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E-privacy policy takes effect

(09/18/00 9:00am)

The University implemented a new electronic privacy policy on Friday for a one-year trial period, marking the conclusion of a time-consuming effort to put a policy place. The policy went into effect after a comment period that ended Friday, during which there were no comments or criticisms submitted. The final version -- which was approved by University Council at its April meeting -- includes changes made after the Undergraduate Assembly voiced several concerns about student rights in the earlier draft. The new policy outlines the circumstances in which the University can check student, faculty or staff e-mail or computer files, and requires that the University notify anyone whose files are read. These new rules have been formally followed for some time, so the policy will probably not affect University procedures, according to former University Council Committee on Communications Chair Martin Pring. Vice Provost for Information Systems and Computing Jim O'Donnell said in an e-mail that the policy provides good privacy protection for all involved. "This only covers one dimension of areas of electronic privacy, but it's a vital one for Penn faculty and students and staff and has been built to work well and protect peoples' rights," he said. "The long consultative process worked out very well for us all." According to Pring, the new policy affords the faculty and staff more protection than existed before. "The employer -- absent the policy -- has almost unlimited rights," the Physiology professor explained. The policy includes four situations in which the University reserves the right to check e-mail or other electronic information, such as computer files or voicemail. E-mail can be checked if it is required by law or will yield information for an investigation into a possible violation of law or serious infraction of University policy. The other two clauses allow monitoring if it is necessary to maintain the computing system or is needed in an emergency situation. A fifth clause notes that staff e-mail can be searched for information necessary to the functioning of the University. The policy also mandates that individuals whose e-mail or computer accounts are investigated must be notified as soon as practicable. But while Pring said the policy will provide faculty and staff with increased protection, he noted that it wasn't as clear cut where students are concerned. "The situation with respect to students is somewhat less clear [than] the relationship between staff and the University," Pring said. "They certainly aren't employees." Pring said this meant the committee had to balance the student's position as a client of Penn with the University's role as a parental figure. However, in the end, Pring doesn't think the policy will have a significant day-to-day impact. "It's not going to have that big of a practical impact," he explained, adding that the policy simply provides a "proscribed set of steps" similar to what would have been done before. The Undergraduate Assembly was involved in the drafting of the policy, demanding an earlier version of the policy be amended to better protect the rights of students. But the UA released a statement in support of the policy with its implementation last week. "We now believe that the policy addresses the concerns of the undergraduate population," the statement read. "At the same time, we believe that due to the constantly shifting technological environment of Penn, the University community must vigilantly monitor this issue to ensure that the electronic privacy of Penn's faculty, students and staff is preserved," the statement continued.

UPHS reports $30 mil. deficit

(09/18/00 9:00am)

