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September 28, 2001

Geoffroy: More faculty needed

by Linda Charles
Iowa State needs more tenured and tenure-track faculty, President Gregory Geoffroy told the Faculty Senate at its Sept. 18 meeting.

"I think our highest priority as an institution absolutely has to be to increase the number of tenured and tenure-track faculty," Geoffroy said. "I think we have to continue to place a greater emphasis on recruiting and retaining the very best faculty. That will be a strong focus of my administration."

Geoffroy pointed out that the student-faculty ratio is "widely used to judge the quality of an institution," adding from 1995 to 2001, the ratio of students to faculty has increased 14 percent at Iowa State (to about 18.5 students per faculty member).

In many respects, he said, the university is doing well despite the budget challenges it faces. He noted the high enrollment this fall -- approximately 27,800 students, about 1,000 more students than last fall.

Freshmen are finding Iowa State more attractive and the university is doing a better job retaining students. That translates into higher enrollments, Geoffroy said.

"I think the reasons for the enrollment growth are very good," he said. "Of course, the increasing enrollment creates significant stresses because at the same time enrollments are going up, our budgets are being cut and we're having to decrease the number of faculty and staff.

"I think the only conclusion you can draw from that is that the quality of education is bound to suffer."

Already, he added, class sizes have increased, as have the work loads for faculty and staff. "Inevitably, our course offerings are going to be part of the budget challenge," he said.

Geoffroy presented figures comparing Iowa State to its peer institutions in state appropriations and tuition per student. The mean for these two revenue sources for the peer institutions was about $16,400 per student, while at Iowa State it is $13,300, he said.

"If the goal is to be the best land-grant university in this nation," Geoffroy said, "we really need to be funded much higher than we are. I would argue that our goal is that we need to work hard to convince people that we need to be at the middle of that list."

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