The University of Iowa

FACULTY COUNCIL MINUTES 2001-2001

November 13, 2001

Penn State Room, Iowa Memorial Union 

Members Present: Joyce Berg, Lois Geist, Vicki Grassian, Rebecca Hegeman, Richard LeBlond, David Manderscheid, Kim Marra, Ann Marie McCarthy, John Moyer, Paul Muhly, Gene Parkin, Craig Porter, Margaret Raymond, Hazel Seaba, Lisa Troyer, John Westefeld 

Members Absent: Patrick Lloyd  

Members Excused: Chuck Lynch 

Faculty Senate Officers in Attendance: Amitava Bhattacharjee, President; Jeff Cox, Vice President; Erin Irish, Secretary; Carolyn Colvin, Past President 

Guests: Charles Drum (University Relations), Bob Engel (Emeritus Faculty Cou8ncil) Alan Nagel (Cinema & Comparative Literature), Lee Anna Clark (Provost Office), Raul Curto (College of Liberal Arts and Sciences) Julie Thatcher (Faculty Senate Office), Kristin Clark (Faculty Senate Office), Heather Woodward (Press-Citizen), Helena Dettmer (Classics)  

I.                     Call to Order

The meeting was called to order at 3:35. 

II.                 Approvals 

A.     Meeting Agenda

Prof. Raymond moved and Prof. Muhly seconded the following: 

Motion:  To accept the meeting agenda.  The motion passed. 

B.     Minutes from October 9, 2001

The minutes were accepted by consensus. 

C.     Proposed November 20, 2001 Senate Agenda

Prof. Muhly moved and Prof. Grassian seconded the following: 

Motion:  To accept the November 20, 2001 Senate meeting agenda.  The motion passed. 

D.  Approval of Recommended Replacements

Prof. Seaba moved and Prof. Manderscheid seconded the following: 

Motion:  The Faculty Council endorses the Council and Senate replacements as recommended by the Committee on Elections and forwards them to the Faculty Senate for approval. The motion passed. 

Prof. Muhly moved and Prof. Colvin seconded the following: 

Motion:  The Faculty Council endorses the Committee replacements as recommended by the Committee on Committees and forwards them to the Faculty Senate for approval. The motion passed 

III.               Reports

A.  Report of the Interdisciplinary Committee on Faculty Issues (Lee Anna Clark and Alan Nagel) 

President Bhattacharjee began by introducing Prof. Alan Nagel, Chair of the Interdisciplinary Committee on Faculty Issues, and then identifying the primary item of discussion, which was a clarification that has been added in Appendix A, III of the report.  Prof. Seaba asked where the Forckenbrock report referred to in the preface of the report could be found.  Prof. Nagel agreed that a citation to its location was missing and suggested that the report be posted on the web. Associate Provost Clark volunteered to ask the Provost to do so.  Prof. Nagel added that it had been referred to primarily to acknowledge that a previous report had been filed.  

President Bhattacharjee asked Prof. Nagel to speak in general about the report.  Prof. Nagel explained that in the university these days, we encourage more efforts that go outside departmental bounds but have not had normal regulations concerning these efforts.  In particular, the nontenure-track provision in the report enables a nondepartmental unit to make a nontenure-track appointment, sufficiently overseen by the faculty of that unit, the dean, and the provost, and maybe the vice president for research.  Faculty Senate had been concerned that we don’t open the barn door to a whole new type of appointment.  He sees it rather as a transitional stage that could lead to a unit earning the status as a department.   

 Prof. Muhly stated that he is sympathetic to these goals, but can’t understand why it needs to be written that appointments could not be made to any but existing ranks.  Associate Provost Clark answered that there had been a fear that someone could be appointed as a research professor, being let in "through the back door".  Prof. Muhly asked whether one could have an appointment split between a department and a non-departmental unit in such a way that the departmental appointment was tenured and the non-departmental appointment was non-tenured.  Associate Provost Clark answered that the track remains the same when a person has a joint appointment.  Prof. Muhly continued with his concern that in appointments that are split between a department, such as Biology or Math, and a nondepartmental unit, such as Applied Mathematics and Computational Sciences, it seemed possible for the individual to be released from the non-departmental unit and have the responsibility for his/her full appointment fall unexpectedly on the department.  Associate Provost Clark affirmed that there are such appointments, in which a person could have an appointment in one unit, such as a center, but emphasized that the budgeted appointment is the permanent and default departmental home of the faculty member.  Prof. Porter pointed out that the discussion has been framed in terms of tenure-track faculty so far and asked what happens with nontenure-track faculty.  Associate Provost Clark replied that the situation there is much more fluid as there is no tenure home for the faculty member.  The big difference that this document makes is unlike now, when a person could have an affiliation with a unit, and could even be paid from some MFK originating from the unit, but not have an “appointment” in that unit, now there would be an appointment in that unit.  Porter asked if this was a way to create a disposable appointment, such that if budgetary pressure was applied, the position could be eliminated. Could this be putting someone at risk of losing a job? Associate Provost Clark explained that that was not the desire.   

