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

Sept. 12, 2007

Faculty excellence, campus security, new capital campaign among Geoffroy's priorities this year

by Anne Krapfl

Launching several research centers, recruiting another large freshman class for next fall, continuing to put resources into recruiting and retaining excellent faculty, and moving into the public phase of the university's next capital campaign top president Gregory Geoffroy's to-do list this year. He shared his priorities with the university community during the annual convocation and awards ceremony Sept. 10.

Campus safety

A decision on whether or not to allow campus police officers to carry firearms is not the only security issue pending. After much discussion and investigation over the last few months, Geoffroy said central administrators have decided to purchase and install two systems that would speed communication with the campus community in the event of an emergency:

  • Software and hardware that would distribute an immediate and mass notification of an emergency to all students and employees via voice and text messaging.
  • Outdoor warning sirens in several locations on campus that also would be capable of broadcasting a specific message.

Tsing-Chang (Mike) Chen (right), professor of agronomy and of geological and atmospheric sciences, was one of two who received the Iowa State University Award for Outstanding Achievement in Research Sept. 10 during the university-wide convocation. President Gregory Geoffroy was among the administrators who presented awards to 48 members of the university community. Photo by Bob Elbert.

A strong faculty

Geoffroy said that a key to boosting academic excellence at Iowa State is recruiting and retaining the very best faculty members. He said competitive salary increases and competitive job offers and start-up packages can make that happen. These will continue to be top priorities in the university's budget requests to the state and in internal budget decisions as well, he said.

Student recruiting

On the heels of large freshman (4,347 students) and transfer (1,527) classes this fall, Geoffroy noted that several years of intense student recruiting are paying off. He said the enrollment targets for fall 2008 include 4,100 freshmen, 1,500 transfer students and 26,300 total enrollment, but "like this year, we aim to exceed all of those."

New research initiatives

Among the new research and demonstration efforts Geoffroy identified by name are:

  • A Bioeconomy Institute, to replace the Office of Biorenewables Programs and further enhance collaboration in the area of biorenewables and biofuels produced from plants.
  • Early development of the New Century Farm between Ames and Boone, where research will address producing, harvesting, storing and processing new biomass crops into fuel. It also will be a place where farmers can go to learn how to grow and handle the new crops.
  • A Center for Carbon-capturing Crops within the Plant Sciences Institute.

Capital campaign

Geoffroy said Iowa State will kick off the biggest fund-raising campaign in the university's history on Oct. 19 at two separate events. The last capital campaign, Campaign Destiny, raised $458 million over five years (1995-2000).

"This campaign promises to have a huge impact on the university for generations to come . . . and to keep many of us very busy for the next few years," he said.

Budget model

Geoffroy said "hundreds of key decisions" will be made this year that shape how the new resource management model works. "At the same time, we must protect those core values that we cherish; especially collegiality and support for interdisciplinary research and education," he said.

Geoffroy called the process of developing the university's next budget a "blended" one: it will use the principles and many of the processes of the resource management model, but at the same time use the old approach (incremental budgeting) to manage increases in expenses. A year from now, the university is scheduled to use only the new model as it develops the university budget for fiscal year 2010, which begins July 1, 2009.

Iowa State Center

Geoffroy also noted that the university's contract with Philadelphia-based SMG to manage the Iowa State Center has expired. He said the athletics department will begin managing and operating Hilton Coliseum this year, while the other three facilities -- Stephens, Scheman and Fisher -- will enter an arrangement that hasn't been completely defined yet.

"Our goal is to do all of this in a way that does not change the good programming that occurs in those facilities," Geoffroy said.

The full text of President Geoffroy's convocation speech is online.