The University of Iowa
Tuesday, October 1, 2002
3:30 pm – 5:15 pm
Penn State Room #335 Iowa Memorial Union
Members Present: Edwin Dove, Rebecca Hegeman, Ronald Herman, Richard LeBlond, Patrick Lloyd, Teresa Mangum, Kim Marra, Sue Moorhead, Richard Randell, Shelton Stromquist, Katherine Tachau, Paul Weller, John Westefeld
Members Absent: Chuck Lynch, Mazen Maktabi
Members Excused: Jerold Woodhead
Faculty Senate Officers in Attendance: Jeffrey Cox, President; Margaret Raymond, Vice President; Craig Porter, Secretary; Amitava Bhattacharjee, Past President
Guests: Kristen Wade (Student), Tom Walsh (Iowa City Gazette), Charles Drum (University Relations), Jon Whitmore (Office of the Provost), Chris Squier (Office of the Provost), Jim Andrews (Emeritus), Al Hood (Emeritus Faculty Council), Heather Woodward (Press Citizen), Paul Muhly (Budget Committee), V.C. Patel (Engineering), Lee Anna Clark (Office of the Provost), Jim Spratt (Emeritus), Peter Rubenstein (Biochemistry)
I. Call to Order
The meeting was called to order by President Jeff Cox at 3:35 pm.
A. Meeting Agenda
President Cox alerted the Council membership that President Boyd had requested that new business item IV.A, Proposal for Research Faculty Track (Attachment 4) be removed for consideration and discussion at this Faculty Council meeting. His request was relayed through the Provost to President Cox. The request engendered much discussion.
Prof. Mangum requested clarification as to the reason for withdrawal and therefore the status of the report. Provost Whitmore identified concern that there had been a lack of opportunity for broad discussion at the collegiate and unit levels and that this lack of local discussion will be an impediment to an informative discussion at the present time. In addition Provost Whitmore identified a lack of compelling reason for the discussion to happen at the present time. It was thus that the recommendation to President Cox was made to withdraw this agenda item with the expectation that prior to its reintroduction there would be an opportunity for campus wide discussion. Provost Whitmore was clear in his intent to bring this item back to the Council and to the Senate for full and open discussion in the future. Immediate Past President Bhattacharjee suggested a different approach. He expressed his belief that since the Council membership had had the opportunity to study the proposal that a discussion within the council chambers might be beneficial. In deference to the request from the president through the provost, however, he further suggested that following discussion the Council could agree not to proceed with any action. Provost Whitmore responded that there was certainly no reason that the proposal could not be talked about but agreed, for the reasons noted above, it would be prudent to avoid action. He further reminded the councilors that when the report was requested by then-President Mary Sue Coleman and Vice President Skorton that their charge to the committee was to provide an opinion regarding the feasibility of further pursuit of a research track faculty. The report was received in the spring of 2002 but because of the already-packed Senate and Council agendas the discussion of the report was delayed until the present time. In listening to concerns and opinions expressed publically and in private by their faculty colleagues, however, it has become clear to members of the central administration that inadequate lead time has been left for the development of an informed discussion amongst the members of the faculty community.
Prof. Tachau advised her fellow councilors that there was wisdom in each attempting to seek an informed view from their constituents. Prof. Herman questioned whether it might be valuable to discuss this in some detail in council in order to better inform the discussion with the councilors’ constituents. Emeritus Prof. Spratt, a guest of the Faculty Council, shared the recollection that approximately 30 years ago then President Willard “Sandy” Boyd “put out a dictum that there be no more research professors on campus”. His question followed that why had this not been included in the materials distributed for further discussion? Prof. LeBlond was interested in pursuing a discussion in order that the councilors be alerted to potential problems with the proposal and, as such, be better prepared for future discussions.
President Cox, attempting to refocus the matter before the councilors, reminded them that the proposal he made was to remove this item from today’s agenda only as an attempt to postpone the discussion for a later date. In response to a question from Prof. Dove he reiterated that the intent of the request included bringing the item back for full discussion before the Council and the Senate. Following additional, non-informative discussion, Prof. LeBlond moved removal of item IV.A. from the agenda as an action item. Prof. Tachau seconded the motion. Following additional brief discussion the motion passed by unanimous vote.
President Cox then asked that the Council consider the postponement of the approval of the Faculty Senate agenda at this meeting. Permission was granted for this request.
B. Minutes – Faculty Council September 10, 2002 (Attachment 1)
Prof. Bhattacharjee moved and Prof. Westefeld seconded approval of the minutes. A unanimous vote was received.
