retirement account management companies like Fidelity, which just announced it is waiving all fees on index funds, is actually decreasing. So the question is, will PSU use institutional leverage to push back against TIAA-CREF and/or allow other competitors who offer a lower fee structure per industry trends to compete for our retirement accounts?
Provost Jones: I can answer all of the first questions together and say, I don’t know.
And then that last question, I can respond. We will look into this and ensure that an explanation is either available or provided. I’m sure it’s available and needs to be provided and explained. And you’re right that we are not TIAA-CREF. We are an institution that works with TIAA-CREF. And they provide support for our retirement plans.
Do we do we have some influence as a partner with them? Yes. Do we have influence over an issue like this? That I’m not sure. But I can certainly inquire with our retirement folks.
Chair Bérubé: And we’ve also brought this to the attention of Faculty Benefits Chair, Ira Saltz, who will be keeping us apprised as well.
Provost Jones: And could you, what you just read, could you email that to me? Because I kind of forgot some of what you said.
Chair Bérubé: It was kind of detailed.
Provost Jones: Thank you.
Chair Bérubé: One more question, right here. Michele.
Michele Duffey, College of Health and Human Development: Hi, Duffey, HHD. I just want to express a couple of concerns on behalf of our college and WorkDay. There’s a lot of concern in our college on the well-being of the staff who are dealing with the copious workday issues. [INAUDIBLE] issues that have to do with payroll.
[INAUDIBLE] what is [INAUDIBLE] grad, undergrad or student workers incorrect pay that might be too much or too little, an instance of somebody being paid three times in one month or [INAUDIBLE] month and then needing to pay that back, but being taxed on that triple. Two people not [INAUDIBLE] pay right. When, again, being nine months into this, might we expect some sort of correction and expect to not have to have the conversation about whether we’ve been paid and been paid correctly?
Provost Jones: Yeah. I’ll certainly pass this along. My sense is that the payroll errors, they’re not nonexistent. But they’re relatively few in number. But if it affects you, it is serious and annoying and frustrating. I take these concerns very seriously.
We need to understand what is causing those types of problems. We can dig into this and try to figure it out. And I can ask folks to look at HHD in particular about payroll. But we are well aware of the challenges that this is producing for a lot of our staff. And we are sensitive that– all I can probably do is assure you that we are working very hard, in particularly with the shared services operation, to try to get them to get ahead of this backlog and make some changes.
I had some specific conversations just last week, actually, about the possibility of things like smartphones. Because right now, evidently, if you pull up a form to enter something, if you enter somebody’s name or ID, you would think that a lot of the fields in that form would pre-populate because it’s one person. You shouldn’t have to type it all in every time.
But there are annoying things like that are not being, have not been properly implemented or not turned on. And we’re paying attention to try to get as many of those kinds of silly issues out of the way. But we are very much aware of the stress that it’s causing for our staff. And we’re sensitive to that. But thank you for emphasizing it.
Chair Bérubé: Thank you, Provost Jones.
Provost Jones: Thank you all very much.
Chair Bérubé: I just want to say the only reason I didn’t say anything about the joint overhaul of AC21 for our fixed term faculty in my opening remarks about shared governance is I didn’t know, until now, how successful the implementation has been so far. That’s very, very encouraging, especially the news about multi-year contracts is especially encouraging. And talking about the work of many hands, this has been going on for about three, four years now. So thank you.
COMMENTS BY THE ACADEMIC TRUSTEE
Chair Bérubé: I am now pleased to welcome our fellow senator and Academic Trustee, David Han, Professor of Surgery and Radiology at the Milton S. Hershey Medical Center in the College of Medicine. Dr. Han has agreed to offer some remarks and takes some questions about how he sees the University’s prospects from the perspective of the Board of Trustees. Dr. Han.
David Han, College of Medicine: Thank you, Michael. David Han from the College of Medicine. I am now in my fourth year as the Academic Trustee and it’s hard to believe that it’s already been four years.
First of all, I want to thank all of you for giving me the opportunity to serve in this role. I also want to take a moment to thank Michael for inviting me to spend a few minutes on the Senate agenda today. In my first three years on the Board, I’ve worked with three separate Board chairs. And I know that each of them has truly appreciated the opportunity to speak here, before the Faculty Senate.
So I do want to start by saying that my comments here are not meant in any way to be some kind of replacement, but really represent an additional opportunity to increase the communication between the Board and the Faculty Senate. Which, as some of you may recall, was the charge of the Faculty Senate Special Committee on University Governance to examine, identify, and recommend ways to improve and enhance interactions, including the flow of information between the Board and its constituent groups– students, alumni, staff, faculty, and administration.
I had the opportunity to serve on that committee. And I know that I would say and I think that the others on the committee would agree that much of the heavy lifting was really done by past Senate Chair, John Nichols, who chaired that committee both in 2012 and 2013, when the original report was submitted, and then again in 2016, when the special committee was reconvened to review what really had happened in the three years since the original report. And I think that the Senate really does owe a deep debt of gratitude to John for his incredible work with these reports.
Do I have slide control here? So I’d like to just first start with a very brief overview of the composition of the board. There are 36 voting members and two non-voting members. They are President Eric Barron and Governor Tom Wolf.
The 36 voting members include three ex-officio members from Harrisburg, the Secretaries of the Department of Agriculture, Education, and Conservation and Natural Resources. And so, going clockwise around the diagram, the governor appoints six members. There are nine elected by the alumni, six from agricultural societies, and six representing business and industry.
These last two groups, the three at-large that are selected by the Board and the three additional seats for a faculty member, a student member, and the immediate past president of the Alumni Association, these six were all created in 2015. Board members serve three year terms with a 12 year term limit, except for the student, who serves a two year term, and the past president of the Alumni Association, who also serves a two year term, which aligns with their terms of service.
And the Board, like many organizations that I’m sure many of you belong to, is organized into committees. And there are seven main working committees with some smaller subcommittees, such as the Subcommittee on Architect and Engineer Selection. But it’s these seven committees where most of the work of the Board is done. And these committees are Academic Affairs and Student Life, Audit and Risk, Compensation, Finance, Business, and Capital Planning; Governance and Long Range Planning, Legal and Compliance, and Outreach Development and Community Relations.
