Meeting Minutes - November 17, 2014

Date of Meeting: 

Monday, November 17, 2014

Members present:  Ed Gillan, Carolyn Colvin, Gary Gussin, Johna Leddy, Pat Gillette, Barbara Eckstein, Rachel Marek (attending for Post Doc member, Cara Hamann), Alberto Segre, Ryan Tinnes, Nick Borcherding, Bob Kirby

Others in Attendance: Cheryl Reardon

Item 1: Welcome and Updates (Ed Gillan)

  • Ed Gillan discussed VP Reed’s State of Research address given on November 10th.
  • Jim Walker, Associate Vice President for Research, Regulatory Affairs has announced that he will be retiring in 2015.  Ed discussed the Institutional Conflict of Interest document that is currently being worked on with Jim and that more information will be available at the next Research Council meeting.
  • Graduate College Dean, John Keller, spoke with Ed following VP Reed’s speech and expressed interest in speaking with the Research Council about the state of graduate education at the University of Iowa.  This will be scheduled for a meeting in the spring of 2015.

Item 2: VPR & ED Updates and Initiatives (Cheryl Reardon)

  • Internal Funding Initiative proposals are due December 9th.
  • The second University of Iowa Research awards will be held on April 28th at the Sheraton, honoring UI students, staff, and faculty for their contributions to UI Research and Economic Development.  A request for nominations will be released on December 8th.  Nominations will be due the first week of February, 2015.
  • Legislators in the lab – on November 13th, OVPR hosted 5 state legislators (Bob Dvorsky, Mary Mascher, Dean Fisher, Liz Mathis, and Rita Hart) to visit UI’s NADS and PBDB facilities with the aim of promoting the importance of research.  Iowa has designated 5% of general education funding be tied to research according to the Iowa Board of Regents revised funding mechanism.
  • The Research Council’s Entrepreneurial Leave of Absence Committee held its first meeting.  The focus will be narrowed so that a proposal can be finalized and presented to UI Shared Governance.  There are 8 people on the committee; the proposal continues to take shape.
  • A committee is currently looking at crowd funded research.  There are likely not large amounts of funding to be found in crowd funding, but the opportunity is there and there should be a process in place for investigators to pursue it as an option.  OVPR would like to provide media assistance to help tell the researcher’s story.  Some faculty have and are using crowd funding, but currently there is no process by which it is regulated.
  • Johna Leddy’s student, Krysti Knoche won the Collegian Innovation and Leadership award at the Iowa Women of Innovation Awards.

Item 3: Approval of October 2014 Minutes

  • Minutes were reviewed and approved.

