RESEARCH COORDINATING COUNCIL

Memorandum 153

January 22, 2004

 

Members Present:          Brian Attebery, John Bennion, Alok Bhushan, Phil Blick, Kristin Fletcher for Linda Deck, Kathy DiLorenzo, Kay Flowers, Larry Ford, Dianne Horrocks, Edwin House (presiding), Neill Piland, Rod Seeley, Malcolm Shields, Al Strickland, Susan Swetnam, Thomas Windholz

 

Members Absent/Excused:       Curtis Anderson, Carol Ashton, Maureen Brandon, Steve Byers, Deb Easterly, Frank Harmon, Richard Inouye, Skip Lohse, Subbaram Naidu, Dan Wolfley, Paul Zelus

 

Dr. House declared a quorum was present.  

 

I.       It was MSC (9y,0n) to approve Memorandum #152 with the following correction:  Add Al Strickland to the members absent/excused.

 

II.       REPORTS

 

A.     Faculty Research Committee – Dr. Swetnam reported that fourteen proposals were received.  Two proposals were disqualified and two were withdrawn. The committee fully funded eight proposals and partially funded the other two, awarding about $38,000 total.  Dr. Swetnam said the awards were representative of disciplines across campus.

 

B.           Graduate Student Research and Scholarship Committee – Fourteen research proposals were received and one dissemination proposal was received.  The committee funded eleven proposals for a total of $6,771; three proposals were disqualified.  Ms. DiLorenzo distributed a handout listing the awards.  The committee received permission to roll the balance of funds to award during spring semester.  Ms. DiLorenzo distributed a tentative schedule of meetings for spring semester.  Dr. House and Dr. Ford both commended this committee for their excellent work and professionalism.

 

C.           Undergraduate Research Committee – No representative was available to give a report.

 

D.           Humanities/Social Science Research Committee – Dr. House reported that there were eight proposals received; four were funded for a total of $74,385.30.  Dr. House informed the Council that awards can range from $5,000 to $24,000, and this committee was established because most of the fields were excluded from the State Board of Education competition.  The disciplines that received funding were Mass Communications, English, Economics, and History.

E.      University Research Committee – Dr. House reported that this committee does not meet in the fall.  The call for proposals will be going out shortly.

 

F.      Federal Initiative Update – Dr. Ford reported that in December the House of Representatives bundled the remaining appropriations bills into an omnibus bill and passed that.  The Democrats in the Senate stalled consideration of that through filibuster and when the Senate came back into session this past Tuesday, there was a closure vote in debate that failed and it stalled again.  After the President’s State of the Union message, the Democrats said that they had made their point and were going to stop their opposition.  Earlier this afternoon, Eastern Standard Time, the Senate passed the bill with a vote of 65 to 28.  It remains for the President to sign and he has promised to do that.  In the omnibus bill there is $400,000 for a Masters degree program in Dental Hygiene, $250,000 for the Virtual Idaho Museum of Natural History, $1.5 million for Idaho Telehealth Integrated Care Center, $700,000 for the Performing Arts Center, $1.5 million for the Temporal Land Cover Change Research Program, and $500,000 for the Boise Center Aerospace Laboratory.  With the defense and energy appropriations that had already passed late last year, ISU’s federal funds are about $9.95 million.  These funds are successfully used; significant portions of these funds have been leveraged into a multiplier effect.

 

G.     Dr. House reported that Idaho State University, Boise State University and University of Idaho have signed off on a memorandum of understanding in which they will work together as a team to respond to all the bidders for the INEEL contract.  Six bid teams have contacted ISU.  Dr. House and Dr. Ford met with one of the teams yesterday and believe we are on target in terms of providing our interests as Idaho State University concerning what we would like to see in the proposals from the bidders.  Dr. House said he hopes that the Institute for Nuclear Science and Engineering as well as some other areas of the University that match up well with the INEEL will be included and that the ISU/INEEL partnerships will be continued.  It’s a long process but there should be a draft Request for Proposals on the web in a couple of weeks.  Anyone can look at it and provide an opinion about what it should say.  Dr. House has been invited by the one of the Department of Energy officials to have a more extensive discussion about what ISU would like to see in the proposal.  Dr. House said if anyone has thoughts about that to let him know and he will try to include that in his conversation with this individual.

