RESEARCH COUNCIL MINUTES
September 22, 1997
Attendees: Bill Blass, Chair, Jim Adcock, Martha Alligood, Gayle Baker, Benjamin Bates,
Tammy Berry, Doug Birdwell, Chris Cox, David Dobbs, Burt English, Pat Fisher, Kerry Henry,
Zoe Hoyle, Kim Jensen, Paula Kaufman, Dennie Kelley, Andrew Kramer, Ron Maples, Terry
Combs Orme, Carla Poore (guest), Otto Schwarz, Flora Shrode, John Schultz, Dwight Teeter,
Carolyn Webb, Jodie Wehr, Pete Wicks.
NOTE: The next Research Council meeting will be held on Monday, October 27, at 3:30 p.m. in
the 8th floor Board Room, Andy Holt Tower.
Comments by Bill Blass: Blass called the meeting to order, welcomed new members, read the
mission statement of the RC, and expressed appreciation for Jodie Wehr's assistance and wished
her much success in her move to Oklahoma. He announced that the Vice Chancellor for Research,
Mike Devine and the Associate Vice Chancellor for Research, Ken Walker were attending a
conference in Oak Ridge. A central issue this year will be consideration of the direct support of
research using overhead recoveries. The Chancellor and the Vice Chancellor for Research have
both indicated an interest in having the RC address this issue. Some caution in approaching this
issue is indicated. In the rather distant past, the state deducted overhead recoveries from the base
budget and at that time it took 4 or 5 years to regain those funds for University use. We need to be
more active and creative in our approach to internal support of research if we are to remain a
Research I institution.
Status of FIS: Blass commented on the status of the Faculty Information Service (FIS). The
Council endorsed availability of this database outside of the UTK domain and it was approved by
the Faculty Senate. There is a considerable amount of dissatisfaction regarding the effort required
to enter and update personal data. Gayle Baker and Kim Jensen approached Dean Lester, College
of Arts and Sciences, for feedback on ways to encourage greater faculty participation in the FIS.
Dean Lester had a number of concerns regarding the FIS, including its ease of use and how well it
represents faculty versus WWW Pages. Baker commented that faculty lack understanding about
FIS benefits since data can only be retrieved but not summarized. Jensen said the FIS is not a
searchable database and that some faculty choose to be represented through their departmental
web pages. Jensen stated that Tom Garritano would like to see broader participation in the FIS
with a public browser version being made available. Jim Adcock said the forms and instructions
have changed since inception and that there appears to be too much duplication of mandatory
forms routinely mailed to faculty for completion. Faculty are therefore questioning the need to
maintain the FIS in its current form.
Appointment of Chairs, pro tem: Blass announced that he has appointed Kim Jensen and Gayle
Baker chairs pro tem. They will conduct meetings in his absence and will refer important issues to
him. Some committees will report to Jensen and some to Baker.
Announcement of joint RO/RC Committee on Research: Blass read the draft of the charge from
Devine. Devine and Blass will appoint members to the Research Committee. The charge to the
committee will be to assess the health of research at UTK, consider what is needed to enhance the
research enterprise -- consistent with our mission, and what is required in order to strengthen UT's
commitment to research. One goal will be to provide recommendations for inclusion in the revised
Five Year Plan. This committee will report to the Vice Chancellor for Research and the RC and
should solicit input from researchers and Deans. Blass highly endorses this committee. English
stated that the RC exists to bring research matters from faculty to light. He expressed some
reservations about the Council's ability to develop a cohesive Five Year Plan that is representative
of the entire University with a group comprised of 14 individuals. There is a need to elicit interest
from faculty at UT because, although it is a five month assignment, it is really only a three month
plan due to December holidays. He suggested a series of surveys be devised to facilitate meeting
Comments from Doug Birdwell: Regarding the formation of the Research Committee, Birdwell
responded to Blass's comment endorsing the appointment of a representative from
Lockheed-Martin. He stated that it was not appropriate to appoint non-UT representatives to the
committee since only a couple of organizations could participate in that way. He suggested that it
would be better to charge the committee with an additional objective to obtain input from a cross
section of external organizations that have ongoing relationships with the University or could
provide useful input in order to broaden and enhance UT's approach to research.
1996 Committee Reports: Kim Jensen said that year end reports have been sent to new Council
members, with the charge to thoughtfully consider the purpose and goals of the RC. She also
announced the creation of a discussion forum page. Baker will create a link from the RC
homepage and anticipates that non-Council members will also submit research information and
concerns. With the permission of the committee chairs, Jensen will list them as contacts on the
forum page. Adcock asked if the forum is anonymous. Jensen responded that it is not anonymous.
Adcock commented that lower stations in the UT administration would hesitate to post items on a
forum page and suggested a clickable e-mail link to chairs be used to sanitize information before
being posted. English suggested posting the web address on the RC's homepage as a link to the
forum page. Blass suggested that researchers with research-related web pages may want to create
a direct link to the RC's homepage and encouraged participation.
1997 Committee Assignments: Gayle Baker announced the committee assignments and members
for 1997-98. She also presented the formation of the special projects ad hoc committee, committee
members, and three specific projects: the RC web page, a public lecture series, and the promotion
of small grant applications. English commented that the charges of the RC committees and
guidelines for goals are very helpful. Blass encouraged sponsoring public lectures on campus,
weekly or biweekly, to advertise UT research efforts. Alligood commented that the College of
Nursing will display current research efforts at the College of Law on
October 10-11, and suggested that the RC also showcase research.
Status of Biennial Report: Zoe Hoyle stated that the biennial review, Explorations, is now in its
second proof stage and expects it to be mailed out in November on campus, to state legislators,
congressional members, and made available to anyone who has an interest in research. Alligood
asked if there is a comprehensive document containing all research presently being conducted on
campus. Hoyle responded that this is the purpose of Research Good News, which is archived on
the web for the past three years. Chris Cox commented that names and titles of research have been
listed in CONTEXT. Hoyle responded that anyone who has received funding for a whole year is
listed in the Annual Report published through the Office of Research.
Adjournment: 5:10 p.m.