|1234 Cathedral of Learning
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15260
September 11, 2002
University of Pittsburgh
In the absence of President Cassing, Vice President Metzger called the meeting to order at 3:02 PM.
Commemoration of Events of September 11
Professor Metzger announced that he was turning the meeting over to Chancellor Nordenberg for a special presentation. Chancellor Nordenberg in turn introduced Jeff Alex, past president of the Student Government Board, and Kevin Washo, current president of the SGB. Messrs. Alex and Washo explained that the SGB had collected journals from many of those who attended a memorial service last September 18 for those who died in the September 11 attacks. These expressions of emotions and feelings were collected in a book, which they were presenting to the University. Messrs. Alex and Washo then formally delivered the book to Dr. Rush Miller, Director of the University Library System, and to Chancellor Nordenberg.
The minutes of the Senate Council meeting on June 10, 2002 were approved as written.
Vice President Metzger asked for new items of business for the meeting. There were none.
Remarks of the Chancellor, Mark A. Nordenberg
Chancellor Nordenberg highlighted events over the summer.
In late June the University announced that it had exceeded the original $500 million goal of the Capital Campaign a year early, and was extending the campaign and increasing the goal to $1 billion. By late June the University had received commitments for 166 scholarships, 13 fellowships, 29 faculty chairs and 9 professorships.
Knowledge Showcase, a presentation of 11 of the Universitys most innovative areas of research, was presented at the Petersen Events Center on June 23. The event was a big success.
Eleven new members were inducted into the Cathedral of Learning Society, for donors who contribute $1 million or more to the University.
Seven new members were elected to the Board of Trustees: Bibiana Boerio, Ford Financial; Charles E. Bunch, PPG Industries; John Curran, Curran Capital Management; Robert M. Hernandez, RTI International Metals; Marlee S. Myers, Morgan Lewis & Bockius; William E. Trueheart, Pittsburgh Foundation; and Sam S. Zacharias, Gateway Financial Group.
In July, following approval of the Commonwealths budget, the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees approved the Universitys Operating Budget. Tuition had to be raised by more than the Chancellor wished. An increase of 3.5 percent in the salary budget was approved.
The University has the strongest student body ever and outstanding new faculty. Pitt has become the institution of choice for many students, staff and young faculty. This year Pitt was also unusually successful in recruiting distinguished senior faculty.
Two new facilities were recently dedicatedSennott Square and the Baierl Recreational Center.
In his first Update of the academic year the Chancellor praised the spirit of older Pitt students and the staff in welcoming new students and their families.
A number of 9/11 events were being held during the day as a Day of Remembrance. The Chancellor said it was wonderful to see how people responded in preparing for this day. Staff members personally labeled 3041 flags with the name of one victim of the attack on each.
The Chancellor discussed the recent article in the Post Gazette and explained how Pitt reports its SAT scores. The process of reporting SAT scores has been the same for the three decades in which special access to admissions has been used. Admissions officers believe regular candidates for admissions want to know the standards they will need to meet and this is the reason that the scores of athletes and special access students are not included in the averages reported in marketing materials. The undergraduate student body at Pitt is smaller than those of most research-oriented public universities and the percentage of special access students is higher. Inclusion of them would skew the information as to the standards that regular applicants must meet. The University supplies commercial publications with whatever information they request. These vary by the publication. For example, Princeton Review asks for the overall student average. US News asks for information on all students but publishes scores for the 25th and 75th percentiles. Barrons specifically requests scores of mainstream students and asks that scores of international and special access students not be included. In general reports of institutional progress, the emphasis has been on the increase in average scores, not on the levels. The increase would actually have been greater if the averages of all students had been included since the averages of special access students have risen more than those of mainstream students. Because of national concerns regarding the validity of SATs, the Chancellor has moved away from mentioning SATs in his own reports. For example, in his annual reports to the Board of Trustees for 2000 and 2001, as well as a report for Discovery Weekend, he referred to the high school ranks of our students rather than SAT averages.
The Chancellor next asked Provost Maher to make some announcements.
