Iowa State University nameplate

Inside Iowa State
Gold bar
July 03, 2003

Regents hold off on family leave proposal

by Anne Krapfl
Iowa State received approval for a new institute that will study the relationships between technological innovations and society during the June 19 meeting of the Board of Regents, State of Iowa. The regents tabled consideration of Iowa State's request for a paid leave policy for faculty and P&S staff at the time they have or adopt children.

The regents also approved new guidelines for reviewing requests for construction projects and gave a preliminary review to the university's proposed budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1. The board referred two items to its committee for inter-institutional coordination: a proposed master of arts in teaching (science) and proposed graduate programs in human-computer interaction.

The Institute of Science and Society, believed to be the first of this concept in the country, will be an interdisciplinary effort administered within the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences with advice from the College of Agriculture and the Plant Sciences Institute. It will involve faculty from an estimated 15 academic departments in agriculture, the humanities and social sciences. Research will focus on the impact of science and technological improvements on society, as well as the influence of social values on conducting and using research. Reallocations from the President's Office ($200,000) and the LAS college ($256,000) will fund the institute, including four new faculty positions, graduate assistants and a Web site.

Thoughtful construction
The new construction review guidelines require information about other space options studied in addition to new construction, a proposed project's relevance to a school's strategic plan, financial resources available both to build and to operate a proposed building, and external factors -- such as state or federal mandates or compliancy requirements -- that compel a "yes" or "no" decision.

Six total projects, including Iowa State's environmental health and safety facility and community center at University Village, previously were approved by the regents and will proceed as planned next year.

As proposed to the regents, the policy on leave for the arrival of children would be piloted for three years. It would provide six weeks of paid leave for P&S staff and faculty at the time of a birth or adoption of a child by an ISU employee, spouse or domestic partner. This leave would be in addition to other leave for which an employee is eligible, including leave under the federal Family Medical Leave Act. An employee would be required to reduce his or her sick and vacation leave to 40 hours or less (combined) before the university provides paid leave. The cost of the leave, estimated in the vicinity of $150,000 annually, would be shared among all departments and central administration.

Its proponents argue the policy would be a strong recruiting tool that sends a family-friendly message. The regents deferred a decision on the proposal, citing a lawsuit recently filed by a University of Iowa employee over that school's leave policy.

Demolition requests
In other business, the regents:
  • Gave permission to demolish the English Office Building (built in 1885) after Business college faculty housed there move to the Gerdin Business Building next winter. Estimated cost is $100,000.
  • Gave permission for planning to begin on demolishing Knapp and Storms residence halls, perhaps earlier than 2006, as currently scheduled. Storms won't be used after next year, Knapp the year after (2005). Estimated cost is $3 million, funded by residence system funds as part of the department's master plan.
  • Gave permission to demolish the existing LeBaron auditorium and approved a preliminary design for the replacement auditorium. Construction bids would be gathered next March, with the project completed by August 2005. This is part of Iowa State's $14.2 million classroom upgrade project.
  • Approved a revised plan for the remodeling of first floor Pearson Hall to create new space for the Graduate College, Sponsored Programs and Compliance Administration. (The foreign languages and literatures department first-floor space will be moved to the second and third floors.) The regents meet July 17 in Cedar Falls. FY04 budgets, including employee salary increases, will be approved at that meeting.

... Becoming the Best
Ames, Iowa 50011, (515) 294-4111
Published by: University Relations,
Copyright © 1995-2003, Iowa State University. All rights reserved.