And so I’d like to circle back to the Special Committee on the University Governance Report, which I’ll simply refer to as the SCUG report. And I think I’ve tried to frame my role on the Board using the SCUG report to provide some guiding principles. So first, what is the role of the Academic Trustee? Well, it’s probably easier to start with what the Academic Trustee is not. I am not a source of tickets for sporting events or concerts.
I am not an ombudsman for a dispute with your department chair, fellow faculty member, or unhappy student. I cannot arrange for your friend’s charity to be advertised on the Jumbo Tron at the football game. These are all real conversations that I’ve had to have.
What the Academic Trustee is, however, is a voting member of the Board, just like any other voting member of the Board, with the same rights and responsibilities, which includes declaring and managing conflicts of interest. And I say that because perhaps one of the biggest hurdles to overcome has been the perception that an employee of an organization should not serve on the governing board of the organization.
And in some cases, that may very well be true. But I think part of managing that perceived conflict of interest is to be clear that the role of the Academic Trustee is not to serve as the voice of the faculty, but rather to provide a perspective of the faculty all the while remaining steadfast and aligned with the goals and the priorities of the institution.
So with that said, I’d like to circle back to one of the SCUG Report’s recommendations, which has been the authorization of faculty and student participation in the committee process. And so, as you can see, we now have a great team with Faculty Senate members serving on each committee, except for compensation.
Parenthetically, I would just comment that this change had not yet been implemented when SCUG 2 was released in 2016. But I assured John Nichols that it would, and quite frankly, I’m glad it did, because I really didn’t want to let John down.
Finally, a process change was made which now requires a meeting among the leaders of the Faculty Senate, administration, and Board leadership– meaning the chair, the chair elect, and the secretary of the faculty senate, the President, the Provost, and the vice president for administration, and the chair and the vice chair of the Board of Trustees. These meetings now must occur at least once per semester. I’ve been asked to sit in on a few of these meetings, including one that we just had last week, before the Board of Trustees meeting. And I think they’ve been quite useful. What we spent some time talking about last week was shared governance. And perhaps that timing couldn’t have been better given what we just heard about One Penn State 2025. While there certainly will be some challenges, there will certainly also be some opportunities to apply our shared governance model.
So in conclusion, I think that while we’ve accomplished much, that many challenges still remain. I put shared governance in quotes, because I think that one of the challenges is that many of us have different definitions of shared governance. And getting folks into a working alignment is certainly going to have its bumps along the way. That’s all I have. And I would certainly be happy to entertain any questions.
Chair Bérubé: Questions for Trustee Han? Mike.
Michael Krajsa: Krajsa, Lehigh Valley, again. Thank you for this information. I think it’s good. And thank you for the extra time you’ve put in in serving the Faculty Senate’s way of thinking.
With the advent of PSU 2025– and I realize we’re a land grant University, and we have six members from agriculture. And I’m not even remotely implying that we should diminutize that number of Board members in agriculture. But as we move into Invent Penn State and more technology and everything as outlined by the President and the Provost, has there been discussion at the Board level about getting more representation of innovation, entrepreneurship, creativity amongst Board members– not necessarily adding them, but just doing that over the next period of time so we bring to the fold that type of thinking?
David Han: Yeah, sure. That’s a great question. Thank you for that. Governance of the University and structure of the Board has been a topic that’s been discussed in many places– Board meetings, Harrisburg, Faculty Senate, and SCUG. And one of the recommendations, actually, that did come through SCUG was to look at the qualifications of members as they come to the Board. And it’s always generally been accepted that one of the strengths of this University Board of Trustees are the different ways that people come to the Board, whether it’s through agriculture, business and industry, so on and so forth.
To specifically answer your question, one of the things that the Governance of Long Range Planning Committee did- start to work through, and is continuing to work through, and has already delivered a work product on- is a skill set inventory. Looking at an assessment from within the Board in terms of what kinds of areas would be targeted as these new members come on board.
And I think part of that process includes the establishment in 2015 not just of bringing faculty and codifying the student seat on the Board, but also adding to three at-large, which allows the Board to have an opportunity to identify needs in their gap analysis and then try to fill them through the at large process.
Chair Bérubé: Right here, Victor.
Victor Brunsden, Altoona: Brunsden, Altoona. Thank you, David. This has been really useful. And thank you for agreeing to represent the faculty on the Board. I’m a little troubled by [INAUDIBLE] Board of Trustees recently passed legislation which empowers committee chairs to discipline Board members if it is the opinion of the chair that the member has violated the, quote, “Expectations of Membership” [INAUDIBLE] and Long Range Planning Committee [INAUDIBLE] questions about this policy.
And essentially because once a chair has [INAUDIBLE] has violated rules, there’s no provision for appeal. There’s a sanction that [INAUDIBLE] Hello. Is this working better? OK, good.
Chair Bérubé: It catches every word, now.
Victor Brunsden: Yeah. You may live to regret that.
There was a proposed correction from one of the trustees who proposed adding some language, which was, quote, “a Board member accused of violating the expectations of membership may appeal the chair’s findings, including the specified sanction, to the full Committee on Governance and Long Range Planning.” However, this was something that you opposed.
I’m just a little curious as to how you square that with what you’ve just said in bringing the shared governance and the style of governance that the Faculty Senate is very much for, where we do consciously build in appeals processes. What was your thinking in denying that on the Board of Trustees?
David Han: Yeah, that’s a great question. And I think that there’s a certain level of detail that we could certainly go into. I’m happy to do that. And I’ll try to do that to some degree right here and now.
So that process, as it went forward, involved writing expectations of membership. And part of that revolved around some bad behavior that I think I don’t really need to go into. But you could qualify it for what you want. And I think that the writing of the expectations of membership, which several people in this room had a fair amount of input into, was not accepted by everyone on the Board, but was passed with a fairly strong majority, as I recall, codifying what expectations were. And those were things along the lines of speak openly and freely. The University is a free marketplace of ideas and that it’s important that we treat each other with civility and respect. And it also carried with it some expectations that once a decision is made, to not subvert it and to publicly support it. And that’s part of the decision making process and a vote of the majority of the Board, which is currently how the University then decides to move forward.
The piece that may not be completely apparent is that the processes as it went through was designed to build coherence, alignment, and agreement around those expectations. And then, what were the consequences going to be? So it’s kind of like saying you can do this, but you can’t do that. But if you violate that, well, then nothing really changes.
