Senators review faculty investigation process

Faculty Senate began a new academic year with a review of the faculty investigation process at its Sept. 10 meeting.

Associate provost for faculty Dawn Bratsch-Prince talked about what is involved when a complaint against a faculty member becomes a formal investigation. She outlined four types of complaints: conduct, appeal, research misconduct and equal opportunity.

"Faculty are subject to all university policies, including the ISU policy library and the Faculty Handbook," Bratsch-Prince said.

Faculty can only be disciplined by the peer-review faculty conduct process and any sanctions are administered by the provost's office.

In an equal opportunity complaint, an equal opportunity specialist investigates and the provost's office is notified when the investigation concludes. A determination of whether policy has been violated is made, and the finding moves on to a three-person faculty review board. Bratsch-Prince said that process could change this semester.

"We are working on a new process where (equal opportunity) is carrying out the investigation and determining fact, both the undisputed and disputed facts, but not making a finding," she said. "That would mean the faculty review board would receive the investigative report and determine whether there is a violation of policy."

The office of equal opportunity investigated approximately 130 cases in 2018, about 10% of which involved faculty. Bratsch-Prince said 43 conduct complaints have risen to the formal level in her 10 years in the provost's office.

Workday update

Workday launched July 1 and WorkCyte liaisons David Cantor and Jo Anne Powell-Coffman said it is in a stabilization period as issues and concerns are addressed. A listening session with President Wendy Wintersteen and university leaders on Sept. 3 produced 31 action items. Work continues to find solutions for those as promptly as possible.

Senators reported frustration in their departments when encountering issues, unsure where to go for resolution. Cantor said a rapid-response team is being formed of Workday and improved service delivery (ISD) experts to respond to the most important issues, and a faculty job aids page contains answers to frequent Workday and ISD questions. 

Provost review

Senate president Jonathan Sturm summarized a Faculty Senate committee's spring review of the office of the senior vice president and provost.

The review was favorable of the office's work, highlighting promotion of the ISU mission, support of inclusion and diversity across the university, and eagerness to entertain new initiatives. It also addressed areas for possible improvement, including more support for international collaborations and clarity of tenure and promotion criteria.

According to the Faculty Handbook, the senate reviews an office of senior vice president or president each year, with no more than five years between reviews.