Board of Trustees actions: May 12, 2006

May 12, 2006

Penn State's Board of Trustees met on Friday, May 12, 2006, on Penn State's University Park campus. The following items were presented to the board for action or informational purposes:

Penn State Board of Trustees meets; President Spanier's remarks
Penn State's Board of Trustees held its regular, bi-monthly meeting May 12 at Penn State's University Park campus, coinciding with the University's weekend-long commencement ceremonies. In his opening remarks to the board, President Graham B. Spanier reported that a record 10,355 students are expected to graduate from Penn State this weekend, including more than 7,400 at University Park. "Commencements remind us that despite the frustrations we sometimes experience, what we do in higher education is help to create the next generation of professionals, humanitarians, entrepreneurs, civil servants, educators, and leaders in all walks of life," said Spanier. At the same time, a record number of applications continue to flow into the University, with the total approaching an unprecedented 90,000. Out-of-state baccalaureate applications are up 17 percent, with Pennsylvania applications up 15 percent. Penn State believes this lead to the highest total of applications received by any university in the nation.
Read the full text of the president's remarks at

Penn State recreation programs enrich students' collegiate experiences
The popularity of Penn State recreation programs indicates how highly students value these types of activities as part of their collegiate experiences. The University has found that high-quality recreation programs, such as intramural sports and fitness activities, are related to student recruitment and retention, and they also help students build meaningful bonds with others in the University community. "Not surprisingly, opportunities for students to participate in fitness activities and sports are not just enjoyable for students -- but they are critically important for student success," said Vicky L. Triponey, vice president for Student Affairs in a report to the University's Board of Trustees today (May 12) on student recreation. "Researchers have identified a positive correlation to higher grades and higher student satisfaction." Triponey shared the results of a recent survey of University Park undergraduates, in which 70 percent reported utilizing campus recreational facilities during a typical week. On average, students visit these facilities more than five times each week. In addition, more than 25 percent of University Park students are actively involved in intramural or club sports.
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Penn State implements comprehensive influenza pandemic plan
To proactively address concerns about the potential impact of a widespread influenza epidemic, Penn State is developing a comprehensive plan to protect the University community. Margaret Spear, senior director of University Health Services, provided a brief update on the important pandemic planning that is underway at Penn State at the Board of Trustees meeting Friday (May 12) on the University Park campus. Spear said there is general agreement among virologists and public health experts that a new pandemic -- probably related to an avian virus -- is inevitable. In the last 5 years, a new virus, H5N1, has been killing birds in Asia, Europe and Africa; it has infected 204 people, 114 of whom have died. Experts cannot predict whether H5N1 will lead to a full-fledged pandemic -- a global disease outbreak -- or if another virus will be implicated. However, Spear noted, "As one expert has said, 'The clock is ticking. We just don't know what time it is.'" Since December, Penn State has been preparing for the eventuality of a pandemic.
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Trustees receive outline of interdisciplinary research and education programs
Interdisciplinary research and education efforts at Penn State reach nearly every sector of academic life -- from senior faculty to undergraduates, across the vast majority of academic disciplines and at multiple campus locations. "Universities need to be the place where walls are low, doors are flung open, and there is always room for one more in any activity," said Eva J. Pell, vice president for research and dean of the University's Graduate School, in a report to the University's Board of Trustees today (May 12). "Our environment is one that nurtures interdisciplinarity and allows great ideas to grow in many directions." Just in the last year more than 150 junior and senior faculty, with salaries co-funded by the institutes and colleges, have garnered $33 million in research dollars from a broad spectrum of public and private agencies. A large contingency of faculty, beyond those whose salaries are co-funded, also benefit from the University's collaborative efforts, as do graduate students, including those in intercollege graduate degree programs, and nearly 450 undergraduate students who receive valuable educational experience via such research opportunities.
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Board hears review of Faculty Senate efforts in 2005-06
Working in consultation with the Penn State administration, the University Faculty Senate resolved two perennial student and faculty issues this past academic year and moved forward on creating better curricular organization throughout the University. Jamie Myers, outgoing Senate chair, told the University's Board of Trustees Friday (May 12) that several years of deliberation ultimately achieved balanced 15-week fall and spring semesters, as well as full student access to textbook information well before the start of the semester so students may seek out the best prices. Over the past year the Senate has also worked to erase ambiguity among course abbreviations and numbering by assembling teams of faculty across the University to establish uniform course abbreviations within disciplines. Myers said that the 48 teams of faculty, which were commissioned as a result of an increasing amount of different abbreviations for similar courses at different campuses and colleges, are on track to complete their work by December.
