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

Jan. 17, 2007

Senate endorses budget model

by Erin Rosacker

President Gregory Geoffroy has received another endorsement of the proposed budget model, this time from the Faculty Senate. The resolution, which includes several provisions and concerns, passed 37-16 with one abstention in a requested written ballot at the senate's Jan. 16 meeting.

The approved resolution contained three stipulations, eight concerns and an allowance to revisit the endorsement.

A request that the model recognize and continue to involve the senate's Council on University Resource Policies and Allocations (RPA), a budget advisory committee for the provost, was the first stipulation. The senate resolution also seeks senate representation in the monitoring and revision of the model, and inclusion of a set of principles to guide the budget process at the college level.

The eight concerns listed were:

  • complexity and costliness of model operation
  • need to prevent budget from driving academics or compromising quality of academic programs
  • need to ensure support of interdisciplinary research and programs
  • potential to lead to more non-tenure track and temporary hires
  • methods for reallocation of resources is unclear
  • "chronic" funding problems remain
  • lack of transparency with some funds, such as ISU Foundation gifts
  • no clear alignment with 2005-10 strategic plan.

The document included a statement giving the senate the right to revisit its endorsement. Strong faculty representation on the budget model's committees, how well the model operates and how it addresses the senate's provisions and concerns are factors that will be considered in the senate's continued endorsement.

"It's fair game to say that any path that we continue on needs to have active review," said Gregory Palermo, senate president.

Discussion preceding the vote leaned in favor of the resolution. Jack Girton, chair of the senate's RPA council, expressed support by pointing to "enhanced shared governance."

"This model gives faculty a seat at the table in the discussion of budget and what's going to happen that we've never had," Girton said. "We will be in there, working on it."

Anthony Townsend, associate professor in logistics operations and management information systems, also supported the resolution.

"It changes the way that you think about the things that you deliver," Townsend said. "It does create a responsibility and a metric against which you can determine whether or not the things that you are offering add value to the college."

"People like me are really written out of this budget model," said Kimberly Zarecor, a substitute senator from architecture. "Our college in particular is going to have a very hard time relative to this."

Zarecor said the College of Design's high cost of instruction and lack of income-driven possibilities put the college in a "unique" position in the model when compared to science and engineering positions that can generate significant income.

Hoffman introduced

In other business, provost and executive vice president Betsy Hoffman addressed the senate for the first time, speaking of the importance of shared governance and what the future could hold for ISU.

"We really are at a crossroads," Hoffman said. "What once were public universities all over this country are increasingly facing the kind of challenge that Iowa State is facing - the slow erosion of support from the state. It is a trend and, in fact, I think in 10 years we will not talk about public universities; we will talk about public-private partnerships. And in many parts of this country, that is already happening.

"If we are going to continue to be a first-rate public research university in the 21st century, we need to think about ourselves as leveraging state funding and as providing for ourselves a set of incentives that will allow us to take full advantage of the opportunities offered by the new world that is coming, for better or for worse. I'm not suggesting this is a good idea, I'm telling you this is reality. The proposed budget model is one alternative way to take advantage of the opportunities offered in this new environment."

Clark Ford was voted the senate's next president-elect. The associate professor of food science and human nutrition has been at ISU 21 years and is in his seventh year on the senate. The other candidate was Carolyn Heising, professor in industrial and manufacturing systems engineering.


The Faculty Senate passed a resolution endorsing the proposed budget model at its Jan. 16 meeting. Several provisions and concerns were included in the document.

Input period for budget model nears a close