Emeritus status could expand to include all faculty

Nontenure-eligible (NTE) faculty who have served 10 or more years at Iowa State could become eligible to receive emeritus status upon retirement. A motion to include NTE faculty in the Faculty Handbook policy was introduced at the April 4 Faculty Senate meeting. Senators will vote on the proposed change at their April 18 meeting.

The criteria would be identical to requirements for tenured assistant and associate professors, which includes a nomination and review process. To be eligible, faculty must have "distinguished him/herself through meritorious service to the university and the profession."

The motion, introduced by the governance council, originates from a set of recommendations in a report (PDF) issued in February by a task force charged with studying the status of NTE faculty.

Open access

Senators approved, with a 32-15 split vote, a resolution that "strongly encourages" faculty to adopt "the principles of open access of research."

The resolution was accompanied by a set of frequently asked questions that includes a definition of open ("immediate, online, free availability of research articles") and advantages of open access scholarship and research. Iowa State's digital repository is among the resources faculty can use for open access archiving.

"This resolution in no way requires faculty to publish in open access journals," said senate president Jonathan Sturm. "There is a groundswell that is growing across the nation and, in some cases, around the world ... against an old model that is becoming more and more outdated."

Concerns raised during discussion on the resolution included funding for publication costs/fees, "predatory" and "low quality" open access journals, and contract restrictions (such as copyrights and embargos).

Data science

Two proposed data science undergraduate programs were introduced -- a 15-credit minor (PDF) and a certificate (PDF). Departments across six colleges are involved in both programs, which will be housed in Liberal Arts and Sciences.

The programs are open to students in any discipline and, according to the proposals, are "designed to provide students with the requisite background that would enable them to take jobs with significant data science components."

The proposals also state there is a "massive demand" for professionals with technical and communication skills related to data science. Senators will vote on the programs at the April 18 senate meeting.

Other business

  • A master's of professional practice in dietetics (PDF) was unanimously approved, providing an online program that will satisfy an upcoming requirement for registered dieticians. The program will be administered by the department of food science and human nutrition.
  • Senators voted to raise the undergraduate grade requirement for communication proficiency (PDF), from a C- to a C. The standard matches the minimum grade required in several colleges, but does not restrict colleges and programs from having higher requirements.
  • Three new council chairs were elected: Claire Andreasen, veterinary pathology (faculty development and administrative relations); Carol Faber, graphic design (judiciary and appeals); and Jamie Brown, finance (resource policies and allocations).