Iowa State University

Inside Iowa State
May 16, 1997

Woodman reflects on senate's past year

by Linda Charles
Review of the President's Office, personnel issues, and promotion and tenure kept both the Faculty Senate and its president busy this year.

Faculty Senate president Bill Woodman, professor of sociology, said the presidential review, slated to be completed this summer, was among the major accomplishments of the senate this past year.

The Faculty Senate Committee to Review the Office of the President is reviewing both the President's Office and the president, although, in keeping with personnel policies, the review of the president will not be made public.

Woodman noted that while some have said the review of the president should be public, "this is not about retention or dismissal. This is essentially what most of the promotion and tenure reviews are like."

"I've been very pleased with the work the committee has done," Woodman said. "They have taken their charge very seriously, they have worked hard and I think it has been very productive."

Personnel issues

The senate, through the Committee on Judiciary and Appeals, was heavily involved in various faculty appeals of promotion and tenure decisions filed during the year. Jack Girton, committee chair and associate professor of zoology and genetics, presented ayear-end report at the May senate meeting. As of late April, the committee had received eight appeals and three additional faculty members were considering appeals.

"It appears there is some difficulty with the appeals system as it is now constituted," Woodman said, noting that information gathered by the senate and its committee during an appeal goes back to the same person (the provost) who originally denied the promotion. "We're working on having it go to the president instead," he said.

The administrative leave policy also drew comments from the senate throughout the year.

In some instances, deans or DEOs may place faculty members on administrative leave for certain types of behaviors or problems, subsequent to due process steps.

"Many are uneasy with the policy," Woodman said. "There are a lot of gray areas. It is not clear who is accountable.

"I think," Woodman added, "when there is severe action against a faculty member, it should be brought to a board of senior faculty."

Promotion and tenure

The proposed tenure policy was unveiled during the March Faculty Conference in Grinnell by members of the ISU Committee to Review Promotion and Tenure Criteria and Procedures. The senate committee suggested post-tenure reviews for faculty and a broader definition of what scholarly activities could be considered when granting tenure.

Discussions resulting from the proposal were "very interesting if not always fun," Woodman said. "It has slowed down now, but we had a huge volume of input for a period of time."

Discussion of the proposal will continue this summer. Next fall, the committee will revamp the proposal, based on the input, and is expected to present it to the senate for approval late fall semester.

Other highlights

Woodman said other highlights during the year include:

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