After reporting spiraling losses over the past three years, the University of Pennsylvania Health System cut its annual operating deficit to $30 million, down from $198 million last year but still twice what administrators had earlier signaled they were expecting. Interim UPHS Chief Executive Officer Robert Martin said he is projecting a profit of $10 million next year, which would be the first time the system turns a profit since Fiscal Year 1997. Martin, who took on his interim post in July, said the system's turnaround can largely be attributed to cost-cutting measures. "We had a focused commitment throughout the institution, among all of the leadership, to improve our financial performance and we reached our expectation because we were resolved to do so," Martin said. "We were committed that we were going to be successful." To improve the financial performance of UPHS, approximately 2,800 positions -- about 20 percent of the workforce -- within the four-hospital system were eliminated in two rounds of layoffs last year. Martin said that no doctors and few nurses were laid off as most reductions occurred in the administrative staff. Those cuts were followed by the firing of longtime Health System CEO William Kelley. He was replaced by Peter Traber, who resigned after just five months on the job to take a high-paying research position with a top pharmaceutical company. The $198 million deficit in FY99 was preceded by a $90 million deficit in FY98. These massive losses came after years of the Health System being a virtual cash cow, with much of its profits funneled directly to the School of Medicine. Penn officials have repeatedly denied that the Health System's financial mess would impact the rest of the University. But major investment firms lowered the University's bond rating last year, and large capital projects -- including the $378 million dorm-dining renovation plan -- have seen delays. While the Health System was able to report better financial results this year, the staff cuts have come with their own costs. "We've had some delays, and we've not been able to accommodate the patients as quickly as we would like, but we'll work through that," Martin said. UPHS also saved money by delaying several long-term projects, like refurbishing the intensive care unit at Pennsylvania Hospital and renovating the emergency room at Presbyterian Hospital. And the Health System tried to cut overhead and supply costs by outsourcing food provision and increasing clinical efficiency at the patient bedside, among other things. Also, the purchasing, accounting and central building administrative departments were all merged to help save money. "What we've had to do is find other ways to do the work," Martin said. Fortunately, Martin added, there have been few problems with staff members and faculty leaving, and he said he was pleased with the response of Health System employees. "Have they had to work hard? Yes. Have they done it willingly? Yes," Martin noted. "I couldn't be happier about the response we've gotten from the faculty." However, despite next year's projected profit, the system will continue to face financial challenges. The difficulties of UPHS have been partially attributed to the Balanced Budget Act of 1997. The heralded budget-cutting law has led to federal budget surpluses but at the same time dramatically decreased Medicare payments to academic hospitals. Penn seemed to be the most hard-hit of any academic institution in the country. And each year, Martin said, the Health System loses about $65 million in treating patients without health insurance -- which is essentially work for no payment. Martin said the system was seeing less in reimbursements for research and teaching than in past years. "We are getting paid less now then we used to for a lot of the things we do," he explained.

On-campus parties drop by almost 25%

(09/14/00 9:00am)

A year after the University implemented a new alcohol policy, a progress report prepared by Penn's alcohol policy coordinator is placing a key aspect of it under question while claiming that for the most part, the policy has been a success. Most notably, the report notes the complete failure of the "bring your own beer" component of the policy, and a drop in registered on-campus parties. Provost Robert Barchi said the BYOB policy simply "proved to be impossible to implement." "Of the 45 recommendations we made, this is the only one we're modifying right now," Barchi said. "We don't think that any of the success [of the new policy] is attributable to the BYOB policy," he said. As for the drop in on-campus parties -- from 150 in 1998-99 to 114 in 1999-2000 -- Barchi was quick to point out that the number of registered off-campus parties increased in the past year. These are parties held in a bar or a club, rather than a campus location. This drop is likely due to a stricter registration system and tougher monitoring at parties -- with the new rules, groups are more aware of the consequences, should something go wrong. InterFraternity Council Executive Vice President John Buchanan, a Phi Kappa Psi brother and College senior, added that hosting on-campus parties is now "a pretty significant responsibility" and fewer groups are "willing to take that chance." The 1999-2000 Alcohol Progress Report is a one-year retrospective following the 45 recommendations made by the Working Group on Alcohol Abuse that were adopted by the University last fall. The new policy was prompted by the death of 26-year-old alumnus Michael Tobin, who fell down a flight of stairs to his death after a night of drinking at the Phi Gamma Delta house. The report, authored by Alcohol Policy Coordinator Stephanie Ives --ÿwho was hired as a result of a recommendation by the WGAA -- evaluates how well the new policy met the five goals set up by the Working Group. Ives presented the report at yesterday's University Council meeting. Also presented were several proposed changes to the policy -- including the deletion of the BYOB clause. "I don't think it's going to have any impact whatsoever," Barchi said of the proposal to get rid of BYOB. Besides the problems with the BYOB policy, the report notes that many groups have moved their events off campus. In the 1998-99 academic year, 50 events were registered off campus. But last year there were 93 off-campus events. That number, though, does not include any nonregistered off-campus parties, which include nearly all parties held in the homes of students living off campus. Buchanan said many groups are realizing it's easier to have events at a third-party location. "This shows that student groups are understanding the consequences of having their parties on campus as opposed to having them at third-party vendors," he explained. "It's a lot easier to control something that's at somebody else's venue." The move off campus does not concern Barchi. "Frankly, I think the safest location for alcohol-serving parties is off-campus registered locations," Barchi said. Still, it seems likely that the drop in official registered parties means an increase in unsupervised off-campus parties, where safety cannot be ensured. But Ives said that her office has been "informally" tracking the numerous alcohol-serving events held off campus that fail to register. And Ives encouraged people to hold their events on campus. "Student groups are becoming more aware of potential problems," she said. And the report revealed that there has been difficulty sanctioning organizations that fail to register events. All groups -- Greek and non-Greek -- holding events serving alcohol are required to register their parties with Ives. Ives said that, currently, the policy itself includes no disciplinary actions that can be taken against groups that do not register events. However, she added that other offices can reprimand these groups. The report calls for exploring the possibility of adding sanctions to the policy.

