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

Oct. 10, 2007

Senate continues NTER debate

by Erin Rosacker

Despite a light agenda slated for the Oct. 9 Faculty Senate meeting, discussion went long on non-tenure eligible research faculty (NTER) -- a subject that will continue to get attention this semester.

A resolution to create a new NTER faculty designation (assistant, associate and full research professor) was introduced at the senate's final meeting last spring. Although eligible for a vote at the Sept. 11 meeting, the group decided to allow continued discussion by postponing the vote, but scheduled a deadline for decision no later than Dec. 11.

At Tuesday's meeting, the senate used a "committee of the whole" informal discussion to debate the topic. Members of the task force that studied the issue were available for questions, along with Ames Laboratory interim director Allen Goldman. Ames Lab personnel make up a large portion of the NTER personnel that are classified as professional and scientific staff.

A task force report identified 86 NTER positions in the colleges. More than half of those are P&S posts. The report and the resolution are available on the Faculty Senate Web site.

"It's the issue of how to accommodate some of our very best scientists who don't happen to be faculty right now, and how to create an environment where they don't feel like they're unable to participate in something important," said Elizabeth Hoffman, executive vice president and provost.

Senators used the free discussion period to ponder issues such as:

  • Similarities between current adjunct faculty positions and the new designation
  • Allowing individuals to hold P&S and faculty positions simultaneously
  • Distinction between outside research funds available for P&S and faculty applicants
  • Teaching and committee duties
  • Evaluation processes

"The whole purpose of this is to allow faculty to maintain faculty rights, and so that's a guide in deciding what these people [NTER] would be doing," said Denise Vrchota, chair of the NTER task force.


Faculty Senate will continue to look at a proposed non-tenure eligible research faculty position. A decision is expected by December.