Senate learns more about research enterprise, Veishea student response

Sarah Nusser, vice president for research, presented an overview of her office at the April 22 Faculty Senate meeting. Nusser, a 22-year ISU veteran and professor of statistics, started her new post in the reorganized office on Feb. 1.

"I've learned that the research funding environment is really changing radically," Nusser said. "The projects are larger and riskier, there's a greater emphasis on the full innovation chain -- from research to development to commercialization. While we want to continue to focus on traditional research funding, which is really important for the stature of research at Iowa State, we really need to look at different ways we look at funding and our research portfolio."

Although federal funding has "reached its limit of what it can do at this time," Nusser said there are more funding opportunities available through nonprofit and philanthropic organizations. Crowdfunding -- financing through a pool of backers -- also is gaining popularity, particularly with students.

Nusser said her office has a three-part focus for FY15:

  • Expand funding for the Center for Excellence in the Arts and Humanities, with a focus on skills development and prestigious awards, and connecting with the sciences and engineering
  • Establish a university-wide seed funding program with interdisciplinary, intercollegiate and interinstitutional opportunities
  • Support and invest in large research groups

Nusser's office is hosting a pair of campus forums to gather input on research support, particularly during the pre- and post-award processes. The forums are:

  • Wednesday, April 30, 8:30-10 a.m., Memorial Union Campanile Room
  • Wednesday, May 7, 3-4:40 p.m., Memorial Union Pioneer Room

Feedback also can be submitted with an online survey, beginning April 30.

Veishea student response

Hillary Kletscher, the new president of the Government of the Student Body, also addressed the senate. She said the Veishea cancellation had a "huge impact on the student body."

Kletscher said a group of about 30 student leaders, outside of President Steven Leath's Veishea task force, also is working on the future of the spring event.

"We really think that an ultimate change can't really come from the university administration -- and I don't mean that in a negative way, but for the student body to really buy into something, it has to come from the student body," Kletscher said.

The group is working on how to create a "culture shift" away from unacceptable behavior and how to get that message to all types of students. Kletscher said they will continue to work over the summer, creating initiatives for next fall, and planned to send out a message on behalf of the student body April 22.

"It's a call to action to hold ourselves to a higher standard, but also to have students grab a friend and say, 'you're better than that, we're better than that, this is how we act as Cyclones,'" Kletscher said.

Docket business

Four motions were unanimously approved:

  • Name change for the genetics graduate program, to genetics and genomics (Ph.D. and master of science degrees)
  • Name change for the bioengineering minor program, to biomedical engineering
  • Name change for the agricultural history and rural studies graduate program, to program in rural, agricultural, technological and environmental history (Ph.D.)
  • Discontinuation of the history of technology and science graduate program (Ph.D. and master of arts degrees)

Four new items were introduced for a vote next week, including:

  • Revisions of the charge provided for the outcomes assessment committee to better define its scope and activity
  • Proposed bachelor's of science degree in early childcare, education and programming, an online degree offered by a consortium of seven universities aimed at a "mobile" student audience, including military families
  • Requested name change for the integrated studio arts department, to the department of art and visual culture
  • Revisions to the Faculty Handbook (chapter 2.8.1), clarifying the path for approval of a name change for an academic unit