Faculty Senate receives update on ISU Online


Jack McClellan

Sara Marcketti pictured during her presentation to the Faculty Senate, discussing the Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching and their work consolidation Iowa State’s online programming with ISU Online.

Faculty Senate received an update on ISU Online and heard announcements from the university provost Tuesday evening.

The senate received an update on ISU Online from Sara Marcketti, director of the Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching (CELT). Marcketti said ISU Online’s intended audience includes current students looking for flexible opportunities and people new to Iowa State who are searching for totally online experiences.

Marcketti also said that CELT and Iowa State Online would not be involved in the curriculum process.

“This has been a concern that we’ve heard as we’ve gone through the college by college caucus meetings, is that somehow we’re going to change the curriculum process,” Marcketti said. “That process is going to continue, but be strengthened through some of the support services that we will offer.”

Marcketti said the media production labs in Howe and Curtiss Hall will now fall under CELT administration, as well as testing centers.

Throughout the fall semester, Marcketti said the CELT leadership team conducted 70 interviews in order to hire the necessary faculty for ISU Online. Marcketti said this included two rounds of hiring, one to focus on faculty already at Iowa State and another to focus on faculty who come from outside the university.

“We have also been working very, very hard on our draft operation documents,” Marcketti said. “To get to strategy, you need processes and procedures. And this is where we’ve been spending the most of our time currently, working with associated teams to figure out both the processes for new programs, certificates, etc. and how our unit will interface and intersect with those opportunities.”

Jonathan Wickert, senior vice president and provost, gave a few announcements regarding some jumpstart initiatives funded through the president’s office.

Wickert also said that undergraduate applications are up 5.2% from last year, indicating another increase in fall enrollment. Wickert added that the increase includes all residence categories: students living on campus, off campus and international students.

Wickert said that each of the university’s colleges would also be updating their recruiting materials to align with a new enrollment marketing campaign.

“So, we’ve had the adventure campaign now for well over a decade,” Wickert said. “Well, the adventure theme doesn’t really resonate anymore. In fact, the tests very negatively.”

Wickert said through marketing research, Iowa State found that students do like the idea of coming to campus to grow and find their path but also desire the supportive faculty and staff that comes with a college experience.

“You’re gonna see the new marketing campaign called ‘In The Making’,” Wickert said. “And this is a new theme about, ‘you’re an adult in the making, you’re a Cyclone in the making, if you’re creative, if you care about other people, if you want to take charge of your future, you just might be a Cyclone.”

The Senate approved all agenda items with exceptional speed, receiving almost no comments or questions from the Senate.

The Senate heard the second reading of and approved the following items:

  • The discontinuation of the Latin undergraduate minor
  • The discontinuation of the Latin graduate minor
  • A new undergraduate minor in Spanish translation and interpretation studies
  • A new undergraduate program in biomedical engineering
  • The posthumous degree policy allows the university to posthumously grant degrees to graduate and undergraduate students.
  • A new, updated faculty handbook

The Faculty Senate also heard the first reading of one item; to remove the requirement for students to complete the last 32 credits of their degree at Iowa State University, allowing students to study abroad or participate in a study exchange program during their final year of study. No questions or comments were made regarding the item.

Faculty Senate President Jon Perkins and President-Elect Sarah Bennett-George, gave their announcements, stalling slightly as Wickert was held up conducting an exit interview with Jason Henderson, a finalist for vice president for Extension and Outreach.

During that time, the Senate held their good of the order comments and recessed briefly. Steve Freeman, a university professor in agricultural and biosystems engineering, made a comment thanking past president Denise Vrchota, a teaching professor emeritus in psychology, for marshaling the senate through the handbook revisions.

Virginia Hanson, an associate teaching professor in agricultural education and studies, said that the unprecedentedly short meeting could possibly be explained by more work being done in the lower levels of conversation and deliberation, leading to less conflict at the overall faculty senate meetings.

She added that Marcketti gave a very thorough presentation to the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Caucus and spent over an hour answering questions.

To make up for the slight delay in announcements, Wickert promised to have a greater assortment of snacks in the upcoming Faculty Senate meeting, which is set to take place Dec. 13.