The University of Iowa
FACULTY COUNCIL MINUTES 2000-01
Tuesday, March 27, 2001
Penn State Room, Iowa Memorial Union 343
Members Present: Steven Aquilino, Jeff Cox, Vicki Grassian, Jean Jew, Debora Liddell, John Paul Long (Emeritus Council), Chuck Lynch, David Manderscheid, Ann Marie McCarthy, Gary Milavetz, Paul Muhly, Gene Parkin, Craig Porter, Margaret Raymond
Members Absent: Caroline Carney Doebbeling, Lois Geist, John Moyers
Members Excused: Amitava Bhattacharjee, Vice President; Jean Jew, Morton Pincus
Faculty Senate Officers in Attendance: Carolyn Colvin, President; Teresa Mangum, Secretary; Jonathan Carlson, Ex-Officio President
Guests: Jim Andrews (Emeritus Faculty Council/AAUP), Lee Anna Clark (Office of the Provost), Jackie Hammers (Daily Iowan), Alan Nagel (Cinema and Comparative Literature), Judith Pascoe (English Department), Les Sims (Office of the Provost), Kristina Yows (Office of the Provost), Heather Woodward (Press Citizen), Joyce Crawford (Faculty Senate/Office of the Provost)
The meeting was called to order by President Colvin at 3:35 p.m.
Prof. Aquilino moved and Prof. Raymond seconded the following motion:
Motion: That the Faculty Council Agenda for March 27 be approved. The motion carried.
The February 27 Council Minutes were approved with amendments by consensus.
President Colvin reminded Councilors that they are invited by President Coleman to a reception at her home for the Faculty Senate to be held on Tuesday, April 3, 5:30-7:00. Partners are also invited.
The Interdisciplinary Committee on Faculty Issues began work in February of 2000. The committee members decided it was not in their purview to define interdisciplinarity. Instead, they considered assumptions that emerged in particular contexts in which intellectual connections among faculty members across various divides have begun or can be imagined for the future. These areas include research projects, interdisciplinary activities in the form of coordination of practical efforts on and off campus, and pedagogical projects, among others. The committee was struck by the enormous variety that such activities already take and the multiple ways in which interdisciplinarity is understood among faculty members in different fields and departments. Ultimately, the committee produced a report in which they recommend clarifying certain procedures and discuss the need for leadership and incentives to promote interdisciplinary initiatives.
The report lists ten key recommendations:
Prof. Nagel noted the committee members felt even small incentives were essential to promote interdisciplinary teaching, in particular. Therefore, they encouraged the Provost to establish a five-year program of incentives, along with recognition of team teaching and rewards for inventive teaching. They also urged the Provost to offer incentives to promote student and professional initiatives in the curriculum as well as support for individual students.
Prof. Lynch launched the discussion by asking what kinds of indicators would be used to evaluate faculty members and units. Prof. Nagel answered that the report notes some indicators but that the committee members resisted stating indicators that might restrict innovation. Prof. Lynch also asked whether interdisciplinary work could go on within one department. Prof. Nagel responded that committee members were interested in interdisciplinary teamwork and in work that reaches outside an individual department. They also encourage pedagogical ventures--conjoining members of what are usually recognized as disciplines. Prof. Lynch pressed further--so could that kind of activity take place in a department with one or more divisions? It could, Prof. Nagel, conceded, but would we consider work interdisciplinary, for example, if qualitative and quantitative psychologists wanted funding for a project?
Prof. Porter drew attention to the recommendation for special interdisciplinary hires between units. He asked if assistant professors would be hired in this way and whether these positions would include clinical track appointments. Prof. Nagel said both were included although all agreed that such appointments would need special monitoring to protect untenured faculty members.
President Colvin asked what kind of timeline the committee imagined for implementation? She also asked what impact the impending budget cuts might have on this report? These recommendations, Prof. Nagel assumes, will require four or five years of planning, scrabbling for new resources, and implementation. Several Councilors bemoaned that the ensuing and devastating budget cut ahead for every department and college. How can we float new projects when cuts are about to sink our ability to staff courses in established departments? Prof. Nagel rejoined that the committee worked with the assumption that major funds would not be available, even though change requires a certain infusion of new funds. He added that he sees this interdisciplinary plan speaking directly to the Strategic Plan.
