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Inside Iowa State, a newspaper for faculty and staff, is published by the Office of University Relations.

Sept. 22, 2006

University convocation

Geoffroy: Student recruitment, budget model decision are high on "to do" list

by Anne Krapfl

Hiring an outstanding provost, recruiting a fall 2007 freshman class of 3,900, finding sufficient funding to pursue strategic plan priorities, and making a 'go/no go" decision about the proposed new budget model top President Gregory Geoffroy's list of goals for the 2006-07 academic year. Geoffroy shared his ideas with the campus community during the fall convocation Sept. 11. The text of his talk, as well as a video of the convocation, is online at the president's Web site,

Provost search

An immediate priority, Geoffroy said, is to complete the search for Iowa State's next executive vice president and provost. Two finalists visited campus this week.

"These visits are simultaneously an opportunity to evaluate the candidates, but also a part of the recruitment process to ensure that the candidate we select will want to join us," he said.

Student recruitment and retention

In addition to recruiting at least 3,900 freshmen and 1,450 transfer students for next fall, Geoffroy said student retention is an equally important goal. Iowa State's six-year graduation rate rose to 68 percent this year, up from a 62 percent rate five years ago. A goal of the strategic plan is to achieve a 72 percent six-year graduation rate by 2010.

"I am confident we will do that," he said.

Funding for higher education

Four straight years of state budget cuts and two more years of funding increases at roughly half the rate of inflation puts state funding for Iowa State at approximately 1997 levels (in actual, uninflated dollars).

"We will be working very closely with the regents to put the right package together for our state appropriations request and tuition increases," Geoffroy said.

Reiterating a message he delivered to the Board of Regents, State of Iowa, in August, Geoffroy said Iowa State needs $26 million in new funds (state appropriation and/or tuition) for its FY08 budget to essentially break even. That amount would cover $8.5 million in recurring costs covered this year by one-time dollars, "reasonable" salary increases, and new expenses such as maintenance costs for new campus buildings and rising energy costs. To improve the competitiveness of faculty and staff salaries, Geoffroy said Iowa State needs an additional $7.7 million next year.

Developing a new budget model

"It is imperative that we have sufficient incentives and financial rewards for achievement built into our budgeting process," Geoffroy said. "Our current budget model is woefully short on incentives and rewards for performance."

He said numerous -- but not all -- public universities are having success with incentive-based budgeting, the kind of model Iowa State is studying right now for possible implementation next year.

"I am very pleased with the vetting and good, broad input we have received from many quarters throughout the design of this new budget approach," Geoffroy said.

Starts and finishes

Geoffroy briefly touched on other bright spots for Iowa State in the year ahead, including:

  • Partnership and funding opportunities that build on the university's success in the research area of biobased products and renewable fuels.
  • The kickoff, at Veishea 2007, of the university's year-long sesquicentennial celebration (the 150th birthday is March 22, 2008).
  • Anticipated adoption this fall of the Principles of Community.
  • Anticipated new contract to manage the U.S. Department of Energy's Ames Laboratory.
  • Plans to host two presidential national forums next fall that focus on technology, the economy and American innovation.


"I am very pleased with the vetting and good, broad input we have received from many quarters throughout the design of this new budget [model] approach."

President Gregory Geoffroy