Senate opens business with diversity and inclusion endorsement

Members of the Faculty Senate took their first vote of the academic year at the Nov. 8 meeting, unanimously approving a resolution in support of diversity and inclusion.

Senate president Jonathan Sturm shared the resolution (PDF) during his regular report, getting a motion and  second to put it before the body for a vote.

"I hope that we can unite today and into the future as a faculty of individuals behind the basic tenets of equality, fairness and inclusivity on the campus of Iowa State University that will allow all our students -- regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual identity, disability or other individuality -- to be safe, welcoming and proud to learn at Iowa State University," he said.

Sturm also read prepared remarks in support of President Steven Leath, who is working with the state Board of Regents on a review of his use of university aircraft.

"When concerns arise that the senate is being passive or that the president is not being transparent at this time, I need to dispel both concerns as false," he said. "In fact, President Leath has solicited my input on multiple occasions and, additionally, at my request, he discussed the circumstances at a meeting with campus leadership.

"Regardless of what you have read in the media, the senate executive board -- following various contacts with the president -- feels that he has been forthcoming and transparent with faculty leadership throughout the past two months," Sturm said.

New name, new online degree

Senators approved a name change for the women's studies program, to women's and gender studies. The program, housed in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, was established in 1977.  The proposal states the name change will align with national trends and represent research, instruction and content that no longer is limited to women.

A proposed online graduate degree also was approved. The master of human computer interaction (M.HCI) is intended for industry professionals and practitioners. The interdepartmental program will be delivered through Engineering/LAS Online Learning.

P&T appeals

Senators will vote next month on proposed changes to Faculty Handbook language that outline the appeal process for promotion and tenure decisions.

"From my perspective, there is no substantive change," said Mike Owen, chair of the appeals committee. "It makes the language in chapter five copacetic with chapter nine."

Administration reports

When former senior vice president of business and finance Warren Madden retired earlier this year, his reporting units were reorganized into two divisions. Senators heard reports from administrators heading up those divisions.

Kate Gregory, senior vice president for university services, outlined her responsibilities supervising about 650 employees in six primary areas -- facilities planning and management; business services; public safety, environmental health and safety; Reiman Gardens; and university museums. She said her focus is on four major themes -- performance, satisfaction, transparency and safety.

"I wanted to get us focused on things I thought reflected the message that I received during my interview process, the message I received in the Faculty Senate report on business and financial services, and the message I received since I've been here from all of you and the president on what you want to see from my organization," Gregory said.

Miles Lackey, chief financial officer and Leath's chief of staff, highlighted his realigned financial division. In addition to budget and capital planning, Lackey oversees capital financing, financial reporting, treasury functions, the tax unit and TIER (Transparent Inclusive Efficiency Review) reporting.

"It brings into the same structure the financial reporting, the capital projects financing as well as the treasury functions at the university," he said.

Lackey outlined priorities and actions for the future, including:

  • Recruitment of nonresident students
  • Adoption of a modern enterprise resource planning system (ERP)
  • Alignment of prices and costs for services across campus
  • Expedited capital expansion
  • Enhanced policy compliance