The University of Iowa Research Council
Annual Report to the Faculty Senate
The Research Council is a University Charter Committee (see § 2.8(19) of the Operations Manual)
consisting of 17 members confirmed by the President of the University. It’s charge is to:
(a) Advise in the formulation, review, and application of policy and guidelines for University research and its funding both from within and without the University;
(b) Advise on questions concerning the compliance of research with University policies;
(c) Advise in developing methods for informing University members about research opportunities and for stimulating, evaluating, and rewarding good research; and
(d) Provide a forum to which faculty and students may refer questions and recommendations concerning University research policies and procedures.
- Membership and Meeting Schedule
For the 2011-12 Academic Year, the Research Council membership consisted of:
Carolyn Colvin, Teaching and Learning
Miriam Landsman, Social Work
Edward Gillan, Chemistry
Yasar Onel, Physics
Jane Gilotti, Geoscience Neil Segal, Orthopedics Carin Green, Classics
Alberto Segre, Computer Science (chair) Kevin Kopelson, English
Linda Snetselaar, Epidemiology
Kellie Bodeker, Radiation Oncology
Bob Kirby, Honors Program
John Doershuk, Office of the State Archaeologist
Paul Soderdahl, Library Administration
Administration (ex officio):
Jordan Cohen, Vice President for Research and Economic Development
Rich Hichwa, Senior Associate Vice President for Research
Cheryl Reardon, Assistant Vice President for Research
The Research Council met a total of nine times (9/15, 9/29, 10/13, 11/10, 12/08, 2/14, 2/28, 3/20, 4/9), with subcommittees (e.g., the publication waiver subcommittee, the authorship guidelines subcommittee) holding several additional meetings on an as-needed basis. Representatives of the Research Council also interviewed all three finalists for the position Dean of Liberal Arts and Sciences and all three finalists for the position of Vice President for Research and Economic Development, submitting their own report to the respective hiring committees.
- Review of Previous Work
During the 2010-11 academic year, most of the Council’s activities were carried out in three subcommittees, the centers and institutes subcommittee, the undergraduate research subcommittee, and the authorship guidelines subcommittee. At the end of the year, the centers and institutes subcommittee submitted their report to the Provost and VPR; no further action was planned in 2011-12 pending review of this document. Similarly, the authorship guidelines subcommittee had submitted their authorship policy for approval by the University and eventual inclusion in the Operations Manual. The one unfinished order of business was a discussion of a survey performed by the undergraduate research subcommittee.
At its initial meeting on 9/15, the Council reviewed its mission and established goals for the 2011-12 academic year. After quick summary of the prior year’s work, Council solicited names for possible visitors to future council meetings.
Our first visitor was Associate Provost Tom Rice who met with Council on 9/29. Most of the discussion centered on the mechanics of the cluster hiring system, and a preliminary evaluation of the clusters so far. Among the concerns expressed by several members was that cluster hires were supplanting regular hiring, and that they were not particularly well-matched to the teaching needs of the University. We note that as of this writing, new clusters have been temporarily postponed pending a review that will supposedly address these very questions.
At the 10/13 meeting, a demo of the new eRouting system was presented by Jennifer Lassner from DSP. A second presentation by James Walker and Charlotte Talman (VPR office) covered the new conflict of interest policy established by the NIH. These presentations were largely informational in nature and did not require action by Council. The rest of the meeting consisted of additional follow up discussion of Associate Provost Rice’s visit on 9/29.
The 11/10 meeting centered on undergraduate research, and, in particular, the results of a survey by the Research Council’s undergraduate research subcommittee. Other business included a review of the new shared intellectual credit policy now supported by the eRouting system, and a brief discussion of minor changes to the authorship policy based on feedback obtained during the approval process.
On 12/08, after a brief update on the VPR search process, Kevin Leicht (Sociology) and David Johnson (Dentistry) led a discussion of the CLAS Dean Search process and solicited the Research Council’s list of desired strengths as well as perceived challenges for this position.
At the 2/14 Council meeting, an animated discussion occurred concerning late changes to the authorship policy, which had recently been approved by President Mason. The Council felt that the changes made by Faculty Senate that required — as opposed to encouraged — obtaining written permission from anyone cited in the acknowledgments were onerous and ill conceived: a motion to restore the original wording was passed and forwarded back to the Faculty Senate (the version of the policy eventually included in the Operations Manual used the Research Council’s wording).
The last three Council meetings focused on the role of the VPR’s office with respect to economic development. Several guests were invited and the discussions were both informative and broad ranging.
Guests included Ann Ricketts (OVPR), Zev Sunleaf (UIRF), and David Hensley (JPEC) at the 2/28 meeting and Charles Connerly (Urban and Regional Planning; Iowa Initiative for Sustainable Communities), David Wiemer (Chemistry; Terpenoid Therapeutics) and Peter Matthes (Government Relations) at the 3/20 meeting. Council continued its discussion at the 4/9 meeting, the last held in
- Recommendations to 2012-13 Research Council
The arrival of the new VPR+ED presents an opportunity for Research Council to get a fresh start. The main issues of the 2010-11 and 2011-12 academic years (authorship guidelines, centers and institutes, undergraduate research) have either come to a successful conclusion (e.g., authorship guidelines), are currently in the hands of others (e.g., centers and institutes), or will simply continue to be addressed when the need arises (e.g., publication waivers). Others, such as economic development, the cluster initiative, undergraduate research, and the internal funding initiatives will continue to be of interest to the Council, and new issues will surely arise as the new VPR+ED establishes his own priorities and goals.