Sarah Ryan, Joseph Walkup Professor of IMSE, is the 2017-2018 College of Engineering Caucus Chair for the Iowa State Faculty Senate. Inspired to serve by her commitment to leadership and growth, Ryan shares the following about why she serves on Faculty Senate and what her goals are as caucus chair.
What motivates you to serve on Faculty Senate?
Nearing the end of my second decade as a faculty member at Iowa State, I have had opportunities to lead in different ways and see faculty issues from different perspectives. Serving as Engineering Caucus Chair fits with my commitment to grow within my role as a faculty member while collaborating with administration.
What are your main goals as Engineering Caucus Chair?
This year, the university will be transitioning to a new president under challenges of high undergraduate enrollments, reduced state funding, pressures on federal research funding and questions about visa availability for international students. My goal is to make sure the interests of engineering faculty are well-represented in institutional decisions, with an overall goal of enhancing education and research.
One point I want to emphasize is that the Faculty Senate represents all faculty, not just the tenure-stream faculty. Some proposals on the agenda this year concern revamping titles, ranks and policies concerning what are currently called non-tenure eligible faculty. Because I held that type of faculty position earlier in my career (though not at Iowa State), I am sensitive to the vital roles these colleagues play and their rights to fair and respectful appointment and promotion policies.
What kind of things can Faculty Senate help with?
Faculty Senate is concerned with academic policies and procedures, which include faculty appointments, any curricular issues and faculty conduct. I confess to not having spent much time with the Faculty Handbook before I was a faculty senator, but I quickly found that the handbook really has a lot of useful information. Because everything in the handbook is approved by the Faculty Senate, its chapter and section headings are the best guide to the types of issues the Faculty Senate addresses.
How can faculty reach out to Faculty Senate?
I would encourage faculty to begin with their departmental elected representatives and also keep in mind that the College of Engineering has three at-large representatives. You can find email links to any of us from the Faculty Senate website, which also has a lot of other useful information. Come to CoE faculty meetings and make sure to vote afterwards!