Provost Maher reported on two issues where there was significant progress over the summer.
An updated version of the Faculty Handbook is now on the web. This includes all changes made in 1999. He will transmit a list of comments the Senate made in 1999 and the Universitys response. To avoid any further delays, it will be a dynamic document. Changes will be incorporated along with an indication of the date of change. By the end of the calendar year there will be further improvements.
During the time that Professor Hershey was President of the Senate, an ad hoc committee was created to look into the evaluation of department chairs and deans. Last year a pilot study was conducted on the evaluation of department chairs. This year all department chairs will be reviewed and there will be a pilot test of the review of deans. The deans of GSPIA and Engineering (Ban and Holder) volunteered to be evaluated.
Questions and Comments
Professor Hershey asked the Chancellor whether the reporting processes regarding SAT scores or equivalent were the same for all schools. Chancellor Nordenberg said he did not know. Vice Chancellor Levine said the Medical School does not exclude anyone in its calculation. Provost Maher said he was not aware of any special access programs for the Graduate and Professional Schools. Maher repeated the statement of the Chancellor that the University always follows the instructions of any group doing comparative studies, and he expected the schools to do the same. He added that the University benchmarks and it is extremely hard to tell what a number means because there is no standardization.
Referring to the dynamic Faculty Handbook, Professor Jacobson asked how members of the faculty would be notified about changes. Provost Maher said that it is complicated and involves a security mechanism. Right now all changes made earlier are in the on-line handbook. Later this year it will be made dynamic. He will send a letter to President Cassing notifying him of the current changes, but they are still looking at a way for notification of future changes. Professor Bircher said that perhaps there could be a page listing Whats New.
Vice President Metzger said he teaches a freshman group and discussed the SAT issue with them. They said that they liked the idea of knowing what the standards for them were and perhaps an asterisk could be added regarding groups excluded.
Report of the President of the Senate, James H. Cassing
Vice President Metzger reported in the absence of President Cassing.
He welcomed the new members of Senate Council. He explained that there had been a tie in the vice presidential election between him and Professor Bircher and that a runoff was under way. The results should be available on September 23rd. He introduced the new Secretary, Professor Josephine E. Olson, and the Immediate Past President, Professor Nathan Hershey.
A meeting of the Expanded Executive Committee (includes chairs of Standing Committees) met on August 28 and discussed what they thought would be the issues for the coming academic year. These include:
Same sex benefits.
The report of the Academic Freedom Committee. There will be some mechanism for faculty input, but its exact nature has not yet been announced.
A committee chaired by Professor Holland is reviewing the University Planning and Budgeting Process. A short survey was sent to faculty along with the recent Vice Presidential runoff ballot. A report is expected in November.
The medical benefits contract must be renewed this year. Three faculty members are part of the negotiating committee. They are Professors Herbert Chesler, Kathleen DeWalt and James Holland. RFPs have already been sent out.
Vice President Metzger asked whether there were any ideas for a Plenary Session on October 23rd. If not, the fall Plenary Session will be cancelled.
Vice President Metzger said that he had been invited to participate in the flag ceremony this morning and he was grateful for that. It was a moving ceremony. He also mentioned that flags could be taken home.
Report of Student Members of Senate Council
Student Government Board
Mr. Kevin Washo, President of the SGB introduced the officers of SGB: Elizabeth Culliton, Andrew Hutelmyer and Bryan Thomas. He thanked everyone for the Commemoration Ceremony. It was a busy summer for the SGB. There was concern about the size of the tuition increase, but SGB looks forward to working with the administration to keep down future tuition increases. He reported that Arrival Survival was very successful. The SGB met two weeks ago to consider its agenda for the year. Issues include: better communication among groups, safety, and governmental relations. SGB is looking for committee chairs and members. They are also working on voter registration. They hope to reach 3000 students, not only to register but also to vote.
Ms. Jillian Costigan provided some background on the history and role of the CGS cabinet.
Graduate and Professional Students Association
Schools of the Professions
Mr. Chip Amoe said that their activities were just getting started. He introduced Livia Langton, the new President of GPSA. One concern is health benefits for professional students. Many of the students have families and would like better benefits, even if they have to pay more.