And I think it’s important to understand that the second step, which was to codify the consequences, if you will, of violation of those expectations of membership, simply codified things that are already existent within the Bylaws and Standing Orders of the Board, which is that the chair of the Board appoints committees and appoints committee leadership at her or his discretion and that this simply was putting that into another context with regards to violation and expectations of membership.
There was a robust discussion around that. It occurred at both the committee level and then at the full Board level, which is, I think, what you’re alluding to in your comments. It’s all a matter of public record. So I’m perfectly happy to discuss any of that.
The challenge behind that, again, is that part of the process, in terms of dealing with consequences of violation of behavior, did add another layer of– I won’t call it appeal, but another level of eyes to look at it, which went beyond the chair and the vice chair of the Board, but then extended to the chair and the vice chair of the Governance Committee. And part of the discussion that did occur at the committee level, but not within the entire Board, was that that was already an extension beyond what already existed within practice of the Board. And that was felt to provide and address some of the concerns that you raised, which is why I was comfortable, after a robust discussion at the committee level; supporting what was brought through after really quite a bit of time, reflection, and effort to develop those recommendations and bring them forward to the Board at the meeting last week.
Chair Bérubé: Thank you. Thank you so much, Dr. Han.
David Han: Thank you.
Chair Bérubé: Moving right along, we have no Forensic Business.
Chair Bérubé: Unfinished Business– the Senate Committee on Committee and Rules has three Legislative Reports that were introduced at the April 24 meeting that will be discussed and voted on today. Thankfully, they’re pretty pro forma.
Revisions to Constitution; Article II-Membership, Section 1
Introduced at the April 24, 2018 meeting)
Chair Bérubé: Our first Legislative Report can be found as Appendix C, titled ‘Revisions to Constitution Article II Membership, Section 1’. CC&R Chair, Keith Shapiro and past chair, Kent Vrana will present the reports and stand for questions. Keith and Kent.
Kent Vrana, College of Medicine: So on behalf of this year’s CC&R, I stand before you just to clear up three loose ends from last year. Keith and I talked at length about having visual aids. But for the life of me, I couldn’t find a bag of LEGO pieces to use.
In Appendix C, we have a change to the Constitution, which speaks to the changes in AC21. It cleans up the language and simplifies the reference to what is a faculty member.
Chair Bérubé: That’s it?
Kent Vrana: That’s it.
Chair Bérubé: OK. The important thing is that we don’t have to enumerate all the ranks. We just say, by reference to AC21, it’s really a cosmetic change. This report is brought to the floor by committee and needs no second. Are there any questions? Seeing none, are we ready to vote?
We will use clickers for voting today for the first time. This system provides a precise count of each vote taken. It also allows for confidential [INAUDIBLE] clicker before entering the auditorium. Raise your hand if you need a clicker.
Down here. Carey Eckhardt, down here. Oh, and also there. I guess this is time for the chair to remind late arrivals that they can pick up a clicker on the way in, unless the box was removed. Great.
Senators joining the meeting by Mediasite, you may cast your vote on polleverywhere.com. Are we ready? And we’re on the clock. To accept the motion, press A. To reject the motion, press B. You know. OK. Waiting on Poll Everywhere. Anna, are we good?
Anna Butler, Faculty Senate Staff: Poll Everywhere, I have eight accept.
Chair Bérubé: Paula?
Paula Brown, Faculty Senate Administrative Coordinator: OK. In house, we have 129 accept, two reject, and three not counted.
Chair Bérubé: Fabulous. The motion carries.
Revisions to Bylaws; Article II-Senate Council, Section 3
(Introduced at the April 24, 2018 meeting)
Chair Bérubé: Our second report can be found in Appendix D, ‘Revision to Bylaws, Article II, Senate Council, Section 3’. Keith and Kent.
Kent Vrana: So in Appendix D, we describe changes to the Bylaws that provide a provision by which the Senate Council can call itself into special session by a two-thirds vote. This doesn’t exist now, and provides a mechanism to have a special meeting when the council chair chooses not to.
Chair Bérubé: Yeah, this one is a bit more substantive. If there is a rogue chair or if the course of the year I get drunk on power, the Senate Council can call itself into session and call me to account. This is a serious thing, though.
This report is brought to the floor by a committee and needs no second. Are there any comments or questions? Are we are ready to vote? Senators joining by Mediasite, you may cast your vote on polleverywhere.com. To accept the motion, press A. To reject it, press B. Anna, how are we doing?
Anna Butler: On Poll Everywhere, I have 11 accept.
Paula Brown: In house, we have 132 accept, 2 reject, 2 not counted.
Chair Bérubé: Almost the exact same result. The motion carries.
Revisions to Bylaws; Article X-Amendments
(Introduced at the April 24, 2018 meeting)
Chair Bérubé: Our third report can be found in Appendix E, ‘Revisions to Bylaws, Article X, Amendments’. Keith and Kent.
Kent Vrana: So Appendix E is a bit more substantive. And the idea is to reduce the burden, the paperwork burden and the burden of this meeting on the Senate, changes to the Bylaws that are non-substantive and editorial in nature. An example might be the simplification of AC21 reference that we just passed, can be sent directly from CC&R to the Senate for approval by a two-thirds vote.
If it’s not approved, it goes back to committee for normal channels. If it is approved, it is then provided as a communication to the Senate in the next agenda. And if no one has a question about it, it is then passed into the bylaws. The individuals in the Senate, anyone within five days after the Senate meeting that wishes to bring it back to committee, can do so. So it’s a simple means of reducing the amount of time we have to put minor changes before you.
Faculty Senate Member: [INAUDIBLE]
Chair Bérubé: I think so. It’s a little streamlining.
Kent Vrana: Or if we change a software package and for whatever reason that was in the Bylaws, which can easily be changed.
Faculty Senate Member: [INAUDIBLE]
Kent Vrana: Fine.
Chair Bérubé: That’s part of our Penn State 3030 plan.
We just wanted to be a little ahead of the curve. Right. Are there any other comments or questions? Are we ready to vote? Senators joining the meeting by Mediasite, you know the drill. You may cast your vote on polleverywhere.com. To accept the motion, press A. To reject it, B.
Anna Butler: On Poll Everywhere, I have 11 accept.
Paula Brown: In house, we have 127 accept, nine reject, one not counted.
Chair Bérubé: OK. A little more opposition on that one. But the motion carries. OK. Thank you so much.
Kent Vrana: Thank you all.
