President of Board of Regents addresses ISU Faculty Senate

Dylan Boyle

Iowa State’s Faculty Senate welcomed Iowa Board of Regents President David Miles to its final meeting of the 2007-08 school year Tuesday before honoring retiring senators and handing over the reins to next year’s Faculty Senate president, Clark Ford.

“I have just completed my 12th year of regents service, and if those 12 years have taught me anything, it’s the soul of any university is in its academy,” Miles said, thanking the ISU faculty for its commitment to higher education.

Miles spoke on the future of Iowa’s public universities and the “strategic plan” he has recommended to determine the path of Iowa’s public universities.

“By working together, and only by working together, can we succeed in making Iowa’s public universities the best they can be,” Miles said.

Miles told the Faculty Senate of “three critical initiatives” he hopes to put forth in the coming year: long-term financial health, college affordability and sustainability.

“First, we must take steps to protect the long-term financial health of our regents institutions,” Miles said.

Miles thanked the Iowa Legislature and Gov. Chet Culver for their continued support of the regents and said state financial support will help keep tuition low, improve salaries and put more emphasis on math and science education.

“The second major initiative comes in the area of affordability and financial aid,” Miles said. “I’m asking the board office, with help from the universities, to prepare an analysis and recommendations to ensure we are providing affordable access for Iowans to attend our public universities.”

Miles said he wants to make sure we can reduce student debt levels by providing better financial aid to students.

Miles closed with his third initiative, saying Iowa’s universities need to become leaders in sustainability – an area he said Iowa State has already started to address.

“Certainly, as one of the nation’s leaders in the development and application of sustainable products, Iowa State is well-positioned to take a lead role in sustainability both nationally and internationally,” Miles said.

After Miles congratulated Iowa State on its sesquicentennial, Olivia Madison, dean of Parks Library, addressed the Faculty Senate regarding increasing costs of electronic journals and the need for the university to not fall behind in getting faculty and graduate students the information they need for research.

Madison said the library has started discontinuing carrying print journals and is focusing on e-journals instead.

Finally, before this year’s Faculty Senate ended its final meeting, Elizabeth Hoffman, executive vice president and provost, talked about faculty tenure and the reasons Iowa State’s faculty recruitment is down.

Hoffman said that, while some high-profile professors have retired in the past, there has not been a significant trend in the reasons professors are leaving, which is being viewed as a positive.

“We have 143 hires for fall of 2008,” Hoffman said. “This is way up from the last three years.”

Following Hoffman’s address, the meeting came to a sentimental end with former president Sedahlia Crase handing over the gavel to Ford and Ford bringing the meeting to a close for the first time.