Senators learn about task force's work on educational materials policy

Senators were updated on changes being considered to the university's Educational Materials Policy -- which hasn't been revised since 1976 -- during the Nov. 14 Faculty Senate meeting.

Use and ownership of educational materials task force

Barbara Biederman, co-chair, general counsel

Steve Lonergan, co-chair, animal science

Mandy Fales-William, veterinary pathology

Katie Fulton, English

Lesya Hassall, CELT

Tyler Jensen, finance

Reza Montazami, mechanical engineering

Kimberly Moss, art and visual culture

Hilary Seo, Parks Library

Ann Smiley, kinesiology

Animal science Morrill Professor Steve Lonergan and associate general counsel Barbara Biederman lead the use and ownership of educational materials task force formed nearly a year ago. Educational materials -- which include academic instruction, professional development and extension -- have changed significantly in the 46 years since the policy was last updated and are more easily transferred and delivered in different ways, Lonergan said. Proposed updates also recognize that individuals developing materials have expanded beyond faculty to include professional and scientific staff, post docs, graduate students and undergraduates.

The task force has met with most key stakeholders across campus, including college caucuses, administration, graduate council, Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching, Professional and Scientific Council and ISU Extension and Outreach. Lonergan said the consistent messages are that authors want to maintain ownership of their material, and updates are needed to clarify who owns and who can use the materials. From a university perspective, being able to continue to use materials for a defined amount of time, even if the author moves to a different position or leaves, is key to educational continuity, Biederman said.

"Our mission was to add clarity to the policy where possible and balance the interest of all parties while emphasizing the need to serve students and other learners with access to high-level educational experiences and meet external university commitments," Lonergan said.

Lonergan also discussed the process for the policy going forward:

  • Presented to the Policy Library Advisory Committee (PLAC) for review on Nov. 16.
  • Pending PLAC review, an open comment period will begin in early December and run through January 2024.
  • Pending PLAC recommendation, review will continue with the provost's and president's offices.
  • If approved by senior leaders, the updated policy would take effect for the 2024 fall semester.

Faculty Handbook modifications

Senators heard first readings on a pair of modifications to the Faculty Handbook. For consistency, the section on interim action would replace "calendar days" with "days." References to calendar days are rare and days are defined as working days, when university offices are open for business.

The section on appeals of a provost's decision regarding a conduct case to the president would add current details of the process. An appeal must be made in a written statement and the person making the appeal must provide sufficient proof. The president has 15 daysl to respond and appeals can be made for four reasons:

  • Improper procedures were followed
  • Academic freedoms were violated
  • Policy was interpreted improperly
  • Arbitrary and impulsive criteria were used in recommending the decision be appealed

New online master program

Senators will vote at the December meeting on adding an online master of applied statistics, helping fill the need to train individuals who can make data-driven decisions across many fields and industries. The 30-credit master -- which no other institution in the state offers -- would use online versions of 23 credits currently taught in person on campus. The other seven credits are from new courses.