The University of Iowa


Tuesday, September 5, 2000

Penn State Room, Iowa Memorial Union 337

Members Present: Carolyn Colvin, President, Teresa Mangum, Secretary, Jeff Cox, Lois Geist, Vicki Grassian, Jean Jew, Debora Liddell, Chuck Lynch, David Manderscheid, Ann Marie McCarthy, Gary Milavetz, John Moyers, Paul Muhly, Morton Pincus, Gene Parkin, Craig Porter, Margaret Raymond

Members Absent: Steven Aquilino, Caroline Carney Doebbeling

Faculty Senate Officers in Attendance: Carolyn Colvin, President; Teresa Mangum, Secretary; Jonathan Carlson, Ex-Officio President

Guests: Jim Andrews (Mechanical Engineering emeritus) , Steve Armstrong (Dental School), Lee Anna Clark (Office of the Provost), Steve Maravetz (University Relations), Peter Rugg (Daily Iowan), Christopher Squier (Office of the Provost), Ruth Wachtel (AAUP), Jon Whitmore (Office of the Provost)

I. President Colvin called the meeting to order at 3:35 and introduced new members of the Council.

  1. Approvals
    1. Meeting Agenda

President Colvin asked to add an item to new business. She wished to invite Prof. Shelley Kurtz, chair of the Funded Retirement and Insurance Committee (FRIC), to provide an update on insurance issues. Prof. Carlson moved to approve and Prof. Porter seconded. The amendment was accepted.

B.    Minutes

Council minutes were distributed. President Colvin called for a move to approve the minutes. Gary Milavetz noted a correction in III. Section C subheading C under New Business. Prof. Carlson rather than Prof. Kline presented the Regent’s Award nominations. The minutes were accepted with this correction.

C.    Senate Agenda for September 19, 2000

David Manderscheid moved to accept the agenda; Jean Jew seconded; the motion passed.

D.    Committee and Senate Replacements

Jonathan Wilcox is recommended to replace Carin Green (on leave) on the Committee on University Libraries. He will also become the third representative on the Regents' Interinstitutional Library Task Force along with Edward Shreeves and Amitava Bhattacharjee. Downing Thomas is recommended to replace Margaret Mills on the Governmental Relations Committee. Leslie Schwalm is recommended to replace Allen Steinberg as a Senator for fall semester. Debora Liddell moved to approve these appointments and Chuck Lynch seconded. The motion passed. The committee continues to search for a replacement for Chris Roy. Senators will be asked to approve these appointments at the next Senate meeting.

  1. Announcements

On November 14 Owen Newlin, president of the Board of Regents, will be in Iowa City. He has kindly agreed to meet with the Council of Faculty Senate from 4:30-5:30 p.m. He will explore with the Council how faculty members might better communicate accomplishments and contributions to the public. He will also outline the Regent’s priorities for the coming year. The Regents will meet in Iowa City on Wednesday and Thursday, September 13-14.

  1. New Business
    1. Regents’ Report on Clinical Track Faculty, presented by Jonathan Carlson

Prof. Carlson attended the Regents’ meeting this summer where the Regents approved the Clinical Track Policy, which the Senate passed last spring, without changes.

Prof. Carlson also noted that administrators in the health science colleges, in conjunction with Provost Whitmore, are developing a procedure for a dual vote (faculty and clinical track faculty) on whether to raise the current percentage of clinical track faculty members. The number of regular faculty voting will provide the denominator that determines how many clinical lines constitute the higher percentage.

B.    Faculty Development Policy, presented by Lee Anna Clark

(See full document at

Associate Provost for Faculty Lee Anna Clark noted changes in the new pilot Faculty Development Policy. Twelve-month faculty may now accrue twice the number of semesters previously required and then take a full year off, with a proportional payback in semesters. A faculty member on a nine-month contract may apply for the same option with special permission if the shift in duties fits within the number of leaves permitted her or his college.

C.    Report from Faculty Senate/Staff Council Joint Budget Planning Committee, presented by Jonathan Carlson

Prof. Carlson reported that President Coleman has created a joint committee, uniting the Faculty Senate Budget Committee and the Staff Council Budget Committee, along with appointed members. The joint committee has a distinctive mission: to review how the University allocates funds (as opposed to generating new projects). A final report is due spring 2001. Prof. Carlson welcomes Council and Senate members’ suggestions as well as information about allocation strategies at other institutions. The joint committee will meet with administrators to establish the university budget, but it is not yet clear whether the Senate Budget Committee will also hold a separate meeting with President Coleman and other finance administrators. The committee will attend a budget workshop September 15.

