September 30, 2003
Transcript of speech and streaming video of convocation
Advancing excellence remains at top of Geoffroy's goals
by Anne Krapfl
President Gregory Geoffroy (left) congratulates Charles Drewes on becoming a
University Professor during the fall convocation ceremony.|
Photo by Bob
A continued focus on advancing the excellence at Iowa State, more efforts to
foster diversity on campus and preparatory planning -- for the university's
next strategic plan and a North Central accreditation review in spring 2006
-- are on the "to do" list President Gregory Geoffroy shared with the
university community during the fall convocation Sept. 29.
Geoffroy said Iowa Staters need to work to advance excellence "on many
fronts" but noted that faculty are the "heart and soul of a university" and
so the best must be recruited and retained better at Iowa State.
Geoffroy said staff in the Provost Office are studying a task force report
completed last May specifically on the recruitment and retention of women
and minority faculty. The provost will lead the effort to follow through on
some of the group's recommendations, he said.
Regarding the need for planning for Iowa State's future, Geoffroy posed four
questions. How well they get answered over time will determine the success
of the university, he said. They are:
- How can the university best adjust to the fiscal realities? The
situation he outlined included decreased state support with no clear
indicators this trend will reverse, greater reliance on tuition dollars for
operating funds and on private gifts for facilities, scholarships and
- How can the university best define its land-grant responsibilities for
the coming years -- and sharpen its focus to ensure that those
responsibilities are met? Geoffroy asked his audience to think about setting
goals that reflect the realities and needs of Iowans and then put financial
incentives in place that encourage units and individuals to make the
decisions that meet those goals.
- How can Iowa State provide the kind of student experience that will
ensure attractiveness to (a shrinking pool of) students for generations to
come? A review of the Honors program aimed at sustaining the strength of the
Honors freshman year for four years, and plans to expand Iowa State programs
in entrepreneurship, including an entrepreneurial learning community, are
two examples Geoffroy offered.
- How can Iowa State best convince the taxpayers of Iowa and our most
important constituents to support the university at the level needed?
Geoffroy announced a new strategy for advocating with legislators: a
statewide alliance of 150 ISU alumni who are influential in their
communities and have pledged to talk locally about the impact of shrinking
state funding on Iowa State.
In addition to ongoing budget discussions about where to focus the
university's resources and people's efforts, Geoffroy mentioned four other
topics that soon-to-be-announced campus committees will look at this year.
At the conclusion of Geoffroy's convocation address, 55 members of the Iowa
State community were recognized for the excellent work they have done for
the university. Among the honorees were three new Distinguished professors,
the highest honor the university bestows on faculty members:
- Issues related to continuing and distance education -- incentives to
grow it where appropriate, funding sources, its structure at Iowa State
- Alternative tuition structures, to complement a discussion happening at
the regents level
- The proliferation of institutes and centers at Iowa State, including a
possible "sunset" procedure when a center has completed its stated mission
- Small interdisciplinary and low enrollment courses and programs, and at what
level the university should continue to support them.
A complete list of convocation award recipients is online at
- Anson Marston Distinguished Professor in Engineering David Jiles,
professor of materials science and engineering and professor of electrical
and computer engineering
- Mary B. Welch Distinguished Professor in Family and Consumer Sciences
Mary Littrell, professor of apparel, educational studies and hospitality
- Distinguished Professor in Education John Schuh, professor of
educational leadership and policy studies
Ames, Iowa 50011, (515) 294-4111
Published by: University Relations,
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