U. proposes changes to alcohol policy

(09/13/00 9:00am)

Citing the ineffectiveness of the "bring your own beer" policy, the administration is set today to propose removing the BYOB component from the University's year-old alcohol policy. When Penn implemented its new alcohol policy -- with sweeping educational, disciplinary and social changes to the campus culture -- last fall, officials said that BYOB was one method they would use to curb underage drinking. But a year later, officials have decided that the rule just doesn't work. BYOB rules state that every 21-year-old attending a registered on-campus party --ÿwhich include fraternity parties and most other events organized by official campus groups -- could bring a six-pack of beer with them and then retrieve the alcohol from the bartender during the course of the evening. "It wasn't that the whole policy was a failure, it was that the expectation that people would be arriving at the door with their own six-pack in hand was not met," University Alcohol Coordinator Stephanie Ives said. The proposed changes, printed in yesterday's Almanac, Penn's journal of record, will be presented today to University Council, along with a comprehensive evaluation of the policy's first year. In addition to the removal of BYOB, there are five proposed revisions to the policy. These include banning large alcohol containers such as kegs, prohibiting drinking games and prohibiting student organizations from using funds to purchase alcohol. The administration is also proposing that no student, even those that are 21, may be served alcohol at a registered party if they are already clearly intoxicated. Also, alcohol must be served from a separate area of the party by of-age bartenders. Undergraduate Assembly Chairman Michael Bassik, a member of the original provost-led committee that wrote the new alcohol policy in the spring of 1999, said the BYOB component of the alcohol policy was not necessary. "It's no secret that the University's BYOB policy was unenforceable, and we felt rather than to continue recommending this unenforceable policy, we just decided to eliminate it entirely," said Bassik, a College senior. "It hurts the credibility of the policy," he added. And Andrew Mandelbaum, president of the InterFraternity Council, said the proposed changes are basically already in effect. "I think that all these changes are continuing to focus on our trend of campus safety," said Mandelbaum, an Alpha Chi Ro brother. The College senior added that these "seem to be things that we all already do." Last fall, the University adopted the campus-wide alcohol policy that included stricter monitoring, a ban on hard alcohol and an emphasis on education and counseling -- as well as the BYOB component. The school policy came under review following the March 1999 death of 26-year-old alumnus Michael Tobin, a brother at Phi Gamma Delta, after a night of drinking at a fraternity reunion party. Within days of Tobin's death, University President Judith Rodin instituted a full ban on alcohol at undergraduate parties, and asked Provost Robert Barchi to convene a committee to re-examine Penn's alcohol policy. The administration is inviting comment on the proposed changes, and will make a final decision in mid-October. The one-year progress report to be presented today to University Council evaluates the policy's effectiveness at fulfilling its stated goals: increasing education, expanding social options and increasing individual and group responsibility. "At the commencement of the Working Group, the provost had made a promise to the University that there would be a follow-up to the recommendation," Ives explained. "That's basically what this report is."

