Aug. 11, 2011

Regents approve FY12 budget, honorary degrees, president's salary increase

by Anne Krapfl

Iowa State's land-grant responsibilities drive decisions made here every day -- including decisions about how and where to assign dollars -- president Gregory Geoffroy told the state Board of Regents Aug. 4 in Cedar Falls. The board unanimously approved the university's budget for the fiscal year (FY12) that began July 1, a budget that reflects a 5 percent reduction in state support and nearly an 8 percent projected growth in tuition revenue over last year. Additional tuition income is due both to a tuition increase approved in March and a projected enrollment that surpasses last fall. Geoffroy told the board fall enrollment could reach 29,200.

The university's general fund operating budget this year is $535.6 million, about $8 million more than the final (revised) FY11 budget. (The board requests net changes from the revised FY11 budget, not budgeted FY11 figures). The university's total budget, which includes sponsored research and auxiliary units such as athletics, printing, residence and dining, is just under $1.13 billion. This figure does not include private fund raising done by the ISU Foundation.

Geoffroy told the board that new revenues and reallocations will be used to pay for these priorities at Iowa State in FY12:

$5.1 millionAdditional student financial aid
$6 millionCompensation increases for faculty, P&S staff
$2.4 millionCompensation increases for merit staff
$2.6 millionStrategic faculty hires*
$2 millionBuilding repair, property insurance premiums, campus safety, city services
$0.5 millionLibrary acquisitions and inflationary costs

*Includes areas with high student demand and biosciences with high National Institutes of Health funding potential: civil and construction engineering, curriculum and instruction, educational leadership and policy studies, electrical and computer engineering, human development and family studies, industrial product design (new program in College of Design), kinesiology, materials science and engineering, mechanical engineering

Additionally, about $2.5 million will support these university-wide initiatives:

  • University marketing, $630,000
  • Higher education IT collaboration, $630,000
  • Institutional Excellence Fund, $1.2 million

Geoffroy used two examples to demonstrate why it's important for Iowa State -- and the other regent universities -- to have strong research programs in addition to strong undergraduate teaching records: DuPont Danisco, a cellulosic ethanol production facility to be built near Nevada, and the Spain-based animal health company Laboratoria Hipra, which will build its North American production and research facility in ISU's research park. Both chose to locate where they did, he said, in part for proximity to Iowa State's research strength.

Presidential search

Regent Bruce Rastetter, who with regent Katie Mulholland is serving on the ISU presidential search committee, reported that, as of Aug. 3, the search firm had received 72 applications or nominations for the position. Rastetter complimented Geoffroy for his leadership, vision and hard work over the last 10 years.

"One reason there's so much interest in this position is that Iowa State is working, it's not broken," he said.

He also cited the state's strong economy, relative to what's going on in other states. Rastetter said the committee next meets Aug. 16, via telephone. The goal is to bring three to five finalists to campus for public interviews early in the fall.

President Lang's priorities

Board president Craig Lang, who led his first meeting this month after being elected president on July 12, said he refrained from announcing plans for his leadership of the board until he had visited with lots of Iowans about their "top of mind" issues. He identified these three items as top priorities (but not the only priorities) of the board:

  • Recruit and select the next Iowa State president
  • Develop a stronger working relationship with the Iowa Legislature to stop the loss of state appropriations so that student tuition is more closely aligned to annual inflation
  • Create awareness among Iowans about the value of the regent institutions

Honorary degrees

The board approved an Iowa State request to award three honorary degrees at future commencement ceremonies. In December, former ISU Business dean (1994-2001) and provost (2001-06) Ben Allen will receive a Doctor of Humane Letters for excellence in educational leadership and for scholarly contributions to the field of transportation and logistics. Since 2006, Allen has served as president of the University of Northern Iowa, Cedar Falls.

In May 2012, Daniel Gianola will receive a Doctor of Science degree for his contributions to animal genetics and statistics, and George Belitsos will receive a Doctor of Humane Letters for his advocacy for, and service to, Iowa teens and families. Gianola currently is a professor in three departments at the University of Wisconsin, Madison: animal science, dairy science and biostatistics and medical informatics. His work in genetics and statistics builds on the foundation established at ISU by Jay Lush from 1930 to 1966.

Belitsos is the founder (1976) and chief executive officer of Ames-based Youth and Shelter Services. Today, it's funded by more than $14 million in grants and contracts and serves more than 7,000 young people -- the homeless, youth with drug abuse problems, youth aging out of foster care, youth with chronic mental illness or severe behavior problems -- at 20 service centers in central Iowa.

In other Iowa State business, the regents:

  • Approved a 4 percent salary increase for Geoffroy for the year that began July 1. Geoffroy's new salary is $440,249. His salary had remained at $423,316 since July 1, 2008.
  • Approved Iowa Public Radio's proposal to purchase two small Des Moines commercial FM stations, KZHZ and KZHC, for $1.75 million to improve IPR's classical music service to the metropolitan area. Because the three regent universities hold the federal operating licenses for the IPR stations, Iowa State (due to geographic proximity) technically will make the purchase with IPR funds -- about $1.2 million in cash reserves and capital funds, and $577,000 financed through Iowa State over 10 years.
  • Approved higher project budgets for two Iowa State renovation projects because construction bids exceeded previously approved budgets. The budget for HVAC improvements to the Laboratory Animal Resources central facility in the College of Veterinary Medicine was increased $395,000, to $4.8 million. University funds will cover the difference. The budget for renovations to 20 Sweeney Hall research labs for the BioMaP (biological materials and processes) program in the College of Engineering was increased $246,226, to $2.2 million. University funds ($161,226) and additional private gifts ($85,000) will cover the difference.