Dec. 9, 2011

School of Education clears final hurdle

by Anne Krapfl

A national search for the first director of Iowa State's School of Education will begin immediately, following final approval of the school Dec. 8 by the state Board of Regents.

Effective July 1, 2012, the school will have its home in the College of Human Sciences and combine two departments (curriculum and instruction, and educational leadership and policy studies) and the teacher education program. In addition to a director, the leadership team will include an assistant director and coordinators of its three divisions -- educator preparation studies, educator foundation core and educator leadership studies.

Following a year of planning, faculty and staff in the two affected departments and the teacher education office approved the proposed school in a 53-9 advisory vote in May. Executive vice president and provost Elizabeth Hoffman recommended the proposal in June to the Faculty Senate, which approved the proposed school in October.

2012-13 tuition and fees

Under new 2012-13 rates approved by the board, tuition will increase $240 (3.75 percent) for resident undergraduates and $480 (2.63 percent) for out-of-state undergraduates. Graduate tuition will increase $280 (3.7 percent) and $504 (2.6 percent) for resident and nonresident students, respectively. Iowa State will hold mandatory student fees at this year's rates for all students.

Regent Ruth Harkin cast the sole dissenting vote (regent Craig Lang was absent).

"Most Iowans' incomes have not kept up with inflation," she noted. "Next year, I hope we can work harder to find a better solution."

Regent Robert Downer said part of the solution could be to better demonstrate to legislators this winter the effect of student debt loads (caused in part by high tuition) on the Iowa workforce. Downer said incomes and the cost of living are lower in Iowa, and students' debt repayment obligations impact their decisions to stay in Iowa or work elsewhere. By reducing state appropriations, legislators are "jeopardizing the efforts of young people to secure jobs in the Iowa economy," he said.

Differential tuition

The board approved differential tuition next year for four student groups: juniors and seniors in agricultural systems technology and industrial technology (both in the ag and biosystems engineering department), and undergraduate and graduate architecture students. The AST and ITec upper division students will pay an additional $584, the second of a proposed three-year incremental increase to lower student-to-faculty ratios and provide excellent instruction and cutting-edge lab experiences. All architecture students will pay $400 in additional tuition next year, intended to help hire more faculty to address the program's 30 percent enrollment increase since 2007.

These students join upper division students in the colleges of Engineering and Business who have paid differential tuition since 2006 and 2009, respectively.

Approval for new centers and institutes

The board approved changes to its own policy manual (Chapter 6) on approving new centers and institutes. New language prohibits universities from naming centers or institutes for:

  • An elected official, until that person no longer is in office
  • An employee of the regents system, until at least two years after employment or an appointment ends or two years after the individual's death

The changes also remove language about funding thresholds (university or external) requiring board involvement. All new centers and institutes would require board approval. Regent Katie Mulholland said every proposal should go before the board before any further action is taken on a center or institute.

Greater flexibility on construction projects

Board members directed the three universities' state relations officers to work with board and university staff on proposed 2012 Iowa legislation changes that would permit the design-build option when construction contracts are awarded. In design build, the design and construction portions are contracted to the same company, allowing the two phases to overlap and placing responsibility in one place. Regent president pro tem Bruce Rastetter said Iowa is the only state in a five-state area that doesn't allow its regents universities to use the design-build process, which has the potential to save money and speed construction time.

Transparency with public funds

In another matter related to legislative relations, Rastetter said regent David Miles will work with the three university presidents on a project to improve clarity among legislators on how Iowa's public universities are spending state appropriations and tuition dollars. Each school's list will assign all these funds to one of five categories:

  • Undergraduate education
  • Graduate and professional education
  • Research
  • Outreach and public service, including extension
  • General administration and facilities support

Rastetter; president Gregory Geoffroy; Government of the Student Body president Dakota Hoben and ROTC student Kyle Bitterman, the Cadet Battalion commander at Iowa State; commented on a Dec. 5 letter in the Iowa State Daily by ISU lecturer Thomas Walker. In it, Walker criticized an ISU College Republicans' drive to send care packages to U.S. military personnel in Afghanistan and Iraq. All expressed disappointment in both Walker's opinions and his decision to air them in a letter to the editor, but acknowledged his right to do so. They said they don't share his opinion and support student efforts to prepare care packages for U.S. soldiers serving overseas.

The regents also approved Iowa State requests:

  • For a department name change, from apparel, educational studies and hospitality management, to apparel, events and hospitality management
  • To demolish the Andrews-Richards House (south of the Hixson-Lied Student Success Center on the east side of campus). Because the building contains asbestos and lead paint, which must be removed separately, the estimated demolition cost is $250,000, to be covered by university funds.
  • For 29 faculty professional development assignments (PDA) for FY13. Nineteen of the PDAs are for a semester; the others are between one semester and a full year. Recipient list, by university, in board agenda item (PDF).
  • To begin planning for a $3.1 million remodel of the MacKay Hall auditorium, some adjoining classroom and department spaces, and the building's south entrance. The project will receive funding in this year's strategic initiatives funding process.