University of Pittsburgh
Senate Council Meeting
Minutes of June 9, 2003
1. President Cassing called the meeting to order at 3:01 PM.
2. The minutes of the Senate Council meeting on May 12 were approved
3. President Cassing asked for new items of business for the meeting.
There were none.
4. Report of the Chancellor, Mark A. Nordenberg:
· The Chancellor noted that this was the last Senate Council
meeting of the year and the last one to be chaired by Professor Cassing.
He thanked Professor Cassing for his service, noting that he had known
Professor Cassing earlier from his work on UPBC. He observed that Professor
Cassing cares deeply about Pitt and that he is always respectful of
others and honorable in his approach. The Chancellor presented him with
· The Chancellor observed that it has been a difficult year in
terms of economics and more challenges are ahead, including: 1) The
need for a state appropriation for the next fiscal year, which starts
in three weeks. The Governor’s recommendation calls for a 5 percent
reduction in our allocation, but the legislature has not acted. 2) The
city budget problems and the fact that the city is looking too hard
in the direction of the University to solve its problems. He mentioned
the piece he and President Cohon of CMU had in Sunday’s paper
on this issue, which argued that taxing tax-exempt research universities
would have long-term negative consequences on the region. 3) Efforts
to preserve the Big East Conference have taken a lot of the administration’s
time. He traveled to Boston, Syracuse and Washington to meet with presidents/chancellors
of various universities. A civil action has been filed in Connecticut
· The National Institute of Health has recently issued its comparative
research report on NIH funding. The Medical School alone ranked 10th
in NIH awards. The Medical School with affiliated hospitals ranked 9th
and the University including other health-related schools but excluding
affiliated hospitals ranked 8th (this was primarily because of funding
going to the Graduate School of Public Health, which ranks 3rd among
schools of public health). The Chancellor said these were outstanding
rankings and signs of continuing progress.
· Within the institution are individuals doing spectacular work.
The Chancellor mentioned that Dr. Thomas Starzl was written up last
week in the Wall Street Journal for his work in eliminating a lifetime
of drug therapy for transplant recipients. Today it was announced that
Professors Yuan Chang and Patrick Moore will receive the Charles S.
Mott award for outstanding contributions related to the cause or preservation
of cancer. The Chancellor noted that this is a very prestigious award
and many recipients have gone on to win Nobel prizes.
· The Chancellor announced that this year’s Chancellor’s
Affirmative Action Award was going to Paula Davis, Assistant Dean for
Student Affairs and Minority Programs in the School of Medicine. He
explained that the award was created from a donation by Dr. Marianne
Bishop Coffey, former Director of Affirmative Action, and her husband,
Joseph Coffey, an emeritus professor in GSPIA. It goes to an outstanding
university program, area or individual who has made a significant contribution
in achieving affirmative action goals. In the past the award has gone
to programs, but this year it is going to an individual, namely Dean
Paula Davis. The chancellor went on to list those who had nominated
Dean Davis and all the things she had done to increase the number of
and assist under-represented minority students in the Medical School.
The Chancellor presented Dean Davis with her award, and she in turn
thanked a number of members of the university, past and present, and
5. Report of the President of the Senate, James H. Cassing
· Professor Cassing congratulated Paula Davis and thanked the
Chancellor for his support. He also thanked current and former Senate
officers, Senate Council members, and Senate Committees for their hard
· He announced that members of the Senate Expanded Executive
Committee will meet late in the summer to discuss upcoming issues for
· Mayor Murphy spoke to Faculty Assembly at last Tuesday’s
meeting. He talked about the current tax structure and issues facing
the city. A lively discussion followed.
· Nathan Hershey presented a motion to Faculty Assembly concerning
an Expedited Review. As a result, the Senate President will appoint
an ad hoc committee to enter into negotiations regarding the plan for
an expedited review to secure some changes in the plan. Professor Hershey
will chair the committee.
· The recommendations from the Benefits and Welfare committee
requesting the administration to establish an advisory committee to
promote recreational services and personal fitness on campus for faculty
and staff were formally sent to the Chancellor in a letter dated June
· A reception for Senate Council members will be held in the
Chancellor’s office at the end of the meeting.
Questions and Answers
Professor Dean Root said that his term on Senate Council and Faculty
Assembly was ending and he wanted to express his appreciation for the
privilege of serving on these bodies. He said it was a tremendous learning
experience and he thanked Prof. Cassing, Prof. Hershey, and Ms. Czak
for making it interesting. Prof. Cassing, in turn, thanked Prof. Hershey,
Ms. Czak and Ms. Mathews for their work on the Senate.
6. Report of Student Members of Senate Council
Student Government Board
Ms. Culliton reported that SGB is working on “Arrival Survival”
and has 400 volunteers. Two board members attended the recent Port Authority
hearing and are planning to go on a lobbying trip to Harrisburg with
Graduate and Professional Students Association
Mr. Danczyk thanked Chip Amoe, who is graduating, for his support. Dental
students are active this summer promoting dental hygiene to students
in the city.
Mr. Soulakis discussed efforts his organization is making to identify
events at the various health-related schools. These include methods
such as monitoring the activities it funds; exploring the use of firstname.lastname@example.org,
the use of a health sciences calendar, and using email rather meetings.
Email may also be used to solicit student comments. They plan to have
a column in the Pitt News to discuss issues of concern to them.
Questions and Answers
The reference to email led Professor Cassing to ask what is being or
can be done to stop the increasing amount of spam on email. The Provost
said they have worked hard to cut out spam without blocking relevant
emails. It is probably time to review it again and he would bring it
up with the Academic Computing Committee.
FACULTY OF ARTS AND SCIENCES
Mr. Tarpley reported that his organization held a special meeting with
regard to changes in the health plan. Ms. Sparks of the Provost’s
Office made a presentation on changes in the plan. Students were pleased
to see the University’s contribution to the plan.
Questions and Answers
Mr. Tarpley’s report led to some questions about a possible change
in the name of FAS. The Provost explained that the university has the
practice of calling an academic unit a “college” if it is
for undergraduates, a “graduate school” if it is only for
graduate students, and a “school” if it is for both. FAS
is an exception and the FAS Council is currently considering the possibility
of a change in its name to the “School of Arts and Sciences,”
but a final decision has not yet been made.
7. Report of the President of the Staff Association Council, Ms. Barbara
Mr. Colwell spoke in the absence of Ms. Mowery. He thanked Prof. Cassing
and said SAC looks forward to working with the new officers.
8. Reports by and Announcements of Standing and Special Committees
of the Senate
There were no reports.
9. New Business—There was no new business.
Professor Cassing announced the next Faculty Assembly meeting is on
September 2 and the next Senate Council meeting on September 10.
11. Adjournment. The meeting was adjourned at 3:50 PM.
Josephine E. Olson, Secretary