Iowa Board of Regents

November 13-14, 2019 Meeting Recap

November 14, 2019

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The Board of Regents met in the Slife Ballroom in the Commons at the University of Northern Iowa November 13-14, 2019. Key items reviewed by committees and the Board are outlined below. All items on the meeting agenda were approved.

Fall 2019 Enrollment Report
Fall enrollment at Iowa’s public universities totaled 75,128 students, the sixth-highest enrollment in the history of the Regents system. However, the total represents a decline of 3.5 percent since fall 2018. Board Associate Chief Academic Officer Jason Pontius presented the report, noting that an improving economy and job market, increased national competition for college students and an increase in Chinese education infrastructure are contributing to the drop. 

Chart showing Regent University total student headcount enrollment between fall 2010 and fall 2019.

Students who identified as racial/ethnic minorities made up 15.6 percent of the student body, the highest percentage ever. The percent of women STEM majors also was the highest ever at 35.8 percent.

Further Reading: Fall 2019 Enrollment at Iowa’s Public Universities

Regent Economic Impact Study
Hannah Ruffridge
, assistant director of higher education consulting with the labor market analytics firm Emsi, presented the Regent Economic Impact Study. Iowa’s Regent Universities provided $11.8 billion in added income to the state, equal to 6.2 percent of Iowa’s gross state product during FY 2017-18. The report also notes the sum total of university activity supports nearly 150,000 jobs (one out of every 14 jobs in Iowa) and returns nearly three dollars for every taxpayer dollar spent.

Diagram displaying different money-saving options.

Further Reading: Iowa’s Public Universities Providing Strong Economic Impact

More: Read the Reports

Iowa Braille and Sight Saving School Sale
The Board authorized the sale of the Iowa Braille and Sight Saving School campus to the city of Vinton for one dollar. The property includes 48 acres and 11 buildings, more than half of which currently is leased to AmeriCorps. The potential sale would complete the shift from campus-centered education to the Iowa Educational Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired offered at hometown districts across the state.

Further Reading: The End of an Era

Map showing location of industrial technology center.Property and Facilities Committee
The Board approved a 21.8 acre University of Iowa purchase of undeveloped land in North Liberty. UNI purchased property at 2616 College Street in Cedar Falls; the site of the Lutheran Student Center. Also approved were upgrades to the UNI Industrial Technology Center (ITC). The ITC project will add 36,000 square feet and provide UNI with a facility more befitting of its nationally recognized programs.

Further Reading: UNI’s Industrial Technology Center Looks for an Upgrade

Campus and Student Affairs Committee
The committee received Clery Act reports from the universities. The Clery Act requires colleges and universities across the United States to disclose information about crime on and around their campuses. Additionally, public safety and student life administrators from the universities presented an update on campus safety protocols and responses to potential emergency situations.

Academic Affairs Committee
The Biennial Faculty Activities Report outlined how faculty members spend their time at Iowa’s public universities. Requests for FY 2021 professional development assignments, along with FY 2019 professional development reports were approved. Professional development assignments address an important part of the Board’s strategic plan priority of promoting and supporting innovation in teaching, research and economic development.

In addition, high school courses in computer science will now count toward students’ Regent Admission Index score. As the world demands greater digital literacy, the need for highly trained people in computer science grows. This change to the RAI reflects a growing need for high-quality computer science instruction. 

Further Reading: Admission at Iowa's Public Universities

Investment and Finance Committee
The FY 2019 comprehensive fiscal report, an annual report on the Board’s finances, was received. More than 60 percent of university operating revenues came from tuition during the 2018-19 academic year, with 33.1 percent coming from state appropriations. 

Further Reading: The Comprehensive Fiscal Report

Audit and Compliance Committee
The Committee approved its calendar for 2020 and received internal audits.

University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics Committee
UIHC VP for Medical Affairs Brooks Jackson was joined by associate VP and CEO of UI Hospitals and Clinics Suresh Gunasekaran and associate VP and UI Health Care CFO Bradley Haws in presenting the UIHC presentation. J.L. Marsh, professor and Carroll B. Larson Chair of the UI Department of Orthopedics and Rehabilitation presented his work in the UI Osteoarthritis Research Program.

Consent Agenda
The Board voted to allow faculty and staff who accrue vacation leave to donate it to those who do not, effective January 1, 2020. Previously, vacation only could be donated to those who also accrued it. The University of Iowa will award honorary doctorates to Academy Award winning movie producer Mark Johnson (MA, Communication and Theatre Arts, 1974), and former UI research assistant Dr. Mark Mattson, who’s contributions to basic and clinical science of aging have fundamentally changed the thinking around lifelong brain health.

Timothy Kan was appointed chief growth officer for University of Iowa Health Care. Kan Previously served as a director at Navigant Consulting. Additionally, the Board voted to include computer science in the Regents Admissions Index.

Further Reading: Board of Regents Approves Addition of Computer Science to Regent Admission Index

Economic Development and Technology Transfer Report
Collectively, the three universities provided nearly $1.1 billion in total sponsored funding to the state of Iowa in FY 2019, with more than half of it coming from competitive federal grants and awards. Iowa’s public universities impact Iowa and demonstrate their value to communities in all 99 counties on a daily basis.

Public Comment
Four speakers registered to speak to the Board. Topics included tuition at Iowa’s public universities, the catastrophic leave and vacation donation policy, and other issues.

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