Sept. 22, 2006
Grape and wine institute gets regents' green light
by Anne Krapfl
Iowa State's proposal for a Midwest Grape and Wine Industry Institute received the go-ahead from the Board of Regents, State of Iowa, during its meeting Sept. 27. The institute will be in the College of Agriculture and will focus on research, teaching and outreach that support the Midwest's evolving grape and wine industry.
The institute's director is Dr. Murli Dharmadikari, who was hired in the summer of 2005 as Iowa State's extension enologist (a specialist in wine making).
"This institute is a response to the industry," said Gerald Miller, associate dean in the College of Agriculture for extension and outreach programs who helped develop the proposal. He said an institute provides visibility and an entry point for growers and wine makers looking for help.
The Iowa Grape and Wine Commission (under the state department of agriculture and land stewardship) is the largest funder of the institute in its first three years. Other funding sources are ISU Extension, the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture and a private three-year gift.
Among the institute's proposed initiatives are:
Software engineering degree
The regents also approved a new B.S. degree in software engineering at Iowa State, which will be jointly administered by the departments of computer science (College of Liberal Arts and Sciences) and electrical and computer engineering (College of Engineering). Students in the degree program will learn engineering aspects -- processes, techniques, principles -- for developing, analyzing and evolving complex software. The degree program, in part, responds to a call from two key professional organizations, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, and the Association for Computing Machinery, for more software engineering programs nationally. A joint 2004 report of the two groups included a model curriculum for software engineering.
In other business, the regents:
The board's human resources committee asked an inter-institutional work group to develop another proposal for a tuition assistance program that would be "enterprise-wide but implemented to each university's best ability," according to regent Rose Vasquez. The committee had proposed basic requirements for school-specific programs that included reimbursement for up to four credit hours per semester per employee.
Regent Teresa Wahlert said the proposal was "very disappointing."
"We're in the business of education and we can't do any better than that?" she asked. She encouraged a proposal that would allow case-by-case decisions and "puts accountability on the employee and the employer."
University representatives expressed concern about the cost of a program that would reimburse above four credits, as well as employee work time away from their jobs while they pursued degrees.
The Board of Regents, State of Iowa, approved the College of Agriculture's proposal for a Midwest Grape and Wine Industry Institute at its Sept. 27 meeting in Cedar Falls. A new software engineering degree at ISU was also approved in the regents' first day of business.