Senate opens year with statement of support

Senate statement

"The Iowa State University Faculty Senate strongly believes in the principles of shared governance and the importance of faculty input in the management of university affairs. We wholeheartedly reaffirm our commitment to openness and transparency. These fundamental principles should unite the Board of Regents of the State of Iowa and the three Regents universities. We support ongoing dialogue between the University of Iowa Faculty Senate and the Board of Regents to re-establish trust and confidence that faculty input is important and respected."

The Faculty Senate launched the 2015-16 academic year by affirming the importance of shared governance and "faculty input in the management of university affairs."

In a statement introduced by secretary Annmarie Butler, the proposed language established the senate's support of "ongoing dialogue between the University of Iowa Faculty Senate and the Board of Regents to re-establish trust and confidence that faculty input is important and respected."

Senators approved the statement on a split vote. It will be sent to Iowa's Faculty Senate, state Board of Regents president Bruce Rastetter and President Steven Leath.

IT news

Interim chief information officer Jim Kurtenbach updated senators on the latest information technology initiatives, including:

  • Communication and collaboration, such as the NewToISU series and security protection
  • New systems, such as the university's administrative network and multifactor authentication
  • New data classification policy
  • Encryption for laptops

Response to demonstration disruption

Provost Jonathan Wickert opened his report with remarks about an incident outside Jack Trice Stadium on Saturday. A video captured an individual intentionally ripping a sign held by a member of a student group protesting presidential candidate Donald Trump's immigration statements.

"We're still in the process of gathering information about exactly what happened," Wickert said. "But what we know is that these people that broke up the peaceful demonstration were flat-out wrong and very hurtful in the actions they had. What they did works against what all of us work toward every day -- to make our campus a better, more inclusive place that respects people, regardless of their backgrounds, ethnicity, gender, religion, sexual orientation,or their political views."

Wickert encouraged faculty to read President Steven Leath's statement and use the incident as a "teachable moment" to further the conversation about the issues.

Faculty responsibilities still under discussion

Discussion on proposed Faculty Handbook changes to PRS (personal responsibility statement) guidelines will continue. Revisions introduced and debated last spring prompted a motion to postpone a vote until this fall.

Veronica Dark, chair of the PRS task force, said "substantive differences" in the recommended changes address areas of responsibility (expanded from four to seven categories), percentages for proportion of effort and mediation processes for non-tenure eligible faculty.

She said most objections and concerns raised about the changes include:

  • Responsibility area categories that are limiting/less flexible
  • Proportion of effort percentages should not be required, or should not be limited to 5 percent increments
  • The separation of institutional and professional service
  • The separation of extension and engagement/outreach activities

Dark said many more issues with the proposed changes have been received and she welcomed more input.

"It's quite clear that there is still a need to communicate some of this back to your departments, to discuss this with your colleagues, bring back additional concerns," said senate president Rob Wallace.

"The hope is, in October, to come back with a revised set of recommendations that we can use to effect changes in the Faculty Handbook," he said.

Other business

  • A name change for the culinary science program was unanimously approved, to culinary food science. The change was requested by the department of food science and human nutrition to reflect the academic preparation and expertise of the major, especially for recognition among hiring administrators.
  • Changes to language in the catalog were approved, simplifying the process for students on academic probation to change their majors.
  • The biannual spring conference will be held April 26 in the Memorial Union Great Hall. This year's topic is "Research From Start to Finish: The Responsible Conduct of Research at ISU and the Open Access of Scholarly Research and Data."

Three docket items were introduced and will be voted on next month:

  • Proposed cyber security minor in the College of Engineering's electrical and computer engineering department
  • Proposed urban studies minor in the College of Design's community and regional planning department
  • Proposed name change for the art and design bachelor's program, to art and visual culture