Minutes - Feb 19, 2014

Date of Meeting: 

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

February 19, 2014

9:00 - 10:30 AM

Members present:  Carolyn Colvin, Robert Kirby, Patricia Gillette, Scott Bounds, Johna Leddy, Michael Crawford, George Hospodarsky, Barbara Eckstein, William Haynes, Neil Segal, Alek Durumeric, Peterson Maina, Ed Gillan, Paul Soderdahl, Miriam Landsman, Gary Gussin, and Alberto Segre

Others in Attendance: Rich Hichwa, Cheryl Reardon, and Grainne Martin

Item 1: Announcement of New Research Council Members

Carolyn announced that Robert Ketterer and Joseph Dillon have agreed to join the Research Council.  Professor Ketterer will finish the term vacated by Professor Carin Green (through 2014) and Professor Dillon will finish the term vacated by Professor William Haynes (through 2015).

Item 2: Approval of Minutes

Minutes from the November 20, 2013 RC meeting were reviewed and approved.

Item 3: Research Misconduct Subcommittee

  • Carolyn Colvin, Research Council Chair, Associate Professor, Teaching and Learning updated the council on the subcommittee’s recent activities in revising the University of Iowa Research Misconduct Policy.  The revisions are expected to be finalized and ready for vote by the Staff Council at their March, 2014 meeting (notes on the proposed/requested changes can be found in the November Research Council minutes).
  • The council reviewed the most recent draft of the policy.  Some language was brought into question, specifically whether the word “should” or “must” should be used when referring to the policy’s provision for records retention.  The council discussed whether or not UI can enforce things as required through such policies.
  • Rich Hichwa, Senior Associate Vice President for Research reviewed his presentation concerning research misconduct, which was given at the November, 2013 council meeting.  He also reviewed his requests for how the subcommittee approach and revise the required makeup of the Research Misconduct Review Committees (Specifically, count from each college, ad-hoc versus standing committees).  Dr. Hichwa also thanked the subcommittee for taking the time to review, clarify, and improve the policy as a whole.
  • Johna Leddy, Professor of Chemistry, Research Misconduct Subcommittee Member introduced a Research Misconduct flowchart outlining the process when misconduct is alleged to have taken place.
  • The council discussed the pool of Research Misconduct Review Committee members and how a pool would be created and maintained.  There is an understanding that colleges will be asked to maintain minimum numbers of pool members, but may keep larger pools of potential reviewers if they so desire.
  • The council discussed the protection of whistleblowers.  Dr. Hichwa explained that the complaint is not included in the report and the complainant will be protected as much as possible.  However, it is common that the accuser and the accuse work closely together and are aware of the allegations.  With regard to anonymous tips; Dr. Hichwa explained that frequently they are questionable in nature and commonly pertain to some other kind of problem or retaliation.  It was noted that they are taken seriously and investigated fully, but can be difficult to substantiate.
  • Gary Gussin, Professor Emeritus, Department of Biology questioned the policy’s wording in how it relates to internal versus external funding.  He recommended that the policy be reworded to cover non-funded research as well.  Dr. Hichwa responded that the policy applies to all research, but funded research is specifically noted as allegations of misconduct will need to involve the funding agency should the Review Committee substantiate the claims.
  • The council discussed how the policy shall apply to individuals or institutions not affiliated with the University of Iowa, but operating under subcontracts or other agreements related to research.  Dr. Hichwa responded that other institutions would be responsible for applying their policies in cases of alleged misconduct.  Community-based partners would be informed, but the University of Iowa has no authority to apply the policy to individuals not employed by UI.
  • The council voted unanimously to move forward with the policy revisions as presented.  Professor Colvin and the council thanked the subcommittee for their work in reviewing the policy.
  • Rich Hichwa and Grainne Martin will review the items questioned through the council’s discussion and incorporate any necessary changes.  The council may be called upon again as the policy is reviewed and approved/disapproved by other UI governing bodies.

Item 4: Discussion Concerning Research Council Membership

The Faculty Senate requested that the council discuss and review the current guidelines for its membership (Operations Manual Guidelines Below):

(2) Faculty members should be appointed in such a manner that at all times two shall be related to the disciplines of the physical sciences, two to the biological sciences, two to the social sciences, and two to the humanities. Two faculty members shall be "at large."

Current membership does not necessarily reflect the current research portfolio.  The council discussed whether or not they should be representative based on research dollars or have an even distribution by area as is currently reflected above.

The council decided to continue the discussion at the next meeting.  Council members have been encouraged to talk to other faculty in their areas of study to gain a campus-wide perspective concerning Research Council membership.