Wintersteen welcomes faculty at first senate meeting

President Wendy Wintersteen helped the Faculty Senate usher in the new academic year at its Sept. 11 meeting. During her remarks, Wintersteen touched on topics including enrollment, funding, research excellence, Workday and campus climate. Below are a few of her comments.

"We had expected, for a number of years, a leveling off of students here at Iowa State University. Over the spring semester, we had conversations about what should be our enrollment goals. As a small group of leaders in the university, we had focused on -- probably in the next few years -- we're going to be in this 35,000 to 37,000 [range] in terms of total numbers at Iowa State. We were on the low end of that range, perhaps, but we're at a place where we felt very good."

"We're very concerned about the decline in our international students. We're going to be having conversations in the next few months about how we can continue to have a very strong international student population."

"We are focused on a request for the state Legislature of new money for $7 million."

"We're going to continue to have a high priority on how we reward our faculty and staff, in terms of salary increases. We recognize that we are losing ground in competitiveness of our salaries for faculty."

"It's going to be a serious, and I think very important, change for Iowa State and how we serve our faculty and staff."

Improved service delivery
"Beate Schmittmann, dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and Sarah Nusser [vice president for research] have been leading the institutional leadership effectiveness team to explore opportunities for how we can deliver improved service here. They've been learning from other universities about how their models work and reaching out to campus leaders to talk about those models and what different models might look like at Iowa State. We expect to have a more significant update in the next month or so. It's an important part of how we can move forward in a way that demonstrates our commitment to efficiency and improved service."

Campus climate
"There are public meetings scheduled for this semester, so I encourage you to participate, if you are able to, in this discussion. It's an important part of who we are at Iowa State, that we're willing to go out and learn about ourselves and improve the climate."

Diversity and inclusion
"We really have to work hard to have a welcoming and inclusive environment at Iowa State. Here at the university is the opportunity for students from all over Iowa, the nation and the world to come together and meet individuals who are different than themselves and to learn how great that opportunity is to sit down, have a conversation and learn about another's perspective that is very different than your own perspective and to value that opportunity. They will never have the opportunity again like they have here at a university."

VPDI faculty fellow

Diversity and inclusion was a common theme throughout the senate meeting. José Rosa, professor of marketing and the inaugural faculty fellow in the office of the vice president for diversity and inclusion, told senators that his position was created to provide a "direct and enduring faculty voice" in the office.

He said the new position is needed for the short and long term, to address concerns expressed in the campus climate survey conducted last fall.

"This will be a different place 20 years from now, and the time to get ready is now," Rosa said. "By addressing worries and concerns today -- and developing policies and processes and a culture that helps reduce those concerns -- we enhance our ability to sustain excellence in service, teaching and research for the nation, the state and the world."

Term faculty update

Associate provost for faculty Dawn Bratsch-Prince said colleges and departments need to update their governance documents to implement reorganized and new term faculty tracks approved by the senate last spring.

"We've come up with a general plan for implementing the new titles," Bratsch-Prince said. "It's really up to the colleges and departments to revise their governance documents to reflect hiring, governance, evaluation, renewal, advancement policies and processes for term faculty."

Colleges should submit their revised governance documents to the provost office by Dec. 1. Department documents are due to colleges by March 15, 2019.

"Those [updates] need to be in your department handbooks and college handbooks before we're going to appoint anybody into these new titles," Bratsch-Prince said.

She was quick to point out that the new titles are administrative changes, not advancements or promotions. New titles will not be in effect prior to July 1, 2019.

"The transfer of term faculty titles is an administrative action and doesn't change the faculty member's job duties, does not change their contract date and will not change their salary. It's simply an administrative process," Bratsch-Prince said.

Biochemistry proposal

Senators are considering a request for a name change for the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences' agricultural biochemistry undergraduate major, to biochemistry. The proposal will be voted on at next month's meeting.

"The major has no agricultural required classes, although this doesn't prohibit electives in agriculture," said Andrea Wheeler, chair of the senate's academic affairs council. "The name change is simply a more accurate description of what the major is, which is a basic science major."

The change would give ISU two biochemistry majors -- one each for CALS and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

"This is not unprecedented because there are biology and genetics majors offered in CALS and LAS," Wheeler said.

She said the programs share the same core subjects but differ in the colleges' required general education courses. The college deans agreed to share the tuition dollars on a trial basis for the first three years.

Other business

In other business, senators:

  • Approved proposed changes for the Faculty Handbook's discrimination and harassment policy (section Revisions eliminate redundancies, match terminology in the university's policy library and move the "Harassing Behavior" language to its own section.
  • Elected Chris Williams, professor of civil, construction and environmental engineering, as chair of the senate's resource policies and allocations council in a two-person race.