Senate opens with look at 2016-17 initiatives

The Faculty Senate's Sept. 13 meeting literally started on a good note as president Jonathan Sturm, a professor in music, brought the meeting to order with a short performance on his violin.

During his remarks, Sturm discussed several priorities and initiatives for 2016-17, including:

  • Open access to research at ISU: "I'm hoping that we can move more toward an opt-out policy [for inclusion in the digital repository] ... where we, as faculty, are committed to an ideal that our research is freely available, with unlimited access, to the world."
  • Diversity and inclusion: "The Faculty Senate curriculum committee and the equity, diversity and inclusion committee will be working together this year to review and ultimately send in some recommendations on our diversity curriculum."
  • Equal pay: The compensation committee will work with the provost's office and an outside consultant to "take a real look at Iowa State and how our salaries are playing out across gender and racial backgrounds."
  • Ethical conduct of research: "Let's keep [this] as a front-burner topic and explore ways to increase its pervasiveness across campus."

Dead week, sexual assault prevention and student evaluations of faculty also are among the issues Sturm expects the senate to study this year.

Diversity and inclusion update

Vice president for diversity and inclusion (VPDI) Reg Stewart provided an update on the work that will "anchor" his efforts this year. He will focus will on:

  • Policy, including a review of the religious accommodation policy and the creation of a bias reporting system and response team
  • Planning, including a campus climate assessment (likely in fall 2017)
  • Personnel, including a VPDI council and monthly professional development meetings

Other remarks

  • Student government president Cole Staudt said that, in November, initiatives will be launched as the result of summer task force work in three areas: mental health, sexual assault prevention and civic engagement
  • Associate provost Dawn Bratsch-Prince said the provost's office will provide funding for revised or newly created U.S. diversity courses that are "relevant" and "really focus on contemporary issues"