May 5, 2011

Regents approve faculty promotions, Troxel Hall, outdoor sports complex

by Anne Krapfl

More regents coverage

Meeting Wednesday afternoon, the board approved a public policy institute that will be named for alumnus and U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin.

Meeting April 28 in Ames, the state Board of Regents approved faculty promotion and tenure decisions for the 2011-12 academic year. A total of 72 decisions were approved across the seven colleges and the library. The list includes 40 promotions to associate professor with tenure, 29 promotions to full professor and three other promotions.

The board also received an annual update on faculty tenure at the three universities, which used fall 2010 data. Iowa State had a total of 1,735 faculty last semester, down from 1,744 in fall 2009. Numbers of tenured faculty (-10) and tenure-track faculty (-28) decreased; the number of non-tenure track faculty increased by 29. At Iowa State, 64 percent of all faculty are male; 36 percent are female.

Troxel Hall

The board gave its final green light to Troxel Hall, a 400-seat teaching auditorium facility intended to help ease the demand on large classroom space. Construction is scheduled to begin east of Horticulture Hall this summer, and the building could be ready for use spring semester 2013.

Troxel Hall's $11 million pricetag will be funded by a private gift ($4.75 million), income from ISU treasurer's temporary investments ($5 million), the facilities overhead use allowance ($1 million) and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences ($250,000). It is named for ISU alumnus Douglas Troxel ('67) of Redwood City, Calif., who serves as president and chief executive officer of a family, nonprofit corporation, the Change Happens Foundation. The foundation made the private gift to the building project.

Outdoor sports complex

The athletics department received approval to proceed to the final design and construction phases for an outdoor athletics complex east of the Towers residence halls. Following the board's request at its March 23 meeting, regents reviewed the stormwater runoff/drainage plan for the complex when it was completed. The city of Ames regulates stormwater management and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources regulates stormwater quality.

Vice president for business and finance Warren Madden told the regents that design plans for stormwater release from the complex site is more stringent than current city requirements. Iowa State's existing permit with the DNR includes the proposed site and requires the university to adhere to six best practices to improve the quality of stormwater leaving ISU property, one of which addresses the construction phase of the project.

Regent Robert Downer asked university leaders to be attentive to water runoff and other issues during construction. Having visited the site several times, he said he's empathetic to neighbors' concerns in the short term.

"Long term, I think this complex will benefit the area," he said.

Presidential search

As part of their meeting in Ames, board members hosted a public forum Wednesday evening to gather input on important qualities to be sought in the next Iowa State president. President Gregory Geoffroy will leave his post by July 31, 2012.

The board also heard presentations from representatives of four executive search firms, Isaacson Miller, Boston; Greenwood/Asher and Associates, Miramar Beach, Fla.; R. William Funk and Associates, Dallas; and Parker Executive Search, Atlanta. Board president David Miles said the board will decide on a search process at its June 8 meeting, including whether it will include a search firm and if so, which one.

New room and board rates

The board approved new room and board rates that take effect May 9. Iowa State will offer students about 30 room or suite rates and eight apartment options, reflecting variables such as building, number of roommates and air conditioning.

For purposes of year-to-year comparisons, Iowa State uses a double room in Richardson Court and a meal plan of 225 meals/semester and $200 dining dollars. This package will increase $224, or 3 percent, next year.

New residence hall rates vary from a 0.98 percent decrease to an increase of 5.19 percent. Campus apartment rates will rise between 1.9 percent and 3.8 percent. Following a review of its meal plans last summer, ISU Dining revised its meal plan options. It eliminated weekly plans (semester plans remain) and will offer five meal plan options, three of which are new. The two existing plans will go up 1.91 and 3.62 percent.

In other business, the board:

  • Approved Iowa State's new post-tenure review policy (Faculty Senate PDF), which cleared the Faculty Senate on April 5. In his presentation to the board, senate president Micheal Owen said the new policy is notable for its tangible outcomes and consequences. He noted the policy contains new sections on timeline, outcomes and roles for department chairs, deans and provosts in the post-tenure review process.
  • Agreed to reactivate its Economic Development Committee as a standing committee of the board. The committee last met in March 2007. Its role is to coordinate and advise on economic development activities involving any of the regent institutions or the full regent enterprise. The decision was prompted by proposals to replace the state Department of Economic Development with a public-private partnership, as well as budget proposals that, if passed, would significantly reduce funding for economic development at the three regent universities.
  • Approved the sale of $17.9 million in Dormitory Revenue Refunding Bonds to refund the outstanding amount on $21.7 million in Dormitory Revenue Bonds sold in 2001 to build Eaton Hall. Due to a lower interest rate (3.5075 percent) on the refunding bonds, the residence department will save approximately $1.98 million.