University-Wide Committee Descriptions

The President's Social Responsibility Advisory CommitteE

The President's Social Responsibility Advisory Committee is responsible for evaluating Penn’s endowment to ensure our holdings are consistent with our values as an institution and the best interests of everyone the University is accountable to. We investigate and design the shareholder engagement policies and practices by which the University upholds its fiduciary duty and uses its shareholder power to improve the social and environmental impact of the firms we invest in. The bulk of the Advisory Committee’s work falls within the spring semester, and the commitment required of the student representative is large: up to 10 hours a week. Please only apply if you are able to devote this much time to the committee.

Trustee Committee on Local, National, and Global Engagement

This committee is concerned with the support of the University in its efforts to foster the University’s presence, positive engagement, and contributions at every level ranging from West Philadelphia to the global arena. This committee was created after the merging of the Committee on External Affairs and the Committee on Neighborhood Initiatives. The Committee on External Affairs worked with the public and governmental relations of the University. Public relations include the interpretation of the University through communications with its many constituencies, both internal and external, at local, regional, national, and international levels. Government relations include relations with legislators and executive branches at the local, state and federal levels. The Committee on Neighborhood Initiatives helped steer the University’s institutional commitment to the West Philadelphia community. A major focus of the Committee on Neighborhood Initiatives over the last several years has been the formation of an Urban Institute at Penn and efforts to make Penn a focal point for urban research and policy.

The UC Committee on Campus and Community Life

(i)  shall have cognizance over the University's communications and public relations activities in their various formats and media including electronic, audio (the telephone system), video and printed copy, and it shall monitor the University's internal communications, the operations of the University Communications Office, communications to alumni, and the interpretation of the University to its many constituencies;

(ii)  shall advise the Council on the relationship of the University to the surrounding community and the relevant University policies, work to ensure that the University develops and maintains a constructive relationship with the community, and monitor pending real estate activities of concern to the community;

(iii)  shall have cognizance of the conditions and rules of undergraduate and graduate student life on campus, including 1) gathering and analyzing information concerning student life and student affairs and making recommendations to the Council; and 2) responding as appropriate to requests from and reporting information and recommendations concerning student life and student affairs to the vice provost for university life and other appropriate administrative officers; and

(iv)  shall advise the president, the director of public safety, and the administrators or directors of specific buildings, offices, or projects on all matters concerning safety and security in the conduct of their operations, including consideration and assessment of means to improve safety and security on the campus.

The Trustee Committee on Budget and Finance

This committee is concerned with University finances. It reviews and approves the operating and capital budgets and budgetary procedures of the University and shall monitor budget compliance. The Trustees shall delegate to the committee the authority for approval of the disposition or acquisition of real property involving less than $500,000, provided such action is consistent with the University’s capital budget. The committee shall be responsible for University policies and program review in matters of insurance/risk management and for review of the monetary impact of human resource policies. The liaison’s role will be to examine the budget to be approved, and to raise any questions that he/she feels concern the student.

Admissions Dean Advisory Board

One of the enduring interests of undergraduate advocates of all kinds is the undergraduate admissions process; whether it is working to better express the myriad dimensions of the Penn experience to prospective or admitted students or trying to expand Penn’s outreach in historically underrepresented communities. Indeed, one of the challenges of the Admissions process is engaging currently serving campus leaders as well as students dedicated to assisting the admissions process. It is thought that regular advice and feedback from a broad cross-section of undergraduate constituencies could very much enhance recruitment efforts by the Admissions Office.

The Committee on Facilities and Campus Planning

This committee considers all aspects of facilities and campus planning, including real estate development, capital projects, and maintenance of buildings and ground. The committee specifically monitors physical planning for the campus and surrounding area, including buildings and grounds controlled, owned, or used by the University, and the acquisition or sale of real estate. All capital construction projects and the acquisition or sale of real estate will be reviewed by this committee for its recommendations prior to action by the Budget and Finance Committee.

UC Committee on Honorary DegreeS

The Committee on Honorary Degrees solicits nominations from faculty and staff members and students for honorary degrees to be awarded by the University at Commencement and at special convocations and submits a slate of nominees for action by the trustees. It may make recommendations to the president regarding Commencement speakers and the conduct of special convocations.

UC Committee on Academic and Related Affairs

            (i)  shall have cognizance over matters of recruitment, admissions, and financial aid that concern the University as a whole and that are not the specific responsibility of individual faculties, including the authority to carry out studies on existing recruitment and admissions procedures and their relationships with existing policies on admissions and financial aid and to recommend changes in policy to the Council;

            (ii)  shall consider the purposes of a University bookstore and advise the Council and the management of the University bookstore on policies, development, and operations;

            (iii)  shall review and monitor issues related to the international programs and other international activities of the University, including advice and policy recommendations in such areas as services for international students and scholars, foreign fellowships and studies abroad, faculty, staff and student exchange programs, and cooperative undertakings with foreign universities;

            (iv)  shall advise the vice provost and director of libraries on the policies, development, and operation of the University libraries;

            (v) shall have cognizance over recreation and intramural and intercollegiate athletics and their integration with the educational program of the University, including the planning and provision of adequate facilities for various sports and recreational activities; and

            (vi) shall have cognizance of all matters of policy relating to research and the general environment for research at the University, including the assignment and distribution of indirect costs and the assignment of those research funds distributed by the University, and shall advise the administration on those proposals for sponsored research referred to it because of potential conflict with University policy.

The UC Committee on Open Expression

The Committee on Open Expression has as its major task: monitoring the communication processes to prevent conflicts that might emerge from failure of communication, recommending policies and procedures for improvement of all levels of communication, investigating alleged infringements of the right of open expression of any member or members of the University community, advising administrative officers where appropriate, and participating in evaluation and resolution of conflicts that may arise from incidents or disturbances on campus.

