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July 21, 2005


Comparing apples & oranges

To the editor:

In the July 7, 2005, University Times, the comparison of FY03 to FY04 National Institutes of Health awards rankings (“Pitt is 7th in terms of NIH Funds”) was incorrect. In FY03, the University of Pittsburgh ranked 8th for the University and its affiliates (grants to medical school faculty located at Children’s Hospital and Magee-Womens Hospital); in FY04, we ranked 7th, which is a gratifying increase over the previous year.

The published comparison used FY03 University data without affiliates to compare with FY04 University plus affiliates data. The six educational institutes (with affiliates) that are ahead of us are Harvard, Johns Hopkins, the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Washington, the University of California at San Francisco and the University of California at Los Angeles. Pitt is ranked ahead of Washington University, the University of Michigan, Duke, Yale, the University of California at San Diego, Columbia and Stanford.

Arthur S. Levine

Senior Vice Chancellor for the Health Sciences


Dean, School of Medicine


Where was faculty input?

To the editor:

It was heartening to read the Post-Gazette’s June 14, 2005, op-ed article “In Rebuttal” by Pitt’s chancellor and provost wherein they identify Semester at Sea (SAS) as “a program of demonstrated worth.” Needless to say, they highlighted safety much as the faculty and staff have done on each and every voyage over the past 25 years. It is worth pointing out that many athletic activities at the college level have resulted in the untimely death of many college students as reported in the journal The Physician and Sports Medicine 27 (8) August 1999.

Unfortunately, Pitt’s unilateral action in severing relations with the SAS program denies the faculty any voice in preserving this worthwhile program. The SAS program was notified on May 2 that its academic affiliation with Pitt was to be discontinued. Even though the officers of the University Senate meet monthly with Pitt’s administrators, there was no apparent action taken by either the faculty or administration until the Post-Gazette surprised the faculty and reported it on June 7.

Since Pitt’s two top academic administrators have now presented their views on the issue, it might be helpful to call for a faculty referendum on the matter as an example of shared governance (which the administration claims it utilizes) although I’m afraid it might even be too late for that.

As a past president of the University Senate and formerly chief academic marshall for the University, a Pitt faculty member for 30 years and department chairperson for nine years, academic dean of the SAS fall sailing in 1999, a faculty member on SAS’s summer 2001 voyage and as a longtime advocate of shared governance, I find it astonishing that a decision of such magnitude, involving as it does the unique reputation of our University in international education which requires faculty support, should be made summarily without faculty input. The lack of communication between administration and faculty would seem to be yet another example of a failure in shared governance. SAS has proved to be one of the most remarkably unique academic programs in the world and has been associated with the University of Pittsburgh for the past 25 years. It is, apparently, to be eliminated with no input from the faculty. That this magnificent educational program could be wiped out without faculty input is astonishing.

Needless to say, I am extremely disappointed with the University’s way of dispatching a successful academic program with its unique properties and international reputation. This exceptional educational program has impacted many faculty members and thousands of students nationwide in such a positive way that it has redounded positively on the reputation of the University of Pittsburgh.

Gordon K. MacLeod

Emeritus Professor

Department of Health Policy and Management

Graduate School of Public Health


Clinical Professor of Medicine

School of Medicine

Robert Hill, vice chancellor for Public Affairs, responds:

At the request of the Senate Council, Provost James Maher gave at the June Senate Council meeting a detailed account of the role of the faculty in the events leading up to the decision to terminate Pitt’s involvement as academic sponsor in the Semester at Sea program. The provost’s report was well received by those present and was covered extensively in the edition of the University Times of June 23, 2005.


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