Research Council Report 2000-2001

The Senate charge to the Research Council for 2000-2001 states:
Specific duties of the Research Council are to
  1. Engage the Administration including but not limited to the President, the Vice President for Research and Information Technology, the Associate Vice President for Research, and the Provost regarding all aspects of the University's goal of moving into the top 25 publicly-funded research universities, including but not limited to:
    Sabbatical policy
    Management of contracts and grants (re. IRIS)
    Definition and selection of the new Centers of Excellence
    Review draft proposals from the Task Force on Faculty Titles
  2. Explore the possibility of collaboration with comparable bodies at Memphis and Tullahoma.
  3. Remain engaged in:
    The functioning of the faculty workstation refresh program
    Its historically close collaboration and supportive activities with the Office of Research.
The first meeting of the year was dedicated to the discussion of the Academic Titles draft documents. The Research Council framed its comments., emphasizing areas of concern and disagreement. Later, Vice Provost Mayhew met with the Council updating the Council on Faculty Titles and reorganization of the Graduate School. The Vice Provost answered questions from the Council members on both counts. The dialog was satisfactory.

The Policies and Procedures Committee, in conjunction with the Senate Professional Development Committee, presented a Council approved proposal to the Senate for a sabbatical leave policy. This was adopted by the Senate and sent on to President Gilley by the President of the Senate.

Vice President McCay appeared before the Council answering several questions which were submitted to him prior to the meeting. The following statements were made: 1. The faculty workstation refresh program will continue with another year of one-time funding. 2. In reply to the query "What ,measures are being used to evaluate research, creative activity, and scholarly activity?", McCay replied that ORIT has pulled together a group to put together a strategic plan for research growth. There are six elements to the plan: quality personnel, quality infrastructure, quality of service space, appropriate funding techniques, a research incentive plan, and a marketing plan for research. When the Chair asked about plans to measure scholarly output, such as publications, McCay answered with a comment about an FIS follow-on. 3. In response to the query "Are we now using the new top 25 list of public universities in the U.S. News and World Report?" McCay said the University uses a variety of criteria to determine whether or not it is in the top 25.

Arlene Garrison of ORIT appeared before the Council and answered questions regarding the process and progress of the Research Centers of Excellence competition. Council members voiced concern over the secretiveness of the review process, especially in light of the Tennessee Open Records Law, the need for consultation with faculty on procedures, and the need to provide appropriate feedback on non-funded proposals.

Lee Magid, ORNL liaison, appeared before the Council and brought Council to date on the UT/Battelle management operations.

Barbara Dewey, the new Dean of Libraries met with the Council and stressed that the library will need $3.8 million in recurring funding to move up to the funding levels of the top 25 libraries. UT ranks 39th in the Association of Research Libraries (ARL).

Vice-Chair Baker brought the Council up to date regarding the Community of Science (which will replace the Science Alliance's outdated and cumbersome Faculty Information System (FIS). It should be noted that The Community of Science takes Science in its broadest form and is for all scholars.

The Council discussed and ultimately expressed grave concern over President Gilley's front page article in the Daily Beacon of February 21, 2001. The lead sentence of the story states "The university has adopted the National Science Foundation's ranking of top public universities as the sole benchmark for its measurement of success." The Council is preparing a letter to the President expressing its concerns that the majority of the faculty will judge that their scholarly activities are only tangentially relevant to achieving the University's prime goal. The concern that the rewards will flow to the so-called "big producers" based solely on dollars produced is exacerbated by statements such as the one quoted from the Daily Beacon. It is the Council's view that a great University arises from the efforts of a dedicated scholarly faculty which is fully supported and appreciated by the administration and citizens of the state.

The Council continues to assist the Office of Research in the administration of the EPPE program, the Research and Creative Achievement Awards, and the Professional Promise Awards, the Centers Evaluation program, and the Summer SARIF Award program.

Senate Directory
Governing Documents
   Senate Bylaws
   Faculty Handbook
   Tenure Policy



Senate Home

To offer suggestions or comments about this web site, please click here.