Senate supports name change for Human Sciences

The Faculty Senate supports a name change for the College of Human Sciences, to the College of Health and Human Sciences. Senators acted on the proposal at their May 7 meeting with a unanimous advisory vote that doesn't require a second reading. Senior vice president and provost Jonathan Wickert and President Wendy Wintersteen need to approve the change before final approval by the state Board of Regents.

According to supporting documents, the change reflects the continued work in the college in teaching, research and extension and outreach programs. Majors offered in the college include nursing, nutritional science, pre-athletic training, food science, dietetics, human development and family studies, and hospitality management. 

The change also reflects a national trend. For example, the Association of Public and Land Grant Universities' Board on Human Sciences changed its name to the Board on Health and Human Sciences. Six of 10 ISU peer institutions have colleges similar to the College of Human Sciences, four of which include "health" in their college name.

This would be Iowa State's first college name change since the College of Agriculture became the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences in 2007. A financial gift from Debbie and Jerry Ivy led to the naming of the College of Business in 2017.

Faculty promotions

Wickert, who is stepping down as provost in July and was recognized by the senate for attending  120 meetings, gave his annual review of faculty advancement data. The regents approved promotion recommendations last month.

Sixty-six faculty members received promotions including tenure. The group included 24 cases of promotion to associate professor with tenure and 42 promotions to full professor for tenured faculty. The list includes 31 women and 25 men across all seven colleges. Three cases were denied.

Of the 63 tenure-eligible faculty hired in fiscal year 2018, 33 received tenure this spring, more than 50%. Another 13 faculty took advantage of tenure clock extension options and 18 left the university, a departure rate similar to past averages. 

The provost's office also approved promotion for 56 term faculty. The promotions span six colleges and include 25 cases of advancement to the professor level and 29 cases to the associate professor level.

Cybersecurity certificate

The senate approved an undergraduate cybersecurity certificate in the electrical and computer engineering department without a second reading so it can be offered this fall. The certificate is for professionals with two-year degrees working in a security or information technology field. The 21-credit (one three credit course) certificate will be offered online as a series of two-credit courses. After earning the certificate, students will be able to anticipate cyberthreats, have skills to obtain mid- to advanced-level positions in cybersecurity and communicate complex concepts to a professional audience.

AI undergraduate minor

The computer science department is proposing an undergraduate minor in artificial intelligence (AI) in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. It's intended to appeal to undergraduates with a strong quantitative background to learn basic AI and machine learning techniques to help solve practical problems. The 15-credit minor would be offered in person.

This minor would add to Iowa State's AI offerings. The senate also approved an interdisciplinary undergraduate minor in applied AI in March. The interdisciplinary minor focuses on foundational knowledge with little to no coding necessary.

New major

Senators will vote in September on a proposed interdisciplinary bachelor of science in integrated health science in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences with five possible tracks. Students could choose an emphasis in:

  • Science of health and disease
  • Human health and nutrition
  • Data science and human studies
  • Public policy, ethics, communications and human health
  • Behavioral and mental health studies

The major's focus is on developing holistic health care professionals who understand the biological, behavioral, environmental and social determinants of health. The program would seek to form partnerships with medical schools and health care institutions to help students who want advanced training.

New leaders

Senate president Sarah Bennett-George (apparel, events and hospitality management) passed the gavel to 2024-25 senate president Rahul Parsa (finance). Meghan Gillette (human development and family studies) assumed the role of president-elect.

Other business 

Senators approved:

  • The 2024 spring graduation list, with 4,598 students expected to earn degrees this semester.
  • A bachelor's degree in game design in the College of Design. The degree is multidisciplinary, incorporating art, storytelling, psychology and technology through courses in several colleges.
  • A bachelor's degree in education studies in the College of Human Sciences. The degree focuses on education careers outside the classroom in settings like museums, zoos or libraries. It is a non-licensure degree.
  • Changes to the student academic misconduct policy. They are:
    • Each course syllabus must have the instructor's policy for grading for cases of academic misconduct.
    • Discipline for misconduct is at the instructor's discretion.
    • Removes mentions of college-specific policies in favor of a university policy.

Senators will vote at their September meeting on:

  • A proposed merger of the food science and culinary food science majors into one: food science. Students would have the option of choosing an emphasis in food technology or culinary science. Both options have 90 credits of general education and food science courses with 30 credits unique to each option.
  • A proposal to discontinue the master's degree in transportation in the College of Engineering. The degree was designed to attract students from the humanities and business, but has drawn low numbers. No students currently are admitted or enrolled.
  • A proposal to discontinue the rural agricultural, technological and environmental history doctoratal program in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences with a five-year sunset period. Budget reductions are driving the decision, and eliminating the program would save the college about $110,000 annually. Admissions would be suspended starting this fall.
  • Changes to the academic dismissal policy that would require any student not meeting the requirements of their academic probation to be dismissed. The academic standards committees would not make the final decision. Students with extenuating circumstances could petition for early reinstatement. Information would be added about the timeline for possible reinstatement. Students who would be academically dismissed but have met graduation requirements would be allowed to graduate.
  • Changes to the reinstatement policy for students dismissed for academic reasons. It would establish a consistent reinstatement process for all colleges. All students would be able to apply for early reinstatement with extenuating circumstances, not just juniors and seniors. Revisions also would be made to the student appeal process of an academic standards committee decision.
  • Changes to the prerequisite policy with the move to Workday. Students would be notified at the midpoint of each semester to review their present and future schedules to ensure they have not dropped or are at risk of failing a course that is a prerequisite for future courses. At the end of the semester, students who have not met prerequisite requirements will be dropped from any future courses that require it. A student can request a prerequisite override and present evidence that would be reviewed by the department.