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