Guests: Faye Muly
NOTE: The next Research Council meeting will held on Monday, April 27th, at 11:30 a.m. at the University Club.
Opening Comments - Blass
Blass updated the Council, that a change in policy (not written) on the Ag campus regarding hiring faculty positions through the institute from this past January to present and into the foreseeable future will be non-tenure faculty. The faculty on the Ag campus found out about it about 3 weeks ago, when it came up in a review session and where told it was now policy. Blass has communicated concern for this issue to the Senior Vice President, Homer Fisher. Mr. Fisher said he would investigate this matter. The change in policy was a attempt for the Experiment Station to gain flexibility. The unwritten policy is now under review by the Ag campus and the UT system.
Opening Comments - Devine
Devine had two issues he wanted to bring to everyone’s attention. First, Research Creative Self-Study Committee appointed by the Office of Research and Research Council, is still working on its report. One draft has been done and sent out for comments, when a second draft is complete we will send to RC for review.
Zoe Hoyle update the council on the Office of Research’s website. She also stated that the "Explorations" is now up on the Office of Research’s web-page. Zoe has a meeting scheduled for Friday, April 3rd with UTK’s web developer to discuss various research issues. If you have specific suggestions please let Zoe know.
Graham-Liebermann and other legislative efforts to increase research funds - Lillian
Lillian offered some information concerning research funding in the federal government. Last year a bill, Graham-Liebermann, was introduced which would double research funding over 10 years. The problem with this bill is that the sponsoring senators do not sit on any committees that can be of any influence. The Graham-Liebermann bill does not have much chance of passing in the current form, because it is to general. However, the bill has increased awareness for discussions. Numerous letters are being sent to Congress from research universities, national labs, and private industry supporting the need to increase research funding.
Senator Frist chairs the Science and Technology committee. He is planning on holding hearings either late summer or early fall on science funding. UT has offered to have faculty and graduate students participate in the hearings. It is very important to have graduate students speak at these hearings on the relationship between research and education.
If anyone has any issues, please let Lillian’s office know about it. Lillian’s office can help draft lettersfor congressional staffers to help support faculty projects. UTK cannot lobby on NSF projects, this usually will kill the project. However, we can let the congressman know what UT is doing regarding NSF projects which helps keep the congressman inspired to keep the funding going.
Research Computing Needs and Plans - Faye Muly
Blass introduced Faye Muly, Associate Vice Chancellor for Information Infrastructure. This item on the agenda came from a Research Infrastructure Committee meeting that Sue Mettlen attended. One of the principle issues that came up at the meeting was Research Computing Needs and Plans and what faculty researchers could expect in terms of support from the Division of Information Infrastructure. After discussion with the committee Blass asked VC Sue Mettlen to come and share with the council. However, Dr. Mettlen could not attend but Faye Muly is here to answer questions. Gayle Baker gave a brief summary of the Research Infrastructure Committee. Discussion focused on the budgetary support for research computing. Basically, DII has received no increase in funds for new initiatives and received no F&A cost recoveries. A major problem is the assumption that computing is centrally funded at UTK, which is a myth. The question is how do you do recoveries? The basic philosophy is that DII will provide as much basic computing support as possible but the message is that the research community needs to work with DII to develop the resources necessary to support their research. Do not expect much increase in the DII E&G budgets for enhancing research computing at the present time. Overall DII has been very supportive in research computing.
Walker commented that there were 2 issues regarding research computing: one issue being that researchers do not ask for computational funding in their grant proposals. A possible solution is for researchers to put these costs in their grant proposals and then reimburse DII for providing the services. Currently, this services are paid out of departmental budgets. The second issue being there is no menu of minimum services that will be provided to each faculty member for their research activities. The committee discussed helping DII develop a menu of available services, so that faculty members would know what services to expect from DII.
Research Council Response to "The Academic Affairs Report to APEC" - Blass
There are three issues that we need to response to regarding the APEC report. The first being a need for a strong statement of the commitment to the inseparability of research and teaching at a land grant institution. We need to convey to Academic Affairs and APEC and the institution that research, education, scholarship creative activity and teaching and are inseparable.
Need a strong statement of the new responsibility of teacher-scholars to be apologists for the research scholarship creative activity that they and peers engage in. We need to find a way to build the importance of research scholarship and creative activity in the education enterprise and the importance of it to the state.
The third point is more controversially, there is a need for a strong demand for the resources to support the active research/scholar-faculty which we have, before we add any more resources to consuming heroic figures for the faculty.
Dobbs stated that the most important thing is that the research and the teaching he does are both better because of the atmosphere he is exposed to and the resources both provide. Not the idea that the "teaching I do today will make me a better researcher tomorrow" or vice versa.
Blass will send out these three issues and request input hopefully we will come up with something to give to APEC. We need to stress the importance of research activity at this land-grant institution.
Adjournment: 5:10 p.m.