Minutes - Nov 6, 2012

Date of Meeting: 

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

1:00pm - 201 Gilmore Hall

Council Members present: 

Rakesh Awasthi, Scott Bounds, Carolyn Colvin, Patricia Gillette, Jane Gilotti, Gary Gussin, William Haynes, Robert Kirby, Miriam Landsman, Johna Leddy, Kyle John Oskvig, Cheryl Reardon, Neil Segal, Alberto Segre and Paul Soderdahl


Erika Lawrence, representing Faculty Senate, Tom Rice and Ann Ricketts

Agenda Item 1: 

Approval of the October 2, 2012 minutes

The minutes from the October 2nd meeting were approved.

Agenda Item 2:


Chair, Carolyn Colvin, welcomed the Council members and asked that they introduce themselves for guest Tom Rice.

Agenda Item 3: 

Discussion on status of the Cluster Hires Report with Tom Rice, Associate Provost for Faculty

Associate Provost Tom Rice said that Provost Butler is very committed to the clusters, albeit proceeding more cautiously than his predecessor.  Provost Butler charged Tom to undertake a review of the clusters and cluster hire process.  Tom has finished the review and the report of his findings, and the report was just given to the Deans and Provost.  The review was extensive and included interviews with all involved (over the span of four months). Almost everyone is positive about the clusters, including the Cluster Hire Steering Committees, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for improvement.  There seems to be sufficient, ongoing communication:

• DEOs and cluster hires meet twice a year (at least)
• Cluster leaders meet at least one a year with their cluster faculty
• DEOs of cluster faculty meet once a year with Steering Committee

The Office of the Provost does not want the Deans to feel they’re being pressured to make hires they would not have otherwise made.  They want the cluster hires Dean driven, cross-disciplinary to meet the Grand Challenges.

Financial resources, for a variety of administrative needs in the clusters’ first years, are provided by the Office of the Provost. Primary among these are the costs of; 1) conducting faculty searches; 2) providing release time for faculty cluster directors; 3) developing a web presence and promotional materials; and 4) sponsoring activities and events that stimulate a sense of community among cluster participants.  There was a suggestion in the review that these funds might also be used as seed money for junior faculty. 

The UI Foundation will speak with donors about the clusters.  It was suggested that cluster leaders meet regularly with counterparts at the Foundation.

Teaching mission could be more of a focus of the clusters; introductory courses could be developed; certificate programs considered; etc.

It was recommended that new clusters be clearer and do their homework regarding whether senior faculty are ready and willing to be involved in the clusters and that, going forward, they consider hiring more senior faculty with established research programs.

Strong guidelines have been established for the clusters, but there’s no vision for where the clusters should be in seven years, what they could become and how the Office of the Provost can help them fulfill their mission.

Cluster lines filled:
• 8 of 14 lines in the Aging Mind and Brain cluster have been filled
• 6 of 7 lines in the Digital Public Humanities cluster have been filled
• 3 of 10 lines in the Genetics cluster have been filled
• 5 of 10 lines in the Obesity cluster have been filled
• 9 of 10 lines in the Water Sustainability cluster have been filled

5 proposals are on hold for the outcome of the review and final report.

Tom asked for questions/comments:

Allowing buy-in from the Hospital, which is separate from the College of Medicine, was suggested, as well as making the lines more flexible/movable.

There was a question about how a departing cluster hire is handled.  Tom said there is a provision for that in the guidelines (on the Office of the Provost’s website), but no cluster hires have left yet, so this hasn’t been use.

There was a comment that Arizona State has gone beyond cluster hires to cluster departments, and that this might be something to consider.

There is concern about the lack of cluster hires in areas of large undergraduate population.  This same concern, i.e., that cluster hires are brought in with education funds but are research driven, was raised at an earlier Research Council meeting.

There was a question about the metrics used to assess a cluster hire.  Tom replied that every cluster is asked to develop a 5-year plan, metrics for success and provide a yearly progress report to their Dean.

Some of the current faculty are concerned that the funds earmarked for cluster hires may disadvantage them.

Agenda Item 4: 

Items for Discussion

  1. Alberto Segre, last year’s Research Council Chair, provided the University of Iowa Research Council Annual Report - 2011 - 2012 Academic Year, which has been posted to the Research Council website.
  2. A memo to Carolyn Colvin from Zuobiao Yuan, President, UI Postdoctoral Association, and Katarina Kulhankova, Vice President, UI Postdoctoral Association, requesting representation on the Research Council was discussed.  There was a suggestion to invite Minnetta Gardinier to an upcoming meeting to explain the UIPDA and how inclusive it is of all UI Post Docs.  A motion was made by Neil Segal, seconded by William Haynes and approved by majority to invite Minnetta to a meeting and, if the UIPDA is copacetic,  bring the issue of UIPDA representation on the Research Council before President Mason (as defined by the Ops Manual, 2.8(19) http://www.uiowa.edu/~our/opmanual/i/028.htm#2819). 
  3. There was majority approval of Robert Kirby being a Research Council ex officio member.
  4. All who went on the “road trip” to the UI Research Park and Obermann Center thought it was an informative, nice event.

Agenda Item 5: 

Other Items

Carolyn Colvin will invite Linda Snetselaar and Colin Gordon to the next meeting to discuss the theme of public engagement for this year.

The meeting adjourned at 2:15 p.m.