Dec. 1, 2011

Twenty initiatives receive central funding

by Anne Krapfl

About $4.6 million in matching funds from ISU units will leverage about $4.7 million in central funds to cover 20 new initiatives this year grounded in the university's strategic plan. Among them:

  • New teaching technologies in 60 general university classrooms and centralized controls in 180 classrooms
  • MacKay Hall auditorium renovated to a state-of-the-art lecture classroom
  • More staffing under the Dean of Students umbrella for judicial affairs and a new student services program targeting those with a connection to military service
  • Equipment for manufacturing labs shared by two College of Engineering departments
  • Improved landscaping and maintenance along the campus route used for prospective student tours
  • An IT position for three years to develop e-forms that replace some university-wide paper forms
  • Expanded electronic backfiles of older printed journals at Parks Library

Earlier this month, executive vice president and provost Elizabeth Hoffman notified the recipient teams in the funding request process. The awards for the one-time funding vary in size from $24,000 to $1 million. Most are in the $100,000-$600,000 range.

"The intent is to encourage units to invest in certain kinds of program activities and infrastructure," said director of budgets Dave Biedenbach. "In most cases, they can't fund them fully, so this is a way to partner with them on some key initiatives."

The $4.7 million in central funds is the difference between actual reductions in FY12 state funding to Iowa State and (larger) budget reductions the university planned for in late April. The Legislature's late adjournment (June 30) prevented ISU budget leaders from incorporating the actual reduction in the budget they submitted to the state Board of Regents for approval. Instead, leaders opted to hold the additional dollars in the Institutional Excellence Fund and develop a strategy for their use.

Biedenbach said the provost's office received about 150 proposals totaling more than $28 million in requests for central funding. A team of senior leaders reviewed the proposals and made recommendations to Hoffman, who gave final approval.

Biedenbach said that because of the high quality of the requests, approval is pending for an estimated $4.8 million in central funds to support 14 additional proposals when they are better developed. All proposals require a cash or in-kind match, the size of which isn't defined.

Funding strategic initiatives from the Institutional Excellence Fund will be an ongoing piece of budget planning, Biedenbach said. He noted that strong enrollments this fall amplified a pre-existing need in certain areas, such as classrooms that better support active learning and student support services.

Summary: Funding for strategic initiatives

Central fundsCash match
Teaching, learning, student support
Program initiatives$327,196$50,000
Classroom, library facilities$2,514,250$2,642,100
Research, outreach
Program initiatives$784,400$821,500
Laboratory equipment, backfiles of
electronic journals
Program initiatives$25,000$5,000
Computing storage, forms development$775,000$875,000