University Faculty Senate, Minutes May 7, 2008
The meeting was called to order at 1:50 PM by Senate President Aiken.
Our guest today, Daniel Polett, Chairman of Temple University's Board of Trustees gave a presentation about his vision for Temple. This was followed by a question and answer session.
Question: Why has Temple been unable to negotiate a contract with AFSCME who have been without a contract since last October? Why is Temple insisting on increased health costs and no across the board wage increase?
Answer: This is largely an administrative issue. (He had previously explained that trustees do governance but do not involve themselves directly in administration.) He added that Temple wants all employees to be fairly compensated, but who is to determine what is fair?
Question: How Temple's relationship with our community is evolving.
Answer: There is room for improvement. There has already been substantial improvement over the past year and it should improve still more.
Question: What is your estimate of the financial health of the Medical School and Hospital?
Answer: At the moment it is in reasonably good shape but that could change. We have plans to try to increase the number of patients whose insurance meets costs. At the moment 50% of our patients are paid for by Medicaid and 20% provide no payment at all. In spite of this, we are ok for now. Five years from now he believes we will be in better shape but can make no promises.
Provost Lisa Listens:
The provost thanked us for a good year.
She made some remarks about the importance of the strategic planning process that we undertook this year.
She wants to be sure that the arts are valued as much as the sciences and humanities.
She has plans to “de-bureaucratize” her office. Study abroad has been expanded for those with financial needs.
She has addressed the issue of NTT faculty who feel disrespected by their current titles, and has created a set of proposed changes, which should serve as a starting point for further discussion. They are not rules, but guidelines.
There was some discussion about how rank would be determined under the new system of titles. The Provost indicated that there would not be a rigid one-to-one mapping from previous title/rank into the new title/rank. Rather it could be decided on a case-by-case basis through recommendations from departments and deans.
There was also discussion about multi-year appointments. It was pointed out that while the Provost's office had made it clear that these should be made “where appropriate” there seems to be some disconnect between what the Provost has told the deans and what the deans are in fact doing.
The point was made that in guidelines such as these, it is important that such words as “extraordinary” be well defined so that they cannot simply be ignored.
The minutes from the previous meeting were approved as distributed.
Terry Halbert gave an update on the state of GenEd. We are ready for the fall rollout. 31 new courses have been approved this year. Work is being done on the budget. There are still policies and rules and regulations to finalize and advisors to be trained. She invited us to visit the new website at http://www.temple.edu/provost/gened/
Frank Friedman thanked the outgoing editor of the Faculty Herald, Lewis Gordon and his assistant Joan Jasak. Professor Gordon then introduced the incoming editor David Waldstreicher.
Report from the President of the Faculty Senate (Aiken):
President Aiken summarized his year as president. He feels that he has achieved his goal of strengthening the ties between faculty and
administration. He thanked all who had helped him.
Report from the Vice-president of the Faculty Senate (Turner):
Vice-president Turner presented outgoing President Aiken with a gavel as a symbol of our appreciation.
The meeting was adjourned at 3:10 PM
Paul S. LaFollette, Jr.