C. Proposed Senate Agenda – October 15, 2002 (Attachment 2)
Delayed (vide supra)
D. Approval of Recommended Replacements (Attachment 3)
Prof. Mangum moved that the Faculty Council endorse the Faculty Senate committee replacements as recommended by the Committee on Committees and that it be forwarded to the Faculty Senate for approval. Following a second by Prof. Dove the motion passed by unanimous vote.
A. Report of the Faculty Senate President (Jeff Cox)
President Cox reported that the Governmental Relations Committee met with President Boyd. At their meeting President Boyd took the opportunity to review his ambitious plans to reach out to constituencies in concert with our sister regents institutions. He further reported that the Governmental Relations Committee and Faculty Senate Officers would be meeting with Governor Vilsak on October 4, 2002. Vice President Raymond requested that in advance of this meeting the councilors provide the Faculty Senate officers with anecdotal evidence of the impact of the budgetary cutbacks that have occurred over the last 2 or so years. Prof. Mangum responded with a report of three students who had been forced to withdraw from enrollment at the University of Iowa because of fiscal considerations related to tuition increases driven by the budgetary cutbacks. In addition to the upcoming meeting with the Governor of the State of Iowa, President Cox also identified a Governmental Relations Committee sponsored forum with our local legislators.
A summary then occurred of some interim discussions regarding athletic department support. President Cox had been asked to comment to TV channel 7 on the suggestion that the athletic department should be self-supporting. This topic was also addressed at a budget meeting in which President Cox reported that Vice Presidents True and Schantz expressed some disagreement regarding whether or not the increases in coaches salaries that were approved over the course of this past summer were generated from self-supporting revenue sources. The conclusion of this discussion was that there would be distribution of detailed athletic department budget information at a future budget meeting.
IV. New Business
A. Proposal for Research Faculty Track (Attachment 4)
Research Track Faculty Table (Attachment 5)
AAUP Response (Attachment 6)
Statement of Tenure and Academic Vitality (Attachment 7)
President Cox reintroduced discussion of the proposal for the research faculty track, taking the opportunity to remind the councilors that no action was contemplated. In response to an opening question, President Cox indicated that the reports referred to as Attachments 4-7 could be found on the Faculty Senate web page under the October 1 agenda. Provost Whitmore added that his office would assure that there would be widespread distribution of the URL for the aforementioned reports via e-mail. Representing the Research Faculty Track committee, Prof. Squier was given the opportunity to address the Council. He indicated a willingness to respond to questions, but began by informing the Council that the primary impetus for the request that such a track be considered came directly from research scientists themselves. Their request, in turn, was strongly supported by the Colleges of Medicine and Engineering. Because the request seemed to come from a relatively defined part of the university, the committee members who were appointed to consider this request were drafted in order to provide broad representation from all portions of the university. The conclusion of that committee was that there was sufficient merit to the proposal that it be given further consideration.
Prof. Patel of the College of Engineering voiced his surprise at the tone of and editorial response to the recent article on the research faculty track proposal in the Iowa City Press Citizen. His surprise derived from the lack of a campus-wide discussion before this issue appeared in the press. As such, and having listened to the opening comments of the Council and guests on the merits of taking action on this proposal, he supported the concept of wider discussion prior to action. Indeed, he indicated that his own College of Engineering had yet to discuss the merits, or lack thereof, of this proposal. In his view, the discussion needs to be informed by the reality that the paradigm of research is rapidly changing and the university needs to explore mechanisms of increasing flexibility to respond to this paradigm shift. Prof. Dove, a Faculty Council member from the College of Engineering, echoed Prof. Patel’s comments by suggesting that he had no idea whether his fellow engineering faculty were supportive of the proposal.
Prof. Tachau identified a comment on page five of the proposal that the total number of research scientists was expected to be small and wondered the source of that comment. Prof. Squier responded by identifying that it was primarily administrators in the colleges who would be responsible for appointing the research-track faculty who expected that the number would be small and that this likely would reflect the current reality of the small number of research scientists currently appointed in various colleges. Prof. Tachau wondered before the Council whether or not this expectation might be borne out, pointing out that it might become an irresistible temptation to expand the number of research faculty should the proposal ultimately achieve approval. This question prompted a review of the way that the clinical track expansion has occurred. Its cap and the fact that its use and faculty numbers parallel those of other institutions with similar tracks was discussed. Prof. Lloyd suggested the wisdom of using the promotions model proposed for the clinical track faculty as a point of discussion for advancement of research faculty. In response to a request that the Council have further discussion of the history of the research scientists on campus as reviewed by Emeritus Prof. Spratt, Prof. Porter reminded the councilors that there was little relationship between the university research enterprise of 30 years ago to that of today and thought that there would be no need to do so.
