Faculty Senate sets focus on faculty policy and campus climate


President of the Faculty Senate Peter Martin enjoys conversations with fellow members before the meeting on Sept. 11 in the Sun Room Memorial Union.

Kaityn Hood

The Faculty Senate has focused on two policy goals for the remainder of the year.

Peter Martin, president of the Faculty Senate, said there are two main goals for the remainder of the 2018 session: the implementation of a term faculty policy and a focus on campus climate.

The term faculty policy is an ongoing process that will go into effect July 1, 2019. This new policy will eliminate titles such as senior lecturer and promote faculty directly to a professor.

But this has led to difficulties in correcting pay raises and making sure staff are receiving what they should, Martin said.

Martin said this is one reason why there have been so few faculty members to join Iowa State in recent years, and as a result there are less faculty to go around for students.

When Martin started teaching in 1991, he said there were about 20 students in a class, but nowadays there are upwards for 150 in his gerontology courses.

Martin said the university needs more competitive wages to acquire and retain qualified educators for the university. One way this can happen is through teaching evaluations, which he said help determine what comes next in a faculty members career.

Campus climate also has a heavy influence on if faculty choose to stay at Iowa State, Martin said. 

Similarly to how students get asked about the environment of the university, faculty do the same with classroom environment, workload, stress, diversity and their feelings on how comfortable it is to work at Iowa State.

The Faculty Senate tries to capture this through their coach survey which is used to determine how well the university is appealing to its faculty. President Martin is always asking “How can we make it the best it can be?” Martin said this is why campus climate is one of their main focuses for the year.

Another way the Senate is approaching this is by seeking diverse faculty so all students will be able to relate or learn something new within or outside course material. Life lessons are just as important as what is learned inside the classroom, Martin said.

“It is critical to understand that diversity is not something that we want, it is something that we need,” Martin said. “We learn so much more from it. It is better to learn from each other.”

Martin said diversity and safety for all is a top priority.

“If you bully someone, you bully yourself,” Martin said. “If you hurt someone, you are hurting yourself…we are one university.”

The Faculty Senate serves as the representing body for all faculty and staff at Iowa State, and they work to make policy that affects everyone working or learning at the university.

One of Martin’s main goals in the Faculty Senate is to make sure all students have a positive experience at Iowa State no matter their background, socioeconomic status or any other form of classification.

Martin said he wants to make sure students get a “return on investment” not only through education, but through the whole university experience.

“We work with and for the faculty to make a difference,” Martin said.