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Minutes for September 2002

September 16, 2002

Attendees: Margaret Ashworth, Basil Antar, Elizbeth Aversa, Doug Birdwell (Chair), Gayle Baker (Co-Vice Chair), Bill Blass (Co-Vice Chair), Billie Collier, Chris Cox, William Dunne, David Eastwood, Arlene Garrison, Joanne Hall, William Hamel, Ray Hamilton, Mark Hedrick, John Koontz, Jon Levin, Carol Malkemus, Ron Maples, T. Dwayne McCay, Robert Moore, Faye Muly, Mary Rogge, Suzan Thompson, Bruce Tonn, Gail White, Gretchen Whitney, Luther Wilhelm

  • Introductory Remarks (Doug Birdwell, Chair, and Billie Collier, Interim Associate Vice President for Research:
    • Doug Birdwell welcomed members, old and new, and thanked everyone for agreeing to serve on committees.
    • Billie Collier summarized some recent accoumplishments of the Office of Research:
      • Process audit
      • Planning for the new UT Research Foundation
      • Report on biohazard preparedness by Buddy Moore

      She expressed her appreciation of members of Research Council for their service on the special panels, SARIF, Centers Review, etc.

  • Audit of Office of Research (Billie Collier): Bill Moles, a UT auditor, completed an audit of document processing (grants, proposals, confidentiality agreements, etc.) in the Office of Research this past summer. Some of the recommendations from the report are:
    • Use the COEUS system to enter all documents and cease data entry on second database
    • Quit using students for data entry and hire an extra data entry staff person
    • Be more responsive in communicating with PI’s by establishing a web query tool to track a proposal through the process
    • Review lead-time options for review of documents

    Collier asked for input on what is reasonable lead-time. During a review, the budgets are found to have the most problems, along with formatting problems and getting information properly on the forms. It was suggested that Colleges and Departments might provide more help in this area.

  • Proposed UT Research Foundation(T. Dwayne McCay, Vice President for Research and Information): McCay described the plans for a UT Research Foundation, a priority for President Shumaker. The key issues in the formation of the foundation are:
    • Better management of UT intellectual property
    • Improvement of research services by pulling private contracting out of the Office of Research. The corporation would have fewer limitations than the University for negotiating contracts.
    • Incubation of faculty, student and staff companies
    • Provide research incentives
    • Establish corporate partnerships

    Four committees are actively involved in planning the foundation. The plan will be presented to the Board of Trustees at the October 25 meeting, with basic services beginning January 2003. Doug Birdwell suggested that McCay get broad faculty involvement in reviewing the plans and the bylaws of the Foundation.

  • Discussion Item:
    • Committee of the Whole: Birdwell led the discussion about the Research Council charge. Several issues were brought up:
      • UT conflict of interest policy
      • Review of centers evaluation document
      • Involvement with the UT Research Foundation. Determine the role of Research Council.
      • Follow-up on the recommendations from the audit of the Office of Research.
      • Need for adequate operating budgets for departments.
      • Faculty salary vs. new hire salary
      • Involvement with Information Technology and Computing
      • Continued involvement with IRIS
      • Promotion and education about research on campus
      • F&A reallocation process
      • Infrastructure (space, equipment, etc.)
  • Commitee Assignments (Doug Birdwell): The chair directed the attention of the Council to the list of committee assignments. Most Senate members of Council were given their top choices. The SARIF Equipment & Infrastructure Committee is new this year. Chairs will be named by the October meeting. A spreadsheet of committee assignments by member will be made available on the web.
  • Updates:
    • UT Information Technology Policy (Faye Muly, Assistant Vice President for Information Technology): Faye Muly presented the new Information Technology Policy. It replaces the document on UT Acceptable Use Practices. It was reviewed by several Information Technology bodies, including the Information Technology Executive Council. Some of the changes include:
      • Network connectivity is a privilege, not a right.
      • Electronic mail is public record.
      • Wireless and bandwith regulations.
      • Use of virus protection software.

      Council members expressed concerns about replacing the UT Acceptable Use Practices, with a new policy without getting faculty input. Some members of Research Council were actively involved a few years ago in the writing of the UT Acceptable Use Practices document that was replaced. Muly asked Council members to send her input on changes to the policy in two weeks.

    • IRIS and Research (Arlene Garrison, Assistant Vice President for Research and Ron Maples, Controller): Arlene Garrison spoke of the formation of an advisory committee for research-related issues with IRIS. She co-chairs this committee with Neal Wormsley. Ron Maples announced a new method of dealing with encumbrances on restricted accounts that is scheduled to be implemented in January 2003.
  • New Business: Birdwell brought up funding problems of the Southern Appalachian Science & Engineering Science Fair. The Fair will be held one more year. The importance of the Fair in promoting research was discussed.

Meeting adjourned at 5:21 p.m.