Prof. Seaba pointed out a what she saw as a discrepancy: in most places in Appendix A “joint appointment” is written but in III the term “joint” is absent. Associate Provost Clark explained that in the case covered by III, a person wouldn’t have to be joint.  Prof. Seaba argued that without a joint appointment with an academic unit, there was the possibility that the appointment might not meet the University's intent that clinical track appointments devote a significant portion of their time to providing or overseeing the delivery of professional services to clients and, importantly, integrate the delivery of their professional services with a teaching assignment.  Prof. Geist added that if a person is given a clinical faculty appointment, they should have the normal expectations. And if it doesn’t look like that, it should be called something else.  Prof. Seaba replied that it should be that way, but she hasn’t always seen it implemented that way.  Prof. LeBlond pointed out that by having promotion decisions for clinical track faculty within a non-academic unit, we would be placing the already difficult promotion decision for a clinical faculty within an administrative unit with no other responsibilities for promotion, other than providing information to the home department of joint appointees. Associate Provost Clark responded that she feels very strongly that we should be able to make nonjoint, nonclinical-track appointments.  Prof. Seaba clarified that III covers visiting professors, lecturers, and other similar positions.   

President Bhattacharjee observed that the whole way interdisciplinarity has been considered, a person is still anchored in some department.  As a result, we may wind up limiting the types of interdisciplinary activities that can occur here.  If a person has a foot in a secure place and another in a less secure place, won’t that limit the types of interdisciplinary?  Prof. LeBlond suggested we approve the proposal but add that there be some monitoring, so that in a few years we could make adjustments, if needed.  Prof. Geist suggested a change in appendix A III:  that I and IV be commingled, and III cover only nonclinical, nontenure track.   This would gives more stability, and breaks out the oddball things into a separate category. 

Prof. Geist moved and Prof. Colvin seconded the following: 

Motion:   Amend Appendix A, III to add the term “nonclinical,” so that it would read “…may make renewable, budgeted nonclinical, nontenure-track faculty appointments…” The motion carried.   

President Bhattacharjee suggested that the Provost be asked to post the Forkenbrock report on the web, and that it be added to the final version of this report as a hotlink. 

Referring to Appendix B, Prof. Colvin asked whether adoption of this proposal would change how faculty are reviewed. What if there is a positive vote in one college and a negative vote in another? Associate Provost Clark answered that the Provost decides.  President Bhattacharjee had a few questions for Associate Provost Clark.  With regard to matters of budget, he had a letter from February 2001 mentioning $500,000.  Associate Provost Clark affirmed that the same amount had been mentioned on page 8 of this report.  President Bhattacharjee continued on that topic, asking what is likely to happen, given the current budgetary climate. Associate Provost Clark reminded him that the report is a recommendation to the Provost.   

Prof. Porter moved and Prof. Geist seconded the following: 

Motion: That the report be forwarded to the Faculty Senate for their consideration.  The motion carried

Prof. LeBlond suggested that one way to foster interdisciplinarity is to pair senior faculty with emeritus faculty from other departments or even colleges.  Prof. Porter added that about five years ago a task force in the College of Medicine made a similar proposal.  Emeritus Faculty Council representative Bob Engel, having noted what was suggested, volunteered to contact appropriate emeritus faculty. 

B.  Report of the Faculty Senate President (Amitava Bhattacharjee) 

President Bhattacharjee announced that a detailed narrative has been distributed that summarizes how the governor’s cuts have been distributed within the university.  The cut of 4.3% to the 2002 budget amounts to 13.5 million dollars.  Despite the depth of the cut, at the college level the cuts ranged from as little as 1.07% to 2.96%.  He viewed this as surprisingly good news for the colleges.  

Turning to the most recent meeting of the Regents, held at ISU, President Bhattacharjee reported that President Coleman had yielded five minutes of her allotted time to him to speak on behalf of Faculty Senate.  This opportunity allowed him to convey, not only to the Regents but to the general public, the sentiments expressed at the special meeting of the Senate.  He had spoken of the old-fashioned value of public higher education, of the resolution proposed at the special meeting, and how the resolution passed unanimously.  He reported that so far the feedback has been positive.   

The third topic President Bhattacharjee touched on was a recent CIC resolution on intercollegiate athletics, which was passed during the meeting for CIC Faculty Senate Officers held on November 2 and 3 at Northwestern University. This has come in the wake of Knight commission report:  now faculty wish to express their views.  The resolution will be comprehensive for the Big Ten and the PAC Ten, and will be forthcoming in December of January for Faculty Council discussion.  Among the proposals is a sunshine proposal, since that most faculty do not know how athletes are counseled, etc.  If there will be a change, it cannot be unilateral.  But, if many universities join together on this resolution, they may be able to force the issue with NCAA. 

