Senate starts school year with look at academics in athletics

Faculty athletics representative Tim Day presented an update on the academic progress of Iowa State's student-athletes at the Sept. 10 Faculty Senate meeting. Using numbers through the fall 2012 semester, Day said the student-athletes' GPA edged the overall student body (2.94 and 2.91, respectively) for the seventh consecutive semester.

"What we see is student-athletes' GPAs largely mirroring the grade points of the general population," Day said.

All of the athletics teams exceeded the minimum standard (900) set in the NCAA's academic progress rate (APR). The tennis team scored a perfect 1,000 while football's 928 was the lowest ISU score. The APR calculations include retention and academic eligibility metrics.

Day said Iowa State student-athletes enrolled as special admits show "a remarkable progression of improved performance." Some students who do not meet the university's admission requirements are admitted with special admit status.

Day told senators that NCAA initial eligibility standards are changing in August 2016. High school athletes must have a core GPA of 2.3 (currently 2.0), and complete 10 of their 16 core credits prior to their seventh semester (by the end of junior year). Academic redshirt seasons will be available for freshmen, allowing them to receive financial aid and practice -- but not participate in competitions -- while working on their academic progress.

Summer actions

Senate president Veronica Dark said the executive board was busy over the summer months, including actions that:

  • Supported the closure of the Harkin Institute of Public Policy
  • Created two task forces in cooperation with the provost's office: Task force examining the PRS (position responsibility statement) across campus and the Task force on the scholarship of engagement and outreach
  • Reestablished the committee that interacts with the senior vice president for business and finance and created a committee to communicate with the senior vice president for student affairs

Dark said the executive board met with the president and provost during its summer retreat. A summary (PDF) of the meeting is available online.

Other business

  • Dark reported that College of Liberal Arts and Sciences dean Beate Schmittmann and Graduate College dean David Holger will co-chair the internal search for the next vice president for research. She said a full committee should be named in the next week.
  • Senators unanimously approved language tweaks to the bylaws regarding eligibility of senate members.
  • Senators learned about a "high impact hires initiative" for tenure and tenure-eligible faculty.