University of Pittsburgh
Senate Council Meeting
Minutes of May 12, 2003
1. President Cassing called the meeting to order at 3:03 PM.
2. The minutes of the Senate Council meeting on April 7 were approved
3. President Cassing asked for new items of business. There were none.
4. Report of the Chancellor, Mark A. Nordenberg:
·Congratulations to the recently elected and re-elected Senate
officers and members of Faculty Assembly and Standing Committees. Thanks
to those holding Senate positions during this current year who work
hard to make this a better place.
·This year’s Commencement was the first to be held on campus
in decades. The Petersen Center was a spectacular venue and all went
smoothly, thanks to those involved.
·Receptions were held to honor faculty selected to receive the
Chancellor’s Distinguished Awards for Teaching, Research and Public
Service and for staff members selected to receive the Chancellor’s
Award for Staff Excellence.
·Livingston Alexander was named President of the U of P Bradford
campus. He is the first African-American to serve in that position.
·The Chancellor recently spoke at the inauguration ceremony of
the new members of the Student Government Board. Liz Culliton was elected
·Met at West Chester State University along with the Presidents
of Temple, Penn State and Lincoln Universities to testify at hearings
before the State House Appropriations Committee. The session went well
but our appropriations bills still have not passed.
·The AAUP released its annual salary survey and showed that Pitt
professors ranked at or above the median in terms of the AAU Public
Universities in every professorial rank. The gap between the private
and the publics still exists and continues to be a concern.
·Our capital campaign is moving ahead on schedule. The School
of Engineering recently received a $10.5 million bequest from the estate
of George Bevier.
·Fourteen teaching proposals have been selected for funding under
the Innovation in Education Awards Program of the Provost’s Advisory
Council on Instructional Excellence. $200,000 in funding is involved.
·Pitt has joined Penn, Penn State and CMU to form the Keystone
Homeland Security University Research Alliance.
·“Science 2003” has been scheduled for September
24-26 with the theme Improving the Human Condition.
5. Report of the President of the Senate, James H. Cassing:
·The Senate Elections results for 2003-04 have been announced.
Congratulations to the newly-elected officers: Nick Bircher, President;
Irene Frieze, Vice President; and Josephine Olson, re-elected as Secretary.
·The Benefits and Welfare Committee is moving forward, with the
endorsement of Faculty Assembly, to have the administration establish
an advisory committee that includes faculty and staff representatives
from the Benefits and Welfare Committee to promote recreational service
and personal fitness on the Pitt campus for faculty and staff. The administration
has been alerted of the resolution passed at the May 6 Faculty Assembly
·At last month’s Faculty Assembly meeting, a resolution
was passed asking for the Plant Utilization and Planning Committee to
report on existing problems with research buildings to “ensure
that each building that contains research and/or instructional laboratories
has assigned to it a uniquely dedicated Building Engineer to protect
the safety and health of faculty, staff and students and the integrity
of the research enterprise”. Prof. Favorini, Chair of PUP, convened
a meeting on May 5 to discuss the resolution. Ana Guzman, Associate
Vice Chancellor for Facilities Management, made an extensive presentation
on the rationale for the current policy. Based on Guzman’s explanations,
the PUP committee did not recommend returning to the system of building-specific
·Vice Provost Andrew Blair recently reported the Review of Departmental
Chairpersons is moving along. With the exception of Titusville, the
Regional Chairpersons have been reviewed. The Schools of Education,
Engineering, and Information Science are complete. FAS Chairs will probably
be reviewed this September. These are all of the Provost-area Schools
within the departments.
·The recipient of the Chancellor’s Affirmative Action Award
will be announced at the June 9 Senate Council Meeting. Professors Richard
Tobias and Barbara McCloskey are representing the Senate on the Selections
·Mayor Tom Murphy will be a special guest speaker at the June
3 Faculty Assembly Meeting. He wants to address faculty about his proposed
budget plan. All members of the Senate are invited to attend that meeting.
Bircher asked about Sr. Vice Chancellor Levine’s plan for Review
of Departmental Chairs of the Health Sciences areas. The Provost responded
that after the evaluation of the results of those in the Provost area,
he would be talking with Levine about the inclusion of the Health Sciences.
This is a “test” year.
6. Report of Student Members of Senate Council:
Student Government Board
Liz Culliton reported they are in transition working to get the Board
and Committees together. They have a shortened term; Liz and her Board
will be out of office as of January 1, when new elections take place.
College of General Studies
Todd Ridley reported they also are in transition and are filling division
director positions. Over the summer they hope to establish a good relationship
with members of the administration and other student organizations.
