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Inside Iowa State, a newspaper for faculty and staff, is published by the Office of University Relations.

Nov. 9, 2005

Senate considers part-time proposal

by Dan Kuester

At its Nov. 8 meeting, the Faculty Senate discussed the possibility of part-time, tenure and tenure-eligible appointments. A proposal before the senate would change Iowa State policy to allow faculty to seek part-time appointments temporarily to take care of family members. The proposed change also would allow tenure-eligible faculty to seek part-time status and extend their tenure timetable for up to two years.

Family choices based on career restrictions

The proposal, presented by associate provost Susan Carlson, was developed, in part, in response to a study showing that, nationwide, professors are making family choices based on career restrictions. The study revealed that professors often are not having children or not having as many children as they would like because of the requirements of their careers.

The study showed that this is particularly true of female professors and younger, tenure-track-age professors.

The proposal is not only for women, nor would it solely be used for caring for children, Carlson said. Male faculty can use the benefit. And caring for an infirm or older family member is cause to seek part-time status.

The proposal would allow a faculty member to return to full-time faculty status after the personal situation has passed.

Several senators voiced concern that the proposed policy doesn't go far enough and should include more reasons to seek part-time appointments.

Other members felt there would be opportunities to abuse the benefit, specifically, using part-time status to slow down the tenure clock because a faculty member wants more time.

The proposal will be revisited at the senate's Dec. 6 meeting.

Other senate actions

In other business, the senate approved several program additions, including:

  • A new master of science in seed technology and business, which will be run by the colleges of Business and Agriculture. The measure was approved after some discussion about whether the proposed curriculum offered enough statistical background for a master of science degree.
  • A master of fine arts in creative writing and environment, an interdisciplinary program to be housed in the English department.
  • Another interdisciplinary program, a digital media minor, to be housed in the College of Design.

The recommendations will go to the provost and, if approved, forwarded to the Board of Regents, State of Iowa, for approval. If the process moves quickly, these programs could be offered as early as next fall.

The Faculty Senate also considered a recommendation to form a permanent Information Technology Committee to address issues concerning this growing part of the university. The issue will be addressed at the next meeting.


A proposal to create a temporary, part-time appointment for tenured and tenure-track faculty is not just for women. Nor would it solely be used for caring for children. Male faculty can use the benefit. And caring for an infirm or older family member is cause to seek part-time status.