Senators learn more about Iowa State Online

Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching (CELT) executive director Sara Marcketti updated senators on some of the things Iowa State Online would and would not do during the Faculty Senate's Nov. 15 meeting.

Iowa State Online launches on Jan. 3, 2023, and Marcketti said CELT has worked this fall to increase staff from 12 to 40 to support instructors and promote online offerings. CELT staff will continue their work on course design and quality, instructor development, and instructional technology, in addition to overseeing the online effort. The testing centers will be administered by CELT as will the media production labs in Howe and Curtiss halls to help with technology vetting for the university, Marcketti said.

The online offerings will provide more flexibility for current students and completely online opportunities for new students.

"That might include degree completers, working professionals and companies seeking to educate their employees," she said.

Marcketti said Iowa State Online will allow for new degree programs, certificates or stackable and micro credentials, and grant-based professional development. But CELT staff will not teach any courses or be involved in the curriculum process, she said.

"The curriculum process is going to continue and only be strengthened by some of the support services we will offer," she said.

Posthumous degree

The senate approved revisions to the posthumous degree and certificate of attendance policy. The number of credits and GPA requirement were removed for undergraduate and graduate students. During the first reading in October, changes proposed would have required deceased students to be in good academic standing with at least a 2.0 GPA and have completed at least 32 credits at the university. Many senators said they want to make it as easy as possible for families of deceased students to receive the posthumous degree or certificate.

Applications increase

Senior vice president and provost Jonathan Wickert said undergraduate applications for new student enrollment as of Nov. 1 are up 5.2% from last year. Applications are up for resident, nonresident and international students.

Other business

Senators approved:

  • An interdisciplinary bachelor's degree in biomedical engineering. Graduates will be prepared to address health care challenges in injury prevention and recovery, neurodegenerative disorders and antibiotic resistance, and to improve personal protective equipment.
  • A  minor in Spanish translation and interpretation studies in the world languages and cultures department. The 15-credit minor focuses on analytical skills, linguistic competence, cultural literacy and knowledge of cultures in the Spanish-speaking world. 
  • Removing a limit on the number of courses undergraduate students can drop. The current limit is five, but over the past 12 academic years, students averaged fewer than two drops in their career.
  • Discontinuation of the Latin undergraduate and graduate minors in the world languages and cultures department. The last students graduated with the minor in 2012.
  • An updated Faculty Handbook reviewed by a task force for consistency across sections and chapters without substantive changes.

The senate will vote next month on a revision to the last 32 credit policy that would exempt students who earned credits while in an ISU study abroad or national student exchange program. The goal is to encourage students -- especially transfer students -- to participate in these programs during their final year. The policy currently reads: "The last 32 semester credits before receiving a degree from Iowa State must be completed at Iowa State."