Memorandum 146

January 23, 2003


Members Present:          Curtis Anderson, John Bennion, Alok Bhushan, Skip Lohse for Linda Deck, Clark Draney, Marcia Francis for Kay Flowers, Larry Ford, Greg Green, Dianne Horrocks, Edwin House (presiding), Pamela Park, Neill Piland, Kris Robinson, Rod Seeley, Malcolm Shields, Dave Coffland for Al Strickland, Thomas Windholz for Keith Weber, Brian Williams


Members Absent/Excused:       Sean Anderson, Phil Blick, Steve Byers. Deb Easterly, Frank Harmon, Richard Inouye, Subbaram Naidu, Dan Woflley, Paul Zelus


Dr. House asked the Council members to introduce themselves and state which area they represent.  Following introductions, Dr. House declared a quorum was present.  


I.       It was MSC (14y,0n) to approve Memorandum #145. 


II.       A.     Faculty Research Committee – John Bennion distributed a written report.  Seventeen proposals were received in the fall competition.  Eight proposals were awarded for a total of $34,220.  Six of the proposals were awarded to faculty who were submitting for the first-time.  The call for proposals for Spring 2003 was distributed January 14 with a deadline of Monday, April 7. The committee’s first meeting this semester will occur near the end of February to select the five Outstanding Researchers for 2003.  The Distinguished Researcher will be selected from the Outstanding Researchers later in March.


B.           Graduate Student Research and Scholarship Committee – Clark Draney reported that the total amount requested was about $25,000.  He said no one from a humanities discipline submitted a proposal.  They are working on getting the call for proposals out in different formats so everyone can access them.  The deadline for spring is Monday, March 24, 2003.  The committee is still in the process of modifying the guidelines.  They will present them to this Council when they have finished making changes.


C.           Undergraduate Research Committee – Greg Green reported that the committee will meet next Tuesday.  The call for research and travel proposals will be distributed next week with a deadline of Monday, March 31, 2003.  The Undergraduate Research Symposium will be held April 3, 2003.  The call for abstracts will be distributed next week with a deadline of Friday, March 14, 2003.


D.           Humanities/Social Sciences Research Committee – Dr. House reported that eight proposals were submitted with requests totaling $135,745.  This committee awarded six proposals for a total of $80,000.  A handout listing the names of the faculty who were awarded and the amount of each award was distributed.


E.      University Research Committee – Dr. House reported that this committee currently has a budget of $72,000.  Between 70% and 80% of the awards are for modestly priced equipment, although there are categories for discretionary research projects and release time to conduct research.  The minimum award is $5,000 and the largest amount ever awarded was about $25,000.  The average award is usually between $8,000 and $9,000.  The call for proposals is currently going out with a deadline of March 31, 2003.  


F.            Federal Initiatives – Dr. Ford reported that there are 13 appropriation bills and the federal fiscal year is 10/1 – 9/30.  Only two of the bills were completed on time this year—the Department of Defense bill and the bill for military bases.  There are a couple of awards for ISU in the DOD bill--$1.3 million for Dr. Peter Sheridan’s proposal for detectors for biological agents and $1.2 million to the Idaho Accelerator Center (IAC).  ISU is still in the process of finding the correct contact person for the IAC funding.  The other eleven bills are in continuing resolutions.  The Senate omnibus bill, where these eleven are rolled into one, should be completed by this evening.  When this is passed, the budgets will then need to be resolved with the House of Representatives.  The INRA Subsurface Science is now on the House side.  The Performing Arts Center also has a proposal on the House side.  There are currently no dollars on either the House or Senate side for the GIS Center or Telehealth.  The FY04 Appropriations Committee will be the most powerful for Idaho.  Senator Craig is a majority member and Congressman Simpson is now a member on the House side.


G.           Release Time to Seek External Funding – Dr. House reported that the call is out with a deadline of March 31, 2003.  Vice President Lawson usually funds three of these proposals.  Dr. House also compares proposals submitted under this competition to those submitted to the University Research Committee and Faculty Research Committee so that the dollars are stretched to fund the largest number of proposals possible.


H.           Distinguished Researcher Competition – There are seven nominations for this competition.


I.              Other – There were no other reports.


III.       Council Business


            A.     Dr. House handed out copies of the Nebraska survey regarding remuneration for Research Assistants (RAs) and Teaching Assistants (TAs) for the year 2000 and information on the amount paid to ISU RAs and TAs in 2001/2002 and 2002/2003.  He also handed out a table from the Research Policies and Procedures Manual showing the minimum wage required for several research positions.  Dr. House opened the discussion regarding “barriers to research”.  He addressed the subject of rates for RAs and TAs as this was introduced as one of the barriers to research at ISU.  One of the issues is FTE.  Dr. House informed the Council that RAs and TAs are considered full-time at 19 hours per week.  FTE is calculated on a 40-hour week.  Also, several states give an award to a graduate student that includes the stipend, in-state fees, health insurance and a nonresident tuition waiver.  Sometimes faculty will look at that dollar amount and not realize that it includes all of these factors and then compare it to the stipend ISU offers graduate students.  At ISU, the amounts for non-resident tuition waiver, in-state fees, and health insurance are in addition to the stipend amount and are not given a dollar figure in the award letter.  Also at ISU, whatever percentage of salary increase the faculty receive in a given year, is also applied to the graduate assistant rate.  The one significant difference between research assistants and teaching assistants—the package for teaching assistants must include the in-state fees and health insurance whereas, for research assistants, if there is not sufficient funding to cover these two items, they become the student’s responsibility.   Dr. House pointed out that comparing ISU’s support of RAs and TAs with the national levels, ISU is at the mean or highest quartile for most disciplines.


                     Another major barrier to research was insufficient library resources.  Although the research enterprise is now allocating 2% of indirect cost recovered to the library, additional funds need to be found because some journal subscriptions are being canceled.


                     A third issue brought up was lack of non-competitive sabbatical leaves available to faculty members every six years or so as long as they have a legitimate project.  Dr. Ford mentioned that use of an adjunct faculty as a replacement is less expensive and makes the dollars available for sabbaticals go farther.  It was also brought out that the Faculty Professional Council has discussed this same issue but the problem was lack of resources. Dr. House requested a subcommittee develop a document identifying the top six or so barriers to research with recommendations to go to Faculty Senate.  Those who volunteered for this subcommittee are: Dr. Pamela Park who will serve as Chair, Dr. Neill Piland, Dr. Kris Robinson, and Dr. Rod Seeley.  


B.      Dr. House distributed a handout regarding the Copyright Policy.  He reported that changes/improvements to the state copyright policy are currently on hold, pending recommendations by an ad hoc committee at the state level.  Battelle was asked to conduct a study on intellectual property and those results will be provided at the next meeting.  ISU was found to be in the mainstream with nothing particularly unusual.  There are still improvements that need to be made as ISU’s current copyright policy does not address such items as online courses, courseware, etc.  Dr. House will bring samples from other institutions to the next meeting.


There was no other Council business.


The meeting was adjourned at 4:30 p.m.