Faculty Senate Meeting Minutes

Meeting Details:

Fiscal Year: FY2023
Time: 3:15 p.m.
Location: Zoom
Guest Speaker: Joshua Roundy (Chair, Faculty Senate Research Committee)
Minutes Recorded By: Suzanne Scales
Minutes Approved on:


Attending Members

  • Rafael Acosta
  • Andi Back
  • Betsy Barnhart
  • Samuel Brody
  • Nate Brunsell
  • Lea Currie
  • Rana Esfandiary
  • Patricia Gaston
  • Victor Gonzalez
  • Andrea Herstowski
  • Laura Hines
  • Tim Hossler
  • Marike Janzen
  • Ani Kokobobo
  • Randy Logan
  • Corey Maley
  • Amanda Mollet
  • Russell Ostermann
  • Roberta Schwartz
  • Sean Seyer
  • Jeremy Shellhorn
  • Kristin Villa

Other Attendees

  • Caetano Antunes
  • Simon Atkinson
  • Meredith Bagwell-Gray
  • Nancy Brady
  • Jeff Chasen
  • David Davido
  • Dan Dixon
  • Rick Dobrowsky
  • Susan Egan
  • Dina Pannabecker Evans
  • Hume Feldman
  • Sarah Gross
  • Elspeth Healey
  • Erik Holmstrom
  • KC Kong
  • Ian Lewis
  • Amy Mendenhall
  • Caty Movich
  • Lumen Mulligan
  • Kristi Neufeld
  • Carmen Othe-Alfie
  • Julie Popiel
  • Angie Rathmel
  • Joshua Roundy
  • Greg Rudnick
  • Suzanne Scales
  • Malissa Somers
  • Candan Tamerler Behar

Guest Speaker Presentation

Guest Speaker: Joshua Roundy (Chair, Faculty Senate Research Committee)

Nate thanked all for joining the meeting for this topic.  He clarified what the Faculty Senate Research committee was tasked to do.  Faculty Senate owns the allocation of General Research Funds (GRF).  What’s being considered is the allocation of dollars to the units.  Individual units can set their own priorities.  He thanked the chairs and committee members for their work with the data and making recommendations of allocations.  He explained that nothing is finalized.  We plan to take the voices and recommendations and then over the next semester, the committee will re-evaluate. 

Joshua Roundy, co-chair of the Faculty Senate Research Committee, was introduced.  He shared a presentation “GRF Recommendations.” He showed the list of committee members.  He said it was his second year on the committee.  Part of the committee charge is to look at the GRF funds. He introduced Meredith Bagwell-Gray, co-chair.

Joshua gave a background on the GRF funds.  GRF funds come from state funding and are delegated to each unit.  Prior to 1994, it was administered at the university level.  In 1994, it was distributed as it is now.  In 1994, they looked at who received awards in 1993 and then gave the same percentages.  It has not changed since. The committee receives reports from units every three years, and the reports show how they are using funds, that is the oversight.  He presented a graph that showed the comparison of unit GRF allocation to tenure/tenure track faculty.  He said using the same allocation back from 1994 may not make sense.

The committee considered the requirements for how GRF should be allocated. Joshua listed the many metrics the committee considered: total eligible faculty, total tenure-track faculty, number of GRF proposal submitted, faculty without external funding, number of GRF proposal funded, total GF accomplishments, total relative accomplishment, total elative need, and use TRC to create two-tiered system.   The committee had mixed feelings on metrics. The committee’s recommendation is a GRF allocation based on the size of the unit, with size being defined at those PI-eligible.  Joshua showed the committee’s recommendation which was approved by a majority (11 yes, one no and one abstention). He showed a graph with new and old allocations for comparison, with some departments having significant change.  The committee is recommending the change happen over a three-year period.    Year 1 will be 50% new and 50% old, Year 2 75% new and 25% old, and Year 3 100% new allocation.  Joshua gave final thoughts: this is a positive step forward, the committee will continue to monitor reports, and the recommendations are related to work over many years and data that was available.  He encouraged everyone to participate in the feedback survey. 

Nate thanked Joshua and committee for recommendations and reiterated the decisions are not final.  He opened the discussion for questions.

Q.  Why is our total a reduction in funds?

A. (Simon Atkinson) There was a 10% reduction in research budget that coincided with the reduction in overall budget.  The GRF is in in the research budget.

Q.  If the breakout is based on PI-eligible, how often will this re-evaluation process happen?

A.  This could be reviewed on 3-year cycle.  We don’t anticipate the numbers would change much over 3 years.

Comment.  Our department has lost eight faculty.  We are recovering the number over the next couple of years.  To have a new thing evaluated in 5 years seems unfair and I’d like to see it evaluated every year, though that is complicated. 

