Faculty Assembly looks ahead to upcoming issues


A short Faculty Assembly meeting on Nov. 27 served as a preview of what’s to come next semester.

Senate Council President Chris Bonneau said some of the issues likely to come up in the next few months include: tobacco-free campus, intellectual property, the policy on policies, potential government regulations’ impact on research collaborations overseas and the University budget.

Pitt has requested a five percent increase in its appropriation from the state, Bonneau said. He reported that the University Planning and Budget Committee had its first meeting on Nov. 26, and the Board of Trustees Budget Committee will meet next week.

Bonneau also gave details of a meeting he and other Senate leadership had with people at Pitt–Greensburg. One recommendation that came out of that meeting involved improving communication across campuses.

“Apparently Penn State has a conference on their main campus for all faculty across the commonwealth campuses, as well as those on the main campus,” he said. “This helps lead faculty across the state and provides a forum to share in pedagogical techniques, research collaborations, etc. This seems like something we should explore. It seems to be we would all benefit from interacting with our disciplinary colleagues across the system.”

Other comments that came up during the meeting included:

  • Questions about the University’s response to new Title IX guidelines issued by federal Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. Bonneau said Senate leadership would be discussing this with the administration next week, but he believes, “the current policy of Pitt in the eyes of the administration is the right policy and is very unlikely to change.” He also said they would be looking into more oversight of the Title IX office.
  • Continuing calls for clarification of Pitt’s policy for sabbaticals and paid leave for non-tenure-stream faculty. This is an issue that the Senate’s Faculty Affairs Committee will be taking up shortly, along with other recommendations from a report on NTS faculty that have not already been acting upon.

Faculty Assembly also heard a report on the new Policy Office from Tom Hitter, assistant vice chancellor for Policy Development and Management. Read more about Hitter and his office here.

Susan Jones is editor of the University Times. Reach her at suejones@pitt.edu or 412-648-4294.