U. Council, with varied agenda, to hold first meeting

(09/13/00 9:00am)

The University Council will receive a one-year evaluative report on Penn's alcohol policy at its first meeting of the year this afternoon. The 92-member advisory group will also listen to an update on the Campus Development Plan. Today's meeting will be held in the newly renovated Bodek Lounge in Houston Hall from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. As always, it is open to the public. University Alcohol Policy Coordinator Stephanie Ives will present an evaluation of the alcohol policy after its implementation last fall. Specifically, she will discuss how the policy has lived up to the five goals outlined in April 1999 by the Working Group on Alcohol Abuse. The Committee on Recreation and Intercollegiate Athletics will present its annual report to the assembly of faculty, students and staff. The report includes research on how to improve recreational facilities at Penn, an assessment of the University's advising system for athletes and a review of the state of student-athlete admissions. University President Judith Rodin and Provost Robert Barchi will present status reports, as will Larry Gross, chair of the Council's Steering Committee. Several of Penn's student government associations -- including the Graduate And Professional Student Assembly and the Undergraduate Assembly -- will also provide Council with an update. At today's meeting, the body will select and rank those academic issues they wish to focus on in the upcoming year. In last April's concluding meeting for the academic year, the group suggested a focus on both minority recruitment and retention and the progress of a study of gender equity at Penn.

Rodin's salary continues to climb - now tops 600K

(09/12/00 9:00am)

If running the sixth-ranked university in the nation doesn't get Judith Rodin jumping out of bed each day, maybe her mid-six figure salary will do the trick. University President Judith Rodin earned $603,165 in base pay in the 1998-99 school year -- up from $548,374 the year before -- according to University tax forms. Her combined salary and compensation package of $655,557 in 1998-99 marks an almost 20 percent increase from the year before. And over the past five years, Rodin's total compensation package has increased by a healthy 74.4 percent. Only former Health System Chief Executive Officer and Medical School Dean William Kelley pulled in more than Rodin did, receiving upward of $1.3 million in Fiscal Year 1999. Kelley was fired eight months ago. In addition to her base salary, Rodin also received $52,392 in benefits and a $12,000 expense account. "I am honored by the confidence the Trustees have in me, and grateful for the generous compensation I receive," Rodin said in an e-mail statement. Right behind Rodin, Provost Robert Barchi brought in a combined compensation package of $473,675 for the year. "I am committed to focusing my full efforts on the goals that the President and the Board have set for me," Barchi said in an e-mail. "I believe I have their confidence. It is my responsibility to continue to earn their confidence in my performance each year." Executive Vice President John Fry received $330,000 in base pay during this same year, and just over $17,000 in benefits. Rodin's salary remains one of the highest, both in the Delaware Valley region and the nation as a whole. Last year, her salary was top in the nation, while her combined salary and benefits package placed her fifth. "She is among the highest paid in the country, and I think should be," Chairman of the University Trustees James Riepe said. The University president's salary is determined each year by the compensation committee of the University Trustees. Riepe, who oversees the compensation committee, said the group takes into account a variety of factors and uses the advice of an outside consultant. The salaries of presidents of universities across the nation also comes into play, he said. "Market info helps guide us knowing what to do," he said. But overall, Riepe said, the president's performance is key in determining her pay. "The bottom line is that we think she's one of the outstanding university presidents in the industry, and should be compensated accordingly," he said. Riepe added that Rodin's job necessitates high pay because she oversees both a large academic institution and a health system. And Rodin also pointed out that her high income reflects many hours of work. "I have a wonderful job, but it is a very demanding one," she said in the e-mail. "For much of the year, I work seven days a week, and I am always on call for the University." Vice President of Development Virginia Clark and Vice President and General Counsel Peter Erichsen also broke the $200,000 mark for the year, as did Associate Provost Barbara Lowery and former Vice President of Finance Kathy Engebretson.