The Provost Academic Planning and Budget Committee

This committee provides the administration with advice on the composition of the annual budget and on multi-year financial plans for the University; taking into account long-range implications of current budget issues and alternatives. Further, it provides advice on the evolving educational mission and needs of the University, and their present and future budgetary implications. Only current sophomores may apply for this position, and the student selected will have a two-year commitment to the committee, for his or her junior and senior years.

Lindback Awards Committee

This committee plays a crucial role in the selections of the Penn’s University-wide teaching awards: the Lindback and Provost’s Awards. Given annually, the Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching is the University’s highest teaching honor and the two different Provost’s Awards recognize exceptional teaching by non-standing faculty and distinguished PhD teaching and mentoring. Candidates from across the University are nominated for the awards, and members of the committee review their dossiers to prepare for the committee’s discussion. From that discussion, the committee submits award recommendations to the Provost for final consideration. If you are concerned about honoring teaching excellence, apply for this committee.

Fraternity/Sorority Advisory Board

This committee advises the Director of student life with regard to policies toward fraternities and sororities. It advises on issues pertaining to the Greek system such as pledge practices, chapter recognition, and disciplinary procedures and it reviews charges levied against the organizations. Only students who are not, nor have ever been in a fraternity or sorority here or at any other university are eligible. The Advisory Board meets 6 times a year, typically in the late afternoon/early evening.

Committee on Diversity and Equity

The Committee on Diversity and Equity aids Penn in fostering and taking full advantage of its diversity as well as in strengthening ties across all boundaries to enrich and enliven the campus community. The Committee shall advise the offices of the president, provost, and the executive vice presidents on ways to develop and maintain a supportive atmosphere on campus for the inclusion and appreciation of diversity among all members of the University community. The Committee will review and provide advice regarding the University’s equal opportunity and affirmative action programs and policies. The areas in which the Committee shall report to the Council include diversity within the educational and work settings, integration of staff and faculty into the larger campus community, and ways to foster a campus environment that is inclusive and supportive of difference. The Committee also will advise the administration on specific diversity issues that may arise on campus.

Trustee Committee on Academic Policy

This committee shall include but not be limited to selected trustee chairmen of the boards of overseers and other advisory boards. Within its purview are matters of general policy relating to the faculty, including academic appointment, tenure, academic freedom, and faculty classification. The academic planning processes and procedures of the University shall be subject to review by this committee. Similarly, organization, including the addition or deletion of degrees and the establishment of schools shall be submitted to this committee for review. Policy guidance on the University library and on guidelines for research and admissions are also the responsibility of the committee. Finally, the Committee on Academic Policy acts for the Trustees in the coordination and review of the board of overseers and other advisory boards.

Trustee Committee on Facilities and Campus Planning

This committee considers all aspects of facilities and campus planning, including real estate development, capital projects, and maintenance of buildings and ground. The committee specifically monitors physical planning for the campus and surrounding area, including buildings and grounds controlled, owned, or used by the University, and the acquisition or sale of real estate. All capital construction projects and the acquisition or sale of real estate will be reviewed by this committee for its recommendations prior to action by the Budget and Finance Committee.

Student Affairs Awards

The Student Affairs Awards Committee constituted by the Vice Provost for University Life selects recipients for three leadership awards presented during the annual Ivy Day ceremony. The James Howard Weiss Memorial Award and Penn Student Agencies Award recognize members of the graduating class for both their exemplary campus leadership and scholastic achievement. The Sol Feinstone Undergraduate Awards are intended to highlight the commitment and dedication of any sophomore, junior or senior who has contributed to constructive social and educational change within and/or outside the university community. The committee is comprised of six voting members: one academic advisor/student affairs administrator from each of the undergraduate schools and two student representatives appointed by the Nominations and Elections Committee. The Associate Director for the Office of Student Affairs serves as the committee’s Administrative Chair. The committee has one selection meeting in April. A month prior to the selection meeting, each committee member will be randomly assigned candidates to evaluate for each award. The committee solicits input from various university administrators during the selection process as well.

Library Advisory Board

The Library Advisory Board meets about twice each semester (at the discretion of all the board participants) to discuss issues regarding the Library system at Penn. Amongst those in attendance are the Director of Public Services for Penn Libraries, as well as representatives from Lippincott Library, the Engineering and Physical Sciences Libraries, Research and Instructional Services, Weigle Information Commons, the UA, and SCUE. The Advisory Board discusses new initiatives of the Library as well as revisions of current library policies and services that fall under the jurisdiction of Penn Libraries, such as Blackboard.

Student heath insurance advisory committee

The Provost of the University of Pennsylvania sponsors a Student Health Insurance Advisory Committee (SHIAC) with cross-University representation and health insurance expertise. Building on the initial work of SHIAC, the Committee is to continue to advise the Provost and the President on matters pertaining to the provision of health insurance for the students of the University. SHIAC will serve as a forum for discussing issues relevant to the provision of the best possible health insurance plan(s) to meet the needs of the students and the University. SHIAC will review the University's Student Health Insurance Plan and advise on the complex issues and concerns related to the administration of the Plan. SHIAC will set in place an ongoing review mechanism for the performance of the existing Plan. SHIAC will monitor the existing insurance Plan and make recommendations for renewal or change of Plan design. SHIAC will develop a mechanism for soliciting bids from vendors as appropriate. SHIAC will discuss ongoing issues pertaining to health insurance, monitoring the changing marketplace of health insurance provision and managed care, and making recommendations as opportunities are identified.