Graduate and Professional Student Association
Paul Danczyk reported that graduate students did have concerns about
the GSPIA Library and the Mathematics Library. There was a meeting with
Mr. Rush Miller, Director, University Library System, who will work
with the students to help alleviate their concerns.
Faculty of Arts and Sciences
Jamie Tarpley reported that there is a new administrative assistant,
Kathy Serventi who assists in the office. May 16 is the deadline for
7. Report of the President of the Staff Association Council, Ms. Barbara
Ms. Mowery thanked the Chancellor for the Reception he held for the
recipients of the Chancellor’s Distinguished Service Award for
Last week, SAC held its Annual Council of Campuses. Staff representatives
from all Regionals except Titusville met at the Greensburg campus. Topics
discussed included staff classifications, health benefits, staff recognition
programs, development opportunities, and supervisory issues. Many of
the issues will be discussed with Ron Frisch from Human Resources.
Officers’ elections will take place this month. The Safety and
Security Committee is active and still working on a web site. Kennywood
Day is August 3; tickets are $20.
8. Reports by and Announcements of Standing and Special Committees
of the Senate:
Budget Polices Committee, Philip K. Wion, Chair
Last Friday, the Committee met to consider faculty salary recommendations
for FY 2004. The recommendations will be sent to the Chancellor within
a few days. Several weeks ago, the Committee made Recommendations Concerning
Salary Maximums for Staff, which were brought before Faculty Assembly
at the May 6 meeting. The document was slightly modified and unanimously
endorsed by that body. (Copies of the Recommendations were e-mailed
to members of Senate Council prior to today’s meeting and are
available from the Senate Office.)
The Recommendations read:
Because the capping of salaries at maximums not adjusted by the
for maintenance of real salary is inconsistent with the salary policy,
1. Any staff member who performed satisfactorily (or better) bud did
not receive an increase of at least 1.5% this year should receive an
increase of at least 1.5%, retroactive to July 1, 2002; and
2. In subsequent years staff salary maximums should be adjusted upwards
annually by at least the amount allocated under the salary policy for
maintenance of real salary for that year.
Part of the rationale for the above includes the concept of fairness
and equity among employees. A small group of employees have been treated
differently from all other faculty and staff and there needs to be a
very good reason to justify such differential treatment. The bottom
line is whether the value of maintaining the real value of a job which
would require some cost of living adjustment is sufficient to override
or outweigh the other factors which go into setting maximums simply
in relation to other institutions that we’ve chosen to benchmark
this institution against.
This is an important issue because it goes to the heart of what kind
of an institution this is. We need to be fiscally responsible in order
to fulfill our mission, but equity has value in creating positive incentives.
People who do their work well and make positive contributions to the
University should get recognition – beyond ceremonies recognizing
long-term employees. We should be encouraging people, not discouraging
them by not maintaining their real salaries.
Executive Vice Chancellor Cochran pointed out that this issue has been
discussed on multiple occasions by members of the staff and Staff Association
Council and at UPBC meetings. Any well-run organization needs to have
a meaningful job classification and salary administration program and
it has to be run pursuant to its original intent. Mr. Cochran gave a
brief history of Pitt’s classification and salary range programs.
He discussed implementation of the programs over the last two years
and the grandfathering plan. The salary ranges are set based upon what
the job brings to the table. The real disincentive would be if newer
staff saw co-workers in the same job classification getting paid more,
even though they might not be working as hard, but because they stayed
in the same job for a long time. An advantage of the system is to provide
a mechanism to encourage employees to take advantage of opportunities
to enhance and improve their skill sets so they can move up. The only
necessity for grandfathering was the potential that in any given year
the maximum would not be raised.
Mr. Cowell said SAC did support the new classification plan three years
ago, but did not support the maximums on the salary ranges at that time.
We need to look at the value of the employee not just the value of the
Provost Maher added that a lot of progress has been made in the direction
of having everyone appropriately compensated. There is a great respect
for the role that staff play. Implementation of a new job classification
system three years ago was part of an effort to raise all of the employee
compensation levels to appropriate market levels. When a person reaches
the max they are one of the very highest paid people in Western Pennsylvania
in their group of skills.
Chancellor Nordenberg underscored that there is great admiration for
staff at the University. Achieving equity is not an easy matter. Does
not want to underscore the significance of the cost of living adjustments
in the overall decisions, but there are other factors as well that should
be taken into consideration.
Wion called for a motion to have members of Senate Council endorse the
After much additional discussion the motion came to a vote.
The resolution passed by a vote of 10-7 with 9 abstentions.
Bylaws and Procedures Committee, Frank Beatrous, Chair
There are two proposals for changes in the Senate Bylaws.
In Article III. Senate Council, Section 2. Composition: item (d) currently
reads “three staff members”. The recommendation is to make
“(d)” consistent with other areas of the Bylaws and have
it read: (d) three staff members selected by the Staff Association Council.
