Wintersteen praises work of faculty, senate

President Wendy Wintersteen thanked the Faculty Senate for its efforts this year and praised the work of faculty the past two years at the senate's April 19 meeting.

Wintersteen highlighted the senate's decision to provide more flexibility about who can earn certificates at ISU as a significant step forward. It permits students who have an associate's degree but not a bachelor's to pursue an undergraduate certificate.

"It allows us to reach out to new student audiences, grow enrollment and is important in thinking about Iowa State's future," she said.

She noted the continued dedication to research at Iowa State. ISU ranks 16th in the nation for research expenditures among universities without a human medical school.

Wintersteen also recognized faculty, staff and students who have received significant national awards.

Admitted student day

Senior vice president and provost Jonathan Wickert updated senators on the inaugural Admitted Student Day on April 7. Students who had been offered but not yet accepted admission to Iowa State were on campus, along with their families, to tour and learn more about the colleges. Eighty staff from central enrollment management units helped coordinate the event, and 60 volunteers from the colleges took part, Wickert said.

"We had 460 students, and well over 1,000 people including their families, take part and really see the Iowa State way," he said. "We had 55 prospective students sign at the event, in a format like you see with student-athletes when they pick a school, but of course we will have more leading up to the May 1 'decision day' and after."

Wickert said he hopes the event will help reduce the "summer melt" of students who accept an offer, or multiple offers, and change their minds.

Incomplete course policy

Senators will vote next month on proposed changes to the incomplete course policy to ensure it is used only due to special circumstances beyond a student's control. If a student completes no further work, a grade must be included in the incomplete contract. When the incomplete is resolved, it is recorded with a notation and has no impact on the student's academic standing. The resolved grade becomes part of the student's GPA.

An incomplete will change to the grade indicated in the contract after one calendar year regardless of whether the student is enrolled at that time. A copy of the contract must be retained by the instructor and department chair or designated representative.


Rob Wallace (ecology, evolution and organismal biology) was elected senate secretary. Four council chairs also were elected:

  • Academic affairs: Rahul Parsa, finance
  • Governance: Matthew Frank, industrial and manufacturing systems engineering
  • Judiciary and appeals: Steve Freeman, agricultural and biosystems engineering
  • Resource policies and allocations: Mikesch Muecke, architecture

Other business

The senate approved:

  • An undergraduate dairy cattle production management certificate in the animal science department. The 24-credit certificate requires a minimum of 18 credits at the 300 or 400 level and at least a 2.0 GPA. After earning the certificate, students will understand the nutrition, physiology and breeding applications in dairy cattle production.
  • An interdepartmental minor in global human sciences that allows students to increase international engagement without having to travel if they choose not to.
  • An amendment to the Faculty Handbook on term faculty advancement. It establishes the same rank requirements for departments' advancement committees as used for promotion and tenure committees.
  • A resolution encouraging students to participate in the midterm election on Nov. 8. The senate encourages faculty to be flexible on attendance policies and refrain from scheduling exams and major assignments on election day.

Senators will vote at the May 3 meeting on:

  • A change to the interdisciplinary design bachelor's degree, to a secondary major program in the College of Design. The secondary major will reinforce a primary major and focus on inventiveness, visual communication and imagination skills. Enrollment numbers for the degree declined significantly since 2018, and the college stopped admitting new students to the program in fall 2020. The change better aligns with the college's interdisciplinary portfolio of innovation and entrepreneurship options. A committee expects to add 25 to 50 students from across campus per year.
  • A bachelor's in climate science in the geological and atmospheric sciences department. The major will educate students on how the climate system works, climate impacts on society and relevant sustainability and mitigation options. The 74-credit major would be the first at a state Board of Regents university and has support from the universities of Iowa and Northern Iowa.
  • An update to the Faculty Handbook to include recognition of innovation and entrepreneurship activities in sections on annual reviews and standards for promotion and tenure. ISU has placed a greater emphasis on innovation and entrepreneurship, but the handbook does not mention either in faculty responsibilities like teaching, research, service, extension or professional practice.
  • A resolution condemning the Russian attack on Ukraine. It calls for the end of cooperation with Russian businesses that pay taxes in this country and organizations that help finance the war. It also asks faculty to combat the spread of misinformation and provide support to Ukrainians and refugees.