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

Feb. 15, 2008

Senate approves research faculty position

by Erin Rosacker

Senators put closure to the proposed non-tenure eligible research faculty position, passing the measure 34-23 at Tuesday's Faculty Senate meeting.

The research faculty position (assistant, associate and full professor) was introduced last April and has been debated throughout the academic year. The policy needs approval from executive vice president and provost Elizabeth Hoffman and president Gregory Geoffroy.

Positioned at the end of the agenda, the discussion on the resolution lasted nearly an hour. In addition, Hoffman joined the meeting telephonically from Denver to address senators, calling it a historic day.

"My commitment, as provost, is that we will not hire research faculty in place of, but only in addition to, tenured and tenure-track faculty," Hoffman said. "This will not be a dumping ground for post docs who fail to get tenure-track jobs."

Hoffman, who is allowed time on the agenda at each meeting, hit on six points in her remarks Tuesday:

  • The loss of tenured and tenure-track faculty
  • Faculty salaries
  • Positive impact of research faculty on tenured and tenure-track faculty
  • Devaluation of non-tenure eligible teaching faculty
  • Contributions of non-tenure eligible lecturers and clinicians
  • Growth in number of non-tenure eligible lecturers and clinicians

Track record at Purdue

Following her comments, Hoffman invited Ames Laboratory director Alex King to speak. King, who arrived at Iowa State last month from Purdue University, experienced the creation of a research faculty position on that campus.

"These lines produce a great deal of flexibility," King said. "They don't overwhelm the faculty; they come in relatively small numbers; they come with very high levels of prestige.

"The experience at Purdue has been quite positive, I don't think there is anybody at the institution now that has any continuing reluctance about these lines," he said.

In other business, the senate:

  • Heard an update on changes being considered for both the study abroad and distance education credit courses.
  • Withdrew proposed changes to the Faculty Handbook's language on its open meetings policy (future changes are expected after continued work).
  • Approved a name change for the African American Studies program to African and African-American Studies.
  • Approved a resolution in support of the "Keep Iowa State Beautiful" initiative.


"This will not be a dumping ground for post docs who fail to get tenure-track jobs."

Elizabeth Hoffman