Iowa State University

Inside Iowa State
June 14, 1996

P&S Council: Council will ask regents to sponsor placement services

by Anne Dolan
The Professional and Scientific Council would like the State Board of Regents to sponsor a system-wide outplacement service for professional staff at regents institutions who lose their positions due to reductions in force or other budget-related circumstances. At its June 6 meeting, the council approved the text of a memo that will be sent from the council to Ted Williams, director of human resources at the State Board of Regents.

The memo notes that outplacement services -- including such things as help with interviewing and resume-writing skills or life skills assessment -- are difficult for a unit to provide when the reason for downsizing is related to finances. It states that a system-wide program not only would be cost- effective, it also might prove most helpful to employees searching for work if schools share their job postings.

Student retention projects
In an open forum preceding the meeting, representatives of three programs that received funding for student recruitment and retention projects this spring reported on their efforts. President Martin Jischke, who for the second year allocated $20,000 for the program, attended the open forum. From 28 proposals submitted in December, a council ad hoc committee selected 15 projects for partial or full funding.

Jischke already has committed $20,000 to the program for the 1996-97 school year, so the process of soliciting and selecting proposals can begin earlier. In the first two years of the program, recipients had one semester to implement their projects.

Sarah Brown, program assistant at the Institute for Physical Research and Technology (IPRT), summarized a "Shadow Day" held Feb. 16 for 17 Science Bound minority students from Des Moines high schools. High school students were matched with engineering students from the National Society of Black Engineers, the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers and the Society of Women Engineers for a day of classes, campus tour and several group activities. Ten of the high school students stayed overnight in the residence halls with ISU engineering students. Brown reported that nine of the 17 high school students graduated this spring and eight will attend ISU this fall. The American Legion of Iowa Foundation has agreed to fund the Shadow Day next year.

Adah Leshem-Ackerman, an academic adviser in the biology department, summarized an effort to recruit to the biological sciences high school students who graduate in the top 10 percent of their classes. The goal is to recruit high- caliber students to maximize retention levels. Eight ISU students in the biological sciences called 223 high school students at their homes to tell them about the programs at ISU and invite them to a "Biology Day." Of those contacted, 28 attended Biology Day and 56 students have returned a housing contract to Iowa State. During Biology Day, students attended classes, visited labs, met faculty and students from their disciplines of interest and took a campus tour.

William Byrd, IPRT associate director, reported on a high altitude balloon project sponsored by the Iowa Space Grant Consortium, extension and aerospace engineering and engineering mechanics. The project called for freshman engineering students to complete a balloon experiment this spring, then visit their high schools to talk about the experience and invite students to participate in a similar experiment in Ames. Four freshmen worked with junior and senior engineering students on the initial high altitude balloon project in February and then spoke to a total of 85 students at their high schools. Wet spring weather postponed the second experiment, but Byrd said he anticipates up to 30 high school students will come to campus when the balloon experiment takes place early this fall.

The next meeting of the P&S Council will be the group's annual planning retreat Thursday, July 18. It begins at 10 a.m. at the McFarland Park conservation center.

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