Inside Iowa State
August 27, 1999
Jischke outlines priorities for coming academic yearby Anne Dolan
A huge plant sciences initiative, more emphasis on minority student success, expanded educational offerings in Des Moines and top-notch academic computer facilities and services are on President Martin Jischke's list of goals for Iowa State this year. Jischke outlined his priorities during his fall convocation address Aug. 24 in the Memorial Union Sun Room.
As part of the university's ongoing work with state political, agricultural and business leaders to improve Iowa's rural economy, Jischke said a center of excellence in fundamental plant sciences "invests in the resource that holds the greatest potential for improving agriculture -- knowledge."
As planned, in the next decade nearly $400 million, including state support of almost $10 million per year, $100 million in private fund raising and about $20 million more in sponsored funding annually, will build the center. Jischke likened the center to California's Silicon Valley, dubbing this one Iowa's "Carbohydrate Valley."
Noting the concept has the support of two governors and two state assemblies, Jischke said people around Iowa also are enthusiastic about its potential. He said Iowa State has the soil, climate, expertise and a favorable political environment to create a major plant sciences center.
Better recruitment and retention of minority students are second on Jischke's list of goals.
"We must learn from our successes in student recruitment and retention, and apply these lessons to Iowa State's under-represented students," he said.
Specifically, Jischke said Iowa State will:
- Recruit more minority students (and that's no longer the task solely of the admissions unit, but faculty and staff, too).
- Expand the Carver scholarship program for minority freshmen from 60 to 100 each year and add a faculty advising and mentoring program for these students, headed by Deland Myers, food science and human nutrition.
- Develop by next fall a Hixson-like scholarship program, "Images," for up to 100 Iowa minority students.
- Develop learning community teams with diverse memberships, one-third of whom are from under-represented groups.
Focus on Des Moines
Jischke said cooperative work has begun among the three Iowa regents schools and Drake University to establish a learning center in downtown Des Moines for undergraduate and graduate course work. He said the Des Moines business community has been involved in plans for the center because many in that community are the audience that would be served.
Jischke noted that Des Moines' private colleges do a good job of meeting the demand for higher or continuing education in the metropolitan area. The strength of involving the regents research schools is the breadth of programs and expertise they can offer, he said.
Lastly, Jischke said Iowa State should do a more thorough job of graduating students who are "effective electronic citizens of the 21st century."
"Project Acropolis," a recommendation of Iowa State's academic information technologies committee last year, is planned as a multi-year, multi-million dollar project. Funding sources aren't set yet, but could include state funds, student fees and other sources.
Jischke said some of the projects goals are to:
- Provide students, faculty and staff access to basic academic resources anywhere, any time.
- Teach and use core computers skills used in traditional classroom learning, Web-based learning, virtual learning communities and electronic libraries.
- Create standards that will integrate campus computer labs and classrooms, and make software and data compatible and accessible from any of the computing facilities.
Jischke's speech is available online from the Presidents Office Web site.
Diana Pounds, University Relations, firstname.lastname@example.org
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