RESEARCH COUNCIL MINUTES
Attendees: Bill Blass, Chair, Gail Baker, Debora Baldwin, David Bemis, Doug Birdwell, Terri
Combs-Orme, Chris Cox, Mike Devine, David Dobbs, Burt English, Pat Fisher, Kim Jensen,
Michael Keene, Ron Maples, Lillian Mashburn, Ben Oliver, Steve Pulik, John Schultz, Flora
Shrode, Phyllis Turner, Jodie Wehr and Gail White.
NOTE: The next Research Council meeting will be held Monday, December 2 at 3:30 p.m.
in the 8th Floor Board Room, Andy Holt Tower.
Comments by Mike Devine: Devine commented that there has been some misinformation
concerning federal cutbacks in university research funding. While we know various agencies'
budgets, we do not know how funding to universities has been affected. Funding for NSF is
down 2.8%, NASA is down 8.5%, DOE is down 13.5%, NIST is down 34% but NIH has gone
Devine reported on the Chancellor's Advisory Committee for Planning and Budgeting (ACPB).
This committee is the primary mechanism for making recommendations to the Chancellor on
budgetary issues. The committee's focus is how to deal with budget problems in both the short-
and long-term. The recent issue of Context has a number of articles about this advisory
committee and its various subcommittees. Devine encouraged the Research Council to take an
active role in these forums. Devine and Blass are members of the Criteria and Processes for
Program Evaluation subcommittee. This committee is responsible for recommending criteria and
processes to be used in evaluating both academic and non-academic programs. Each program will
be looked at closely to determine how much the program contributes to UTK's mission relative to
Concerning the articles in the Context, Dobbs stated that it appears that "scholarship" was being
advocated rather than "research". Devine read aloud from the recent Context article, which was
revised to include "research". Birdwell commented that there was a difference between words
and action on campus. One department head recently resigned in electrical engineering because of
budget reductions. Birdwell felt that money was being taken from easily accessible sources to
fund entities that do not manage their money well, and that productive programs will be paying
for budget reductions. English asked what avenues are open to the Research Council? Devine
stated that if the recommendations of the ACPB are implemented, a process would be put in place
that quantitatively and qualitatively evaluates programs across campus. The contribution of the
program and the costs (both direct and indirect) associated with the program will be reviewed.
Outsourcing, restructuring, and cutbacks will be considered. Deans and department heads will be
in the decision loop. Devine commented that decisions and policies need to emphasize research.
Birdwell commented that the evaluation of programs needs to be speeded up dramatically.
English questioned whether this would make a difference since open positions are currently being
taken. Devine stated that with a budget impoundment there is probably no choice but to take
EPPE report by Mike Keene: A list of EPPE awards for FY96/97 was distributed (see
enclosed). Twenty-six awards have been made so far; most awards were under $1,000. Dobbs
asked how many requests were not funded. This information was not available for the meeting.
(The Office of Research records show that 27 proposals have been received this fiscal year with
only one being returned for more information).
Chancellor's Awards for Research Subcommittee Report by Bill Blass: Blass announced that
there has been an exchange of e-mail among the Chancellor's Awards for Research
Subcommittee. A list of suggested changes by Gant was distributed (see attachment). The
solicitation will now request ten years of information rather than five but this will not preclude
nomination of excellent younger faculty. The Council discussed the possibility of having two
types of awards. One specifically for senior tenured faculty and one for junior faculty. Since
many faculty in this category cannot be promoted further such an award may offer incentive in
keeping an active research program.
Special Projects Subcommittee Report by Kim Jensen: Jensen announced the committee is
compiling ratings of the articles submitted for the Biennial Review which will be submitted to
Devine and Hoyle by the end of the week. Jensen thanked Keene and Bill Rosener for their help
in reviewing the Research Council Web Page awards. Keene commented that web pages have a
fantastic circulation and they do a good job of explaining what is happening on campus.
Mashburn stated that recent visitors from Bechtel and the National Automotive Center accessed
the UTK website prior to coming to campus. Dobbs commented that only 10% of faculty at UTK
have home pages whereas other campuses are significantly higher. He felt this was due to the fact
that some universities offer a "template" homepage that only needs the personal information filled
in. He questioned whether UTK offered a similar service. The Office of Research will look into
this question and report back to the RC.
Desktop Services and Access Subcommittee Report by Gayle Baker: Baker stated that this
committee will be looking at software licenses. The software needs of different disciplines vary.
They are also working on a campus-wide authorization system for database access. Any
suggestions or issues can be e-mailed to Baker.
F&A (Indirect) Costs: Devine stated that F&A (Facilities and Administration) Costs (formerly
Indirect Costs) is the most contentious issue on campus and at the state and federal level. A list
of FY96 indirect cost recoveries (see attached) was distributed. Keene had inquired at a previous
meeting how much indirect cost is generated and where does it go? Walker distributed a list of
factors the Office of Research considers when reducing or cost sharing indirect cost at the last
meeting. In FY96 contract and grant expenditures were $74M. The indirect cost recoveries were
$9.8M. This is a 17% average rate compared to the "standard" 43%. The Office of Research is
collecting data on F&A recoveries. Indirect costs are not charged on equipment and fee waivers
and F&A charges on contracts with stage agencies are 15% or less. Indirect costs are distributed
in the following manner: 25% is returned to the generating college/unit (it varies how it is
distributed within colleges) and 75% goes into the general budget. This 75% portion is not
managed separately from other E&G funds, but there is a long list of expenditures that do support
research. For example, Office of Research's SARIF fund clearly supports research.
Adjournment: 5:05 p.m.