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Penn State trustees approve preliminary plans for Cancer Institute
Construction of the new Cancer Institute at the Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center will provide a new home for cancer-related clinical and research operations as well as creating a new main hospital entrance, according to preliminary plans approved by the University's Board of Trustees Friday (May 12). The Cancer Institute -- designed by Payette Associates of Boston and Array Healthcare Facilities Solutions of King of Prussia, Pa. -- will include three floors of clinical functions to treat patients and two upper floors of research laboratories and offices, as well as an enclosed penthouse on the roof for additional mechanical equipment. Construction is expected to begin this month on the new 1,300-space parking garage. Each phase of construction at the Hershey Medical Center is being carefully sequenced in order to maintain hospital operations during construction.
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Plans for health and counseling services building gain board approval
Seeking to better serve the health needs of the University community and overcome constraints of existing spaces, the Penn State Board of Trustees Friday (May 12) approved preliminary plans for a new University Health and Counseling Services building at Penn State's University Park campus. "We are thrilled to be able to help design a building to meet the service and program needs of the students, staff and faculty that we serve," said Margaret Spear, director of University Health Services. "Students today have increasingly complex and interconnected physical and emotional health problems. We see an unusual opportunity in the new building to foster creative and interdisciplinary collaboration and offer services that are truly student-centered, that is, well-integrated, seamless and responsive to individual and collective needs." The building will advance the University's sustainability measures with a vegetated "green roof" to reduce stormwater runoff and costs to heat and cool the building. The five-floor building will be LEED certified.
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Penn State announces results of Board of Trustees elections
Penn State alumni, delegates of agricultural societies, and the board (representatives of business and industry endeavors) recently elected six incumbents and one new member to serve on the University's Board of Trustees. University alumni re-elected incumbents David R. Jones, assistant managing editor, The New York Times (retired); David M. Joyner, health care and business consultant and orthopedic physician; and Anne Riley, retired English teacher. Delegates of agricultural societies re-elected Carl T. Shaffer, vice president of the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau, and elected Barron "Boots" Hetherington. The board representing business and industry trustees re-elected Edward R. Hintz, Jr., president of Hintz, Holman and Robillard, Inc., and Robert D. Metzgar, chief executive officer, North Penn Pipe & Supply, Inc. The term of each trustee elected is three years, beginning July 1, 2006 and expiring on June 30, 2009.
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Board of Trustees reappoints three to Penn State Hershey Medical Center board
The Penn State Board of Trustees today (May 12) approved the re-appointments of David M. Joyner, Edward P. Junker III and Barry K. Robinson to the Board of Directors of The Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center. Each appointment is for a three-year term ending June 30, 2009. Joyner is a health care consultant and an orthopedic physician, and Junker is retired vice chairman of PNC Bank Corp. Both are active members of Penn State's Board of Trustees. Robinson is senior counsel for corporate affairs with the Recording Industry Association of America, and holds emeritus trustee status with the University. In May 2000, the University's Board of Trustees approved the establishment of the corporation "The Milton S. Hershey Medical Center," a Pennsylvania non-profit organization charged with employing personnel, owning equipment and holding the hospital and other licenses necessary to provide health care services. Its board of directors is responsible for the governance of The Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center.
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Trustees approve interim budget for 2006-07; Penn State awaits approval of appropriation
Penn State adopts an interim budget each year so that it has an approved fiscal operating plan from the beginning of the fiscal year, July 1, until the next year's actual budget is approved by the University's Board of Trustees. Today (May 12), the board approved an interim maintenance and operating budget of $3,059,163,000. This budget supports all Penn State operations and enterprises throughout the commonwealth. Details on the current 2005-06 budget, which serves as a basis for this interim budget, can be found at online. No action on changes in tuition, salaries and wages, employee benefits, or other necessary expense increases will be taken until after the 2006-07 state appropriation has been reviewed and approved by the Board of Trustees in July. Upon receipt and analysis of the final appropriation figures, the University can develop a specific budget for the 2006-07 fiscal year that addresses these and other financial considerations.
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Last Updated March 19, 2009