Senators approve term faculty changes

Meeting April 9, the Faculty Senate approved changes to the Faculty Handbook on term faculty members' ability to hold administrative roles, periodic reviews, and reviews for renewal and advancement. The changes are:

  • Term faculty members' ability to hold administrative roles is determined at the department and college level.
  • One unsatisfactory annual review automatically triggers a peer review.
  • Assistant professor term faculty must have a peer review before the end of their third year and subsequent reviews every three years.
  • Associate professor and professor term faculty must be reviewed at least every seven years.
  • Term research faculty and adjunct faculty up for advancement with at least 50% research in their position responsibility statement must include up to three external letters as part of the review process.
  • Term faculty at the lecturer or assistant rank must serve five years at the university to advance to associate. Credit for prior faculty service at other academic institutions can be applied for advancement before term faculty sign their first multiyear contract.

Prior to voting on these changes, senators also adopted two amendments. The first adds language to clarify why peer reviews of performance are important:

  • "This peer review protects term faculty academic freedom by ensuring that disciplinary experts make judgments of quality of performance in areas of position responsibility."

The second notes each college or department can determine when and how peer reviews are used. 

Newton discusses policing at ISU 

Associate vice president of public safety and chief of police Michael Newton addressed policing at the university with senators. He summarized the mission and makeup of the department of public safety (DPS), and talked about training officers receive to avoid the use of force whenever possible.

He said he strives for the department to be as transparent as possible, noting that a daily online dashboard lists all calls for service and arrests.

"We provide daily data through dashboards. There are monthly reports, there is a running five-year report that is available, and quarterly we report on our use of force," he said. "Over 50% of our cases have nothing to do with our students. They are other people who come to campus and have things happen and cause issues."

Newton leads the DPS which includes the ISU police department, risk management, parking, DPS emergency management, building security services and key management. The last two functions were added to DPS from facility planning and management in November to bring more safety functions under one department.

Police calls and use of force

Newton addressed the use of force as part of police calls. "We do not use force very often and because of that we scrutinize those a lot more," he said.

In 2023, ISU police received 33,815 calls for service that led to 736 arrests. Of those, 12 (1.63%) involved the use of force. In 2022, 10 uses of force were used during 742 arrests.

Newton explained the department's four-part review process following a complaint when force is used. A use of force is considered anything above compliant handcuffing. 

  • The officer's supervisor does an immediate review and submits a report to the chief of police.
  • A captain does a full assessment, including reviewing video footage and talking with the officer. Those with the complaint may be interviewed if necessary.
  • The assistant chief does a review of all findings.
  • The findings are sent to the chief of police.

"Sometimes I concur and sometimes I don't," Newton said. "I may ask them to look at other pieces and I will look at training components that could address trends we are seeing."


Newton said the department does extensive training on de-escalation and the use of force. Each year a training plan is developed with a different training on a range of subjects highlighted each month. Some trainings are required by law and others by the state Board of Regents.

"We are working toward national accreditation for the department and meeting the gold standard for police departments across the country," he said. "We also are preparing to go through a communications training that is a national best practice that puts officers through scenarios that require them to use de-escalation tactics to be successful."

Newton also recently created a new position -- captain of professional standards and training -- that will oversee accreditation, review all cases where force is used, handle citizen complaints and review department training when hiring is complete.

Other business

  • Senators approved a certificate in health care management from the management and entrepreneurship department. The 20-credit certificate is designed to help students transition from clinical to managerial roles where balancing finances, assessing programs and leading are important. The certificate would be available to all undergraduate students.
  • Senators will vote at the next meeting on changes to the Faculty Handbook's section on college governance documents. Each college's budget advisory council or committee meets and advises the dean, so the council or committee must include the college's senate representative on the resource policies and allocations council in addition to faculty from multiple departments.