Panel appointed to find UPHS head

(09/12/00 9:00am)

History has a tendency to repeat itself -- and this time, it's in the form of a search for a Health System chief executive officer and Medical School dean. Yesterday, the University charged a search committee to find a replacement for Peter Traber, who stepped down from the post in July just months after his appointment. Psychiatry Department Chairman Dwight Evans will head the 16-member committee, which includes several top Penn administrators. "We plan for an active, aggressive and successful search," Evans said in a statement. "The UPHS and School of Medicine is deserving of, and we are committed to identifying, the best individual in the country for this position." Penn administrators have repeatedly said that they are committed to finding one person to run both the Health System and the Medical School. According to University spokeswoman Phyllis Holtzman, the committee has not yet met and no timeline has been set for the search. Though executive searches typically take three to six months, many recent Penn academic searches have endured for over a year -- and all resulted in the appointment of an internal candidate. "The University wants to find someone for the position as soon as possible, but it's really important to do this well," Holtzman said. Traber's tenure as head of the financially-strapped Penn Health System was short-lived. He was appointed interim CEO and Medical School dean in February, after University President Judith Rodin fired longtime CEO William Kelley. Rodin named him permanent CEO just weeks later, but kept the interim dean title because of internal University regulations requiring a consultative search process for academic appointments. Then in July, he suddenly stepped down to accept a high-paying research job at a pharmaceutical company. Executive Vice President John Fry, Engineering School Dean Eduardo Glandt and former Wharton dean Thomas Gerrity will join Evans on the search committee. "It's really a function of the position, being a combined position," Holtzman said of the high-ranking individuals tapped to serve on the committee. "It's really necessary to bring together some really prestigious faculty, along with some University officers, and conduct a search from both of those sides," she added. Robert Martin, who served both Kelley and Traber as chief operating officer, is running the Health System on an interim basis. Arthur Asbury, Traber's deputy Medical School dean, holds the academic post for now. Neither Evans nor Glandt could say if there was a list of potential candidates at this time. "Not surprisingly, we will be looking for somebody of great vision who has both the respect of the Medical faculty and the respect of the campus," Glandt said. "When you see the person, you know it's the person," he said. "Once you have it, you know it's right. Respect of the faculty is the ultimate metric." In the past, Penn has worked with an executive search firm to help find someone for top posts, and will likely do so again. "The expectation is that we probably will, but a decision hasn't been made yet," Holtzman said. Though Traber was appointed as permanent CEO weeks after the formation of a search committee, it was 15 months before Wharton Dean Patrick Harker or Law School Dean Michael Fitts were named. And Provost Robert Barchi took the helm after an exhaustive 13-month search. All three were internal candidates.

Rodin selects new Secretary

(09/12/00 9:00am)

University President Judith Rodin named Leslie Kruhly as the new University secretary yesterday, effective September 18. Kruhly -- who will replace Rose McManus, who left Penn on July 31 -- is the current associate director of development and special events at the Museum of Archeology and Anthropology. "I'm thrilled and honored," Kruhly said last night. "I look forward to working with Dr. Rodin and [Penn Trustees' Chairman] Jim Riepe and the provost on the issues that are coming up." Kruhly said Rodin called her last Wednesday to offer her the position. "Leslie brings a wealth of valuable experience and expertise to this important position," Rodin said in a press statement. "She is a superb administrator with a broad knowledge of higher education and its challenges." McManus left Penn this summer to devote more time to her family after serving in her capacity since 1996. As secretary, Kruhly will be responsible for working with University Council and the University Trustees. "In her role at the University Museum, Leslie Kruhly has demonstrated the exceptional qualities needed in a new secretary," Riepe said in a press release. "Her keen understanding of higher education and its complexities, along with her skills as an administrator, make her an excellent choice for this position." Kruhly will also be responsible for organizing the University's annual Commencement ceremony. She said that she saw her job as important in facilitating the work done by the president's office, the Trustees and the faculty. "I think the office of the secretary is there to make sure that the president's office and the Trustees and the faculty all achieve what their agendas are," she explained. "That's my goal -- to make the office as efficient as possible." Since 1997, Kruhly has overseen the University Museum's development and fundraising activities. She was behind the $17 million fundraising campaign for the Mainwaring Wing, a 35,000-square-foot addition that will provide climate-sensitive storage and badly needed extra space. Kruhly said she will continue to work part-time at the University Museum while she starts in the secretary's office. "The museum is involved in a lot of different activities, including major new announcements, so I'll be transitioning out of the museum for the next month," she said. "I'm sorry to leave the museum, but I'm really eager to start in the office of the secretary."