Prof. Carlson asked which parts of this proposal the Council can help to push forward that would be beneficial even in the absence of new resources? Noting that interdisciplinary initiatives have long been a tradition of this campus, Prof. Nagel said that in part the report furthers existing objectives. We need to say to departments and colleges that we believe in this kind of change and to ask DEOs and deans to reward these plans. So should we go ahead and decide whether to endorse the policy proposals even if we do not have high hopes for next year's budget, asked Prof. Carlson?
Prof. Cox observed that one of the things the report does that will not cost money is to create descriptive reporting rules for departments. Is it the committee's supposition, he asked, that there are currently interdisciplinary objectives that are being thwarted by department structure? Or did the committee assume that interdisciplinarity is possible but that many faculty members have ignored or resisted these opportunities and need education and incentives? Prof. Cox mused that he could imagine a department where peopleís interests are departmental and that those interests therefore end up being dismissed as dull and conservative (and hence, not funded) while interdisciplinary initiatives are rewarded instead.
Prof. Lynch noted the report addresses all three prongs of the university's mission, then asked why it emphasizes undergraduate education? Prof. Nagel said the committee members believed this was an especially strong area for growth on the basis of their shared "from the ground up" philosophy. The committee did not discuss the potential for new interdisciplinary majors. Instead, they focused on the current state of interdisciplinarity, asking how can we better exploit the potential in what is already present? In times of stringency, they speculated, the administration will not want to encourage new units for the sheer sake of invention; however, often groups of faculty members who well work together mutate into a new institutional entity and should have the possibility to do so with careful oversight.
Prof. Aquilino asked--what is a non-departmental unit? If it gets funding, does it become a department? Associate Provost Clark said possibly but not usually. For example, Womenís Studies was a program for 25 years and recently became a department whereas the Center for the Book is unlikely to become a department and, therefore, can only hire faculty members who are affiliated with an existing department. The same is true of POROI, the Public Policy Center, the Genetics Program, and certain graduate programs with a budget, director, and faculty advisory body. These are the kinds of programs the report says should be allowed to hire interdisciplinary faculty members.
Prof. Nagel noted that the report stopped short of allowing these units to tenure hires. There are non-departmental units where fifty percent of a position is in a unit, but tenure is in a department. One argument for affiliation with a department is that departments are far more stable. That is why Appendix B addresses review procedures, which would remain in home departments. However, some faculty members teach in a department but conduct all their research under the auspices of a program. In that case, Appendix B recommends that the program should take an active role in reviewing research. President Colvin asked what the committee has done to try and address the problems faced by faculty members in joint positions. Two things, answered Prof. Nagel. The crucial part of Appendix A is the requirement that letters of agreement (which accompany every appointment) must in these instances be signed by directors of all participating units, the faculty member, the dean or deans, and possibly the Vice President for Research. In the review process, the report insists that an initial joint committee would assemble a common file. After that, the review process may divide or continue as a joint process. Prof. Porter asked whether these requirements applied only to departments or also to non-departmental programs? Associate Provost Clark replied that appendix B speaks to both units. She added that Appendix B will eventually be put in the promotion and tenure guidelines so that no one will read the two appendices together (and therefore see them as contiguous and hence confusing). The language in Appendix A is directed to the needs of non-departmental units in a short-term fashion and those hires may be from within or outside the University of Iowa faculty ranks. Prof. Manderscheid asked why a faculty member in a joint position could not have a file created by each department or program? Prof. Nagel answered that the prime consideration of the committee was that the exclusion of information from one file and inclusion in another seems the basis for problems when a divergence of opinion emerges between two units. The committee believed that if one file existed then all the pertinent information would be available to all parties involved. Associate Provost Clark reminded the Council that an individual, program, or department can always seek approval for exceptional circumstances.
Noting that several centers in the College of Medicine are interdisciplinary but do not have the authority to hire or to assign space, Prof. Lynch asked how space allocation would be addressed? In the letter of agreement, answered Associate Provost Clark. Prof. Milavetz asked how individuals in unusual positions would be evaluated? Also, how could anyone determine when an oddly positioned faculty member was merely "riding the coattails" of a colleague? The same as in any review procedure, answered Clark. But here the intent is be sure all units understand the complexity of an individual's duties in every unit involved. Would an interdisciplinary hire face special risks of losing a job during a budget crisis, asked President Colvin? It would be the responsibility of the home department to find a place for an individual if a unit dissolved.