Chair Bérubé: Item J, Advisory/Consultative Reports. We have one Advisory/Consultative Report from the Committee on Libraries, Information Systems, and Technology. Sorry?
Elizabeth Seymour, Faculty Senate Parliamentarian: [INAUDIBLE]
Chair Bérubé: Yes. Sorry, today Legislative Reports. Thank you. I have a Parliamentarian. We have one Legislative Report from the Senate Committee on Admissions, Records, Scheduling, and Student Aid and Undergraduate Education. It is titled Aligning Requirements, Changes to Senate Policies 82-20, General Requirements [INAUDIBLE] and this report can be found in Appendix F. Committee chairs Mary Beth Williams and Beth Seymour will present the report and stand for questions. Mary Beth and Beth.
Aligning Requirements: Changes to Senate Policy 82-20 – General Requirements
Elizabeth Seymour, Altoona: Well, I am Beth. But this is not Mary Beth.
This is Tim Lawlor. He’s the vice chair of ARSSA.
Chair Bérubé: ARSSA’s going off script here. OK.
Beth Seymour: In front of you, you have some revisions to a policy on aligning requirements. This is a fairly simple change that has actually a rather dramatic impact on our students. Currently, the University requirements, the dates for University requirements, occur when a student enters the University. But, the dates for major requirements usually occur when they enter the major.
So they’re at a step that causes, like I said, a lot of confusion for our students and our advisors. This policy change would bring those into alignment for the time when a student enters the University. So both the University requirements and major program requirements would occur, for a student, at the same time.
The reason it’s important is for clarity for the students. There is a mechanism in place if programs have to change requirements. There are mechanisms in which they can work that out. But as a general philosophy, I think our policy should reflect the most common occurrence and not be written for the most exceptional occurrence.
Chair Bérubé: Are there any questions? Seeing none, are we ready to vote? The report is brought to the floor by committee. It needs no second. OK. Senators joining the meeting by Mediasite, polleverywhere.com. To accept the motion, press A. To reject it, press B.
Faculty Senate Member: [INAUDIBLE]
Chair Bérubé: Can we redo it again?
Faculty Senate Member: [INAUDIBLE]
Chair Bérubé: Do we have anything from Mediasite and Poll Everywhere? So should we re-vote?
Faculty Senate Member: Yes.
Chair Bérubé: OK. Same drill. To accept, press A more emphatically. And to reject, press B.
Anna Butler: On Poll Everywhere, I have an 11 accept and one reject.
Paula Brown: In-house, we have 125 accept, seven reject, two not counted.
Chair Bérubé: Once again, the motion carries. Thank you so much.
Chair Bérubé: Now we have Agenda Item J, one Advisory/Consultative Report from the Senate Committee on Libraries, Information Systems, and Technology. Title proposed changes to the University Faculty Senate website, Appendix G. Committee Chair, Roger Egolf, will present the report and respond to questions. Roger.
Proposed Changes to the University Faculty Senate Website
Roger Egolf, Lehigh Valley: Yes. This report simply suggests a number of changes that the committee feels are appropriate to improve the usefulness of the Faculty Senate website, both to Senators and to other members of the University community. These fall on changes in layout, in navigation, and in content.
I’ve been recently told that the IT office has actually agreed to give the Faculty Senate a little more support and help in doing these sorts of things, among other things that uses IT resources. Some of these changes have actually already been implemented even before the report has come along. But it’s still a good idea to pass this, to show the will of the Senate in making these sorts of improvements. I’ll take any questions anybody has.
Chair Bérubé: I’ll just add that the Senate website is huge. And right now, it’s not terribly navigable and this will help fix that. Seeing no questions, the report is brought to the floor by the committee. It needs no second. Are we ready to vote? Senators joined by Mediasite, polleverywhere.com. Everywhere else– to accept the motion, press A. To reject it, press B.
Anna Butler: From Poll Everywhere, I have 13 accept.
Paula Brown: In-house, we have 130 accepts, one reject, three not counted.
Chair Bérubé: The motion carries. Thank you so much, Roger. OK. We’re done with clickers.
Chair Bérubé: Item K, Informational Reports– we have three Informational Reports. The first can be found in Appendix H.
The report is sponsored by the Senate Committee on Libraries, Information Systems, and Technology and is titled “Analytics and Business Intelligence Strategy at Penn State”. Fifteen minutes has been allotted for this report. Roger Egolf will introduce our speaker, Jon Crutchfield, Senior Director for Business Intelligence, who will present the report and stand for questions.
Analytics and Business Intelligence Strategy at Penn State
Roger Egolf, Lehigh Valley: Yes. Thank you for listening to me again. I am here simply to introduce Jon Crutchfield, who is the University’s new Senior Director for Business Intelligence. This is part of Michael Kubit’s initiatives of modernizing the University’s IT infrastructure.
Jon Crutchfield, Senior Director for Business Intelligence: Thank you, Roger. And thank you, everyone, for allowing me to present this informational report. The Analytics and BI Steering Committee has really been spearheading this effort. And that is co-chaired by Michael Kubit and Lance Kennedy-Phillips. And they are dedicated to improving how the University recognizes, manages, and uses data as a strategic asset.
As we’ve heard, lots of strategic initiatives and mission and goals that we need to achieve. And while data isn’t the answer, data is really critical to delivering the decisions and the information we need to make those decisions. We are trying to create a data culture, but not at the expense of human interpretation.
I want to be very clear that we need the people in this room, the people around the University to bring their experience and wisdom to help understand what the data is and to help make the actual decisions that improve the teaching and learning research and outreach missions of the University. The answer isn’t in the data. The data can help inform the decisions.
Penn State generates an enormous amount of data. The scope of the challenge of managing that information and turning it into useful information to help decision makers is significant. Too much data is currently stored in formats that don’t lend themselves to analysis. They’re isolated in systems that are inaccessible to many of the people who need it. It is disconnected from other related data.
At the same time, we are sending too much information in too many formats around the University, which creates a lack of transparency and a lack of control. These environments combine to create extra risk of data exposure and fundamentally prevents the University from developing the necessary insights to support our strategic initiatives and institutional goals.
Work started on this long before I started at the University. Full disclosure, I’ve been here about seven months. We’re in the early stages of these efforts. We will continue assessments to identify areas where we are strong and build on those and identify areas where we have opportunity to improve. We are working on all the issues that you see on the screen concurrently because they are all interrelated. Unfortunately, none of them have an easy or quick fix.
