Faculty Senate receives update on University Strategic Plan

January 28, 2009

University Park, Pa. — Penn State's University Faculty Senate held its first meeting of 2009 Tuesday (Jan. 27) and received a special report from Rodney Erickson, executive vice president and provost, updating the progress of the University Strategic Planning Council.

The Senate also passed revisions to the Senate constitution and bylaws related to voting units and Senate Council membership, as well as the Senate standing rules on committee structures. Several informational reports also were presented.

Erickson's report on the draft strategic plan explained seven goals and related strategies identified by the planning council to fulfill a vision for Penn State to be "a global university committed to excellence, with a passion for creating knowledge and educating students to be leaders for a better tomorrow."

The work of seven task forces and 45 unit plans from across the University focused on a recurring theme of priorities for excellence. Among the goals identified are to enhance student success, advance academic excellence, make Penn State a global university, maintain access and enhance diversity, serve the people of Pennsylvania and beyond, make greater use of technology and control costs to maintain affordability and better utilize resources.

A number of strategies were identified for each goal, and Erickson added that in reflecting the planned global nature of the University, the University Office of International Programs will soon be renamed the Office of Global Programs.

For Erickson's full report, including strategies for each goal, visit http://www.senate.psu.edu. Erickson noted that the draft will be shared with a wider distribution and revised throughout the spring, with a public presentation for discussion and approval at the Board of Trustees meeting in May or July.

In legislative reports, the Senate voted to revise the Senate constitution and bylaws to reflect reorganizations in recent years that created the multi-campus University College. Because of the decentralized nature of the University College the changes now treat each campus as its own voting unit, creating a simpler method for allocating Senate seats. Previously the University College and its predecessor, the Commonwealth College, had elected senators as a single voting unit. The passage of the report also changed bylaws for Senate Council membership to include one faculty senator elected from and by the elected senators of the campuses of the University College.

The Senate also voted to revise standing rules to allow senators to serve on both Senate Council and other standing committees simultaneously with approval from the Committee on Committees and Rules. At the Senate's next meeting, a vote will take place on a legislative report presented Tuesday recommending a change to the constitution to allow the election of two student senators from the University College. Currently only one student represents the University College's more than 14,500 students.

Four informational reports were presented to the Senate:

• Sharon Shriver, education specialist in the Office for Research Protections, presented a report on the Scholarship and Research Integrity program (SARI). Since a number of award-granting agencies, such as the National Science Foundation require graduate students engaged in research to receive training in the responsible conduct of research, SARI offers graduate students comprehensive, multi-level training in the responsible conduct of research, first through a national online training program, and then through an additional five hours of discussion-based education.

For Shriver's report on the SARI program at Penn State, go to http://www.senate.psu.edu/agenda/2008-2009/Jan2709/appj.pdf.

• The Senate Committee on Libraries sponsored a report on privacy and confidentiality in University Libraries. The report presented a comprehensive overview on ethics and privacy, related legislation and University policies, privacy training and practices and detailed privacy scenarios.

For the full report, go to http://www.senate.psu.edu/agenda/2008-2009/Jan2709/appi.pdf.

• The annual report on the Reserved Spaces Program gave an overview of the limits and use of reserved admission spaces at the University Park campus for eligible first-year students with special needs or talents that cannot be met at non-University Park locations and whose predicted GPAs are below those for regular admission to University Park. These students contribute to the educational and cultural life and diversity of the University Park campus.

For 2008, 251 students were admitted under the program, below the limit of 340.  The limit will increase to 350 in 2009 to accommodate the highly successful mean's and women's ice hockey and rugby teams. To read the full report, go to http://www.senate.psu.edu/agenda/2008-2009/Jan2709/appg.pdf.

• The Elections Commission presented its annual University Faculty Census Report. For the report, go to http://www.senate.psu.edu/agenda/2008-2009/Jan2709/apph.pdf.

The next Senate meeting will take place at 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 17 in 112 Kern Graduate Building.

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated March 19, 2009