Initiatives to improve faculty experience presented to senate

Meeting coverage

Faculty Senate president Peter Martin presented the findings of the faculty experience work group during the senate's Jan. 22 meeting.

The work group, formed in fall 2018, presented five priorities in response to the 2017 university wide campus climate survey and the 2016-17 COACHE survey of faculty. The five initiatives are:

  • Create and promote the Cy for Civility culture-shaping campaign
  • Develop campuswide policies, guidelines and practices against bullying
  • Increase access to high-quality child care
  • Enhance departmental interaction among colleagues
  • Become inclusive with the equity, diversity and inclusion initiative

A pair of faculty forums, an online form for anonymous comments and discussion during Faculty Senate meetings were used to develop the action items.

"The discussions were thoughtful and engaging, and it was not overly surprising, but it continued to highlight issues that we need to address," Martin said. "The general theme suggests we need to continuously work on being the best academic community we can be."

The work group was directed by President Wendy Wintersteen to develop initiatives that improve the experience of faculty. Once an implementation plan is in place, success in each item would benefit not just faculty, but everyone on campus.

Deferred maintenance

Paul Fuligni, associate vice president for facilities planning and management (FPM), spoke to the senate about the challenges of  maintaining the Iowa State campus. Deferred maintenance on about 7 million square feet of general fund facilities through fiscal year 2018 reached $436 million. In FY18, FPM spent about $12.3 million on maintenance and repairs. It plans to spend about $16.3 million this year.

"This is not unique to Iowa State, it is pretty typical," Fuligni said. "The condition of our facilities on a per square foot basis is about the same as other research institutions."


Carol Faber, associate professor of graphic design, was voted to become the next president-elect. She will take office in May, when current president Peter Martin (human development and family studies) passes the gavel to Jonathan Sturm (music).

Other business

Senior vice president and provost Jonathan Wickert said the search for a new dean of the College of Engineering drew 99 nominations and 36 applications. On-campus interviews are planned for mid-to-late March.

Senators approved adding the word "bullying" to the Faculty Handbook's discrimination and harassment policy. After some debate, a resolution against bullying and intimidation on campus also passed.

"This resolution establishes an official faculty perspective," Sturm said. "It provides a document to peers, chairs and others who have bullying issues in their departments that can be addressed. It takes a step forward toward crafting an actual university policy on bullying without respect to protected class."

A proposed change to the Faculty Handbook by the Academic Affairs Council for consistency of core learning outcomes across all sections of a course will be voted on at the Feb. 12 meeting.

Senators also:

  • Voted to add guidelines for action plan mediation when dealing with disputed action plans from unsatisfactory reviews or post-tenure reviews. It clarifies about who initiates the mediation plan, committee selection, submission of materials, deadlines, roles and responsibilities, expectations and outcomes. 
  • Unanimously approved a proposed online master's program in event management after the College of Human Sciences' apparel, events and hospitality management department received a positive response from the University of Northern Iowa review. The vote was delayed a month to wait for completion of the review.