Faculty Senate representatives kicked off the academic year at their first meeting Sept. 11, unanimously approving a new multidisciplinary doctorate in wind energy science, engineering and policy. The Ph.D. program will involve 12 departments in three different colleges (Engineering, Agriculture and Life Sciences, and Liberal Arts and Sciences).
As part of the consent agenda, senators also endorsed a department name change for the Roy J. Carver Department of Biochemistry, Biophysics and Molecular Biology. The new name acknowledges a $7.5 million gift from the Carver Charitable Trust. The state Board of Regents approved the name change in June.
Concerns about the future of department "naming rights" were discussed. Although the Faculty Handbook requires senate approval for department name changes, past president Steve Freeman said a "loophole" in the policy bypassed that requirement in this case because the academic component of the department did not change.
"I have asked the governance council to consider this," said senate president Suzanne Hendrich. "You will be hearing more about this in the near future on the floor of this body."
Senior vice president and provost Jonathan Wickert addressed the senate for the first time in his new academic post. He reported that 84 new tenure-track and tenured faculty were hired this year, while just 34 left as a result of retirement or resignation.
"That represents real growth in the faculty ranks," Wickert said.
Wickert also shared president Steven Leath's initiative on institutional excellence. He said task forces have been created to focus on five areas:
- Competitively funded federal research
- Membership in national academies
- Articles, scholarly work and citations
- Arts and humanities awards, fellowships and memberships
- Increasing doctoral degrees and postdoc appointments
"Our goal is strengthening our position within [the AAU]," Wickert said. "The types of things that one wants to do to strengthen the position in the AAU are the right things to do because it makes Iowa State better."
Post-tenure review results
Senators received a summary report of the 82 post-tenure reviews scheduled in 2011-12. Two scheduled reviews were postponed and one more was not completed. The remaining cases were categorized into three possible overall ratings:
- Superior (16)
- Meeting expectations (59)
- Below expectations (4)
Salary increments were recommended for eight of the nine full professors who received superior ratings, while all seven associate professors were encouraged to prepare for promotion reviews.
A report (PDF) on a senate committee's review of the Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost is available on the Faculty Senate website. Senators accepted the 145-page report as part of the consent agenda.