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

Sept. 26, 2008

Geoffroy priorities include searches, sustainability, campaign

by Anne Krapfl

President Geoffroy and Linda Shenk

English assistant professor Linda Shenk was presented the Early Achievement in Teaching award by president Gregory Geoffroy at the fall convocationPhoto by Bob Elbert.

Filling four key leadership positions, clearing the $700 million mark in the university's capital campaign and enrolling at least 27,000 students next fall are among president Gregory Geoffroy's goals for the Iowa State community this year. Geoffroy outlined his objectives to kick off the university convocation and awards ceremony Monday afternoon.

"We are riding a tremendous wave of momentum," Geoffroy said of the university's numerous milestones in the past year.

He mentioned the sesquicentennial celebration, the public launch of the capital campaign, a net increase of 37 members to the ISU faculty, the beginning of numerous cross-disciplinary initiatives and centers, completion of several significant construction projects and many individual honors for faculty and students as highlights of a successful year just completed.

"I know that we will continue to achieve at even higher levels. Thanks to all of you and everyone in the university community for everything you do to make Iowa State the great university that it is," he said.

Openings to lead

Geoffroy said he hopes the three dean positions available -- in Design, Engineering and Human Sciences -- all are filled by June 30. All three searches are under way.

Equally important, he said, is Iowa State's search for a vice president for research and economic development, currently held on an interim basis by Ted Okiishi. That search began in May.

"We need to identify a person who will truly be a great champion for the research enterprise, for raising our research profile even further," Geoffroy said.

Noting that research is a major part of being a land-grant university, Geoffroy said he has his own expectation that Iowa State's impact in the world, particularly through research that addresses real challenges and problems, will continue to increase.

"The position of vice president for research and economic development is critical to that success," he said, asking everyone to attend the public forums when candidates visit campus and provide feedback to the search committee.


"I could give a long speech just focused on this topic of sustainability ... but I won't," Geoffroy said. But he reminded his audience of three key goals:

Promote and teach sustainability as a concept so ISU students carry it forward

Promote energy conservation all over campus, both because it's the right thing to do and because it's too expensive not to (Rising fuel costs likely will mean ISU's actual energy costs will exceed the budgeted amount by more than $3 million in the year ahead.)

Minimize the university's impact on global climate change

Fund raising

The university exceeded its $110 million goal in fiscal year 2008 by more than $25 million. This surge helped bring total pledges in the capital campaign to $606 million, as of last week. The campaign goal is $800 million by the end of 2010, and the goal for this year is at least $125 million, Geoffroy said.

"Those gifts from our alumni and friends allow us to do so many great things beyond what we can do with state funding alone," he said.

Student enrollment

Iowa State enrolled its fourth largest group of students this fall, at 26,856. Numbers for new freshmen and transfer students also were up over fall 2007 numbers. And Iowa State enrolled more Iowa high school graduates -- including class valedictorians -- and more transfer students from Iowa community colleges than any university in Iowa.

Retention remains an important part of maintaining an optimal student population, Geoffroy said. The enrollment goal for next fall is "in excess of 27,000 students," he said.

Strategic planning

Iowa State's current strategic plan will guide university decisions through 2010. To begin the process of developing the next plan, Geoffroy said he asked executive vice president and provost Elizabeth Hoffman this year to:

Develop a timeline and process for developing the strategic plan next year

Appoint members to key planning committees so they're ready to begin their work

Following the lead of strategic plans in the colleges of Engineering and Agriculture and Life Sciences, Geoffroy said he wants the planners to have an eye on the future (2050) as they develop the next strategic plan, which would include intermediate steps to achieve a long-term vision. According to Geoffroy, in 2050, Iowa State must be:

A magnet for attracting outstanding students and world-class faculty

Known around the world for the impact it makes on global problems dealing with food, energy, infrastructure, water and sustainability

A treasured resource for the state, nation and world because of its ability to find solutions that improve people's lives

"It's not likely that too many of us will be here in 2050, but these are a few overarching goals that I believe the university must keep firmly in front of us as we look to that long-range future," Geoffroy said.

The full text of Geoffroy's convocation address is online at


"We are riding a tremendous wave of momentum."

Gregory Geoffroy