Faculty input sought on campuswide initiatives

Meeting coverage

More than half of the Oct. 9 Faculty Senate meeting was devoted to listening and learning about campuswide initiatives and how they will affect faculty.

Faculty features in Workday

Kristen Constant, interim vice president and chief information officer, outlined some faculty-specific features of the Workday software system that goes live July 1, 2019. Workday is a cloud-based platform configured to manage all of Iowa State's payroll, human resources and financial processes.

"This is not an effort designed to reduce staff and push work to faculty," Constant said. "We're expecting to see improved efficiency, accuracy, tracking and transparency."

She said faculty activities such as grants management (specifically, post-award), recruit-to-hire search committee processes and expense reporting/management will be streamlined in Workday. It also will provide better records of faculty service (committees and roles), appointments, compensation and benefits.

"All of this will be searchable within your records," Constant said. "That information now resides in a number of different places, and sometimes that place is in a file folder in someone's office."

She said faculty position responsibility statements, performance reviews, effort reports and awards will be moved online. Many functions in AccessPlus -- for example, benefits/payroll information, address changes and W2/W4 forms -- also will shift to Workday.

Constant said feedback can be submitted through the WorkCyte website or by contacting faculty change liaisons Jo Ann Powell Coffman and David Cantor.

Proposals for improved service delivery in finance, human resources

Implementating Workday will change the way financial and human resources work will be done and the staff who will be doing it. A team developed proposed models for improved service delivery in both areas and are asking for feedback on the structure.

College of Liberal Arts and Sciences dean Beate Schmittmann and vice president for research Sarah Nusser co-chaired the team and presented senators a brief overview of the models that create teams of "functional specialist" staff with expertise in finance or human relations.

"There's an opportunity to reorganize staff so we can better support these processes," Nusser said. "We have proposed new models that recognize that services are more effectively delivered by employees who are experts in these areas."

Schmittmann said the proposed models maintain or improve service, minimize disruption and provide more layers of support to balance workloads.

"Chances are you'll continue to be served by the same people you know, and chances are they'll be close to you physically," Schmittmann said. "Given that their job responsibilities will change a little bit, you may not be going to the same person, but you will have somebody to serve your needs."

Schmittmann responded to faculty concerns gathered from initial feedback on the proposed models:

  • "The staff support that is provided today will, overall, continue to be provided. Broadly speaking, where you get support on finance and grants management today, you will continue to get support going forward."
  • "Units will still have administrative go-to people -- someone who can answer a quick question, someone who can help you find out where you need to go with a particular issue -- but it may be a little bit different from what you are experiencing now."
  • "You will have designated teams working for your unit -- your department, your college. There will be people who are working for you as a way of helping you get our work done."

Campus climate faculty work group

Senate president Peter Martin said a faculty work group is collecting action items for improving the campus climate. Feedback and ideas can be submitted online and at faculty open forums on Oct. 17 (4-5 p.m., 198 Parks Library) and Nov. 1 (11 a.m.-12:30 p.m., MU Pioneer Room).

To spark ideas and feedback, results were shared from a pair of surveys that gauged faculty opinions about the living, working and learning environment at Iowa State.

Dawn Bratsch-Prince, associate provost for faculty, said the 2016-17 COACHE (Collaborative on Academic Careers in Higher Education) national survey of institutional experiences and job satisfaction among faculty showed overall satisfaction at the university (75 percent) and department (72 percent) levels.

"This year we were very pleased there were no areas of concern compared to our peers or the national cohort," Bratsch-Prince said. "This doesn't mean there's not work we can do to improve the experience of faculty."

Areas of strength indicated in the COACHE survey included appreciation/recognition, collaboration, department quality, benefits, mentoring, university and college leadership, interdisciplinary work, mentoring, service work and personal/family policies. Areas for improvement included compensation, workload balance, clear promotion and tenure (P&T) standards, college/department leadership (specifically in communication, equity, clarity and civility) and department collegiality.

Claire Andreasen, chair of the senate's faculty development and administrative relations council, said results from the fall 2017 campus climate survey showed faculty are concerned about salary, resources, P&T and child care. Areas for improvement (identified by about 25 percent of faculty) included:

  • Hostile behavior based on gender, position status, race/ethnicity, age or philosophical/political views
  • One-on-one interactions with department chairs/colleagues that contribute to faculty feeling intimidated, isolated, unappreciated or devalued
  • Unfair or inequitable hiring practices
  • Unfair, inequitable or unclear P&T, advancement and reappointment criteria

"We're looking for some themes that are common across both the climate survey and the COACHE survey, and those are the areas that we'll dig into and target," Bratsch-Prince said. "There are areas of overlap."

New name for CALS biochemistry program

Senators approved a name change for the agricultural biochemistry undergraduate major, to biochemistry.

"The rationale from the college is that the major has no agricultural required classes. The name change simply is a more accurate description of what the major is -- a basic science major," said Andrea Wheeler, chair of the academic affairs council.

Two colleges -- Liberal Arts and Sciences, and Agriculture and Life Sciences -- offer biochemistry programs in the department of biochemistry, biophysics and molecular biology. As part of the proposal, the deans agreed to share tuition revenue from both programs on a three-year trial basis.

"A memorandum of agreement was prepared by the deans of LAS and CALS supporting the change, but acknowledging that while the two degrees share the same core science requirements, they differ in general education courses required by each college and this could lead to a change in numbers enrolled in each college," Wheeler said.

Other business

The senate will take action next month on three proposals:

  • An interdisciplinary minor in feed technology offered by the agricultural and biosystems engineering and animal science departments. The 18-credit program includes the study of grain handling and storage, feed formulation, feed manufacturing, biosecurity, feed safety and "novel" ingredients processing.
  • Proposed name changes for both industrial technology undergraduate degrees (major and minor), to applied engineering and technology management. The degree programs are offered by the agricultural and biosystems engineering department in CALS.


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