Iowa State University

Inside Iowa State
October 22, 1999

Jischke outlines priorities to senate

by Linda Charles
The Plant Sciences Institute, recruitment and retention, Des Moines Learning Center, information technology and a new strategic plan are President Martin Jischke's top priorities for the year.

Speaking to the Faculty Senate Oct. 12, Jischke said, "At the top of my list is an initiative that is as big, as bold as I believe we have ever attempted at Iowa State, and that is this effort to build a world class center in the fundamental plant sciences."

Approved by the Board of Regents, State of Iowa in September, the Plant Sciences Institute currently consists of eight centers that focus on different areas of the plant sciences. The work of the institute will involve faculty and other researchers from about a dozen departments, primarily in the colleges of Agriculture, Engineering and Liberal Arts and Sciences.

"It has to do in part with the science. It has to do in part with the technology. It has to do in part with the changing economy that revolves around crops and genetics," Jischke said. "It has to do in part with the growing recognition in Iowa that this, perhaps, is a singular opportunity for our state."

A second priority is recruitment and retention, especially of minority students, Jischke said.

"While we are making general progress in the recruitment of minority students, our retention rates leave much to be desired," he said.

The factors that affect retention the most are academic success in the classroom and students feeling they have bonded with the university community, Jischke said.

"Nobody has more influence on these two issues than the faculty," he said.

Des Moines, technology and strategic plans
Jischke's third priority is the Des Moines Downtown Learning Center, a collaborative effort initially among the three regents universities and Drake University to provide undergraduate and graduate courses and programs to the Des Moines community.

Jischke's fourth priority, information technology, includes Project Acropolis, which is "very ambitious and frankly quite expensive," Jischke said.

Project Acropolis consists of 13 recommendations compiled by the Academic Information Technologies Committee following a study of campus computing laboratories and classrooms.

While Jischke said funding is a challenge, if instituted, Project Acropolis would allow faculty, staff and students to access core academic resources from anywhere at anytime.

Jischke's final priority is Iowa State's new strategic plan. He noted he had just received a draft of the plan and that input would be widely solicited before the plan is finalized. He urged faculty to participate in discussions on the plan.

In other business, the senate approved an undergraduate major in communications studies and began discussion on a proposed procedure for dealing with faculty misconduct.

The next senate meeting will begin at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 9, in 260 Scheman.

A full version of this story is online at

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