Minutes - Nov 12, 2007

Date of Meeting: 

Monday, November 12, 2007


Denburg, Dickson, Folsom, Hesli, Hynes, Kirby, Leddy, Malanson, Snetselaar, Subramanian, Hay, Reardon, Rushlo, Hichwa, Semel, Sharpe


Ken Hubel, Emeritus Faculty Council, Dean John Keller, Terry Johnson, Laura Reed, and Gerene Denning


Fan, Flatte, Grassian, Jung, Knosp, Ricketts

Professor Vicki Hesli called the meeting to order at 2:05 p.m.

Funding in the Graduate College 

Professor Vicki Hesli introduced the first guest, Dean John Keller.  Dean Keller addressed the issue of funding in the Graduate College.  He also addressed questions from the council. Dean Keller reviewed indicators of progress (such as time to Ph.D. degree and TA salary levels), he provided data on programmatic allocations overtime, the distribution of graduate college fellowships, classification of winning Strategic Initiative Funds requests, and an overall summary of Graduate College initiatives. His overall message was that after accounting for making fellowships more competitive in size to our peer institutions, the available budget has declined. 

Highlights are as follows.  

  1. The Graduate College has shifted its funding emphasis from programs to students.
  2. The Graduate College has worked to addresses the strategic goals as outlined in The Iowa Promise. 
  3. The College has also worked to make the packages for graduate students competitive as compared to the national average.
  4. The changes in funding and reallocations have been the result of many factors, including redistribution of scarce university resources to undergraduate education.  There is definitely a need to increase funding overall. This may need to come through fund-raising.
  5. The College continues to make progress toward meeting the Indicators of Progress as reported to the Board of Regents

The Graduate College faces several challenges:

  1. General problem with an inability to make long-term plans associated with:
    1. Financial with several cuts over the years.
    2. Changes in central administration personnel and priorities
  2. While the amount of external funding has increased, the number of students supported by external funding has not.
  3. Appropriate allocation of limited resources.

The major questions raised by the members of the Research Council included queries as to how departments could do their own forward planning without secure funding from the graduate College, how the overall level of funding for graduate students and programs might be increased, and whether current allocation decisions might be reconsidered. Serious concerns were raised about the decision to move away from the distribution of funds through the block grants to the Strategic Initiative program. Graduate programs are suffering throughout the university as a result of this decision.

Allocation of F&A (indirect) costs from grants

Terry Johnson, University Controller, came to speak about the allocation of F&A (indirect) costs from grants.

Highlights are as follows:

  1. The kinds of costs that are considered F&A were explained (as outlined in OMB Circular A-21)
  2. The process of negotiating the F&A cost rate was explained.
  3. The relationship of F&A costs to the general fund was explained.
  4. Documented that F&A recoveries do not cover full cost of conducting research.
  5. Provided history of actual F&A recoveries by college for FY2003-FY2007

Professor Vicki Hesli asked for approval of the minutes from the last meeting.  They were approved.

Professor Vicki Hesli then began a discussion about the suggested revisions to the Research Track document.  The document was accepted with revisions. The Research Council voted unanimously to support the research track policy.

Professional development opportunities for research staff

Laura Reed and Gerene Denning presented on professional development opportunities for research staff.  This has been an ongoing project initiated by a committee formed by Sue Buckley to study this issue.

Highlights are as follows:

  1. Faculty buy-in will be the key element to the success of any research training and development program
  2. No other university that we know of has any formal program specifically geared to research.  (Potential to market to outside entities.)
  3. The success of this program will depend on additional resources to coordinate the program.

In the interest of time, Professor Vicki Hesli suggested that we delay discussion until next time.  Professor Hesli also indicated that, given the number of issues before the Council, she would like to hold a December Research Council meeting.  One will be scheduled.

The meeting was adjourned at 4:10 p.m.