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

March 13, 2009

Senate outlines budget priorities

by Erin Rosacker

A resolution clarifying Faculty Senate priorities in light of looming budget cuts passed (37-10) at the group's March 10 meeting.

The Faculty Senate's resource policies and allocations council (RPA) presented a "resolution for guiding principles for budget evaluation" in a special order presentation, asking senators for an immediate vote. The document compiles a list of guidelines plucked from resolutions, reports and recommendations previously endorsed by the senate.

"These did not come out of thin air. They were pulled from various existing sources," said Travis Sapp, acting RPA chair. "The idea was to gather some principles that could be used whenever budget decisions have to be made."

Sapp said the principles are meant to be used by budget planners at every level, including administrators and chairs. The resolution summarizes 10 priorities to be considered when making budget proposals. Sapp said the list was deliberately general in order to provide overall guidance and to limit it to a one-page reference.

"Basically, it's to raise to the forefront, in the discussion about what's going to happen with the budget cuts, issues that we think faculty should be concerned about," said Arnold van der Valk, RPA council member and senate president-elect. "[These are] things we think should be raised in all kinds of discussions, at different levels, about how we cut the budget -- and make sure it's done in such a way that we preserve the integrity of the university and the academic programs we have."

For example

A sampling of the guidelines includes:

  • Hire more tenured and tenure-eligible faculty
  • Enhance "priority degree programs"
  • Strengthen student recruitment and retention
  • Support library acquisitions
  • Manage efficient and effective administrative operations, centers and institutes
  • Improve research and faculty development support

Other business

Senators also approved:

  • Discontinuing the master's of science degree in veterinary diagnostic and production animal medicine
  • The proposed Protection of Children in the Workplace policy
  • Revisions to the policy governing content of (promotion and tenure) external letters

A pair of resolutions dealing with Faculty Handbook changes were introduced, and are scheduled for an April 7 vote. In addition to committee modifications in the senate by-laws, changes to faculty grievance procedures also were proposed.

Steve Freeman, chair of the judiciary and appeals council, said the biggest changes were made in the timeliness of the promotion and tenure appeal process. Some changes include:

  • A shorter filing deadline for appeals (30 working days)
  • A longer response period for faculty (from five to 10 working days)
  • A shorter (20-day) window of appeal to the state Board of Regents, which mirrors board policy

"A faculty member should be able, within three weeks, to take their appeal to the next administrative level," Freeman said. "That shouldn't be a burden, because they've already been through the process."


"The idea was to gather some principles that could be used whenever budget decisions have to be made." "The idea was to gather some principles that could be used whenever budget decisions have to be made."

Travis Sapp