A. If you are in a lull when the allocations are done, that is unfair, and a more consistent evaluation would be fair.

Q.  The distribution of funds seems straight forward but I see that some units are receiving a significant increase and we see a dramatic change in biology.  If you look at the demand, will that change?  You all looked at data from 2019-2021-Pandemic.

A.  We talked a lot about this in the committee—solvent versus non-solvent groups.  The committee brought up that even in solvent groups, there are faculty who rely on GRF funds.  We tried to look at proposals as a metric of need but is so doing, humanities and engineering were cut in half. It’s difficult to come up with a metric. We decided size was a neutral metric.

Q.  History of external funding.  Did you look at efforts to identify external funding?

A.  The committee did not have numbers on what each unit brings in outside of the GRF.  We could consider the external funding each gets but we didn’t have that information.

Q. Speaking from the School of Music, a big external fund might be $10K.  We don’t have much funding outside of the university.  This is something that should be considered.

Comment.  To be clear, you are encouraging the inverse, the less available out there to fund, we should allocate more to you.

A.  That’s a great point.  There is the other perspective, some people think it should be a return on investment, though not advocating for this, but providing a broader picture. 

Comment.  We can’t leverage the GRF funds into an external grant.  It is what we get. 

Comment.  Another way to look at this is availability of internal funding.  There are discrepancies for internal funding. 

Q.  Does this proposal consider research, inactive faculty, or PIs?

A.  No.  It’s difficult to know who is research active and who is not.  If this could be accessed, it is something the committee could consider. 

Q.  It appears the College, School of Arts, and maybe Law receive lower allocations while all else receive higher allocations. 

A.  That’s a fair assessment of what it’s doing and was a concern of the committee.  This is the fairest thing going forward.

Nate asked for any other comments or opinions Are there additional factors that were not considered? 

Comment.  From the School of Arts, I agree with comment from School of Music. I see over the next few years our GRF funds getting hollowed out.  This negatively affects the kind of research me and my colleagues are doing. 

A.  Committee feels the same.  We feel the need for transparency. 

Comment.  It would be helpful to look at records of external funding.  Some fields are more limited in external funds that are available. 

A.  Appreciate the comment and we will see if the committee can find a way to quantify that.

Q.  What was the need to change this?  It seems those more easily financed externally are getting the bump.  Was there evidence of lack of GRF funding to allow projected to move forward in those departments, or was it just the need to do something different?

A.  It’s the committee’s charge to look at this and has been lingering around the committee for years. 

Comment.  The committee has a standing charge every three years to review the allocation.  The committee that grandfathered in the allocations from 1993. They thought it was important to keep looking.

Comment.  This is the result of years and years of committees working at this and building a historical record.  This has been a conversation of many years, and not a sudden decision to make a change.  It’s been a long decision because of the challenges, as discussed here today.  Committees have been having these hard conversations for years. 

Q.  Did committee discuss whether it would be considered a PIs of a record or in graduate students. 

A. It was one of the data points we collected.  Allocations were not based off graduate students.  Not all programs have graduate students. 

Q.  Do you have the projections based on other metrics?

A.  Joshua showed a slide with projections of the other metrics “Needs” and “Accomplishments” were the examples.

Comment.  We also looked at qualitative outcomes, how was the outcome meaningful.  The committee spent time considering how units are different in types of research.

Comment.  On the “Need” slide, I would suggest you replace with “Request”.  Need is not what you are measuring.  We’re hearing lack of ability to get resources in other places, and this can be confusing.

A.  You’re correct.  This was not a strict need measure.

Q.  What’s the committee’s perspective of the goal of the GRF?  Is it new research or advance existing research?

A.  It’s both.  Feelings are mixed. 

Q.  Did Life Sciences report accomplishments, or was this reported by the College? 

A.  I’m not sure of the reporting and if it is individual units within the school

Comment.  We have a record of this, and we can go back and look at it to answer this. 

Comment. If we use something in a report from the units, we will give units opportunities to verify the data. There would be a lot of quality check.

Q.  Will every department get an allocation?

A.  We call them “units”.  We had no discussion on changing units. 

Caty Movich provided a link in the Chat to the feedback form.

Comment.  This is a difficult problem-distributing funds across fields that are completely different.  The committee has been brave trying to figure out the problem instead of what previous committees have done, use the historical formula. 

Comment.  Staying with the historical does not have a lot of rationale. 

Nate thanked the committee co-chairs for their work on this, a difficult thing and decision.  We will keep the feedback loop open for a while.


Faculty Senate - Dec. 8, 2022

Member for

11 months
Submitted by Caty Movich on Wed, 02/01/2023 - 11:09