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

Aug. 9, 2007

In brief: Regents wrap-up

by Anne Krapfl

The Board of Regents, State of Iowa, met Aug. 1-2 in Cedar Falls. Following is a summary of Iowa State-related items on the agenda.

Campus security

Directors of the three regent universities' public safety departments summarized their campus security policies, technologies, counseling options and prevention efforts. This information was requested in a report by Gov. Chet Culver following the April murders at Virginia Tech.

DPS director Jerry Stewart told the regents Iowa State is doing "cutting edge stuff" in the areas of threat assessment and electronic building access systems (instead of mechanical keys). For example, 20 percent of the exterior doors on campus lock and unlock electronically. He said the university needs to work on its options for communicating with the campus community during emergencies.

There was no discussion of university officers carrying guns. That discussion is expected at the board's September meeting.

FY08 budget and presidential salary

Iowa State's proposed budget for the fiscal year that began July 1 received board approval. The budget includes about $37.7 million in new dollars and a $3.7 million internal reallocation. The largest pieces of the new money will cover: employee salary and benefit increases ($19 million) and ongoing basic expenses covered last year with one-time funds ($7.9 million). See budget details.

As part of the budget discussion, the regents approved a $75,000 salary increase for president Gregory Geoffroy, to $398,316 and retroactive to July 1. This represents about a 23 percent increase over his FY07 salary.

"The latest raise reflects the regents' belief that Greg is doing a spectacular job in every respect," said board president Michael Gartner. "He is a fine, fine president, leader, strategist and person."

The university also puts $75,000 annually into a deferred compensation fund for Geoffroy. He will receive those dollars if he remains Iowa State's president through January 2011.

Bond sale for stadium renovation postponed

Because no bids were received in time, an anticipated sale of $12.175 million in athletic facilities revenue bonds to partially fund renovations to Jack Trice Stadium was scheduled again for the board's next meeting (Sept. 18-19). Four investment firms had indicated an interest in the bonds, but due to computer problems and other issues, no bids were received by the deadline on Aug. 1.

Vice president for business and finance Warren Madden said the delay in the sale would not alter the construction schedule. The work is scheduled to begin immediately following the 2007 football season and be completed in time for the 2008 season.

Funding for the improvements includes about $3.5 million in private gifts.

Grow Iowa Values Funds

In the third of 10 proposed years of state "Grow Iowa Value Funds" to spur economic development, Iowa State will use its $1.925 million portion in FY08 for these efforts:

  • $1.05 million awarded in a competitive grants program to 12 faculty research projects. Forty-seven proposals were submitted for funding this year, according to vice president for research and development John Brighton.
  • $0.5 million for infrastructure and entrepreneurial needs, including staff positions, at the ISU Research Park and ISU Pappajohn Center ($200,000 each) and the Institute for Physical Research and Technology ($100,000)
  • $0.375 million yet to be awarded to commercialization projects as special needs arise this year and several specific coordination efforts.

State lawmakers agreed in spring 2005 to appropriate $5 million per year for 10 years to Iowa's three regent universities. The money is to be matched by the universities and used to create product, company and job growth in the state.

Brighton said GIVF have funded 36 research projects to date, including five that are completed.

Building plans

The board reviewed Iowa State's plans for the bioprocessing research laboratory, the main facility of the New Century Farm along Highway 30 west of Ames, and granted approval to begin construction. Research at the $19 million, 23,000-square-foot facility will address some of the most critical questions facing biorenewables related to: optimal species and crop rotations, selective breeding to improve crops, environmental impact of new biomass crops, and storage and transportation issues. Construction could begin in late fall and wrap up in fall 2008. Private gifts and federal funds ($11 million), U.S. Small Business Administration ($3.7 million), Iowa Values Fund ($3.3 million) and a state buildings appropriation ($1 million) will pay for the facility.

The university also received permission to hire a construction manager to coordinate construction of the proposed chemistry teaching and research building adjacent to Gilman Hall. Due to the size and complexity of the project, officials believe a construction manager could achieve the best balance of cost, schedule and quality.

Name change

The regents also approved the university's request to change the name of one of its centers, from the Center for Designer Crops (created in 1999 as part of the Plant Sciences Institute) to the Center for Metabolic Biology. The change reflects a desire to expand the scope of the center to support needed research in the area of metabolic networks and systems. The goal of the center is a better understanding of metabolism in order to improve the nutritional quality of agricultural products and discover new biorenewable industrial feeds. The center will remain a part of the Plant Sciences Institute and also serve as a link between the institute and the Office of Biorenewables Programs.

Farm sale

Iowa State will sell a 160-acre farm located between I-29 and the town of Blencoe in western Iowa's Monona County. Proceeds will help the department of food science and human nutrition create an endowed professorship. The owner, alumna Virginia Gladney, died in 2006 and willed the farmland to Iowa State. She stipulated that the assets be distributed to the department. The board approved Iowa State's proposal to sell the property in a public sale featuring sealed bids.

Honorary degree

The regents approved Iowa State's request to award an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters to Michael Crow, president of Arizona State University, for "outstanding leadership in higher education and for exceptional service to Iowa State University and the State of Iowa in developing science and technology initiatives." Crow spent six years at Iowa State, including as director of the Institute for Physical Research and Technology (1988 to 1991), director of the Office of Science Policy and Research (1985 to 1991), and associate professor of management and political science (1985 to 1990). He received a bachelor's degree in political science and environmental science (1977) from Iowa State and a doctoral degree in public administration (1985) from Syracuse University.

University leaders plan to bestow the honorary degree at commencement next spring.