University of Pittsburgh
Senate Council Meeting
Minutes of December 2, 2002
1. President Cassing called the meeting to order at 3:01 PM.
2. The minutes of the Senate Council meeting on November 11, 2002, were
approved as written.
3. President Cassing asked for new items of business. There were none.
4. Remarks of the Chancellor, Mark A. Nordenberg:
- Chancellor Nordenberg reported that both U.S. Senators, Arlen Specter
and Rick Santorum, were on campus this morning to learn more about the
Real Time Outbreak and Disease Surveillance System (RODS). It is a system
designed to position health officials to detect signs of widespread medical
problems including those that might be caused by a bioterriorist attack.
The ROD system is an important product of the Bio Medical Security Institute
(BMSI), a joint venture between Pitt and CMU. This morning, we announced
that the RODS software would be available free of charge to public health
organization throughout the country. Pitt Professor Michael Wagner and
CMU Professor Andrew Moore are the co-directors of BMSI. Loren Roth has
also been very successful in leading a joint University of Pittsburgh/UMPC
bio terrorism response initiative.
- Later this week we will host the annual Staff Recognition Awards ceremony
and the Heinz Chapel Choir will begin its series of concerts of holiday
- The Chancellor is devoting time to chairing the Leadership in Governance
Committee of the Mayor’s Commission on the Pittsburgh Public Schools.
- The Special Committee appointed by the Mayor to study Pittsburgh’s
revenue challenges released its report. The Chancellor has expressed his
sympathy with the Mayor’s circumstances as he faces diminished resources,
but has also expressed his opposition for dealing with the problem by
taxing organizations that have been traditionally tax-exempt. We need
to keep in mind the fact that the University already plays a major role
in terms of generating the City’s tax base. This past year, we withheld
more than $7.2 million in wage taxes, we paid more than $1 million in
parking taxes, and we paid more than $800,000 in real estate taxes. The
University also shoulders a very significant load in terms of many services
that are traditionally provided by hometowns. We compete in a national
market and we are already disadvantaged because our levels of State aid
are not as high as those enjoyed by many of our peer public universities.
The Mayor’s proposed tax would only disadvantage us further.
- On a more positive note, at the annual meeting of the Allegheny Conference
on Community Development last month, the development of Oakland was cited
as one of the priorities for the region.
- We formally opened the new Petersen Events Center on November 23 with
the men’s basketball game against Duquesne. We also opened the new
McCarl Center for Nontraditional Student Success, on the fourth floor
of the Cathedral of Learning. It was funded through a $650,000 gift from
Jim and Carol McCarl to the College of General Studies. This is the largest
gift ever received by CGS.
- Rich Colwell took the Chancellor on a tour of the new Freshman Engineering
Computing Lab in the Gardner Steel Conference Center. It was quite impressive
in terms of the technology and the thoughtful way in which it has been
organized to support the teaching mission.
- The Chancellor participated in the first annual symposium of the Safar
Center for Resuscitation Research. Dr. Peter Safar is known as the father
of CPR and he played a critical role in the establishment of critcal care
units. He is one of the world’s leading researchers in the area
of suspended animation.
- Two members of the faculty were elected to the American Association
for the Advancement of Science. They are Jose-Marie Griffiths, who holds
the Doreen Boyce Chair in Information Science, and Peter Wipf, Professor
in the Department of Chemistry.
5. Report of the President of the Senate, James H. Cassing:
- Jim Holland, Chair of the ad hoc Planning and Budgeting System Evaluation
Committee, gave a preliminary report to Faculty Assembly members this
past Tuesday. The final report should be available early next year. Jim
and the Committee are to be congratulated for a comprehensive and well-done
- The Chancellor has responded to the resolution that was passed by Faculty
Assembly in September concerning the Special Committee on Domestic Partner
Health Insurance Benefits. The report was given at Faculty Assembly.
- As President of the Senate, he signed off on the recommended changes
for the Commercialization of Inventions and the Patent Rights and Technology
6. Report of the Student Members of Senate Council:
Student Government Board
Kevin Washo reported that fourteen new committee chairs were selected
to work in
the office to arrange for everything from academic affairs to technology
to environmental issues. They are also working on a new web site which
should be up
and running by February. SGB will be providing refreshments in various
throughout the final exam period to help students get through this stressful
are looking forward to working with the administration to try to raise
activities fee to make sure that the student groups that are involved
on campus have sufficient funds to survive.
Livia Langton, President of GPSA, introduced Beth Holmes, the new co-rep
the Schools of the Health Sciences. Ms. Langton announced that GPSA is
restructure and add two new committees. One will be chaired by the student
representing the Schools of the Professions and one will be chaired by
representing the Schools of the Health Sciences. There are 14 different
have graduate students and the restructuring will allow better communication
students. The reports that come to GPSA from the two new committees should
be more effective. Tomorrow will be the first meeting of the Survey Committee.
Last year’s survey was on retention. It will be administered on-line.
Students will be able to access it through the Pitt home page, answer
the questions, and submit the results to GPSA. This will give them a better
idea of what the students’ issues and concerns are.
Faculty of Arts and Sciences
Jamie Tarpley reported that the FAS/GSO helped the FAS Dean’s Office
to aggressively promote the Book Center Scholarships this year, resulting
in a much broader applicant pool than had been the case in the past. They
are looking into some glitches that a few graduate students have experienced
while using the Placement Center and will give a report at a later time.
They are also reviewing applications for the travel grants that are allotted
each semester and those will be decided on and awarded very soon.
7. Report of the President of the Staff Association Council, Ms. Barbara
Ms. Mowery thanked the Chancellor and the Associate Vice Chancellor Ron
for hosting the Staff Recognition Award on Wednesday and noted how staff
appreciate the recognition as well. Decisions have been made about which
will receive their Book Fund Awards; an announcement is forthcoming. Five
of staff will receive $200 book fund awards from SAC. A crafts fair will
be held tomorrow in the William Pitt Union as a fundraiser. The Committee
on Safety and
Security is working on putting a link on the SAC Web site so people can
report concerns about safety on campus. This Committee is doing research
about areas of immediate pedestrian safety concerns on the Oakland campus.
They are doing benchmarking to compare what other universities are doing
with safety and security issues and how they approach their problems and
8. Reports by and Announcements of Standing Committees of the Senate:
Educational Policies Committee
Professor Evelyn O. Talbott, Chair of the Educational Policies Committee,
the Committee’s survey of part-time faculty. Last term a part-time
faculty survey was
mailed and a reasonable number of faculty responded. The Committee prepared
report and made some recommendations. A copy of the report was sent to
who responded with a letter to the Committee outlining some action items
that would be taken. The Provost gave his approval to have a copy of his
letter, along with a copy of the Committee’s recommendations, sent
to all part-time faculty. It’s important that our part-time faculty
know that many of these issues are taken seriously. The Committee wishes
to thank the Provost for addressing the issues. (A copy of the Provost’s
letter and the Committee’s final report are on file in the Senate
Office should anyone wish to have copies.)
Questions and Comments
Provost Maher commented that the Committee did a very good job and that
it was a
helpful set of recommendations. He was glad to know about the issues as
the part-timers see it.
9. Items of New Business – there were none.
The next Senate Council Meeting is scheduled for Monday, February 3.
11. Adjournment: The meeting was adjourned at 3:39 PM.
Respectfully submitted by Fran Czak, Director, University Senate
Reviewed by Josephine E. Olson, Secretary