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September 15, 2005


University Senate Matters / Irene H. Frieze

This is your Senate

Welcome to the 2005-2006 academic year! I am excited to begin my term as your Senate president this year. I want you to know that it is your Senate. It represents the interests of all faculty, students and administrative staff in matters relevant to University policy and actions.

Some issues we are continuing to address include training of faculty and staff to use the new PeopleSoft student database software, finding a replacement for the very important and well-loved Semester at Sea program, monitoring the changes in Schenley Plaza and working to keep the food trucks in the campus area. The Senate is working with the Institutional Review Board office to develop effective procedures for ensuring that research in the social and behavioral sciences meets all ethical requirements.

We also are exploring creative ways to use the space in the former University Club, looking at the changing composition of full- and part-time and non-tenure stream faculty, and examining an idea now on the national agenda, as well as in the Pennsylvania legislature, that faculty are too politically liberal and unfairly penalize conservative students.

Senate committees are a very important part of Senate activities. Check our web site ( for a list of these committees and their chairs. If your interests coincide with the work of one particular Senate committee, contact its chair and volunteer to become an ad hoc member.

The work of the University Senate revolves around these committees. For example, our tenure and academic freedom committee is reviewing statistics on the changing composition of the faculty. Along with increased numbers of part-time faculty, we also have more non-tenure faculty. Overall numbers of faculty in the School of Medicine have been rising much faster than in other units. All of these changes have many implications for how all of these groups are considered in terms of benefits and membership in Faculty Assembly and Senate Council. We plan to have this on the agenda of Faculty Assembly in November for more discussion. Our commonwealth relations committee continues to invite members of the Pennsylvania legislature to come and talk to us about mutual issues of concern.

We encourage all members of the University community to attend Senate Council meetings. The next meeting is Monday, Oct. 17, at 3 p.m. in 2700 Posvar Hall.

If there are any other issues or concerns you think the Senate should address, please contact me (Irene H. Frieze, Department of Psychology, 3329 Sennott Square) at or 412/624-4336.

Our vice president, Michael R. Pinsky, will be in charge of Senate Matters columns this year. If you have an idea for a column, please contact him at or 412/647-5387.

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