June 6, 2011

Regents lay groundwork for presidential search

by Anne Krapfl

The search for Iowa State's next president took a big step forward Wednesday, with the state Board of Regents agreeing to hire a search firm and outlining membership on the search committee. The board will hire Parker Executive Search, Atlanta, which is the firm Iowa State hired in 2006 when it sought a provost to succeed Benjamin Allen, among other ISU searches. Regents viewed company president Daniel Parker's familiarity with Iowa State as a strength. The Parker firm is one of four that made a pitch during the board's April 28 meeting.

College of Business dean Labh Hira and ISU alumnus Roger Underwood of Ames will co-chair an 18-member search committee that will include first-year regents Katie Mulholland and Bruce Rastetter. The committee also will include a faculty representative from each college; the presidents of the Faculty Senate, P&S Council, Government of the Student Body and Graduate and Professional Student Senate; and two representatives each from the alumni association and ISU Foundation. Board of regents staff members Robert Donley and Diana Gonzalez will serve as non-voting committee members.

Board members agreed that the search committee's task will be to identify three to five finalists for the presidential post, all of whom must interview on campus. Following discussion about the possibility of keeping finalists' names private to assure the highest quality possible, board members agreed that the interviews must be on campus and the campus community must be involved. This procedure is consistent with the most recent presidential searches at the universities of Iowa and Northern Iowa.

President Gregory Geoffroy announced in March that he will leave his post by July 31, 2012.

Salary increases

Although FY12 budgets aren't set yet, the board approved several pay-related items in order to meet July payroll deadlines.

The statewide collective bargaining agreement with AFSCME (American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees) provides for a 2 percent increase on July 1 and a 1 percent increase on January 1, 2012. Merit staff members not at the maximum of their pay scales will receive a step increase of 4.5 percent on their anniversary date at Iowa State. ISU officials estimate an average increase of 4.9 percent.

The board approved the two parameters developed for FY12 salaries to accompany the ISU salary policy:

  • All faculty and P&S staff with satisfactory performance will receive a minimum salary adjustment of 0.5 percent; increases beyond that will be determined by individual units
  • Proposed increases that exceed 5.0 percent require approval at the vice presidential level.

Faculty who were promoted or awarded tenure this spring will receive an additional salary increment. Those amounts for FY12 are: Distinguished Professor, $6,000; University Professor, $5,500; full professor, $4,900; associate professor, $4,100. Promotion increases do not replace or nullify performance-based increases.

Overall, the faculty and P&S staff salary base is expected to increase by approximately 3.0 percent.

Iowa State did not seek any adjustments to the P&S pay matrix for FY12.

Football training facility

The athletics department received board approval of a schematic design and budget ($20.6 million) for a new facility for the football program, adjacent and connected to the east side of the Bergstrom indoor practice facility. The proposed nearly 60,000-square-feet, two-story building will include coaches' offices, strength training area, player and coach locker rooms, team meeting rooms, athletic training area and a video operations area. When completed, the new facility is expected to help recruit and better train football student-athletes, a benefit to the department since football revenues support more than just the football program.

The football program will vacate all its spaces in the Jacobsen and Olson buildings, and athletics officials say the space would be reassigned to other units in the department. Several options for redistributing the space still are under consideration.

The athletics department hopes to bid the project in July and begin using the building in August 2012. Private gifts to the athletics department and debt financing (athletics revenues) would pay for the project.

Harl Commons in Curtiss Hall

The board also approved the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences' schematic design for Harl Commons, which will open the ground and basement levels in the east wing of Curtiss Hall and create a new entrance on that side of the building. The commons will include student gathering spaces, conference room, coffee shop and restrooms. The college's Agricultural Entrepreneurship Initiative will be housed on a mezzanine level (the current ground level).

To gain efficiencies in design and funding, the college also received permission to merge the Harl Commons project with the student services mall project under way in the south ground floor of Curtiss and a previously approved plan to install a building-wide sprinkler system. The merged budget would be $12 million, $7 million of which is private gifts. Other funding sources include university funds, facilities overhead funds, deferred maintenance funding and academic building revenue bonds.

Harl Commons is scheduled to be bid next winter and completed in the fall of 2013.

Flood recovery

Vice president for business and finance Warren Madden said flood recovery projects from last August's flood on the east edge of campus are substantially complete; the lone exception is the indoor track at the Lied center. He reported that the interlocking flood barricades installed during April and May in front of Hilton and Scheman doorways have been tested successfully, with just a paper towel needed to clean up the water that leaked in.

Madden said the total flood damage estimate remains somewhere between $30 million and $40 million, a "substantial portion" of which should be reimbursed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Other ISU items

In other business, the board:

  • Approved a new Bachelor of Design program in the College of Design. The distinctive feature of the program is its studio-based interdisciplinary focus. Its core is a series of forums and studios that require students to connect history, theory and practice to address different kinds of design challenges. Most of the courses in the program already are offered by Iowa State; the college will need to hire three FTE faculty to teach the additional courses and a 0.25 FTE academic adviser. Students could enroll in the program this fall, but the college primarily will promote it for fall 2012 enrollment. College officials expect new tuition revenue from the program to exceed the cost of offering the program.
  • Received accreditation reports for several ISU programs: B.A. in advertising and B.S. in journalism and mass communications, maximum six-year period (through 2015); B.S. and master's program in accounting, maximum six-year period (through 2015); B.F.A. in interior design, accredited for six of the maximum eight years (interim visit scheduled for fall 2012). In the future, the board will receive accreditation reports at the time the universities receive their notices, not after the schools have responded to the accreditation notices and any shortcomings identified in them.
  • Approved the sale of $12.6 million of dormitory revenue bonds to refund in advance the 2002 bonds sold to finance the Union Drive Community Center. Lower interest rates will save the residence department an estimated $859,000 in interest -- or about 6 percent of the total debt.