Questions and Discussion
Vice President Metzger mentioned that there were negotiations now going on for faculty and staff. Vice Chancellor Cochran said that this did not involve graduate students, but there were other mechanisms for considering this issue.
Faculty of Arts and Sciences
Mr. Jamie Tarpley reported that they had their first meeting on Monday to discuss issues for the year. There will be a graduate student expo in March, which he expects to be better than last year. The fall party will be held Friday, September 13 at Metropol. Election for new officers will take place on October 7 and there are three candidates.
Ms. Livia Langton reported on GPSA activities. GPSA is working on a memorial for a law student (John Carney) who died last year. GPSA is working to improve communication among the 14 schools and 5 student organizations. GPSA has introduced an on-line complaint service. To increase voting, the GPSA elections will be held on line. GPSA meetings are held on the fourth Monday of the month in G-20 Law.
Report of the President of the Staff Association Council, Ms. Barbara J. Mowery
Ms. Mowery thanked the Chancellor and the Secretary of the Board of Trustees, Jean Ferketish, for inviting her to participate in the Commemoration Ceremony. She introduced a new SAC officer, Ms. Angie Peskie, and a continuing officer, Mr. Richard Colwell. On Saturday, September 14, SAC will hold a flea market outside of Posvar Hall. Proceeds will go to a book fund for children of staff. Issues before SAC include the increased charge for part-time students for usage of the computer network, since many staff are part-time students. SAC is also disappointed that salary ranges were not increased in line with inflation.
Reports by and Announcements of Standing and Special Committee of the Senate
Joint Committee Report of Community Relations Committee and Plant Utilization and Planning Committee
Professor Tracy Soska, chair of the Community Relations Committee, reported for the two committees in the absence of Professor Favorini, Chair of the Plant Utilization and Planning Committee. During the summer the two committees met jointly to consider issues relating to Oaklands development. He noted the growing role of the Oakland Task Force, which has shaped cooperative planning in the community. Sennott Square was the result of community involvement in the planning process.
At the Faculty Assembly meeting on September 3, the Faculty Assembly accepted the recommendation that the University appoint a task group/forum to develop a university position on the redesign of Schenley Plaza. However, the joint committees have acquired additional information, on the basis of which they recommend that the resolution be sent back to the Faculty Assembly until the committees can make a better recommendation. The recommendation that this motion be referred back to Faculty Assembly was approved.
Professor Soska also reported that the Oakland Community had asked the University to look at housing issues. The Oakland Task Force has been concerned about housing. These include reducing the density of students, code enforcement, removal of trash, and the role of landlords in Oakland. The Oakland Community would like the University to promote home ownership in Oakland and would like the University to consider the possibility of Employee Assistance Housing.
The joint committees make the following recommendations: They
strongly recommend that the University begin to formally explore an Employer Assisted Housing Program (EAHP) with the local Fannie Mae organization and that the relevant Senate committees be involved in such exploration and deliberations. They further recommend that Fannie Mae be invited to present to a special meeting of these two committees and other relevant committees and administration representativesabout such an EAHP.
Questions and Discussions
Chancellor Nordenberg said he did not know about all the alternatives. He recommended moving forward subject to recognition that there are limits on budgets.
Professor Jacobson asked whether there are alternatives to Fannie Mae. Professor Soska said that there are and also that there are many options within Fannie Mae.
Chancellor Nordenberg said that the University should explored possibilities beyond Fannie Mae.
The motion was approved.
There was no new business.
Vice Chancellor of the Health Professions Arthur Levine announced Science 2002Synergy in Science. This will be a three-day meeting focusing on the effect that collaboration between universities and industries has on economic and scientific advances in the region and beyond. Dr. Levine explained that last years conference began on September 11 and therefore all external speakers were unable to attend. This year there will be outside speakers. Dr. Levine reported that last year, despite September 11, there were many new collaborations resulting from this conference.
The meeting was adjourned at 4:20 PM.
Josephine E. Olson, Secretary
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