Mandatory course approved for international undergrads

Members of the Faculty Senate unanimously approved a required course for first-year international students at their April 5 meeting. The one-credit, semester-long seminar, University Studies 110X, is intended to help incoming undergraduates transition to university life in the United States.

As proposed, the orientation course will include a weekly lecture section and weekly meetings with smaller recitation groups led by current students (one American and one international). The course will be jointly administered by the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and the International Students and Scholars Office.

Upcoming votes

Senators have a pair of new items to consider for a vote at the April 19 meeting.

A proposed entrepreneurship major was introduced, to be administered by the College of Business. The bachelor of science program is intended to prepare students for:

  • Starting new businesses or nonprofit organizations
  • Assisting in the launch or operation of businesses
  • Managing and contributing to entrepreneurial activities in established organizations

The proposal states that the degree program would complement -- but not duplicate -- existing entrepreneurship programs at ISU, including an entrepreneurship minor, the CyBIZ Lab and an entrepreneurship learning community.

Changes to the Faculty Handbook also were introduced. As proposed, "collaborator" faculty appointments would be eliminated and "visiting" and "affiliate" faculty appointments would be more clearly defined. If approved, current collaborator faculty would transition to affiliate faculty appointments.

"These have been somewhat confusing for people -- which we should use, maybe they've been used different ways, they weren't well defined," said Martha Selby, chair of the senate's governance council.

VP reports

Chief diversity officer and vice president for diversity and inclusion Reginald Stewart addressed the senate, providing an overview of his first months on the job.

"The most common question I get asked is, 'what's the plan?'" Stewart said. "There are perceptions that diversity and inclusion is a problem that needs to be solved, therefore we need to get to a plan. I don't approach this work at all as a problem that needs to be solved. I approach it as an opportunity to improve the organization, to make Iowa State better."

Jim Kurtenbach, vice president for information technology and chief information officer, provided an update on several issues, such as collaborations, security and communication improvements and new concepts. He said work is being done on:

  • Selecting a new enterprise resource planning and student information system
  • Replacing classroom clickers with software that works with student smartphones and devices
  • Phasing out bubble sheets and transitioning to electronic testing in classrooms

Kurtenbach also talked about Network 2020, an initiative that would improve security and connectivity.

"I want technology to work for us, not us to work for technology," he said. "How do we put technology in place so you don't have to worry about security? How do we put technology in place that protects your data and you?"