The strategy has to start with governance. Governance is what informs all our efforts that we have to put forth towards getting the right people in the right roles, getting the right processes in place and making them easy and transparent, and building the right technology environments. As we move forward, we will involve the entire University community.
As I said, we are in the early stages of efforts. And we will only engage more and more with the University community’s faculty, staff, students, and even, to some degree, the external community. I want to be clear that governance is not a project. There is no ‘done’. We don’t deliver a project and then walk away. Governance is a framework that has to be put into place in such a way that it evolves with the University’s needs. And data governance needs to be coherent with other governance around campus across the University.
We are working at automating reports when we can, reducing time to deliver reports that are requested. And we are really working towards adding more capability for self-service so that people can get the information right at the moment of need. Our ultimate long term goal is to make it easier for you to find the information you need.
The Analytics and Business Intelligence Steering Committee charged that data governance working group with working towards a data dictionary that will help us clarify terms like student FTE, which has multiple definitions, meanings, uses, and nuances. The data dictionary will include things like an actual English definition, where do the sources of information come that build that term, the logic used to drive or calculate any values, allow the values, et cetera.
We will address data elements that are inconsistent across systems. We recognize that we have the same data element showing up in multiple places, not always termed the same way, not always with the same data values. We are working towards a culture of consistency and transparency related to data and the processes that handle that data.
We are building towards this ecosystem you see described here. Progress has already started. Progress is difficult. It’s going to take a lot of effort by a lot of people. I lead the business intelligence team. And while we own certain components of this, like the iTwo Institutional Insight platform, if you’re familiar with that, we can’t do it alone. Nor can IT do it alone.
This is really not a technology project, even though technology is a critical component and is necessary to move forward. We will take incremental steps while building towards this large interconnected system, rather than trying to build it all at once. We believe this way we can be incremental value sooner, partner with groups around campus to leverage what they are already doing well, build on that, and learn and adapt along the way.
As you can imagine, this is a field, data and analytics, which is evolving rapidly. So we don’t want to make a three year decision now and regret it. Similar to data governance, there will never be a point where this is a done system, fully delivered, and we walk away for three years. This system will continue to evolve, because we will continually add new data sources, new data types. And our analytical needs as a University will require new tools and methods.
Here’s a rough timeline. This is an aggressive timeline with much difficult work to do. As I said, even though this is a technology related effort, it is a change management effort that will require significant work, especially on the people on the process side. Our goal is to make it easier, one day, for every student, faculty, and staff member to quickly find the information they need to make informed decisions. Thank you. Any questions?
Chair Bérubé: I think we have to take that in for a moment. OK, seeing no questions. Thank you so much.
Jon Crutchfield: Thank you.
Chair Bérubé: Second Informational Report is found in Appendix I. It’s from the Senate Committee on Student Life and is titled Student Time Management Resources. We’ve already had one meta-moment in this first plenary, where we had a measure brought in about non-substantive editorial changes with a typo in it. Now we have a time management report that was postponed from April.
Chair of Student Life– through no fault of our own– the chair of Student Life, Martha Levine and Mark Stephens, Chair of Athletics, Intercollegiate Athletics will be presenting the report and responding to questions. We’ve allocated 10 minutes for a presentation and discussion.
Student Time Management Resources
Martha Levine, College of Medicine: So we, the Student Life Committee, had worked last year to put together a report about time management. It was requested by the University Park Undergraduate Association to identify available resources and benchmark them against other top 10 academic institutions. In particular, we wanted to work to see what was being offered to student athletes, because, clearly, there were a lot more very organized tools that were being offered and to see if there could be any kind of bridge to offer similar services to other students.
So Dr. Stephens was very gracious to reach out to Russ Mushinsky to get information. Do you want to go over any of the timelines that you got or PowerPoints?
Mark Stephens, College of Medicine: Thanks. All, really, I want to say, Russ was back here earlier. And Russ Mushinsky and the Morgan Academic Center have an impressive team available. We looked at all the other big 10 institutions for purposes of comparability. And the report has a number of the things that are available to the student athletes, in particular, in the context of time management. Respecting everybody’s time, I’d be happy to take questions. But the information is available.
Martha Levine: So just briefly, all of this is in the report, comparing what we offer here to other top 10 universities. What I found, when we were looking at it, is certainly ours is very easy to manage so that if you type in time management, you pop up with a lot of really great links, which was not true for some of the universities. So that was really great.
We have two time management resources, one through Penn State Learning and one through DUS Study Skills and Time Management. The only observation that have been made in the report by our committee was that a lot of the links on that line are to the Oregon State. If you click on a link, you get this really great resource. But it has a logo of Oregon State. So if there’s any way that we could repurpose this and put Penn State somewhere on there, it might be really cool. But overall, just a lot of impressive resources and then, with the addition of a lot of the appendices, different, other ways to incorporate a lot of what’s being offered to the student athletes. We’re happy to take any questions.
Chair Bérubé: Are there questions? Thank you, Martha and Mark. And thanks for your patience.
Chair Bérubé: The next and the final Informational Report to be presented is from the Senate Committee on University Planning. It is titled ‘The 2017-2018 Campus Planning and Capital Construction Report’. It appears as Appendix J. And we have allocated 15 minutes for presentation and discussion. Our speaker today is Bill Sitzabee, Associate Vice President for Facilities Management and Planning. Bill, welcome.
2017-2018 Campus Planning and Capital Construction
Bill Sitzabee, Associate Vice President for Facilities Management and Planning: Good afternoon, and thank you for the opportunity to provide a brief update on the Penn State Physical Plant. I’d like to take a focus on two primary areas this afternoon– one on the overview of campus planning and also an update on the construction capital plan.
When it comes to guiding campus development, Penn State has had a long history of campus planning to inform investment decisions going back as far as 1937 to the Charles Klauder initial campus master plan that was put forth. Charles Klauder, for those that don’t know, had laid out the campus plans for Princeton, Brown, Penn, and several other high level universities.
The campus master plan focuses on six areas. These six areas you’ll see up on the screen. And I’ll walk through each one of those briefly. Consideration for spatial organizational of facilities and land use begins at the master planning level. These master plans set the framework for campus and pending capital projects. By strategically integrating new and expanding facilities into campus frameworks, we’re able to accommodate growth while preserving and enhancing public spaces and campus landscapes that make our campuses so special.