The discussion concluded with the reassurance that before any unit would be permitted to hire, the unit would have to create an overseeing committee, clear procedures, and bylaws, all to be approved by the Provost.
Prof. Carlson moved and Prof. Mandersheid seconded the following:
Motion: That the Faculty Council endorses the recommendations in Appendix A and Appendix B of the Report from the Interdisciplinary Committee on Faculty Issues. The motion carried.
B. 4Cs Toy Library, presented by Prof. Judith Pascoe
As Prof. Pascoe's letter to President Colvin indicates, for the last fifteen years, the University has been giving space to the Toy Library in the former Public Library building, which the University has been renting. This library operates on a sliding scale membership. It originally gained the University's support thanks to Mary Jo Small. The University has now decided to stop renting this building. The lease ends in the summer of 2002, but staff members move out at the end of the summer 2001. Prof. Pascoe and a number of other faculty members and parents are very concerned that the library will vanish. She hopes that when the current Public Library expansion project is completed, space may be allotted to the toy library. Also, the Iowa City Council is likely to approve a building in the downtown parking lot near the present location. To gain time to pursue these and other options, Prof. Pascoe seeks Council's help in persuading the University to allow the Toy Library to remain in its current location as long as possible.
Prof. Porter asked, how is the library funded? 4Cs gets money both from the United Way and the University, Prof. Pascoe explained. Prof. Parkin inquired whether the University offered a reason for ceasing to provide space? Prof. Pascoe replied she learned from Facilities Planning that the space will be used as storage for the hydraulics laboratory for the next year. Vice Provost Sims questioned, how many people are served by the library? The members of the library include university staff, faculty members, and students, responded Prof. Pascoe. She added that because many of our students are parents; the Toy Library has become a gathering place for their families. Prof. Porter noted several funding sources which might be helpful.
Prof. Cox suggested that the Faculty Senate officers discuss the Toy Library during their weekly meetings with the Provost. Prof. Colvin asked for the permission of the Council to do so, and the Council agreed by consensus. Other Councilors suggested that Prof. Pascoe contact the Department of Residence Life, the Graduate College, and the Division for Continuing Education for additional support. Vice Provost Sims encouraged Prof. Pascoe to mobilize student parents.
Pres. Colvin thanked Prof. Pascoe for sharing her concerns with the Council.
C. Draft of the Policy Change to the Operations Manual Collegiate Reviews and Reviews of the Deans--presented by Lee Anna Clark and Les Sims
President Colvin asked the Council for a motion to shift into Executive Session to discuss the Provost's proposed new policies for Collegiate Reviews and Reviews of the Deans.
Prof. Porter moved and Prof. Carlson seconded the following motion:
Motion: That the Faculty Council enter Executive Session to discuss the Provost's proposed new policies for Collegiate Reviews and Reviews of the Deans. The motion carried.
Prof. Parkin moved and Prof. Grassian seconded:
Motion: That Jim Andrews be invited to remain for closed session. The motion carried.
Prof. Parker moved and Prof. Carlson seconded:
Motion: That Kris Yows remain to take notes on the discussion for the Provost. The motion carried.
President Colvin announced the twelve faculty members who have been nominated for the Regents Award for Faculty Excellence. These will be listed in the Minutes after the Regents vote on the awards.
Prof. Liddell moved and Prof. Lynch seconded the following:
Motion: That the Faculty Council endorses these twelve nominees. The motion carried.
Associate Provost Lee Anna Clark and Vice Provost Les Sims then opened discussion of the proposed changes in review procedures for deans and colleges.
Vice Provost Sims said that Provost Whitmore hopes the Council will endorse at least a pilot program using these procedures as soon as fall 2001. The present review process is taking two to three years for collegiate reviews so that the information is out of date before a review is completed. Also, faculty members are disinclined to serve on review committees that last for such long periods. The proposed procedures impose a six-month time limit on reviews of deans and a nine-month limit on collegiate reviews.
