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Welcome to ESU's Public Comments Post, where comments, questions, and responses to questions pertaining to recently posted University-wide Policies are posted for 10 days for public review.

Your comments and suggestions are always welcome.

Feel free to e-mail us at policies@esu.edu.

Question:

Firstly, I am extremely grateful that ESU has reverted back to using this process for approving of policies. It has seem that some policies (E.g., final exam policy) had been implemented with failure to seek feedback in this manner. I am grateful for us to adhere to this process for this long awaiting proposal. (Centers and Institutes Policy. 3/20/19)

I know that I have been the person pressing the issue on this proposal for a very long time ... long before Jo was provost and Christina was at ESU.

For the most part, the proposal is very detailed and appropriate. There is one point in the proposal for which I raise concern:

" Such research projects will not occur during the course of normal working hours for the ESU researchers/principal investigators involved, unless through externally funded or grant funded released time mechanism."

(1) 20% of my job (as currently defined at ESU) is research based, so why would I not be permitted to conduct 20% of my job through the center or institute? It seems silly that I would have to conduct 20% of my regular job in scholarship in a manner that is NOT related to the institute or center (of course, assuming the Institute was a research based institute).

(2) 60% of my job is teaching/advising students. This includes mentoring undergraduate researchers ... some times for credit, other times not for credit. I cannot supervise them under my job AND work at the institute at the same time, yet, I think one of the greatest benefits to having Centers or Institutes on our campus is what it offers for our students (and recent alumni).

(3) 20% of my job is service, and running a Center or Institute without getting paid, particularly one that brings status, grant money, etc. to the university, seems like a good use of service.

Now, I figured, I could keep my mouth shut, and just do these things ... no one is watching my time, and to date, no one has ever said I haven't been giving my all to the campus - even the folks who dislike me. Yet, we waited so long for this policy, I think getting it right makes sense.

Moreover, I actually get what this line is trying to say ... I can't say ... gee, guys, I'm not going to teach today or I'm skipping my office hours because I'm heading to the Institute. That would be wrong, and though I wish it doesn't need to be articulated in the policy, we all know it does. I also understand that support staff/administration can't be working on Institute work while getting paid by ESU.

I'm just thinking ... maybe some clarification of language could be in order.

Of course, this is the point at which great feedback would offer such language ... sorry, I can't help you.

I'm very excited to see this implemented. I look forward to STEM Student Success to be "Institutionalized" in some manner. And regardless of the wording of this policy, I promise that everyone involved will follow the "spirit" of the policy ... our dedication to our work, our mission, our students, and the taxpayers.

Answer:

The intent of this response is to clarify the language that could be misunderstood as it is currently worded.

The authors of the policy propose new language to be inserted in the paragraph to avoid misunderstanding. The old paragraph read as:

Typically, Centers and Institutes are based on a group of faculty members’ research interests in addressing specific issues or problems of current interest not covered in their disciplines. In some cases, this may also apply to staff or managers who are also interested in supporting faculty or academic research as is with the position of library dean or workforce development director. Such research projects will not occur during the course of normal working hours for the ESU researchers/principal investigators involved, unless through externally funded or grant funded released time mechanism.

The proposed new language is:

Typically, Centers and Institutes are based on a group of faculty members’ research interests in addressing specific issues or problems of current interest not covered in their disciplines. In some cases, this may also apply to staff or managers who are also interested in supporting faculty or academic research as is with the position of library dean or workforce development director. Such research projects will not occur during the course of normal working/teaching hours unless faculty has received released time, paid by external resources whether by a grant or contract or other external source, from their primary duties during normal working hours upon the recommendation of the Provost, with the Center or Institute reimbursing the university through a fund transfer. Employees on released time will not receive extra compensation for the same work.