Prof. Bhattacharjee questioned the need for reclassification of individuals as research scientists when there were many people in research programs currently appointed as P&S staff. Associate Provost Clark responded that the psychology of reclassification would certainly be important. In addition, the supervisory and administrative structures for P&S staff are substantially different from those for faculty. Furthermore there are rigid salary tables for P&S staff that may be inappropriate for successful research faculty members. Prof. Bhattacharjee recounted his personal experience in the supervision of six P&S research scientists in his interdisciplinary center. It was his opinion that salary ranges have never seemed problematic in their appointment and that these individuals were treated with such respect that the psychological need for reclassification did not, again in his opinion, exist. Prof. Tachau and Emeritus Prof. Spratt echoed the sentiment that the circumstances of the university remain constant even though the research paradigm is shifting. Prof. Porter reminded the councilors of the fact that the university strategic plan calls for increase in interdisciplinary efforts and that a move toward the creations of multiple research institutes would be one way that such interdisciplinary desires could be met. He further opined that such institutes could lend themselves to areas wherein research faculty could make enormous contributions to the betterment and welfare of the university. In addition the current P&S appointments have precluded certain productive members of our current research community from being able to compete successfully for NIH or other governmental funding opportunities.
Prof. Rubenstein of the College of Medicine reiterated the need for a broad-based discussion. He questioned the wisdom of expanding the ranks of non-teaching faculty at a time when our budget is being cut repeatedly and we have suggested to the Regents and the public at large that our ability to teach is being compromised by budgetary shortfalls.
In a somewhat delayed response to Past-President Bhattacharjee’s comments, Prof. Patel offered that a fundamental difference between those individuals appointed in P&S positions and those appointed as research faculty would be their need for supervision. Appointment as a research faculty member in his opinion would be one way to recognize the independent nature of the partnership of these faculty with tenure-track faculty and, as such, help to assure success of the research enterprise. He emphasized the independent nature of research faculty and by way of illustration he reminded the councilors that assistant professors do not work for associate professors any more than research faculty should be expected to work for tenure track faculty. This reality drives the distinction between the sorts of individuals who would be appointed to this classification and also emphasizes their ability to add to the university. In recognition of the fact that different areas of the university have very different needs and that the creation of a research track could have potentially corrosive effects in some portions of the university, Prof. Magnum asked how we might have a discussion about proposals that are meant to impact specific areas when the policy will be a broad policy that could effect all units of the university. Prof. Patel responded with the suggestion that members of the department should be viewed as part of a team and that it is also important to remember that it is increasingly difficult to find funding sources that support the former prototype of “one faculty member plus two graduate students for $70,000”.
Prof. Stromquist asked for help in interpreting the data included in Attachment 5. His interpretation of the data suggested that the more prestigious CIC institutions have not created such tracks and wondered why they would be included as evidence for extra-institutional support for the concept. Prof. Bhattacharjee asked the councilors why it is that we can’t perform the functions of the research faculty track within the constraints of systems currently in existence. Prof. LeBlond responded to Prof. Bhattacharjee’s question by asking the additional question of whose problem we are trying to solve with this proposal. It was his opinion that individual problems would not be solved by the proposal but that the faculty as a whole and the university might benefit from the proposal. Because the psychological impact of appointment as a research faculty member would be seen as an individual problem, it was Prof. LeBlond’s opinion that this rationale for the creation of a research faculty track was not compelling. Similarly, his view of the personal nature of the argument that the proposal would be advantageous in obtaining funding was also not compelling. Those arguments that rise to the level of being important, in his opinion, had to do with: the availability of faculty lines in an environment where they would otherwise be unavailable; the importance of a different administrative hierarchy with different expectations for these faculty, and the individual faculty standing and participation in unit enterprises. In summation Prof. LeBlond suggested that these three latter considerations of significant importance should be the focus for further discussion. With respect to discussions regarding the ultimate size of the group of research faculty, Prof. LeBlond reminded the councilors that we all have a poor ability to predict the future and that the focus of our discussion should be on the principles that will guide the needs and help to define the roles of such faculty.
At this point in the discussion Associate Provost Clark identified the fact that faculty retention is related to psychologic and salary issues. Furthermore under current systems of classification salary is, indeed, capped by title. Associate Provost Clark also responded to Prof. Stromquist’s previous assessment of the data provided as Attachment 5. Her interpretation of that data would suggest that our peer institutions are all struggling with this very question. She further elaborated that there are many institutions of great prestige who have research faculty but a decision was made that since the committee could not sample all institutions to eliminate selection bias in their report, they would restrict their sampling activities to CIC institutions. In conclusion of this discussion there was unanimous agreement that item II.C., the proposed senate agenda for October 15, 2002, would not include a discussion of the research faculty track until such a time as there could be robust collegiate and other unit-level discussion of this important topic.
