Faculty Senate Minutes (02/28/2019)

Call to Order

In attendance: Renee Rosier, Tim Sichler, Dudley Snyder, Marshall Davis, Dimitrios Bolkas, Jeff Chiampi, Steven Putzel, Getinet Gawo, Wei-Fan Chen, Ann Brennan, Erin Brennan, Megan Mac Gregor, Frouke de Quillettes, Christyne Berzsenyi, Frank Derby, Caroline Chronowski, Sal Marsico

Via Zoom: Violet Mager, Terry Clemente, Esra Tekdal Yilmaz


Minutes from February 7, 2019 approved. First motion made. Second motion made by Christyne Berzsenyi. All in favor.


Renee Rosier announced that no nominations for elections had been received.

Renee Rosier and Megan Mac Gregor stated that the lecture series needs more representation from the arts, 30-minute talks.
Item to vote upon: change in function of library committee. Article 4 Section 3 of the Penn State Wilkes-Barre Senate constitution.

Discussion of changing the name of Celebration of Scholarship.
Marshall Davis made a motion to adopt as presented, Tim Sichler seconds. 11 in favor, 0 against, 1 abstention. Motion passes.

Communications of campus administrators

Chancellor/CAO—Dr. Jones: Remarked that faculty activity reports went very well. Thank the faculty for their time. The chancellor wants the faculty to sign up to advocate for Penn State via the email that went out. March 20, 2019 Penn State capital day takes place. Through a show of force, we show the legislators what Penn State does for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The estimated economic impact in our area alone of Northeast Pennsylvania is $23 million. Everyone is welcome to attend capital day. Also, the chancellor invited everyone to attend the spotlight speaker series, INVENT Penn State, at the Think Center in Wilkes-Barre.  These are young professionals in our community who are trying to make a difference, some of them are our graduates.


University Faculty Senators – Report attached.

University College Faculty Council – No report.

Committee Reports

Student Affairs Committee: The tutoring program was awarded. The tutors are undergoing their background checks and the Monday after break Lorna and Frouke are going to sit down with them to get things started.  Four times a week there will be one-hour sessions were students can drop in and receive help with writing or programming.

Scholarly Activities Committee: Report attached regarding lecture series.

Library Committee: Report attached.

Academic Affairs Committee: Will revisit during open discussion.

Faculty Affairs Committee: Discussion of potential changes to the duties of the committee and adding functions. Also, the committee is working on the details about how to elect representatives for the non-tenure line promotion. The committee is still figuring out what will work best due to the new ranking system. A volunteer is needed for representation of the non-tenure faculty for the Faculty Affairs committee.

New Business

Chancellor—Dr. Jones: Discussed that all faculty and key staff positions are critical to our campus, he invites and welcomes continued dialog. Noted that both faculty and himself have the same concerns, we want the best people and when they arrive here we need to motivate the applicants to be a part of our community i.e., attending their presentations, ensuring their office space is welcoming and conducive to work. We also want to offer the most attractive hiring packages, but with restraints. Also, we need to mentor them as well. Dr. Jones looks forward to suggestions from the faculty after their discussion.

Open discussion led by Wei-Fan Chen regarding goals for hiring for the next 3 years.

Old Business


Comments for the good of the order



Meeting adjourned at 1:35 PM.

University Faculty Senate Report

Date:                      February 28, 2019

From:                     University Faculty Senators Willie Ofosu and Wei-Fan Chen

To:                          W-B Campus Faculty Senate

Re:                          University Faculty Senate Meeting of January 29, 2019

President’s Comments

President Eric Barron shared “profound positive results” coming out of Penn State’s Greek-life reform efforts. Since implementing new rules and policies to curb dangerous behaviors among Greek-life organizations, the Highlands neighborhood in State College (which has a high concentration of fraternity houses) has seen a 47 percent decrease in alcohol-related crimes, while the Mount Nittany Medical Center emergency room has seen 17 percent fewer visits for alcohol poisoning. Barron also spoke about the creation of the new Timothy J. Piazza Center for Fraternity and Sorority Research and Reform. 

Barron also spoke to the senate about the recent off-campus shootings in State College borough on the night of Jan. 24 and the University’s decision-making process during the incident, which had prompted anger from some members of the University community who felt Penn State should have issued a text alert or some other form of communication while the incident was taking place. Barron explained that he and other top University leaders take this incident and comments from the public seriously, and that they have been reviewing the incident and the University’s response to determine if it should have been handled differently.

Provost’s Comments

Provost Nick Jones shared an overview of the University’s temporary budget. Here are highlights of his presentation:

Penn State’s temporary budget is one part of what’s known as the “education and general funds budget,” a significant portion of the University’s overall budget. When revenues exceed projected estimates, these additional funds form the majority of the University’s temporary budget, alongside other non-recurring sources of revenue. These temporary funds are used for one-time or short-term investments, such as capital improvements or faculty recruitment for fixed-term appointments less than four years.

The University’s operating surplus for the 2017-18 fiscal year are higher than originally anticipated, Jones said. In July 2018, when this information was presented to the Board of Trustees, the University’s year-end figure was expected to be approximately $42 million. Actual results are $90 million. Jones said that the University expects to take $17 million from that amount to fund one-time costs included in the temporary budget.

Costs accounted for in the temporary budget include: academic program funds to support educational priorities, matching grant funding, and other program-related needs; capital funds for new facilities, fuel and utilities, and major maintenance endeavors; “central contingency” funds for unexpected costs to support operational needs; “central encumbrance” funds set aside for specific purposes, such as investments in University-wide enterprise system; the “President’s and Provost’s Strategic and Reserves” funds to support initiatives related to the University’s strategic plan; and “unit encumbrance” and “unit contingency” funds to support short-term funding needs and unexpected costs at the individual unit level.

Jones noted that the funding amounts for each of these categories vary from year to year. Since the 2013-14 fiscal year, the University has seen a decrease in “capital funds” allocations, while allocating more to support work to implement updated enterprise systems, such as the WorkLion human resources portal.

Other Business

The senate also:

  • Debated a proposed change to Faculty Senate by-laws that would allow the senate chair to run for re-election for a second term;
  • Voted to accept a legislative report that proposes sweeping improvements to senate policies on academic advising, which have the support of the University Park Undergraduate Association;
  • Sponsored an annual report on benefits changes from Greg Stoner, director of compensation and benefits, and shared concerns about Aetna as an insurance administrator;
  • Sponsored an update on intercollegiate athletics from Penn State Athletic Director Sandy Barbour, who shared information on student-athletes’ academic success and community service; and
  • Sponsored a presentation on sustainability at Penn State from Chief Sustainability Officer Paul Shrivastava, who urged each senator to take a personal role in bringing sustainability efforts to their individual campuses, colleges, and units.

Listen to the complete recording of the meeting

Report prepared by Wei-Fan Chen and Willie Ofosu, University Faculty Senators