Senate hears latest on faculty misconduct case

As part of the provost office's report at Tuesday's Faculty Senate meeting, associate provost Dawn Bratsch-Prince recapped the Palaniappa Molian misconduct case. Molian, a professor in mechanical engineering, pled guilty Jan. 24 to two felony counts for making false statements to the National Science Foundation.

"We want to make sure we share with you what happened, how we responded and what we can all do collectively to minimize the potential for something like this occurring in the future," she said.

She said the false statements were related to reimbursement for travel that was unrelated to an NSF grant and payment for equipment that was available at no cost. Iowa State reimbursed the NSF, and Molian has reimbursed ISU -- a total of about $15,000, according to Bratsch-Prince. Molian, who retired in December, was not granted emeritus status by Iowa State.

"We don't anticipate any significant changes in our policies," Bratsch-Prince said. "When someone chooses to act dishonestly, unethically, there's virtually no way we can prevent that. But, we can review our processes, and that's what we intend to do."

She told senators that documentation is important and "full documentation is the best way to protect us -- individually and as an institution -- from these types of issues."

Other business

  • Bratsch-Prince said an ad hoc committee will review the non-tenure eligible research faculty position approved by the senate in 2008
  • Senators will vote next month on a proposed minor, Teaching English as a Second Language, requested by the English department's linguistics program