Item 4: Continued Discussion on Potential Research Council Charter Changes

  • Ed Gillan, Paul Soderdahl, and Alberto Segre compiled the general consensus of ideas from the discussion thus far in to a draft revision.  Key changes were noted in the Research Council agenda.  Ed reviewed the proposed changes.
  • Cheryl Reardon suggested an endorsement from VP Reed once the proposed changes are completed.
  • Paul generated a chart comparing the different UI charter councils and their membership requirements.
  • Bob Kirby talked about the ex officio inclusion of his position.  He has traditionally not voted and feels that he is there to advise the committee.  Bob’s recollection of the addition of him/his position to the meeting was not intended as a voting member and he would agree that he remain a non-voting member.
  • Alberto noted that the membership is listed from the largest contingent to the smallest: faculty, staff, students/post doc, non-voting.  Committee membership on the charter would be reordered.
  • Rachel Marek noted that the Research Council is the only charter committee on which they are currently represented.
  • Frequently absent committee member/members unable to attend were discussed.  Gary Gussin asked if there is a process by which the committee can replace RC members that cannot attend.  Barbara Eckstein suggested that the council ask the absent members if the Research Council could replace them since it doesn’t appear as though they are able to attend.  Ed Gillan noted that committee chairs can request member replacement for Faculty Senate members that do not (or cannot) attend meetings.
  • The Research Council discussed the post doc position and the possibility of making it a voting member.  Barbara suggested the post docs submit a short rationale behind the request so that there is documentation regarding the change.  Carolyn Colvin talked about Minnetta Gardinier’s rationale – that because post docs are involved in the research mission and not otherwise represented, they be given a voice through the Research Council.  Carolyn also reiterated the idea that the post docs bring a proposal.
  • The council spent some time discussing the history of post doc related policy changes, specifically authorship.
  • Rachel noted that there are two different classifications of post docs to keep in mind while revising the policy (Postdoctoral Research Scholar and Postdoctoral Research Fellow).
  • Bob Kirby noted that there is nothing mentioned in the charter about the term of service for postdoctoral members.  The governing body of the group dictates the term of representation.
  • The Faculty Senate should appreciate flexibility in member selection.  The revised charter language releases governing groups from needing to fill positions specifically by the members’ area of study.
  • Barb suggested that the groups represented be listed alphabetically rather than in a way that could be interpreted as hierarchical.  The committee agreed unanimously.
  • Cheryl Reardon pointed out that the charter does not mention Economic Development and suggested that the group look at adding language to help it cover the Economic Development mission of OVPR & ED.
  • Changes will go from the committee to VP Reed to endorse.  Ed would then bring the proposed changes to the various governance groups for vote.
  • Carolyn suggested having a vote in December with the proposed changes updated and revised in a final proposed draft.
  • Rachel indicated that the post docs would email their rationale for being included as voting members.  This will be included and voted upon as well in December.

Item 5: Undergraduate Research on Campus

  • Bob Kirby presented the faculty survey of ten questions about undergraduate research.  Pat Gillette asked for a clarification on what is meant by research.  Bob responded that, ideally, students would learn everything about the research process from start to finish.
  • Alberto Segre discussed increasing faculty loads and whether mentoring added undergraduates would count toward such requirements.  Bob also mentioned that with the university’s increased enrollment goals, there will be more students competing for the same number of research opportunities. 
  • Bob suggested potentially offering a research course that students could take prior to starting an undergraduate research position.  The course would not only prepare students for research opportunities, but also identify the students that mentors might like to target for their specific projects.  Bob suggested that rather than look at undergraduate research as a numbers problem, we look for alternative ways to offer opportunities.
  • Alberto suggested that taking on undergraduate researchers be incentivized for faculty through funding for added materials or in other ways.  He would like to know how undergraduate mentoring will be viewed or counted when faculty are reviewed.
  • Barbara Eckstein brought up the varying quality of student researchers.  The focus should be on bringing in more high quality students because they can bring value to a researcher’s program immediately.  Bob suggested taking first year seminar dollars and reallocating some to offer research type courses in the springtime.  The course could be a clearinghouse for faculty to find the right kind of students.  Barbara also noted an added emphasis on students’ writing ability.
  • Johna Leddy talked about the Department of Chemistry’s undergraduate research course and that it is the most valuable course for them because students can decide whether they want to pursue research, either as an undergraduate, graduate, or professional.
  • Cheryl Reardon noted the research ethics course that is currently offered.
  • Faryle Nothwehr sent in comments – students need an effective supervision plan.  Funding is very helpful as well.  Independent projects for undergrads should be simple.  Some departments around the University offer more opportunities than other and take more advantage it.
  • Bob talked about previous attempts to provide support for supplies, noting that supplies can be difficult to track.  Travel stipends for faculty can be easier to award and track as an alternative.  Bob also talked about looking for places where undergraduate research is working well on campus, as well as places where it is not. 
  • A subcommittee will meet to further look into and discuss undergraduate research.  Subcommittee members: Bob Kirby, Carolyn Colvin, Alberto Segre, Pat Gillette, Ryan Tinnes, and Nick Borcherding have volunteered to serve on the committee.