The motion passed unanimously.
The second recommended change has to do with the mechanism for electing
members of Standing Committees of the Senate (Article V. Committee for
and Method of Elections, Section 7. (c) Standing Committees –
The current procedure is a bit complicated. Members of Faculty Assembly
any number of candidates they wish and assign them a weight of 2, 1
or 0. A
simplified procedure is proposed which would give each member of Faculty
Assembly a slate of candidates; they would be asked to vote for candidates
list not to exceed the number of vacancies on the committee. The new
Each Faculty Assembly Member may vote for a number of candidates not
exceeding the number of vacancies. The candidates with the most votes
shall be declared elected. If necessary, ties will be resolved by lot.
The motivation of the change is that we get a lot of incorrectly marked
The motion passed unanimously.
Tenure and Academic Freedom Committee, Michael Pinsky, Chair
Professor Richard Tobias reported on behalf of Dr. Pinsky. One function
of TAFC is to aid those faculty with grievances through the University
process. A problem is that TAFC cannot make sure the process goes along
successfully. The Committee and the Provost have been discussing ways
in which the process can move along more quickly. Some people don’t
realize they have the right to see information in their files; and some
people deny others the right to see things in their files. TAFC needs
some power to make sure the procedure is working. Following are TAFC’s
recommendations to make the procedure move equitably and quickly.
It is a report to the Provost and needs no action from this body. The
To insure a timely review of the facts and appropriate due process
for faculty-initiated grievance processes three specific items need
to be present and these represent the TAFC proposed solution to the
perceived problems with the existing process that has been at times
prolonged and therefore inefficient. These items are:
1. The Provost Office is to notify all School Deans and appropriate
Department Chairmen of the need to provide the TAFC-mandated fact-finding
committee with ready access to all relevant documents in the case of
a faculty grievance action, as mandated by the University. The TAFC
is aware of the sensitive nature of some of these documents and all
inquiries will be performed on a confidential basis.
2. The chairman of the three-member fact-finding committee charged with
the investigation for the grievant will be instructed as to the time-dependent
nature of this investigation, and the need to complete the fact-finding
in a timely fashion within three months of organizing the committee.
The chairman and other committee members are to receive a reminder notices
via e-mail or campus mail from the Provost’s Office two months
after starting their activity and again at the end of the three-month
interval. The Provost’s Office will be notified at three months
if the process is not complete. If a report is not finalized by this
time then the chairman of the TAFC or his representative is to contact
the chairman of the fact-finding committee to ascertain the reasons
for the delay, relay these issues to the grievant and attempt to expedite
3. The TAFC will monitor in real time the actions of the fact-finding
committee, but not the content of their study, to identify problems
or potential problems that may delay the completion of the final report.
The TAFC will report on an annual basis to the Faculty Assembly about
any grievance processes that were associated with delays, their root
causes and proposed means to prevent them in the future.
Provost Maher provided some background information going back to when
Nathan Hershey was Senate President and asked for an extra option for
faculty members who wanted a quicker answer out of the process. The
Provost was reluctant because he feels that the current process is a
good, careful one. The Senate leadership promised at that time that
the current process would be left alone, but there could be an alternative.
TAFC doesn’t normally include the administrative liaison and as
a result there are some pretty serious misunderstandings about facts
that underlie these recommendations. There are two different policies,
not one. The Grievance Policy (does not include promotions and tenure)
and the Faculty Review and Appeals Process (includes renewal of contracts,
promotion or tenure issues). In each case TAFC plays a role in working
as a mediator between the faculty member and the relevant administrators.
The Provost has always encouraged the Department Chairs and Deans to
share with TAFC what they can. Employee law says there is information
in employee files that cannot be released if the faculty person hasn’t
authorized it. The Provost went on to describe why the recommendations
would be intrusive on the functioning of the panels which are made up
of faculty members. The faculty panels feel they should take their time
to get things right. There are very few grievance cases. The problem
is more complex in the Medical School where time is a factor because
many contracts are only for one year.
The Provost suggested 1) This should not be regarded as something the
Senate has acted on. The original deal was that there be no action other
than on an expedited tract. 2) The Provost is very willing to work with
TAFC but suggests they engage themselves with the academic liaison to
their Committee. 3) TAFC plays a role in the initial mediation but once
the process is well defined, TAFC should rely on the faculty panels
chosen for the role to carry it out.
Faculty Assembly meets June 3; Senate Council on June 9.
10. Adjournment: The meeting was adjourned at 5:00 PM.
Respectfully submitted by Fran Czak
Director, Office of the University Senate
For Josephine E. Olson, Secretary