D.    Report on "Unfitness Policy," presented by Jeff Cox

In the 2000-01 school year, an Ad Hoc committee, chaired by Prof. Cox, was appointed to review the current "policy related to termination for cause," in the Operations Manual. The operations manual presently describes procedures for termination for "unfitness." The committee’s goal was to clarify how administrators should proceed if a tenured faculty member were deemed "unfit," but also to offer guidance to a faculty member who wished to pursue a grievance if dismissed for unfitness. The committee commended the Operations manual’s already clear procedures. The difficulty lies 1) in defining unfitness and 2) in determining who can initiate dismissal for unfitness. In response to the need for a definition, the committee rejected a universal definition in favor of tying "unfitness" to unit norms for the relevant department and college. To be accused of unfitness, a faculty member must fall below norms for a significant period of time. The committee noted that the policy should clearly state that dismissal for "unfitness" would be used as a last resort after genuine attempts at remedying the situation had been attempted. The committee also urged an obligation for the person bringing the charge to show that the accused faculty member’s academic freedom had not been infringed upon. (Here the committee referred the Council to the current definition of academic freedom in the Operations Manual.)

In response to the second question, the committee decided that the procedure should be initiated by the collegiate dean. However, the collegiate dean should meet with the relevant department consulting group and DEO before proceeding. The committee noted that the policy should also include a mandatory right of appeal to the Faculty Senate Judicial Committee and an automatic right of review by the Regents.

Much discussion ensued. Does greater specificity or greater vagueness promise a fairer policy? Does PTEAP offer one solution if a faculty member’s work is unsatisfactory in a single area despite its time limits? What constitutes "reasonable efforts" as a DEO provides ways for a faculty member to improve performance? Is the annual salary review a sufficient barometer to indicate falling performance? Who does the work of the unfit faculty member while he or she is being rehabilitated? Do units have defined norms—presumably the basis on which merit pay is awarded? Mark Schantz, the University’s Legal Counsel, urged the committee to continue its work in order to forestall the imposition of a policy, noting that a Regent of the University of Minnesota attempted to institute such a policy there. A second guest, Professor Ruth Wachtel spoke for the AAUP, also encouraging the committee to continue working on the policy. Vice Provost Lee Anna Clark suggested that the policy could be better named--perhaps as "neglect of duty." The Committee welcomes suggestions. President Colvin asked the committee to attempt one further revision of the policy in consultation with the Legal Counsel, the AAUP, and the deans. Jean Jew moved that the committee reconvene; Craig Porter seconded. Jon Carlson offered a friendly amendment that the committee be allowed to add additional members if necessary. The motion passed. Prof. Liddell noted the gratitude of the Council for the Committee’s hard work.

E.     Other new business

Prof. Shelley Kurtz, chair of FRIC, discussed recent and impending increases in the cost of University health insurance plans. In the coming year, the single plan will increase a modest $19.00. However, costs will likely jump in the near future. Prof. Kurtz also reviewed a number of anomalies among the policies. These anomalies increase the burden of particular contributors depending on spousal and family particulars. The committee is also considering how rising percentage rates will differently affect participants depending on their salaries. The Committee encourages participants, also, to be aware of the University’s continuing decision to set our health rates so that no group pays more than 30%, a policy which involves income distribution. Any change made to ease the burden on one group requires that all participants are willing to share that burden in order to secure health costs at a reasonable price whatever a participant’s income, partner, or family needs.

A number of questions followed. Would collective bargaining in particular units or at other Iowa universities affect insurance costs? Does increasing the number of categories increase administrative costs? (Prof. Kurtz noted at present we are charged a single administrative cost despite the various plans available.) Can we offer additional incentives in addition to current deductible rates to encourage participants to select the less expensive options? Does the committee review the quality of care each plan provides? Should the committee hold town meetings to discuss the policy and future changes? Prof. Kurtz concluded by noting that the committee will work to anticipate costs and changes in 2002.

  1. Adjournment

President Colvin adjourned the meeting at 5:15.

Next Council meeting: October 10, 2000 in the Penn State Room, 337 IMU