February 27-28, 2019 Meeting Recap
The Board of Regents met at the Iowa State University Alumni Center in Ames on February 27-28. Key items reviewed by committees and the Board are outlined below.
Property and Facilities Committee
The Board approved six projects for the University of Iowa, including plans for a renovation of Hillcrest Residence Hall. Student rooms will receive updated floor, wall and ceiling finishes over the course of four years beginning summer 2020.
Two projects were presented for consideration from Iowa State, including a concourse expansion and infrastructure renewal project at Hilton Coliseum. Plans call for renovated concession areas, wider concourses and upgraded mechanical systems. The estimated budget is $25 million, funded by athletic department operations and private donations.
Investment and Finance Committee
Dave Smith from Marquette Associates, Inc. presented the Investment and Cash Management Report. Marquette presents quarterly updates on the Board’s investment portfolio.
Academic Affairs Committee
The University of Iowa proposed the termination of its online Bachelor of Business Administration program, citing duplication. The UI also proposed a new Engineering and Information Technology master’s program. These items will come before the Board for approval in April.
Chief Academic Officer Rachel Boon presented the 2017-18 Distance Education Report. The report noted that total credit hours taken through distance education programs at Iowa’s public universities are up 40 percent over the last five years and duplicated enrollment is up 44 percent over the same period. Steve Warnstadt, coordinator of the Western Iowa Regents Resource Center, presented on the center’s outreach programs serving Iowans in the state’s western areas.
Related Reading: Distance Education Booming at Iowa’s Public Universities
Campus and Student Affairs Committee
Representatives from the three universities, including UNI VP for Student Affairs Paula Knudson, UI VP for Student Life Melissa Shivers, ISU Senior VP for Student Affairs Martino Harmon, and ISU Assistant VP for Student Health and Wellness Erin Baldwin, presented on mental health and student well-being. The presentation highlighted the link between student mental health and well-being and academic success, retention and persistence.
Associate Chief Academic Officer Jason Pontius presented the Annual Student Financial Aid Report. The report noted that federal aid has seen small growth over the last two years and state aid has continued its decline. Financial aid provided by the universities and private groups has increased to fill this gap.
Related Reading: Filling the Aid Gap
Audit and Compliance Committee
Chief Audit Executive Patrice Sayre presented the internal audit reports. In addition, the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics Audit was presented.
University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics Committee
UI Vice President for Medical Affairs and Dean of the Carver College of Medicine Brooks Jackson presented the hospital report. Dr. George Weiner and Dr. Laura Rogers presented research on cancer immunotherapy.
Ten speakers registered to speak to the Board. Topics included university ID cards, the University of Iowa Labor Center, college tuition costs and other issues.
The Board appointed Dr. Steve Goddard as dean of the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Goddard was previously senior associate to the executive vice chancellor, chair of the Department of Computer Science and Engineering, and John E. Olsson Professor of computer science and engineering at Nebraska. He will begin as dean on June 1.
Reconsider Closure of the UI Labor Center
The Board approved a request to reconsider the closure of the UI Labor Center. The Board approved the UI’s request to close the center last November as part of a plan to redirect general education funds to core teaching activities. Since then, university administrators and Labor Center staff worked to identify alternative funding mechanisms that would enable the center to remain in operation.
Board President Report
President Richards addressed the University of Iowa’s potential public private partnership with its utility system. Richards noted that the Board had previously charged the universities to “be creative” with regard to resources, and to leverage their intellectual and physical properties to best serve students.
Related Reading: UI Exploring Public-Private Partnership Involving Utility System
The Board ratified agreements with its bargaining units, including the Campaign to Organize Graduate Students (COGS) at the UI, United Faculty at UNI and Service Employees International Union (SEIU) at the UI. A voluntary agreement for a two-year contract beginning July 1, 2019, was reached between the State and AFSCME on January 27.
Graduation and Retention Report
Associate Chief Academic Officer Jason Pontius presented the annual Graduation and Retention Report. Aggregated across the Regent Universities, 59 percent of bachelor’s degree earners choose to remain in Iowa after they earn their degree. More than 5,000 educated workers enter the Iowa workforce from the Regents system every year.
Related Reading: Educating Iowa’s Workforce