Senate Ad Hoc Committee on the Institutional Response to the Climate Emergency
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The Faculty Senate Committee on the Institutional Response to the Climate Emergency (CIRCE) was established in December 2019 for the purpose of facilitating discussion of all aspects of global warming and climate change as they pertain to faculty at the University of Pennsylvania.
CIRCE will convene for the 2019/20 academic year with the expectation that it will continue its work in subsequent years. CIRCE’s fundamental charge is to facilitate discussion of all aspects of global warming and climate change as they pertain to the faculty role in shared governance at the University of Pennsylvania. Specifically, CIRCE will consider at least the following categories of faculty interest as it pertains to the climate emergency at Penn:
- Education, including classroom instruction as well as extra-curricular educational activities
- Research, including as well scholarship, practical expertise, and artistic expression
- Operations of the University, including decarbonization, energy efficiency, and sustainability
- Flourishing of community, both within Penn, and between Penn and its regional and international stakeholders
The Committee shall have the power to present reports and recommendations to the Senate on any matter relating to its charges. The Committee shall be governed in its responsibilities and procedures by rules established by the Faculty Senate. The Committee’s work will be reviewed on a yearly basis by the Senate Executive Committee.
The Committee will consider and report CIRCE’s recommendations regarding its continued charges and operation subsequent to the 2019/20 academic year. Comment: Fully addressing the charges to CIRCE is a task that can hardly be completed successfully by a single committee in half of an academic year. The upshot of this specific charge is to request that CIRCE address the issue of how the general issues of the Committee should be addressed going forward.
The Committee will recommend expansion of CIRCE’s membership to the Tri-Chairs, as appropriate for improving the expertise and representativeness of its membership.
Time permitting, the Committee will consider and report on key issues in any and all categories of faculty interest, not necessarily limited to the four identified in the general charges. For example:
- Education. What processes and policies might be put into place to ascertain student needs and faculty interests in education pertaining to the climate emergency (and sustainability), and to best align them and implement programs? What are attractive options for realizing this goal, given the very broad range of research, scholarship, expertise, and artistic expression that pertains to the climate emergency and flourishes at Penn? For example, should cross-school educational programs (e.g., majors and concentrations) be established with cross-school supervision?
- Research. Given the very broad range of research, scholarship, expertise, and artistic expression that pertains to the climate emergency, and considering Penn’s existing strengths, likely impact, and likely funding availability, identify opportunities to improve support for specific areas of research (as broadly characterized above).
- Operations. What policies and programs might be implemented to reduce Penn’s carbon footprint? Is there existing data on Penn’s carbon footprint that should be publicly posted and made available for comment, teaching, and research at Penn? If so, what guidance can be given regarding accessibility, including documentation and format? Is there data pertaining to Penn’s carbon footprint that can be collected but presently is not being collected? If so, how might it be collected and how should it be publicly posted and made available for comment, teaching, and research at Penn? What guidance can be given regarding accessibility, including documentation and format?
- Community. Should the Faculty Senate pass a resolution recognizing the climate emergency? If so, what should that resolution say? Recognizing the ongoing dynamic, fluid, and multidisciplinary nature of research, teaching, and entrepreneurship pertaining to the climate emergency, what practices and policies might be implemented to optimize effective information flow among interested parties to the end of promoting discovery and fruition of collective opportunities? What practices and policies might be implemented to support formation of groups of interested parties, and to help them to flourish and find “homes” at Penn? Recognizing that Penn offers and receives benefits through local and global interactions, what practices and policies might be implemented to optimize effective information flow among interested parties to the end of promoting discovery and fruition of collective opportunities?
The Committee will consider for attention any of the extended list of questions assembled for the December 2019 meeting of SEC. This list of questions is available here.
Finally, CIRCE is encouraged to think creatively and flexibly in discharging its responsibilities. Are there additional resources and sources of information—within Penn or without—that would materially assist the Committee, were they available?
- Herman Beavers (Professor of English and Africana Studies)
- Anne Berg (Assistant Professor of History)
- William Braham (Professor of Architecture), Chair
- Alison Buttenheim (Associate Professor of Nursing and Assistant Professor of Health Policy)
- Daniel Aldana Cohen (Assistant Professor of Sociology)
- Thomas Daniels (Professor of City and Regional Planning)
- Kathleen Hall Jamieson (Faculty Senate Chair-Elect and Elizabeth Ware Packard Professor of Communication)
- Steven Kimbrough (Faculty Senate Chair and Professor of Operations, Information and Decisions)
- Howard Kunreuther (James G. Dinan Professor Emeritus of Operations, Information and Decisions)
- Irina Marinov (Associate Professor of Earth and Environmental Science)
- Michael McGarvey (Associate Professor of Neurology at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania)
- Eric Orts (Guardsmark Professor, Professor of Legal Studies & Business Ethics, Professor of Management)
- Benjamin Pierce (Professor of Computer and Information Science)
- Simon Richter (Class of 1942 Endowed Term Professor of German)
- Misha Rosenbach (Associate Professor of Dermatology at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania)
- Eric Stach (Professor of Materials Science and Engineering)
- Franca Trubiano (Associate Professor of Architecture)
- Michael Weisberg (Professor and Chair of Philosophy)
- Bethany Wiggin (Associate Professor of German)
- Non-voting members:
- Jane Dmochowski (Senior Lecturer of Earth and Environmental Science)
- William Fleming (Wilks Family Director, The McHarg Center)
- Andrew Huemmler (Senior Lecturer of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering)
Subcommittee Chair: Simon Richter
Anne Berg (Assistant Professor of History)
Kathleen Hall Jamieson
Subcommittee Chair: William Braham
Kathleen Hall Jamieson
Subcommittee Chair: Michael Weisberg
Daniel Aldana Cohen
Kathleen Hall Jamieson