Minutes - Dec 8, 2005

Date of Meeting: 

Thursday, December 8, 2005


Michael Chibnik, Jeffrey Denburg, Ed Folsom, Meredith Hay, Johna Leddy, Michael Mackey, George Malanson, Cheryl Reardon and Michael Wichman


Dr. Richard Kerber, Chair, OVPR Review Committee

Meeting was called to order at 1:00 PM

The minutes from the November 9th Research Council Meeting were approved by George Malanson and seconded by Jeffrey Denburg.

 Michael Mackey introduced Dr. Richard Kerber to the Research Council


Dr. Kerber gave an overview of the process that the OVPR Review Committee went through to obtain the data that will be published in their upcoming report.  He indicated that the OVPR Review Committee did not go through a self-study process, since the 2004 Self-Study was so recent and received a very good return of 50%.  The committee invited a consultant, Theodore J. Cicero, Ph.D., vice chancellor for research at Washington University in St. Louis, to spend time on campus, conduct interviews, and meet with the committee members.  Dr. Kerber and the OVPR Review Committee are in the process of drafting a report from the data they have compiled and are awaiting the consultant's report, which will constitute a major portion of their report.  He said that forty-seven individuals were interviewed in the review process; deans of various colleges, members of the Faculty Senate, various past and present faculty and students, etc.  He mentioned some of the questions that were asked; what are the perceived strengths of the OVPR, the perceived weaknesses, your interaction with the OVPR, etc.  The committee also investigated the appropriateness of the units that report to the OVPR.

Some of the comments and criticisms from those interviewed were:

  • the OVPR was reactive and not proactive in research assistance and information
  • the OVPR focuses on big funding initiatives
  • positive feelings about private sector involvement
  • uneasy feelings about private sector involvement
  • that individuals should have intellectual property protection
  • that the Research Foundation is understaffed, especially when compared to Iowa State
  • the OVPR has poor visibility (some had no contact with or understanding of the office)
  • negative feelings about faculty input into the animal care and use resource facility
  • industry sponsored research here is undervalued as compared to NIH or government supported research
  • lack of understanding regarding the role of the Research Council
  • that there should be more of a return of F&A

Dr. Kerber said that the consultant, Dr. Cicero, was surprised at the lack of grant writing support offered at Iowa, indicating that Washington University has a unit/section of grant writing support specialists.

Jeff Denburg commented that the timing of the review and report, with the recent appointments of Meredith Hay as Vice President for Research and Pamela York as Director of the University Research Foundation, might be good and a starting point for the new governance. 

Michael Wichman asked if the OVPR Review Committee will make suggestions in its report and Dr. Kerber replied that they would make some suggestions.  Dr. Kerber indicated that the Research Council could add their comments to the report if they wish.   The OVPR Review Committee report will be out in February or March.

There was discussion about the OVPR Review Committee findings related to the lack of visibility and understanding of the Research Council, and if that was something that should be address by the Research Council in the report.  It was agreed that it was probably not for lack of information provided about the Research Council, since there is a web site and the minutes and agenda are posted for all who are interested, but more likely a lack of interest on the part of the interviewee(s).

The Research Council would like VP Hay to share her opinion of the OVPR Review Committee report - perhaps a month or so after it is published.  VP Hay would like a consensus opinion about the OVPR from the council, i.e. would the Research Council identify the Federal committees the OVPR should be represented on, where the holes are, etc.  The idea of a liaison from the OVPR with the NIH, to get in on the workshop floor, was discussed.  It was suggested that this could be a job for one of the new positions the OVPR will be filling.  There was majority agreement that the individuals who fill the new positions should be included as members of the Research Council.

Agenda items for next semester 

Michael Mackey went on to the topic of agenda items for next semester.  Some of the items purposed for next semester were:

  • The Blue Ribbon Committee studying natural sciences
  •  Virtual Writing University
  • Arts and Humanities Advisory Committee 
  • Meredith Hay and David Wynes to report on animal care 
  • Annual presentation by President Skorton on research and how it ties in with all other areas of the University.  Council should put together questions for the President.
  • Report from Shared Credit Task Force
  • Report from Seed Grant Committee - look at BSI and the best use of BSI funds.
  • Research Council Membership Categories

Federal and state support​

Review availability of Federal and state support - Ed Folsom said that it would be nice once a year to get a report on research related legislation, that has passed or is pending, which faculty input could influence.  Meredith Hay said that early September is the time to investigate new legislation and suggested that Derek Willard be invited to a meeting to expand on this.

Four Corners Research Alliance

Ed Folsom asked Meredith Hay about the Four Corners Research Alliance and about the University's involvement.  She explained that she and the other Senior Research Officers of the participating public research universities have been holding conference calls and meetings developing the scope of collaboration.  The Four Corners Research Alliance is an inter-institutional collaborative initiative of Iowa State University, the University of Iowa, the University of Kansas, Kansas State University, the University of Missouri-Columbia, and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln representing Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska in large research project, research infrastructure, and economic development goals.  Ed said that there is value in the collaboration in his area [English], especially due to the University of Nebraska's advances in bringing Virtual Web into classroom planning and projects.

  • Library science
  • Writers program
  • e-research technology
  • IT Review

Invite Dean Keller to present on graduate student research

Invite Bob Kirby to present on undergraduate research available

Johna Leddy suggested getting Pam York back to discuss how the Research Foundation is facilitating interactions with faculty to promote technology transfer.

Meeting adjourned at 2:30 PM