May 5, 2011

Senate closes the books on 2010-11

by Erin Rosacker

The Faculty Senate swiftly worked through a lengthy agenda on May 3, its final meeting of the academic year.

Senators approved a number of items, including:

  • The spring graduation list
  • Updates to senate by-laws, adding the new university outcomes assessment committee
  • A proposed minor in world film studies, based in the department of world languages and cultures
  • A department switch for the College of Human Sciences' family and consumer sciences education and studies program -- to the department of human development and family studies from the department of apparel, educational studies and hospitality management
  • A post-baccalaureate undergraduate certificate in studio arts -- a 25-credit program that requires a bachelor's degree and completion within two years. The program is aimed at students who wish to compile a body of work for graduate school admission or professional practice.

A proposed sustainability minor, introduced at the April 5 senate meeting, was pulled from the docket for continued work. Outgoing senate president Micheal Owen said it will return to the floor next fall.

Student-athletes in the classroom

Tim Day, professor in biomedical sciences and ISU's faculty athletics representative, filled in senators on the academic progress of Cyclone student-athletes. In the 2010 spring and fall semesters, student-athletes logged grade point averages of 2.90 and 2.87, respectively, with 28 and 24 percent of them landing on the dean's list. More than 50 percent of ISU student-athletes posted 3.0 GPAs or better both semesters.

"These are slightly, but not significantly, higher than the overall student population," Day said.

Graduation rates for student-athletes dropped slightly below the general student numbers at 64 percent in the fall of 2010. However, Day said that 92 percent of student-athletes who exhaust their athletic eligibility at ISU graduate.

Special admits -- students-athletes who academically qualify under NCAA standards, but do not meet ISU's requirements -- continue to make progress. Their cumulative GPA climbed above 2.0 for the first time since 2004.

For the first time since the NCAA instituted its academic progress rate (APR), the men's basketball team cleared the minimum benchmark with a 936. The APR rankings calculate retention and academic eligibility numbers, with a cutoff at 925 to avoid penalties. A perfect score is 1,000. Five women's teams -- basketball, golf, gymnastics, swimming and volleyball -- posted APR numbers greater than 990.

"The academic performance amongst our student-athletes this year was as good as it has been, and it's very good compared to our peer institutions," Day said.

P&T report

In her annual presentation on promotion and tenure, executive vice president and provost Elizabeth Hoffman said 72 cases were considered and all of them moved forward. There were 29 promotions to professor (already tenured), 40 promotions to associate professor with tenure and one promotion to professor (adjunct) without tenure. Two additional faculty members -- one professor and one associate professor -- also were awarded tenure.

In a breakdown by gender and ethnicity, 44 males and 28 females were approved. There were 16 nonwhite candidates -- 13 males (12 Asian, 1 African-American), and three females (all Asian).

"In the five years that I have read promotion and tenure reviews, this was without question the best set of portfolios I have seen," Hoffman said.

She attributed some of the success to more rigorous third-year reviews, more flexible policies (such as tenure clock extensions) and clearer position responsibility statements.