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

April 18, 2008

Senate clears curriculum items

by Erin Rosacker

A long list of old business kept senators busy at the April 15 Faculty Senate meeting. A host of curricular items joined a proposed research policy, by-laws changes and handbook tweaks on the agenda.

Seven curricular items were sent back to their respective colleges for a full faculty vote following the senate's March 25 meeting. Although the items earned approval from college curriculum committees and the senate's curriculum committee, the Faculty Handbook requires a college faculty vote on new courses, curriculum or majors.

The three colleges presenting the curricular items were able to get a faculty vote over the two-week span. All seven were approved by the Faculty Senate.

Items from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences:

  • Minor in meat science (unanimous)
  • B.S. in global resource systems (unanimous)
  • Undergraduate certificate in occupational safety (unanimous)

Items from the College of Human Sciences:

  • B.S. in culinary science (unanimous)
  • Minor in sport and culture (unanimous)

Items from the College of Engineering:

  • B.S. in biological systems engineering (48-3)
  • Minor in bioengineering (49-1)

Research policy

A proposed research policy introduced at the March 4 meeting got its second read. The policy would protect researchers' publication rights when negotiating research contracts. The document was drafted by the senate's research planning and policy committee, with input from the offices of Sponsored Programs, Executive Vice President and Provost, and University Counsel.

"There are a number of good reasons we should have this," said Jack Girton, chair of the committee. "If we do not have this, we endanger ourselves and run the great risk of yet further entanglements with the federal bureaucracy."

"I think that it's extremely important that we protect our faculty, and our graduate students, and our post docs whose careers depend on the ability to publish their work," said Elizabeth Hoffman, executive vice president and provost.

After nearly 20 minutes of debate, the policy earned a 41-11 vote of approval. Next, it goes to President Gregory Geoffroy for consideration. His approval would send it to a senate committee for inclusion in the Faculty Handbook.

About athletics

In an annual update on the athletics department, faculty athletics representative Paula Morrow and athletics director Jamie Pollard addressed the senate. Pollard presented the department's financial profile, including an estimated a $40.1 million budget for fiscal year 2009.

To dispel what he termed a "misunderstanding on how the department actually is funded," Pollard's breakdown of athletics' funding showed 6.5 percent of the money (approximately $3 million) coming from the university. He also illustrated the department's $13 million payout to the university, including scholarships covering tuition, room and board ($6 million from athletics and $3 million from student athletes); FP&M services ($1.3 million); rent, concessions and fees ($1.2 million); administrative fees ($600,000); and $3.9 million in "other" charges.

Morrow's overview of academics showed that student athletes' combined grade-point average continues to edge the overall student body GPA. In the spring and fall semesters of 2007, the soccer (3.48) and tennis (3.44) teams, respectively, were the top performers. Football ranked at the bottom both semesters (2.53, 2.45).

This is the second year of the NCAA's Academic Progress Rate (APR), which tracks the academic eligibility and retention of student athletes. And for the second year, the men's basketball team was the only squad that fell below the APR benchmark number of 925, which Morrow attributed to the exit of players after the coaching change two years ago. The team's rating has risen 17 points (to 869) since last year.

More than 20 percent of ISU student athletes were on the Dean's List in each of the last two semesters, and at least 50 percent earned a GPA of 3.0 or better in each term. Sixty-two percent of student athletes first enrolled in 2000-01 earned a degree. However, just 42 percent of minority student athletes graduated. Student athletes who exhausted their eligibility at ISU graduated at a rate of 91 percent.

In other business

The senate approved:

  • Language change to the foreign travel grants policy, allowing faculty to apply for funds to cover airfare originating from airports other than Des Moines
  • By-laws change to create a representative committee of officers and caucus chairs
  • By-laws change to appoint the president-elect as chair of the committee on committees


  • Seven curricular items in three colleges were approved.
  • A proposed policy that protects researchers' publication rights when negotiating research contracts got a second read.
  • Athletics director Jamie Pollard and faculty athletics representative Paula Morrow discussed budgets and student athletes' scholarly successes.