Many studies have indicated that prospective students base their choice on institution, in large part, on appearance of the campus buildings and the grounds. Its character is the first impression of the campus aesthetics and is critical to creating a positive impression. The campus character should foster a welcoming environment for students, faculty, staff, and visitors.
The quality of the campus landscape buildings and facilities contribute to fostering lasting relationships between our students and the University. These students become alumni and alumni become significant supporters of the University.
It also enhances the student academic experience by providing wonderful places to study, relax, recreate, and live. Vibrant student centered campuses which include a wide variety of outdoor gathering spaces and unique destinations to enhance student academic experience are critical. It can be educational and interactive, while also being aesthetically pleasing. We promote the aesthetic appeal and functionality of the campus environment with every investment in facilities and grounds.
Planning design and operational decisions are tied to our goal of advancing a sustainable campus. Penn State has identified several goals, two of which I’ll show here– 35 percent of greenhouse gas reduction by the year 2020 and a lofty 20 percent energy consumption reduction by the year 2024. To help meet these goals, we’re investing in solar and other alternatives, carefully implementing modifications to buildings and systems, and developing informed designs that balance building to meet energy demands.
Multimodal transportation guides safe and efficient and effective movement of a people and vehicles across campus. An important aspect of campus planning is a continued effort to improve campus circulation with true multimodal approaches. Anyone who’s been on campus can see now even skateboards are a prime way of moving around.
In addition to the aspects of campus planning is our community integration. Our campuses are important features within their communities. And therefore, campuses are developed in function with consideration of regional and local goals.
Master plans are a living document that illustrate long term opportunities for campus development. While the last campus wide update to the University Park Master Plan was in 2007, it has been updated through integration of college and unit level master plans since that time. Examples include the College of Arts and Architecture Master Plan and the Eberly College of Science Master Plan.
These plans, approved by the Facility Resources Committee, guide and inform decisions within a framework that is flexible enough to adjust to institutional priorities and changes. Similarly, the Commonwealth campuses develop master plans to guide investment tied to strategic goals. Master plans completed in the last several years include Behrend, Abington, Harrisburg, Brandywine, and Berks.
Before discussing the next capital plan, I’d like to take just a brief moment to highlight how we wrapped up in the last capital plan. This is a summary of the current capital plan that ended in July, which has come to a close. As you can see, the total plan was first envisioned at a $2.74 billion dollar investment. By 2017, that figure had rose to $3.3 billion dollars. The majority of the plan was focused on capital renewal of existing facilities. And that focus continues today. By the close of the plan, we had wrapped up over 800 individual projects for capital construction.
Moving onto the new capital plan- the one that started in this July- the basic strategic philosophy of the capital plan has several key elements. A heavy focus on addressing significant backlog of deferred maintenance is the most significant. Other factors that drive priorities include functional obsolescence, program impact, accreditation requirements, and more.
With far more need than resources, it’s a difficult job prioritizing these major investments. Two-thirds of the plan is focused on renewing existing investments, with an allowance for some program growth and an eye towards delivering whole building and whole system renewals. Various building systems age differently. For example, roofs and mechanical systems age differently.
As such, we have devoted capital to cycling through $5 and $10 million dollar level investments as a more holistic approach to extending the useful life of our existing facilities. The 75 percent, 25 percent balance of investment between University Park and the Commonwealth campuses is based on a facility age profile and the conditioned state of the facilities.
The last bullet refers to allowances in the plan for strategic changes in the environment and unforeseen or emerging requirements. The capital commitment, overall, has been approved at $4.8 billion dollars. And this will carry a $2.2 billion dollar borrowing authority requirement. The downward pressure this places on the University’s credit rating is significant, but needs to be balanced across the strategic need to maintain our facilities and assets across the portfolio.
A breakdown between the University’s fiscal responsibilities are listed above, here. And you can see a significant portion is towards Penn State Health, but also a significant portion towards education in general, at a little over $2 billion dollars of investment.
Why were these priorities and strategies developed as outlined? Probably the most pressing consideration on the decision is to invest in is the age of our facilities and the condition that they are in today. With 65 percent of University Park facilities being greater than 25 years old, the Commonwealth campuses fare a little better. But still, 55 percent of those facilities are greater than 25 years old. A significant challenge for University Park, and to a lesser extent the Commonwealth campuses, is the number of facilities that are over 50 years old.
And that age profile is since the last time these buildings have experienced any sort of major renewal. At University Park, that number is over 41 percent of our facilities are greater than 50 years old. The challenge has only increased with the passage of time, confronting us with complex decisions regarding how to renovate or demolish and possibly start anew.
Deferred maintenance is a critical component we consider when establishing capital priorities, the significant piece, I might add. Shown here is a culmination of some high level things to keep in mind. A backlog of $1.6 billion dollars in aggregate on a physical plant that’s valued at approximately $7.5 billion dollars leverages us at over 20 percent and just creates an unnecessary risk profile.
Priorities are determined based on deferred maintenance, functional obsolescence, and program impact, as I mentioned earlier. For example, we benefited from a generous gift towards the renovation of Willard. This building was running with a risky deferred maintenance per square foot ratio of a little over– I forget what the number was, $210 dollars or something like that per square foot– where our target is $80 dollars. So we were able to line up a generous gift from Mr. Bellisario and help with that priority.
You’ll see, up on that list, is just a small sliver of some of the high risk facilities that we have. For example, Henning comes in at $284 dollars a square foot of backlog. The good news is Henning is in design and is well on its way to be renovated in this coming plan. I’ll skip through that typo so nobody sees it.
Several major considerations impact the priorities of the capital plan. One is core densification with support and service functions moving towards the perimeter, one of the major guiding principles in our campus master plan. Major renewals of significant campus buildings requires thoughtfully working through the project needs guided by unit level and college level master plans. The philosophy of the major renewal program is addressing the worst buildings first, over lined with the program impact.
We are aware of significant needs we are currently experiencing in the College of Engineering. Hammond and the engineering units continue to age and decline and present an increasingly negative impression of the college and detrimentally impact the hiring and retention of faculty and the recruitment of students.
But the various departments of the College of Engineering are housed in over 49 facilities across the campus. It is important to understand the full scope and need. So we are currently completing a unit level master plan for the College of Engineering to help shape the final decisions about how we look at that master plan.