 

H.     There were no other reports.

 

III.    COUNCIL BUSINESS

 

A.       Time and Effort Reporting – Dr. House asked if anyone had suggestions or comments on the Time and Effort Report Form.  Dr. Piland said Jana Bodily-Roan found the form fairly easy to complete.  The only complaint was with the multiple signatures on the form because a person had to sign so many times.  Dr. Shields said the sample form was very helpful.  Dr. House requested that anyone who has concerns please contact the Office of Research.  We will work with Grants and Contracts Accounting Office on the form. 

 

  B.      Overload Pay for Graduate Research Assistants – Dr. House reported graduate research assistantships are treated the same as graduate teaching assistantships in that students are required to get permission to be paid on an overload basis—that is, if they are to be paid more than their standard assistantship stipend. A situation arose in which a professor has a contract in which he is providing services for a company in Idaho Falls.  The graduate assistants had to work several hours beyond normal for a 5-day period to collect the data that was needed to fulfill the contract.  The professor was very frustrated because he had an additional $500,000 contract on the line and was having difficulty getting the students paid.  Graduate assistants have to have special permission for overload because they are full-time students and there are only so many hours in a day.  Other issues brought out were that sometimes students must work on the weekends, students should be paid overtime if they work more than 40 hours in a week, and they should be notified in advance so there is not undue pressure put on them at the last minute.  On one hand, we must make sure the students are treated with respect and not abused; on the other hand, it is sometimes advantageous for students both in terms of opportunities and finances.  The differential treatment of graduate students who do the same work as those on assistantships but do not receive the same level of pay has reached the President and will probably be discussed in the next President’s staff meeting.  This came out of the general faculty meeting. 

 

  C.     Institute of Informatics Research – This item was tabled until the next meeting when Dr. Corey Schou can be present. 

 

D.           Recommendation from auditors to develop and document a policy regarding the disposition of property/equipment purchased with grant funds when the grantee (principal investigator or PI) leaves the University prior to completion of the grant, as well as after completion of the grant.  Dr. House said when the internal auditors reviewed one of our federal grants, the equipment purchased on such grants seemed to have some peculiarities. One question was what happens to the equipment if, midway through the grant, the principal investigator moves to another university?  One argument is that since the grant is given to the institution, the equipment should stay with the University and not be transferred to the institution the PI is transferring to.  Dr. House said in the past the University has allowed equipment to go with the PI and has also received equipment when a PI transfers to ISU.  However, there is no formal policy on this.  The second issue is what happens to equipment when a grant is over and the PI transfers.  ISU’s position is that once the grant period is over, the equipment belongs to the University.  Some scenarios are:

 

1.     ISU may have put up matching funds to assist with the purchase of the equipment, so there is a University investment.

 

2.     Equipment may have been purchased with EPSCoR funds, which are for the improvement of infrastructure at ISU and other Idaho universities.

 

3.     The equipment may have been designed to be multi-user, which would still benefit other researchers at ISU.

 

4.     The equipment may be so specialized that it would not be beneficial to other researchers, in which case it could, perhaps, be sold to the new institution at fair market value.

 

5.      One Council member asked if this also applied to specialized software.  Dr. House said he believed if the software was specialized enough and expensive enough, it would apply to that also.

 

Dr. House asked for volunteers for a subcommittee to draft a policy for this.  Dianne Horrocks, Dr. Shields, and Dr. Bhushan volunteered.  The draft should be ready for the meeting in February.

 

E.            Other – The Faculty Senate has been talking about pushing the Administration to have a greater participation in administering the University.  There was a long discussion in President’s staff meeting about this and the topic of the existing councils and committees came up.  Last year’s Faculty Senate Chair pointed out that the two most effective councils are the Graduate Council and the Research Coordinating Council.  She believes this is because there is a continuous chair who understands what their council is all about.  Dr. House said he also believes it is because these councils have secretarial support and an office that serves as the repository of the documents.

 

Dr. House asked the members for agenda items for future meetings.  He would like to see more items coming in that reflect what the faculty are interested in discussing.

 

            The meeting was adjourned at 3:55 p.m.