Associate Provost Clark then summarized the Provost's goals:
The key changes in the policies take the form of limitations on parts of the process. For example, the new procedures request page limits on the self-study portion of the document and on the committee report, limit the size of committees, and set a time limit for the review process. The Provost envisions a review analogous to a site visit. In other words, when the committee begins work, the people the committee members need to interview will be scheduled over a short, intense period as is the case in a two or three-day site visit, and the report will be completed within a month after the "visit." Surveys of faculty, staff, and students will be part of the information available to the committee. A list of core questions and college-specific questions will be offered to committees to expedite their work; they can also formulate their own questions. The focus of the collegiate reviews will be shaped by the strategic plan of the college under consideration. The new procedure also allows colleges to draw from and even to coordinate with accreditation reviews in order to avoid duplicating efforts in collegiate reviews. The Provost reviews deans annually. He would use information gathered in these yearly reviews as the basis for the five-year review. Vice Provost Sims concluded by saying that the Provost hopes to receive suggestions from the Council in time to revise both review procedures once again by March 30.
Prof. Carlson observed that in reviewing old Senate minutes, he ran across the history of these reviews. According to those minutes, the Provost must have Faculty Senate approval to implement changes to these review procedures. While sympathetic to the desire to respect faculty members' time, he was not convinced of the need to speed up the entire procedure. The policy as its currently written includes a number of areas where the need for speed could be emphasized. Even under current policies, the procedures should only take a year. Prof. Carlson expressed special concern about two issues. First, he argued that the self-study portion of the procedures offers an opportunity for collegiate faculty to talk thoughtfully about how to improve their college. The new procedure, by focusing exclusively on the college's progress regarding strategic plans, precludes such discussion. Second, the goal of the current policy is to produce a faculty review of a dean. In the new procedure, the review becomes the Provost's review of the dean, and the review seems to be simply a more elaborate version of Provost's annual reviews. For example, under the current plan, faculty members appoint a committee to review the dean. In the new process, the Provost chooses the committee in consultation with the dean. This relegates faculty input to the questionnaire.
Prof. Muhly asked if a committee has a limited number of pages and yet is expected to specific questions, whether the report would leave allow sufficient room to cover questions of interest to the faculty members? Prof. Mangum asked whether the questionnaire would allow the flexibility of written responses? Vice Provost Sims said these questions would be left up to the faculty members on the committed that will design the questionnaire. Prof. Porter observed that when he served on a review of the College of Medicine, designing the survey took an enormous amount of time because the committee entered the process without sufficient background information. He therefore feared that designing a survey instrument would not streamline process. Second, if the intent is to streamline the process, why decouple the reviews, he asked? Vice Provost Sims reminded Council that the collegiate and dean reviews already use two committees.
Several Council members reiterated Prof. Carlson's concern that the productive aspects of self-study might be lost in a leaner procedure and that the new process offers fewer opportunities for faculty involvement. Prof. Colvin suggested that the chief associate dean's role as chair of the self-study in the collegiate review might be filled by a faculty member. Prof. Carlson said that he still likes the present description of collegiate reviews with its specific list of major areas to be studied. Pres. Colvin argued for advantages of a stream-lined review, noting that reviewers tend to become more thoughtful and focused when forced to be more succinct. Prof. Liddell urged that if we expect faculty members to volunteer for review committees and the reviews will occur more frequently, we should provide incentives to overcome reasonable resistance. Associate Provost Clark replied that the reviews will occur every five years instead of every seven so that the workload should not increase drastically. Prof. Porter resisted time limits on the self-study part of the process. Finally, Prof. Milavetz asked, given the divergent points of view, how Council members should communicate their suggestions to the Provost? Councilors were encouraged to send suggestions to Provost Whitmore by e-mail as soon as possible.
President Colvin concluded by suggesting that at the next meeting we consider whether we are willing to endorse either or both of the new procedures at least as pilot programs for next year.
President Colvin then asked Councilors for a quick update on their constituents' responses to the proposed revision of the Unacceptable Performance of Duty policy. While several Councilors had not yet met with their departments, others reported that most of the responses they were receiving supported adopting the proposed UPOD policy rather than keeping the current Unfitness Policy.
President Colvin adjourned the executive session at 5:40 p.m.
Next Council meeting: Tuesday, April 10, 2001 (Northwestern Room #345).