Another example is Intercollegiate Athletics, who are in the process of finalizing their master plan at will. There are many individual buildings that are included in the next five year capital plan. And I don’t want to get into the approximately 1,000 different discussions that we could have over each project. But shown here are some of the major renewal projects that we will invest in in this plan. There is also $473 million dollars-worth of program level and system level investments, which are the smaller projects that probably impact each more individually. As I mentioned earlier, the previous capital plan completed over 860 projects with a $3.3 billion dollar investment. So with increasing that investment to a little over $4.8 billion dollars, we can only imagine how many projects total.
Shown here are the links to the current construction status. I believe on there is an update of the campus plan, the capital plan. We are in the process of finalizing the funding sources for many of those projects. So if you go into the hyperlink, you’ll see that the actual plan that’s laid out there is still the 2014-2018. And we hope to have those posted within the next several weeks.
So with that, I know I’m last on deck and we’re way over. But I tried to take a 45-minute presentation and carve it down to about 10 minutes. So I’m happy to take any questions.
Chair Bérubé: Yes?
William Kenyon, College of Arts and Architecture: Kenyon, Arts and Architecture. I’m just curious about how everything gets prioritized when you are delving into these sorts of plans. One example, and I’m not trying to come here to cry about budget issues, but for example, Schwab Auditorium got a brand new set of lighting equipment this year. And it’s used twice a year by a student group, whereas the equipment in the Playhouse and the Pavilion Theaters were purchased in 1965. And those are used on a daily basis. So it just seems weird when an academic use dates back so far and then this secondary use is something that’s given a lot of priority when it comes to capital expenditures on infrastructure in the buildings.
Bill Sitzabee: So let me let me address it this way. I’m not familiar with the specific details of Schwab Auditorium. But I will say that, in the plan, there are several different buckets. Education, in general, doesn’t compete with our auxiliaries in business.
So many of those facilities that support a self-supporting unit, those units have to build their own capital reserve and execute those projects independent of E&G. So I’m looking at a holistic plan that’s roughly $5 billion dollars. But within that, you have subsets of groups that have different access to the different funds. I can look into the Schwab Auditorium and find out more about that. But I’m assuming that that’s a self-supported situation.
Chair Bérubé: Professor Kenyon is in the school of theater. And he specializes in lighting. So he’s a person to ask about this. Here, Joyce.
Joyce Furfaro, University Park: Joyce Furfaro, Psychology at University Park. I sometimes teach a class, Health Psychology, which is a lot about stress and coping and its relationship to disease, especially heart disease. And talking about the aesthetics of the University campus and so forth, I have concerns about the fountain that’s gone away from in front of the Arts Building, by the forum. So I did some digging and found that Samuel Nisley Whitman actually funded that, originally. And in the 1914 La Vie, he’s called ‘Whit’. “He came to us from Steelton High with a renowned reputation for borrowing apples and other edibles from farms in his vicinity. So we allowed him to transfer his abilities to our local districts. And he has made an able leader on foraging expeditions.
He spent the greater part of his sophomore vacation in the Bellefonte Hospital. And we know he does not regret it. In fact, he has to make repeated trips there to see if the place still exists. Be aware of the coy ways of nurses, Whit.” So he enjoyed his time here. And he found relaxing things to do.
And with the increase in stress in our life today and the increased numbers of students with anxiety, I used to send my students in Health Psychology to that spot to practice mindfulness, give that a try, and then write about how difficult that is to just forget about the past, forget about the future, and just be in the now. And it was a great place. I’ve never walked past there and not see students relaxing there.
And I’m just hoping– I have, actually, more. But I’m going to keep it shorter about the– George Tsutakawa, who actually designed it, he designed over 70 such sculptures. I’m just really hoping we can get it back somewhere so that we can continue to take advantage of a wonderful gift to this University that is counter to a lot of what goes on here in terms of the stress and anxiety that we see. Thank you.
Bill Sitzabee: Sure, sure. Thank you.
Chair Bérubé: We have time for one more. Professor Kirby.
Josh Kirby, College of Education: Kirby from the College of Education. We are undergoing a lot of different discussions about planning and space renovation. And one of the concerns that has been brought to the faculty is that open office plans are considered an innovative use of space. And the discussion has not gone away that faculty offices could be reduced or eliminated completely and that the space itself will be considered more for transient use as opposed to permanent use. And we know that there’s lots of research now that’s emerging about open offices and not having the permanent space. We’re just wondering, is this the driving force behind this discussion coming from a definition of innovative use that’s being driven by any of your groups? Or is this more of a smaller scale concern that you could recommend that we go to a specific leader, who might be driving that discussion?
Bill Sitzabee: Sure. Let me try to address this. And maybe Nick might want to jump in. At the end of the day, it’s not us that are driving that decision. I will tell you, from a facility’s perspective, designing and building facilities that have flexibility into them into the future, it’s not uncommon in my business to build a lab. And three years later, we destruct it and build a new one on the orders of millions of dollars.
And with the challenges that we have in terms of the amount of backlog and everything, it’s really important that we’re focused those dollars very carefully. So we look very thoughtfully into flexible of the future use of a facility. So the upfront look of how that’s used is often how we do things. We build at an institutional level, which means we build good bones so that when we have to, we can tear things down and build them back more efficiently.
But the pedagogy that goes behind the open office and the active learning environment, it’s out there. There’s a lot of different views on that. I’ve taught myself. I’ve been in the classroom. I’ve done a lot of work in a faculty office myself. And I think it’s really a little bit of everything.
I think some faculty absolutely love it. I get a lot of good feedback. Some, especially in the sciences, in the lab areas, they are very appreciative of it. And some folks just want that quiet space where they can sit and write and read. But when we think about the future of spaces and when I talk to faculty at large, the days of personal libraries in an office that has to be 10 times the size that it needs to be because we’re moving to a digital environment, we have to be cognizant of that. Most of the younger, millennial faculty like smaller swap spaces. They don’t want to feel like they’re tied to an office. And so it’s really one of those things I would push back on the faculty to say, engage your faculty across the entire spectrum to see what they need and want. The specific driver to education is coming from within the leadership of the College of Education. I’m certainly supportive of it. And I think there’s a lot of flexibility in how that works. There’s new active learning classrooms in that building that are very, very well-received. And it follows a similar model. Does that answer your question?
Josh Kirby: Yeah. We’re [INAUDIBLE].
