Minutes - Dec 10, 2007

Date of Meeting: 

Friday, December 7, 2007


Denburg, Dickson, Fan, Flatté, Grassian, Hesli, Hynes, Jung, Kirby, Knosp, Malanson, Subramanian, Hay, Rushlo, Hichwa, Ricketts, Semel, Sharpe


Pam Trimpe, Executive Director, Pentacrest Museums


Folsom, Fortney, Leddy, Snetselaar,

Professor Vicki Hesli called the meeting to order at 1:00 p.m.

Excellence in Research Awards

Professor Bob Kirby announced the Excellence in Undergraduate Research Awards.  He would like council members to nominate any undergraduate students they may know that would be eligible.  He also encouraged Research Council members to forward the announcement to any fellow faculty members that are mentors and may know students that could apply.

Research Track Policy

The Research Track Policy that was passed by the Faculty Senate Compensation and Policy Committee was forwarded to the Research Council. The document had undergone substantial revision and was changed both in terms of content and tone from the version that was passed by vote of the Research Council at its November 12, 2007, meeting.

There was discussion about the changes and how the Research Council wanted to address the various changes.  It was agreed that Professor Hesli would draft a letter addressing the concerns of the Research Council.  To avoid delays, this letter would be forwarded to members of the Council for their comment and approval during the winter break.

Follow-up to Dean Keller’s Presentation

During a follow-up discussion of graduate College Dean Keller’s presentation to the Research Council on November 12, 2007, a decision was made to write a follow-up memo to Dean Keller about his presentation.  The memo would clarify concerns of the Research Council concerning:

  1. Overall funding for graduate students (level)
  2. How the funds are distributed within the grad college

A subgroup consisting of Professor Hesli, Professor Malanson, Ms. Hynes, and Mr. Dickson will work to compose a response to Dean Keller.  The results will be brought back to the Research Council for their comment.

F&A Returns

In light of Terry Johnson’s presentation at the last Research Council meeting, the Research Council again discussed the idea of drafting some kind of policy with regard to returning a portion of the F&A to individual investigators in some form. Considerable attention was given to the barriers that prevent principle investigators from writing grants to secure external funds for their research.  Differences across colleges and inconsistencies across departments within the university were noted in how researchers negotiate course release time for conducting research. Mention was made of the standardizing force of the post-tenure time allocation policy.  Mention was also made of the different rules and regulations regarding the payment of salaries by various funding agencies. Generally, it was agreed that some publicized policy should be made available.  In some departments, disincentives that work against grant writing maybe the stronger force than incentives for grant-writing. 

More information on departmental policies and procedures, as well college policies, is needed before any kind of action could be determined.  This will be an agenda item for future discussion.

Research Ethics

Discussions continued from previous meetings about the current ethics training as well as the kinds of information that are available to researchers and students about research misconduct including what it is and how to report it. 

At a minimum it was felt that the ethics and misconduct information should be part of the various manuals on campus including the Graduate Student Manual as well as departmental manuals.  The wording for a policy to be included in department guides and manuals could emerge from a review of various websites devoted to responsible and ethical conduct of research.

Further discussion on this topic will take place in during one of the spring meetings.

Natural History Museum

Vice President Hay introduced Pam Trimpe, Executive Director of the Pentacrest Museums.  She introduced a draft document tilted “A Museum of Cultural and Environmental Diversity.” The document represents a proposal for changes at the Natural History Museum.  This is the first public announcement of proposed changes.

Vice President Hay indicated that she and Ms. Trimpe would welcome input from the Research Council both in terms of proposed changes, but also for suggestions of potential faculty members to be involved in the planning process for the renovation of the museum.

Suggestions for additions to planning committee included the following:

  1. An art education person to help add a hands on element (they will be working with consultants, Rachel Williams suggested)
  2.  A biologist – evolutionary biologist—Jeff will query his faculty for suggestions
    1. would also talk to biology about current use of mammal hall
  3. In contrast, anthropology looked over-represented in the list of possible participants, but the list is just suggestions—not all will be asked to serve
  4. A geographer – for GPS expertise

Future Business

There was discussion of what the Research Council would like to do for the spring semester.  Ideas can be sent to Professor Hesli.  Some items from today’s meeting were also slated to be added to the future spring meetings.

Meeting was adjourned at 2:45.