Inside Iowa State

Inside Archives

Submit news

Send news for Inside to, or call (515) 294-7065. See publication dates, deadlines.

About Inside

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

April 8, 2009

Federal laws impact research policy

by Erin Rosacker

Faculty senators got their first look April 7 at a proposed export controls policy, a document created to help Iowa State faculty and staff comply with federal laws. Employees working on activities funded by the U.S. Department of Energy's Ames Laboratory are governed by Ames Lab policies and procedures.

"I'm not going to argue for the logic or the reason for these rules, they simply exist," said Jack Girton, chair of the senate's research planning and policy committee. "We have very little choice in this matter."

Federal laws prohibit the export of certain technologies, materials and information to specified foreign countries, entities and individuals. Girton said the rules are explicit about what is deemed an export, and the penalties for breaking those rules are severe.

"You do not have take an item to a foreign country to export it," Girton said. "You may simply transfer it to a native of [a restricted] country, such as a graduate student from the People's Republic of China."

He said the policy would include a list of resources, including international travel and shipping procedures. The policy would require campus-wide collaboration and oversight from such offices as sponsored research programs, university counsel and controller. ISU's purchasing and surplus departments also would be involved, screening equipment and supplies that are acquired, sold or disposed.

Girton said ISU has a blanket exception from acquiring export control licenses for "fundamental research" that is openly published. Export licenses likely would be needed for research requiring: publication restrictions, personnel from restricted countries, or exported equipment and information.

A link to the draft policy (PDF) is available on the senate web site.

Student-athlete classroom performance

Faculty athletics representative Paula Morrow presented an annual update on the academic performance of ISU student-athletes. The combined grade-point average for student-athletes was 2.95 and 2.82 in the 2008 spring and fall semesters, respectively. ISU's general student body posted averages of 2.90 and 2.84. The women's golf (3.53) and gymnastics (3.41) squads were the top performers last spring and fall. Men's basketball (2.65) and football (2.20) were at the bottom of the spectrum.

About half of the student-athletes posted GPAs of 3.0 or better (52 percent in the spring, 47 percent in the fall), and more than 20 percent made the Dean's List each semester. Conversely, six student-athletes landed on academic probation last spring and 16 were on the list last fall. The 15 special-admit student-athletes had a combined 1.66 GPA last fall, the highest in the last five years. Some students and student-athletes who do not meet ISU's normal enrollment standards are accepted with special-admit status.

Looking at six-year graduation rates, Morrow reported that 58 percent of student-athletes who initially enrolled in 2001-02 graduated, while 66 percent of all students received diplomas. She voiced her initial concern with the low percentage of minority student-athletes (26 percent) who graduated in that group, but chalked it up to an "aberration" when compared to unofficial numbers for the 2002-03 entering class that show 78 percent of all student-athletes and 71 percent of minorities will receive degrees.

ISU's teams remain in good standing in the NCAA's Academic Progress Rate, which tracks retention of student-athletes and their academic eligibility. The one exception is the men's basketball program, which, at 877, still is below the minimum benchmark of 925. Morrow said the NCAA has not levied any additional penalties against the program since it is showing continued improvement, including an eight-point jump this year. She said the program is recovering steadily from player turnover after the coaching change in 2006.

Budget forum planned

Senate president Clark Ford said all faculty are invited to participate in a budget issues forum at the April 21 meeting. Senate leaders, caucus chairs and executive vice president and provost Elizabeth Hoffman will lead the panel discussion. Ford said questions and comments are welcome. The forum is scheduled for the early portion of the senate's meeting, which begins at 3:30 p.m.

Other business

  • Modifications to senate by-laws and changes to faculty grievance procedures (including timelines) were approved unanimously.
  • Senators will vote on a change to the Faculty Handbook at the next meeting. Suzanne Hendrich, chair of the academic affairs council, said the change removes the admission requirements and replaces the information with a link to the state Board of Regents' most current requirements published in ISU's online catalog.
  • A task force report on the percentage of non-tenure eligible (NTE) teaching faculty is available on the senate web site. The group's recommendations include establishing departmental accountability for the number of NTE faculty hired.
  • Two faculty members were elected to the athletics council. Chuck Schwab, professor of agricultural and biosystems engineering; and Kelly Strong, associate professor of civil, construction and environmental engineering, will serve as faculty representatives on the advisory council.


Senators will vote on a proposed export controls policy at their April 21 meeting. The policy outlines procedures for compliance with federal export control laws.


"You do not have take an item to a foreign country to export it. You may simply transfer it to a native of [a restricted] country, such as a graduate student from the People's Republic of China."

Jack Girton, chair of the Faculty Senate research planning and policy committee