Government grant recognizes U.'s work on new alcohol policy

(08/31/00 9:00am)

The U.S. Department of Education has rewarded the University's recent overhaul of its alcohol policy with the award of a one-year, $100,000 grant to devote to further developing Penn's alcohol policy, officials announced this summer. Penn was one of six schools nationwide identified as a model program in the grant competition. "This grant is the Department of Education saying, "You guys have done good work, and we reward you,'" University Alcohol Policy Coordinator Stephanie Ives said. As a result of the award, the Department of Education will promote Penn as "someone other schools should call for advice," Ives said. The $100,236 grant will help Penn bring in an official to evaluate the alcohol policy in its current state by talking with faculty, staff and students about how drinking habits and perceptions about alcohol have changed since the implementation of the policy. And with this funding Penn will also inform other schools about their policy, Ives said, through conferences and other educational initiatives. University Police Chief Maureen Rush said the grant demonstrates that Penn's inclusive, cooperative approach toward the development of the policy was the correct path to take. "I think we're on the right track with the cooperation across all levels" including the police, alcohol education staff, the administration and students, Rush said. "It just goes to show that the efforts of Penn have been recognized." The University revamped the alcohol policy after a provost-led Working Group on Alcohol Abuse spent five weeks in discussions to develop the plan, which was implemented last fall. The overhaul came in the wake of the spring 1999 death of 26-year-old alumnus Michael Tobin, who fell down a flight of stairs to his death after a night of drinking with his Phi Gamma Delta fraternity brothers. "In many ways, [the award] lends credence to the fact that Penn has really worked hard to change the culture of drinking at school," Ives said. "Penn really came together. This is recognition for many years of work at Penn," Ives added. The current policy emphasizes counseling and alcohol-related education, as well as offering many social alternatives to drinking, to help change the environment in which students drink

HUP ranks high in 'U.S. News' listings

(08/31/00 9:00am)

Changes in leadership and continued financial troubles did not stop the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania from maintaining its rank as the 10th best hospital nationwide in the U.S. News & World Report's annual ranking of medical institutions. For the second consecutive year, HUP was the only school from the Delaware Valley recognized in the report, which ranks the best of 6,247 medical institutions in the magazine's 11th annual edition of America's Best Hospitals. The three top-ranking schools -- Baltimore's Johns Hopkins Hospital, the Mayo Clinic of Rochester, Minn., and Boston's Massachusetts General Hospital -- held steady. Each hospital is ranked in 13 medical specialties on three equal parts -- reputation, mortality rate and a group of factors such as technology and nursing care. HUP's high ranking was a testament to the quality of care it continued to provide despite severe financial constraints, according to John Detre, a Neurology professor and clinical practitioner at the hospital. "It just highlights the discrepancy between the practice of academic medicine and the delivery of high-quality medical care and what society is willing to pay for it," Detre said. HUP was also recognized for its performance in all 13 medical specialities. The Neurology and Neurosurgery speciality was the highest-ranked department at Penn, coming in seventh nationwide. The department's ranking came as no surprise to HUP faculty. Neurology Department Chair Francisco Gonzalez-Scarano said that the ranking was not unexpected given the strength of the speciality at Penn. "This is a great department, always has been," he said. "We were No. 10 last year, so it's not a surprise." Detre added that a "great environment of colleagues" and "active research" also probably contributed to the high rating of the Neurology and Neurosurgery Department. The fields of cancer, digestive disorders, gynecology, hormonal disorders, respiratory disorders, urology and ear, nose and throat medicine at HUP also received high regards in the magazine.