B. Proposal for Faculty Senate/Staff Council Budget Committee (Attachment 8)
President Cox provided background with respect to this agenda item. A draft proposal was written by Mary Sue Coleman last spring according to his rendition and that draft was created with input from the Faculty Senate. Subsequently the Staff Council adopted the proposal. Discussion at the Senate level added one item to the proposal and that was item #6 which envisions the possibility of the creation of subcommittees whose membership could be restricted to either faculty or staff. Endorsement of this draft proposal would involve the elimination of the Faculty Senate Budget Committee. President Cox envisioned that should the proposal not be endorsed by the Faculty Senate that combined budget meetings may continue by invitation. He concluded his remarks before opening the topic for discussion by reminding the Council that the chair of the Faculty Senate Budget Committee is currently appointed by the Faculty Senate president. In the proposal for a combined budget committee the chair will be appointed by the president of the university.
Prof. LeBlond initiated Council discussion by requesting input from the Budget Committee chair. In response, Prof. Muhly added to the history of the proposal previously provided by President Cox. To his recollection, the proposal for a combined budget committee was an outgrowth of the Carlson Report. In his then role as Senate President, Prof. Bhattacharjee responded to this report and provided a rough draft of a proposal for a new budget committee which subsequently was revised by then President Mary Sue Coleman. In Prof. Muhly’s opinion the charge to the Senate Budget Committee and the charge to the proposed combined committee are essentially identical. In reality, however, the Senate Budget Committee really didn’t follow its charge in Prof. Muhly’s opinion. The Carlson Report identified the fact that the Senate Budget Committee needed to be more involved in comprehensive budget planning. The proposed combined committee envisions the opportunity to provide direct budgetary planning advice to the president. Prof. Tachau questioned whether item I.A. restricted the scope of the committee. Prof. Muhly’s response was that it did and in his opinion should be removed. He reminded the councilors that the general education fund comprises approximately 20% of the university budget. In the ensuing discussion regarding item I.A. a suggestion was provided by the Senate President that the “and” on the third line could be changed to “as well as other”. Prof. Tachau suggested that the term “general fund” be stricken from I.A. and that item #6 be changed to include co-chairs. Prof. Raymond suggested that this proposal was driven by the specific desires of a specific president and that those specifics have changed subsequently. For this set of reasons she did not see a specific indication for changing the process which is currently in place.
Prof. Bhattacharjee gently corrected Profs. Muhly and Cox’s history of this proposal. In doing so, he expressed his doubts as to the wisdom of creating a combined committee. He suggested to the councilors that the Carlson Report did not specifically recommend a combined budget committee but did discuss such a possibility. His recollection was that the proposal was driven by President Coleman’s desire to give additional voice to the staff members of the University. One reason to combine the budget committee would be to cut down the time commitment involved in budgetary planning. However the combined committee as currently envisioned would be too large and because of the potential for many differing views being expressed in a large committee could ultimately have the effect of cutting down the impact of the budget committee in budget planning as well as increase the time commitment of its members. In its combined configuration it was Prof. Bhattacharjee’s opinion that the committee had become substantially less functional. Prof. LeBlond offered that a way to improve the impact of the committee would be to lengthen the term of the committee members.
In Prof. Porter’s absence, Prof. Raymond continued to record the minutes.
Paul Muhly, chair of the Faculty Senate Budget Committee, commented that he remembered Prof. Bhattacharjee’s comment that he had visited the University of Minnesota and that there you could walk into the office of the President of the Faculty Senate and open the university budget, and he could tell you all you need to know. That would be beneficial.
Prof. Mangum noted that she felt she did not have a strong understanding of what is involved in the budget committee. She believed it would be important to meet with Jon Carlson and others who have served on the budget committee so we could get input about what would make the committee work best.
President Cox noted that we could adopt the proposal, could vote it down, or could table it for further discussion at the Nov. 12 meeting. Prof. Stromquist voted to table the proposal, Prof. Mangum seconded. The council voted unanimously to table the proposal.
President Cox then noted that this left no agenda items for discussion at the next scheduled Faculty Senate meeting. He asked whether the meeting should be canceled unless Pres. Boyd, legislators, or others wished to speak with the Senators. The matter was discussed. Pres. Cox decided he would use his discretion to shape the agenda for the Senate meeting or to cancel it. Ron Herman suggested that it might be a good opportunity for an open discussion on the research professor proposal, and Jeff Cox indicated that he would consider that.
Prof. LeBlond noted that it would be useful to obtain a written report from the Faculty Senate Budget Committee on the committee's views of the budget proposal, a thought piece about what the problems are and how the proposal speaks to those problems.
Meeting adjourned by consensus at 5:20 pm.
Craig C. Porter, MD Margaret Raymond, JD
Secretary, University of Iowa Faculty Senate Secretary Pro Tem