IV.              New Business 

A.  Discussion of Statement of Criterion Vote for Procedural Guidelines for Clinical-track Faculty Promotion (as well as Procedural Guidelines for Tenure-track Faculty Tenure and Promotion) 

President Bhattacharjee began this discussion by explaining that a minor technical matter identified by Associate Provost Clark in the Procedural Guidelines, section G5, has all of the sudden become not so minor.  Associate Provost Clark explained that after the clinical track policy was passed, it became clear that guidelines need to be clarified.  The Operations Manual had only a single sentence previously about clinical track promotion and tenure procedures.  An old draft was revised, and one of the things she had noticed was a problem, in I.2, which describes the conditions under which a candidate has access to external reviews (i.e. after a negative recommendation from the DCG or the DEO).  She found that she needed to ask the departments what was the criterion vote for a positive recommendation from the DCG.   

Prof. LeBlond asked whether the criterion vote need be equivalent for tenure and clinical track.  Associate Provost Clark responded that we will probably need to change the tenure track procedure, too.  Prof. Hegeman asked what the standard practice is in most departments.  Dean Curto answered that in general it is a simple majority for a positive recommendation.  Seventy six percent of departments in CLAS require a simple majority, but there is a range, with one department requiring 75% positive votes.  He added that it turned out to be a survey of culture, not policy, in some cases.  Many departments like having flexibility.  The plan is to work out the clinical track policy, then make appropriate parallel changes in the tenure-track policy.   

Prof. Porter expressed his concern that two people could get the same vote, yet have different outcomes.  How do you operate this way without consistency?  Prof. Irish raised the possibility that two people could get different percentages of positive votes, but with different criterion votes, the person with stronger faculty support but a “no” has access to external reviews while the other, with a weak “yes,” does not.  Prof. Moyer, seeing the need for some consistency, spoke in favor of having written policies.  He asked who is going to set the criterion.  Prof. Cox explained that the current policies are based on an anachronistic policy.  In the past, the vote was conducted in order to ascertain the general will.  Those days are gone, and now we need a standard.  Dean Curto added that each unit should have a criterion.  But, the culture of each department is so important that in some cases the culture is the department, and contributes grandly to the university. He reported that in his five years as a dean, only three times has a junior faculty come to him and said, “Do  something, my department won’t tell me what it takes to get tenure.”   

Prof. Grassian inquired why a candidate can see the external reviews only after a negative recommendation, and asked why couldn’t borderline cases also see them? She suggested something like a one-third negative vote threshold to see the redacted material.  Prof. Manderscheid reported that, in his department, what had been feared was the setting of a uniform standard across the college. Members of his department were quite relieved that what was desired was just a specification of what the criterion is.  Prof. Dettmer stated that most departments hire very carefully, and want to see their junior faculty succeed.  Referring to his survey, Dean Curto agreed, reporting that invariably it takes a stronger vote to be hired than to get tenure.  Prof. LeBlond offered his hypothesis, that if a department has higher criterion, one finds less flexibility at the level of the recommendation of the DEO and Dean.  Prof. Porter, while thinking it laudable that faculty hire so carefully, felt that the issue is whether faculty are treated equitably. Prof. Cox stated that if this is passed, we force all departments to address the issue of defining their criterion.  Prof. LeBlond didn’t want to push uniformity, but openness.  

Associate Provost Clark cautioned that if everyone had access to letters, the kind of letters that are written would change.  She liked Prof. Moyer's suggestion that departments be required to define their criterion, without specifying the vote.  Dean Curto suggested an alternative, that there be a strong vote within the group of the candidate, but a simple majority in the department as the criterion for a positive recommendation.  Prof. Irish pointed out the problem of identifying the appropriate group for the candidate.  Prof. Grassian returned to the point of uniformity: not among departments but within a department over time, so that the criterion cannot change on the whim of the DEO.  Associate Provost Clark suggested that we could decouple a criterion vote from the threshold for access to redacted material.  

Prof. Seaba raised the issue of the make-up of a collegiate consulting group for clinical track candidates, noting that section G1 specifies the composition of the DCG.  Her concern was that there might not be true peers (i.e. other clinical track faculty) within the CCG, and thus no one who truly knew what was expected of a clinical track faculty member, making it agonizingly difficult to conduct a fair evaluation without establishment of a criterion vote. Associate Provost Clark assured her that the policy specifies that there has to be at least one clinical track person in the CCG.  Prof. Porter returned to his dislike of different standards, stating that whether or not the criterion for a positive recommendation vs. access to external letter are decoupled, there is the danger of lots of grievances if there are different standards.  Prof. LeBlond pointed out that the denominator is different for who votes on tenure for clinical vs. tenure track candidate.  He suggested that we be open about what we are doing.  Prof. Colvin suggested that rather than voting on this now, we go back and talk our departments about this. We can come back to it and vote in December.  

Prof. Cox announced that Governor Vilsack will be having a town meeting at the public library at 7 p.m. tonight.  He encouraged the senators to go and speak out in support of public higher education. President Bhattacharjee added that the Faculty Senate Officers had met with the governor during his last visit to campus.  The officers had found that he was very forthcoming but didn’t budge an inch. 

V.                 Adjournment 

Prof. Cox moved and Prof. Porter seconded that we adjourn.  The meeting adjourned by consensus at 5:18. 

Respectfully submitted,

Erin Irish

Secretary