Spinmeister, secretary and assistant leave Rodin

(08/31/00 9:00am)

A handful of top Penn officials stepped down this summer, leaving several holes in Penn's administration. University Secretary Rose McManus, Director of University Communications Ken Wildes and Executive Assistant to the President Jennifer Baldino all submitted their resignations this summer. McManus and Baldino have already vacated their offices, while Wildes will officially leave his position today. Wildes called his reasons for leaving "many and varied," noting that he was exploring professional options both in and out of higher education. He also noted that a relocation to the Midwest or West is possible. Wildes' position made him the official Penn spokesman, a post that includes coordinating media relations. Wildes came to Penn in 1998 after 14 years as a senior public relations officer at Northwestern University. Phyllis Holtzman, a senior manager in the Office of University Communications, will serve as the interim director until a permanent replacement for Wildes is found. McManus, who joined the Penn administration in 1996, said in July that she left the University to "focus attention full time on family." Her successor has not yet been appointed, and McManus said she would be available for part-time consulting until someone is found to "make sure there is a smooth transition." She officially left her position on July 31. "It's been very important to me to have the infrastructure in place," McManus said. Baldino also vacated her position in late July to devote time to freelance writing and teaching part time at nearby Temple University. Steve Schutt chief of staff to University President Judith Rodin, said a search for Baldino's successor was currently underway and that he hoped someone would be hired within the next few weeks. As secretary of the University, McManus was responsible for organizing Penn's annual Commencement and working with the University Council and the University Trustees. Rodin praised the service of both Wildes and McManus during their time at Penn. "I am grateful for Ken's service over the past four years," Rodin said in an e-mail statement. "Ken has done a great job both communicating the good news and managing the bad, and we are all in his debt." As for McManus, Rodin said she has been a "valuable member of the administration." "She has markedly increased the professionalism of the Office of the Secretary in her time here, and the staff in the office are well-positioned to continue to carry out the work of the office in support of the Trustees, Boards of Overseers, University Council, dean search and review and the ceremonial functions of the University," Rodin said. Wildes will also stay on temporarily as a consultant for the University

Nursing names interim dean

(08/31/00 9:00am)

Although Norma Lang officially steps down as dean of the Nursing School today, the school has already found someone to temporarily take charge. Nursing Professor Neville Strumpf will serve as interim dean while the school seeks a permanent replacement for Lang. Strumpf, a gerontology professor, is what Provost Robert Barchi calls a "triple threat" for her successes as a researcher, clinician and teacher. Lang -- who announced her resignation last May -- remained in the position until today, when she will step down to focus on teaching and research. During Lang's eight-year tenure, the Nursing School's endowment grew from $5 million to $25 million. The school consistently held a high ranking in U.S. News & World Report's college and graduate school ratings. The outgoing dean said in a press release that "leaving the school in such capable hands makes the decision to return to my own pursuits that much easier." Strumpf said her focus would be on smoothing the transition period while Penn looks for a permanent dean. "I think my goal is to provide the leadership that's needed during a transition period," she said. "I'm excited to take on that [responsibility]." Lois Evans, director of academic nursing practices, praised Strumpf both for her skills as a researcher and scholar and for her ability to lead the school. "She hears many sides of the position and identifies the main theme that can help pull us all together to come to a solution," Evans said. Strumpf joined the Nursing School faculty in 1982. In 1985, she became the director of the Gerontology Nurse Practitioner program. She won the University-wide Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching that same year. Under Strumpf's leadership, the gerontology program was ranked first nationally among similar programs by U.S. News in 1998 and 2001. Widely acclaimed for her research on the use of restraints among the elderly, Strumpf conducted a study with Evans that eventually led to a reduction in the use of restraints for frail older people in hospitals and nursing homes. She is currently directing a three-year project to implement a model of palliative care in nursing homes. Strumpf emphasized that teaching undergraduates is just as important as conducting research. "I think that's the other place you leave your mark," she explained. Daily Pennsylvanian staff writer Nikki Cyter contributed to this story

