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March 30, 2001

Pool helps hire and retain targeted faculty

by Linda Charles
In the first year of the new academic plan, 11 proposals from three colleges were funded through the pool managed by the Provost Office.

The colleges of Agriculture, Liberal Arts and Sciences, and Veterinary Medicine are the first recipients of funds from a pool created through reallocation from academic units.

"I think the plan is working quite well," Provost Rollin Richmond said. "We've had a number of requests that we were able to respond to quickly, to bring people here and keep people here. I feel very positive about it."

Initially, the provost had planned to ask academic units to reallocate 0.5 percent of their budgets annually for three years. But the plan got off to a rocky start when budget shortfalls forced him to reduce the reallocation this year to 0.15 percent. That created a first-year pool of $292,600.

Richmond plans to continue building the pool until it reaches $5.8 million. As departments reallocate each year, those funds become a part of the academic plan pool, creating a permanent, renewable source of funds.

"The goal was set at 3 percent of the 2000 FY budget," he said, adding there is "nothing magic" about that particular number. "What's important is that we are all working together toward a plan that we all agree upon and that fits with the university's strategic plan."

Richmond said reallocating funds to the pool will depend on the budget situation each year. "If it takes 10 years to build the pool, it doesn't matter to me," he said.

Richmond received 18 proposals requesting $1.1 million during the initial year of the plan, and as of the beginning of March had approved 11: one in Ag ($15,000), seven in LAS ($238,500) and three in Vet Med ($161,400).

These funds will be distributed between now and FY04, with the colleges receiving $142,700 this year. Next year, they will receive $200,400; in FY03, $56,600; and $15,100 in FY04, for a total of $415,000.

A goal of the academic plan is to recruit and retain underrepresented faculty and dual-career couples. This year, seven of the funded proposals will help create new positions to accommodate dual-career couples, three will help hire underrepresented faculty and one will help retain an underrepresented faculty member.

Richmond indicated a few pending proposals still may be funded this year.

The funds are intended to be temporary, covering a three- to five-year period. Departments are expected to take over these costs at the end of the funding period.

"Some of the smaller colleges have said the plan benefits the larger colleges because their budgets can more easily accommodate the long-term financing," Richmond said. "That is a little worrisome to me and something I will be watching. The goal is to fund good ideas across the entire spectrum of colleges."

Richmond said he wants to remain flexible in funding proposals, so departments can quickly react to a "now or never" opportunity. However, he said he hopes to receive most of the next batch of proposals in mid-September.

"This year's priority has been very successful," he said. "Dual couple hiring is an increasing problem, not only at Iowa State but nationally. The pool provides departments the impetus and time to work out budgetary arrangements to hire these couples.

"I feel very positive about the plan," Richmond said. "I wish we had more resources, but we are off to a good start."

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Published by: University Relations,
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