Bill Sitzabee: Yeah. But it’s not me trying to say we need to go to all open environments. My preference is to go to the most flexible type of construction that will take us into the future. It happens to be that modular systems furniture works very well. It is how the corporate world is doing it. And I know we’re not exactly the same.
Chair Bérubé: OK. And also stay in touch with the Committee of University Planning, perhaps. Thank you again, Bill.
Bill Sitzabee: Thank you. I appreciate your time.
NEW LEGISLATIVE BUSINESS
Chair Bérubé: Agenda item L, New Legislative Business. Is there any new business? No.
COMMENTS AND RECOMMENDATIONS FOR THE GOOD OF THE UNIVERSITY
Chair Bérubé: Item N, Comments and Recommendations for the Good of the University. Are there any additional comments for the good of the University? None.
Chair Bérubé: In that case, may have a motion to adjourn?
Faculty Senate Member: [INAUDIBLE]
Chair Bérubé: All in favor, please say aye.
All Senators: Aye.
Chair Bérubé: Motion carried. See you all in October, October 23.
The following Senators were noted as having attended the 9/18/2018 Senate Meeting.
- Acharya, Vinita
- Adewumi, Michael
- Aebli, Fred
- Ansari, Mohamad
- Aurand, Harold
- Barron, Eric
- Bartolacci, Michael
- Belanger, Jonna
- Berg, Arthur
- Bérubé, Michael
- Bieschke, Kathleen
- Bishop-Pierce, Renee
- Blakney, Terry
- Blanford, Justine
- Blockett, Kimberly
- Blood, Ingrid
- Borromeo, Renee
- Boyer, Elizabeth
- Breakey, Laurie
- Brennan, Mark
- Brigger, Clark
- Brunsden, Victor
- Bryan, Julia
- Burke, Alexis
- Butler, William
- Bynum, Amber
- Casper, Gretchen
- Chen, Wei-Fan
- Clark, Mary Beth
- Cockroft, Kevin
- Coduti, Wendy
- Conti, Delia
- Costanzo, Denise
- Davis, Dwight
- Decker, Alicia
- DeFranco, Joanna
- Duffey, Michele
- Eberle, Peter
- Eckhardt, Caroline
- Eden, Timothy
- Egolf, Roger
- Elias, Ryan
- Enama, Joseph
- Engel, Renata
- Evans, Edward
- Fairbank, James
- Farmer, Susan Beth
- Fausnight, Tracy
- Folkers, Deirdre
- Forster, Peter
- Fox, Derek
- Freiberg, Andrew
- French, Kirk
- Furfaro, Joyce
- Fusco, David
- Gallagher, Julie
- Glantz, Edward
- Glenna, Leland
- Grimes, Galen
- Guay, Terrence
- Gutierrez, Borja
- Hairston, Synthea
- Han, David
- Handley, Meredith
- Hanes, Madlyn
- Hanses, Mathias
- Hayford, Harold
- Horn, Mark
- Hosseinpour, Helia
- Hughes, Janet
- Jaap, James
- Jablokow, Kathryn
- Jones, Maureen
- Jones, Nicholas
- Jordan, Matthew
- Kaag, Matthew
- Kagan, Mikhail
- Kahl, David
- Kakuturu, Sai
- Kalisperis, Loukas
- Katz, Spencer
- Keiler, Kenneth
- Kennedy-Phillips, Lance
- Kenyon, William
- King, Brian
- King, Elizabeth
- Kirby, Joshua
- Krajsa, Michael
- Kubat, Robert
- Laman, Jeffrey
- Lang, Teresa
- Larson, Allen
- Larson, Daniel
- Lawlor, Timothy
- Le, Binh
- Levine, Martha
- Linehan, Peter
- Liu, Dajiang
- Liu, Xin
- Lobaugh, Michael
- Love, Yvonne
- Lowden, Max
- Mangel, Lisa
- Marko, Frantisek
- Masters, Katherine
- Maurer, Clifford
- McDill, Marc
- McKay, Zachary
- McKinney, Karyn
- Melton, Robert
- Messner, John
- Miles, Mary
- Mishler, Adeline
- Mocioiu, Irina
- Mookerjee, Rajen
- Moore, Jacob
- Mulder, Kathleen
- Najjar, Raymond
- Nasir, Rafay
- Nelson, Kimberlyn
- Nesbitt, Jennifer
- Novotny, Eric
- Ofosu, Willie
- Ozment, Judith
- Pallikere, Avinash
- Palmer, Timothy
- Pauley, Laura
- Pawloski, Barry
- Perkins, Daniel
- Phillips, Kathleen
- Pierce, Mari Beth
- Plummer, Julia
- Posey, Lisa
- Prabhu, Vansh
- Prescod, Diandra
- Pyeatt, Nicholas
- Reichard, Karl
- Rhen, Linda
- Rinehart, Peter
- Robinett, Richard
- Robinson, Brandi
- Robinson, Zachary
- Robles-Flores, Ninive
- Ropson, Ira
- Rowland, Nicholas
- Ruggiero, Francesca
- Saltz, Ira
- Santos, Diego
- Sarabok, Thomas
- Saunders, Brian
- Scott, Geoffrey
- Seymour, Elizabeth
- Shannon, Robert
- Shapiro, Keith
- Sharkey, Neil
- Sharma, Amit
- Shea, Maura
- Sigurdsson, Steinn
- Silverberg, Lee
- Sinha, Alok
- Skladany, Martin
- Sliko, Jennifer
- Smith, David
- Smith, Harold
- Snyder, Stephen
- Springer, Jake
- Sprow Forte, Karin
- Stephens, Mark
- Stifter, Cynthia
- Stine, Michele
- Strauss, James
- Subramanian, Rajarajan
- Suliman, Samia
- Szczygiel, Bonj
- Tavangarian, Fariborz
- Taylor, Ann
- Thomas, Gary
- Thomchick, Evelyn
- Thompson, Paul
- Townsend, Sarah
- Truica, Cristina
- Tyworth, Michael
- Van der wegen, Constantinus
- Vanderhoof, Carmen
- Volk Chewning, Lisa
- Vrana, Kent
- Wagner, Johanna
- Wang, Ming
- Warren, James
- Wenner, William
- Westhoff, Mikaela
- Whitehurst, Marcus
- Woessner, Matthew
- Wood, Chelsey
- Young, Richard
- Zambanini, Robert
Ex Officio 5