Faculty Senate hears presentations on several ongoing projects


By Jack McClellan

Karen Kedrowski pictured while discussing her resolution to support student voting.

Jack Mcclellan

The Faculty Senate heard several presentations concerning subjects ranging from faculty policies regarding student voting to the enterprise systems and software guiding the university’s operations Tuesday.

Karen Kedrowski, director of the Carrie Chapman Catt Center and professor of political science, proposed a resolution regarding the upcoming midterm elections and voter turnout for college students.

“The purpose of it is to make a statement from the Faculty Senate first to our students, to encourage them to participate in the upcoming midterm election,” Kedrowski said. “And then also to make a statement to our colleagues, the instructional faculty, to encourage them to think of election day as a prep-week day, not to have an exam, not to have any major assignments, and to encourage our students to participate in the rights of citizenship.”

Kedrowski pointed out that while a lot of energy and interest exists on campus around student voting and elections, there is not much coordination in the university’s efforts. According to Kedrowski, this leads to a lot of duplication of effort and a tendency to communicate misinformation, especially as voting laws change.

Kedrowski’s resolution was met with mixed comments from the Senate. Ann Smiley, a professor in kinesiology, addressed the Senate with her concerns.

“While I certainly support our students voting, I do have a problem with encouraging faculty not to give exams or to let students be tardy or absent,” Smiley said. “I think even with the changes that have taken place, there is plenty of time and ways to vote, and I think our students should be able to handle class commitment as well as voting.”

Kedrowski responded to Smiley’s concerns, pointing out that no mandates would be set in place requiring faculty to make these changes, rather an encouragement. Kedrowski also pointed to a national movement that is creating a sort of campus holiday on election day to encourage students to get to the polls, far more drastic than the resolution Kedrowski proposed.

During the meeting, Kristen Constant, vice president and chief information officer, and Steve Mickelson, senior policy advisor, presented on Iowa State’s WorkCyte program. The WorkCyte program is Iowa State’s modernization of the software that guides and monitors the huge amount of operations taking place at Iowa State.

“Well, as you know, Student Workday is a second phase of a major transition that we’re making, modernization of our software that we use, but in addition to modernizing the software, we’re looking at a lot of our processes and practices and using the opportunity to upgrade those as well.” Constant said.

The upgrades to the processes and practices were met with some concerns from Elliot Winer, a professor at the Virtual Reality Applications Center. According to Winer, the WorkCyte project is lacking representation from faculty members like himself who deal with the issues on a daily basis, instead taking consideration from more administrative level faculty members.

Erin Ridnour, librarian, and Hannah Skates Kettler, manager librarian, presented on the digital scholarship initiatives taking place at Parks Library. According to Kettler, digital scholarship and initiatives is a department within the library that is meant to support research, teaching and learning through collaboration between staff, students and faculty. 

Jonathan Wickert, senior vice president and provost, spoke briefly about the proposed retirement incentive program related to the “Reimagining LAS” initiative. According to Wickert, faculty members who qualify for the retirement incentive program will have a chance to apply this coming fall.

“And those faculty who participate will retire by the end of the coming fiscal year, so by June 30, 2023, and they will be eligible at their choice, either two years of retirement contribution and health and dental coverage for that time period or three years of retirement contributions,” Wickert said. “And applications will take place in the fall and decisions will be made at the discretion Dean Schmittman.”

Kenny Cook, a professor in the English department, addressed Wickert with a few comments regarding “Reimagining LAS.”

“I just want to call on you and the zero ministration to make sure you’re working within day seven to make sure that she is doing this more sensitively than she has been doing it,” Cook said. “And my colleagues here are familiar and aware that many programs and departments are undergoing some some very serious existential questions here about our fate.”