Annual Report - 2012 - 2013 Academic Year

Annual Report to the Faculty Senate (2012-2013 Academic Year)

The University of Iowa Research Council
  1. Charge

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. Its charge is to:
  1. Advise in the formulation, review, and application of policy and guidelines for University research and its funding both from within and without the University;
  2. Advise on questions concerning the compliance of research with University policies;
  3. Advise in developing methods for informing University members about research opportunities and for stimulating, evaluating, and rewarding good research; and
  4. Provide a forum to which faculty and students may refer questions and recommendations concerning University research policies and procedures.
  1. Membership and Meeting Schedule

Members of the 2012-2013 Research Council include:
Carolyn Colvin, Teaching and Learning (chair)
Miriam Landsman, Social Work
Edward Gillan, Chemistry
Jane Gilotti, Geoscience
William Haynes, Internal Medicine
Robert F. Ketterer, Classics (replacing Carin Green who was on leave)
Johna Leddy, Chemistry
Neil Segal, Orthopedics
Alberto Segre, Computer Science
Gary Gussin (Faculty Emeritus)
Kellie Bodeker, Radiation Oncology
Scott Bounds, Physics & Astronomy
Patricia Gillette, Human Subjects -IRB
Paul Soderdahl, University Libraries
Rakesh Awasthi
Kyle John Oskvig
Administration (ex officio):
Dan Reed, Vice President for Research and Economic Development
Rich Hichwa, Senior Associate Vice President for Research
Cheryl Reardon, Assistant Vice President for Research
Ann Ricketts, Assistant Vice President for Research
The Research Council held 6 meetings (10/2, 11/6, 12/11, 2/5, 4/2, 5/7) during the 2012-2013 academic year with subcommittee meetings (e.g., the publication waiver subcommittee) held on an as-needed basis.  
  1. Review of Previous Council Work (2011-2012)

During the 2011-2012 academic year, the Council’s work may be summarized in three areas.  
  • A focus for the Council was to follow up on themes from the previous Council including a focus on the undergraduate research agenda (ICRU) and related faculty survey conducted by the Research Council’s subcommittee, and the recently approved authorship policy.  Associate Provost Tom Rice met with the Council to describe the mechanics of the cluster hiring system and shared a preliminary evaluation of the clusters initiative.  
  • A second area of focus for the Council was to participate in discussions related to administrative hires including the VPR search and the CLAS Dean Search.  Members of the Council participated in interviews.
  • Last, the Council focused on the role of the VPR’s Office as it relates to economic development.  Guests invited to attend included Ann Ricketts (OVPR), Zev Sunleaf (UIRF), David Hensley (JPEC), Charles Connerly (Urban and Regional Planning; IISC), David Wiemer (Chemistry; Terpenoid Therapeutics), and Peter Matthes (Governmental Relations).
  1. 2012-13 Research Council Activities

At its initial meeting on October 2nd, the Council reviewed its mission and established goals for the 2012-2013 academic year.  Council members generated a list of individuals to be invited to Council meetings. 
 On October 26th, members of the Council took an excursion to UI BioVentures Center and the Obermann Center to explore two dimensions of the research landscape at Iowa.  Members visited/heard presentations related to the National Driving Simulator, Bio::Neos, Terpenoid Therapeutics, and the BioVentures Center.  The visit concluded with a tour of the Obermann Center and conversations with colleagues in the humanities related to research activities and support provided by the Center.
Research Council members attending the November 6th heard from Associate Provost Tom Rice who shared the Cluster Hires Report.  AP Rice’s comments were the primary topic of the meeting.  Members voiced concern that cluster hires were largely missing from the undergraduate mission of the University.  Members also noted their concerns with education monies devoted to funding the cluster initiative, and on closer review, the hires made as a result of the cluster initiative appear to be driven by attention to research over attention to teaching.  This echoes concerns from earlier Council meetings regarding the cluster hire initiative.  At the November 6th meeting, Bob Kirby requested and was granted ex officio status on the Research Council. 
A theme of the Research Council in 2012-13 was an ongoing discussion exploring the connections between public engagement and the University’s research mission.  On December 11th, Ann Ricketts and Linda Snetselaar, Faculty Senate President, were guests and proposed joint efforts to bring greater visibility to the public engagement initiative under discussion.  At the request of members, Associate Dean of the Graduate College, Minnetta Gardinier shared information regarding postdoctoral scholars at the University.  With support from Council membership, a post doctoral scholar will receive ex officio status on the Council.
In February, 2013, newly appointed Vice President for Research, Dan Reed shared his vision for the UI research agenda and the intersections with economic development.  VP Reed noted that research trends suggest shifts toward interdisciplinary, multi-investigator, multi-campus projects with shared core facilities 
A March meeting was scheduled and cancelled because of weather-related issues.  At the April 2th meeting, David Hensley (Office of Economic Development) was a guest and described activities in his office and how these activities connect with the University’s research mission.  VP Dan Reed and Cheryl Reardon shared developments in the Office of the VP for Research including a program for new research faculty fellows, new strategies/processes for discretionary funding, and OVPR awards to recognize faculty and staff.
The final meeting of the 2012-2013 academic year was held on May 7th.  Associate Provost Tom Rice joined Colin Gordon, History, to lead a discussion of the University’s application for status as an engaged university through the Carnegie Community Engagement program.  Associate Provost Rice shared additional information related to the recently announced creation of the University’s Office of Outreach and Public Engagement.  Linda Snetselaar (College of Public Health) has been appointed as the new interim Associate Provost for Outreach and Engagement, effective July 1, 2013. 
  1. Recommendations to 2013-2014 Research Council

As members look toward the end of the first year of working with the “new” VP for Research, we anticipate more engaging and thoughtful discussions related to advancing the missions of research and economic development.   Specifically, future topics for this year’s Council might include the impact of what VP Reed anticipates will be fewer and smaller awards and an increase in intra- and inter-university competition.  Second, discussions might focus on the trend toward interdisciplinary, multi-investigator, multi-campus projects with shared core facilities and the impacts that may result.  The Council looks forward to an assessment of the Research Faculty Fellows program as well as understanding the impact of new procedures for handling discretionary funding.  Discussions should continue to explore how public engagement initiatives may forge links between economic development and the research mission by bringing new partners to the discussion.  The Council should continue to monitor the Cluster initiative and its impact on undergraduate education.