FAC Minutes 10-8-15

College of Natural Science
Faculty Advisory Council

Meeting Minutes
October 8, 2015

Present: S. Beceiro Novo, D. Bello, A. Cognato, D. DeWitt, F. Downes, M. Gottfried, G. Garrity, J. Kirkpatrick, S. Levental, K. Olson, K. Osteryoung, F. Peterson, C. Piermarocchi, C. Sisk, T. Zacharewski


Approval of Minutes. 
The minutes from the September 10, 2015 meeting were approved as written.

Old Business

Support for ESL 291

Patricia Walters, associate director of the English Language Center attended a FAC meeting last spring. At that time, council members decided they would like to support ESL 291, Special Topics in Academic English. D. Bello has been in contact with her about just what needs to be addressed. P. Walters will send an email with specific items needing support. D. Bello will draft a letter, which will be distributed to members and discussed at the next meeting.

New Business

Undergraduate Research Volunteers

The university does not have a policy for undergraduate research volunteers. NatSci encourages students to volunteer and is not concerned they have credit. Sometimes signing up for credit would interfere with time-to-completion. Biochemistry and Molecular Biology does have a policy for volunteers working in the Biochemistry Building. The Office of General Counsel stated that MSU is fine with research volunteers if they complete safety training. Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) sent a document for minors in laboratories. They expect that student volunteers will follow the same policy as registered students at MSU. D. Bello asked council members if NatSci should form a policy. It may be appropriate to have a template/guidelines available to NatSci units. General Counsel encourages NatSci to draft a policy to be vetted through EHS and Human Resources. They prefer that there is not a waiver involved. Discussion took place about possible ways to accommodate undergraduate volunteers; NSCL works with HR to hire people as no-pay employees. Council members thought it was a good idea to move forward with a draft. This is an example where NatSci should take the lead in defining university policy. A subcommittee to develop a document was formed. Saul Beceiro Novo, Diana Bello, and Frances Downes will serve. D. Bello will contact other members to set up a time to meet. They will report back at the November meeting.


MSU does have a mechanism for faculty to check for plagiarism. Licenses have been purchased for several for programs including Turnitin. Pages from the website https://tech.msu.edu/teaching/tools/ were distributed. Members were encouraged to take this information back to their units.

Template for Requesting Supporting Letters for Award Nominees

The draft of a template a nominator could send to request a letter for support to accompany a nomination package was distributed. It stressed that letters should be written to be readable by the broad audience that makes up the award selection committee. Suggestions to improve the template were made. D. Bello will incorporate the suggestions and email an updated draft for a second look.

Next Meeting: November 12, 2015