Iowa State University

Inside Iowa State
Dec. 15, 1995

Proposed P&S statement defends value of professional experience

by Anne Dolan

A position statement under consideration by the Professional and Scientific Council would give equal weight to academic degrees, coursework and professional experience as qualifying criteria for new or vacant P&S positions.

The proposal, reviewed by the council Dec. 7, will be formally introduced at the January meeting for endorsement by the council.

The proposal is a response to a growing trend on campus to require a bachelor's degree for P&S positions. The concern among some in the P&S ranks is that advancement opportunities might be eliminated for staff members with long service records and relevant experience because they don't have bachelor's degrees. Council members argue the trend disproportionately hurts women, and several said the decision to require or not require a degree should be left to the departments in which openings occur. Some questioned whether it's legal to require a degree unless a link can be established between a specific degree requirement and the responsibilities of a position. The requirement of simply any bachelor's degree is expected to disappear from position qualifications at ISU.

On the other side of the issue, some suggested that as an educational institution, Iowa State should encourage the education and development of its employees.

The proposed position statement reads:

The Professional and Scientific Council embraces the university's mission of aspiring to become the premier land- grant university in the nation. Staff are a valuable resource and integral to achieving this mission. To obtain and retain the best staff in a competitive environment, the council endorses hiring practices that provide the best possible pool of candidates for all P&S open positions.

It is the position of the P&S Council that any university policy should assure consistent hiring practices that provide the best possible pool to the employing department. With the diverse and ever-changing environment, we need to be flexible in identifying the best possible candidates for any position. Critical components are demonstrated knowledge and skills that are job-related and predictive of job performance. Knowledge and skills can be demonstrated by relevant degrees, coursework and/or experience.

This philosophy contributes to a competitive pool for each vacancy and ultimately contributes to a competitive work force. Departments will then have every opportunity to fill open positions with the best candidate from this comprehensive pool.

Performance appraisal policyIn other business, vice president for business and finance Warren Madden said university administrators are close to approving a performance appraisal policy written by a P&S ad hoc committee and revised most recently last month. The policy addresses things such as goals and criteria of the process, factors in both the formal annual review and informal, periodic reviews, and training for employees and supervisors to get the most out of the process. Madden said administrators are weighing whether to apply the proposed policy to merit staff as well. He said the principles apply to all employees and that one policy would simplify things for supervisors. The council has recommended that the policy apply to P&S employees only and that a second (perhaps nearly duplicative) proposal be written for merit employees. Council members noted that salary increases are awarded differently for the two groups. They also expressed concern that the proposed policy, if applied to both groups, would be altered by merit employee leaders.

Madden said he expects a decision on the policy before spring semester begins.

The next meeting of the P&S Council begins at noon Thursday, Jan. 4, in the Memorial Union Gold Room.

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Revised 12/15/95