Special Services taps new chief

(08/31/00 9:00am)

The Division of Public Safety named acting Director of Special Services Patricia Brennan to the post permanently this summer, ending a year-long search. Brennan, who came to Penn in 1996 as a senior investigator after working in the Philadelphia Police Department's Homicide Unit for nine years, had served in the interim director position since last summer. Her predecessor, Susan Hawkins, stepped down last year after structural reorganization within the department. Many members of the Penn community -- particularly women -- had complained about the length of the search process, but police officials maintained they did not want to rush the search and cost themselves the best possible candidate. Vice President for Public Safety Thomas Seamon praised Brennan, who took on the interim post in addition to her regular duties as a detective supervisor. "Pat Brennan brings extensive experience dealing with sensitive crimes and victims issues to this most critical position," Seamon said in a press release over the summer. The permanent position means that Brennan will no longer serve as a detective -- allowing her to concentrate all her energy on Special Services. "I'll get to spend a lot more time on initiative projects and being proactive," Brennan said last month. "It's a nice change." Brennan said she wants to use her new position to coordinate programs with other Penn departments. As director, Brennan oversees assisting the victims of sensitive crimes, such as rape, domestic abuse and sexual assault. "Even though [victims] don't like what's going on, having them know and understand makes the crisis a little easier to deal with," Brennan explained. Her duties also include developing programs in crime prevention, safety education, community outreach and victim services. Brennan also said she wanted to develop outreach programs and encourage people to report these sensitive crimes to the police, adding that they were "vastly underreported." Special Services was formed in 1970 after many demanded protection and support in the wake of several attacks on women on campus

Web site facilitates speedy decisions

(08/31/00 9:00am)

Each summer, the mailboxes of incoming Penn freshmen are bombarded with mailings dealing with everything from dining plans to telephone services. But this year, thanks to a new program that packages together information on many campus services and allows students to make some decisions via the Internet, some mailmen had less to deliver. This summer marked the launch of Campus Express at Penn, a program with two main initiatives: A guide to the campus services offered at the University -- which was mailed to students -- and Campus Express Online, a Web site that complements the brochure. "What we really hope to achieve with Campus Express is promoting good customer service and one-stop shopping," said Amy Johnson, the director of external relations at the University Business Office. Johnson said the program is designed to "pull together all those bulky mailings into one package" and "take information and boil it down to the essentials," to make it easier for students to understand. She called the guide a Penn "bible" and an "owner's manual" to life at the University. The Campus Express mailing brings together information on housing, dining, telephone and mail services, transportation and parking, PennCards, the Penn Bookstore and Computer Connection. Campus Express Online provides students with direct access to certain campus services, allowing students to sign up for dining plans and access information about their housing online. New students can also set up their Penn e-mail accounts on Campus Express Online. During the summer, Johnson said, the program was successful, noting that in the two weeks after the brochure notifying students was sent out, over 800 students logged onto the web site. "The anecdotal evidence has been Othis is fabulous,'" she said, adding that she was "thrilled with the results." Johnson and a team of 19 Penn administrators developed the idea for Campus Express last summer, and together they spent the past year seeing the project to fruition. "We're really proud of this program because it is a truly University-wide approach," she said, noting that the cooperation of all of Penn's schools was necessary to allow students to set up e-mail online. Guided by customer service and focus group feedback, the committee decided that students' needs could best be met by combining information in one mailing and putting it online. "All of us had been seeing the future, which is how can we get more services online," Johnson said. While she could not provide the exact cost of the entire project because of contributions by an outside donor, she said the budget was "extremely modest." Johnson said the University will adjust both the web site and the print brochure as they get student feedback. But the University does not intend to eliminate paper forms, Johnson said, because not all students have easy access to computers at home. While forms like the dining services contract can be completed online, a hard copy will still be sent home to students. "One of the things we're sensitive to is not everyone has online access," Johnson said