Senate business concludes with policy changes, P&T report

The Faculty Senate closed out the 2012-13 academic year May 7 with dead week and excusable absence policy changes. Senators also got a look at this year's promotion and tenure results.

Senators approved a dead week policy for undergraduates. The previous language presented the information as a set of recommendations, rather than a formal policy. The approved dead week restrictions include:

  • due dates for mandatory graded submissions must be listed on the syllabus
  • final exams are not allowed, except for labs or weekly courses that do not meet during finals
  • student organizations may not hold meetings, functions or sponsored events without approval by the dean of students office

Changes to the Faculty Handbook policy (section 10.4.3) that outlines excused absences for extracurricular activities also were approved. The changes help accommodate students with military service obligations and mandated court appearances.

Concerns were raised in the discussion, including a failed motion to send the document back to the academic affairs council for additional work. Concerns ranged from the broadness of the language to the policy's impact on instructors teaching large class sections, but supporters pointed to the ability of instructors to make reasonable decisions.

"Instructor discretion is in the overall preamble," said Veronica Dark. "If you think the student is not being exposed to, or isn't able to master the material that you need them to master, then we need to counsel the student."

Promotion and tenure report

Senior vice president and provost Jonathan Wickert shared this year's promotion and tenure results, reporting that 56 of 63 cases were approved. Twenty of 25 tenured faculty were promoted to professor, 32 of 34 tenured faculty were promoted to associate professor, three earned tenure and one was promoted to professor (a non-tenured collaborator appointment).

P&T recommendations (and requests) by gender and ethnicity:

Ethnic Group Male Female
White 24 (28) 13 (15)
Asian 10 (11) 7 (7)
Latino, Hispanic 0 (0) 2 (2)
Total 34 (39) 22 (24)


Wickert also shared statistics on:

  • resignations prior to tenure: 37.7 percent (2005), 33.8 percent (2006), 42.2 percent (2007)
  • retention in the partner accommodation program: $6.5 million since 2001, about 90 percent still here
  • tenure clock extensions: 139 (76 women, 63 men) have used an extension since 2003; 39 percent granted, 35 percent pending, 21 percent resigned

He also provided a snapshot of the 2007 class of tenure-eligible faculty. Of the 45 faculty hired, 20 earned tenure, four are working toward tenure with an extension and two changed to P base (professional and scientific) positions. Wickert said it was the number of faculty who left ISU without earning tenure -- 19 (13 men and six women) -- that caught his attention.

"That number kind of jumped out at me," Wickert said. "We know there are a lot of reasons why people may leave the institution. We want to take a look at the data and do some analytics on it. We want to understand why this change is happening."

Other business

  • A name change for the family finance housing and policy program (to financial counseling and planning) was approved unanimously.
  • A name change for the agricultural engineering graduate program (to agricultural and biosystems engineering) was approved unanimously.