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Minutes for January 2002

January 28, 2002

Attendees: Elizabeth Aversa, Gayle Baker (Co-Vice Chair), Denise Barlow, David Bassett, Doug Birdwell (Chair), Bill Blass (Co-Vice Chair), David Buehler, Jon Coddington, Chris Cox, Mark Dadmun, Pat Fisher, Arlene Garrison, Jens Gregor, Maureen Groer, Joanne Hall, Thomas Handler, Marion Hansen, Mark Hedrick, Jon Levin, Ron Maples, Lillian Mashburn, T. Dwayne McCay, Faye Muly, Bonnie Ownley, Stuart Riggsby, Ian Rockett, Pamela Small, Susan Smith, C.A. Speer, Dixie Thompson, Bruce Tonn, Gail White, Luther Wilhelm

  • Introductory Remarks:
    • Chair Doug Birdwell opened the meeting. The minutes of the November meeting were approved as read. Birdwell spoke about two handouts, the latest revisions to the document on faculty titles and the Faculty Senate report on “Contingent Employment at UTK.” He pointed out that the document on faculty titles needs careful review and that feedback should be sent to Anne Mayhew.
    • Arlene Garrison, speaking on behalf of the Office of Research, introduced the new organization chart. The positions of Assistant Vice President (50%-time) and Radiation Safety Officer are pending. She introduced Bill Dockery as the Research Information Services Coordinator and announced that Kim Summerfield has been hired as a Grant & Contracts Specialist.The Provost has asked that Research Council review the “AAUP Conflict of Interest Guidelines.” The Office of Research will send copies of the document to members.Garrison stated that faculty need to submit proposals and cost-sharing requirements to the Office of Research in a more timely manner. On the average, it takes 4 hours to review a proposal from beginning to end. Faculty should submit the budget and yellow sheet as soon as possible in order to get into the queue for contract processing. Council members suggested that the Office of Research should communicate with the faculty about the average processing time and workflow backups, recognize cycles of deadlines of the major funding agencies and post them on the web, and set deadlines. Dwayne McCay asked Research Council to name a group to review the proposal process. Doug Birdwell said that this could be done by either the Policies & Procedures Committee or the Special Projects Committee. McCay also stated that an internal management study will be done to review the procedures.
  • Office of Research & Information Technology (ORIT) Update (T. Dwayne McCay, Vice President, ORIT): Research Council asked Dwayne McCay to address two areas of concern:
    • Dell Audit – The agreement with Dell was reviewed by auditors in response to complaints about preferential treatment. Brice Bible stated that there were no problems with state law, but that there was a problem with the “sole source” authorization. Later on this year there will be a broad solicitation to renew vendor contracts. The University is taking the advice of the Gartner Group by calling for an RFI, reviewing the responses to the RFI and then writing the RFP.
    • Faculty Refresh Program – Bill Blass brought up problems with last year’s group of Dell computers and stated that departmental and college systems personnel bore the burden of dealing with the problems. Doug Birdwell reminded McCay that Research Council’s original proposal for the faculty refresh program involved more workstation choices than have been offered. McCay responded that single-sourcing with Dell was done to maximize the use of funds. The refresh program is being run out of the Office of the Provost. Suggestions for change should be directed to Clif Woods.
  • SAP/IRIS and Research: Q&A (Ron Maples, Controller, Gail White, Grants & Contracts Manager, Denise Barlow, Director of Finance): Doug Birdwell began the discussion by reporting that he had recently met with Sylvia Davis and Neal Wormsley about problems with SAP/IRIS and research. Some issues were cleared up, but he stressed the need for better communication with faculty. Birdwell spoke of reporting requirements to sponsoring agencies and the need to keep a set of “shadow books” to do this, even with the new SAP/IRIS system.University Controller Ron Maples stated that the goal is to eliminate “shadow books.” While information on SAP/IRIS is more timely with direct keying in departments, not all database management functions have been incorporated into the new system. They will continue to work to improve training. A committee will soon be formed, with representation from Research Council, to deal with SAP/IRIS problems and faculty.A new procedure for effort certification on contracts and grants will begin in February. Training efforts have not yet begun.
  • Office of Information Technology (OIT) Strategic Planning Process (Faye Muly, Assistant Vice President, OIT): OIT has contracted with SAIC to develop a process for a strategic planning. Muly has solicited information from the research deans and organizations involved with information technology. She stated that research is one of the main focuses and expressed a willingness to work with Faculty Senate’s Strategic Planning Group on Computing and Networking.
  • Updates:
    • Federal Relations (Lillian Mashburn): Several federal agencies have increased budgets for the upcoming year and faculty are encouraged to apply for contracts and grants. Areas of increased funding are bioterrorism, food and water safety, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Funds have been taken away from NOAA and the Smithsonian and given to NSF. UT has hired the firm of Preston Gates, a registered lobbyist, to build better relationships with federal agencies.
    • Strategic Planning Group on Computing and Networking (Bill Blass): On November 12, 2001 the Faculty Senate approved a motion to create the Strategic Planning Group on Computing and Networking to underscore the importance of the leadership role that faculty should play in “establishing strategic directions for the development of computer and network resources to meet the needs of the University Community.” Blass has set up an online forum to solicit input from the University community at
  • Old Business
    • Faculty Titles (Bill Blass): Blass stated that the categorization of non-tenure track faculty into either instructors and researchers, with nothing in between, is problemmatic. He asked for Council members to review the draft and “imagine what it will do for us and to us.” Birdwell asked that feedback be sent to
  • New Business
    • EPPE (Exhibits, Performance and Publications Expenses) (Elizabeth Sutherland): Changes to the guidelines for EPPE requests regarding limited funding, cost-sharing efforts, and non-tenure track faculty were discussed. The guidelines on the EPPE page on the Office of Research website will be updated to reflect the changes.

Meeting adjourned at 5:29 p.m.