Faculty debate Academic Plan

Laura Kennedy

Iowa State’s Academic Plan has sparked discussion among members of the Faculty Senate.Members of the senate and Provost Rollin Richmond discussed the goals of the Academic Plan and its importance during the Faculty Senate meeting Jan. 9.Richmond said he wanted to simplify and summarize the plan to Senate members in an effort to help them see it from the same perspective.The Academic Plan is a set of goals developed by a group of deans, faculty representatives and administrators, Richmond said. The goals were introduced in order to maintain the quality and diversity at Iowa State. Richmond said the three basic purposes of the Academic Plan include enhancing intellectual stature, gaining ideas and expertise of faculty members and providing revenue flexibility. Other goals in the new plan include increasing the number of individuals at Iowa State with different ethnic and gender backgrounds and also increasing disciplinary work, he said. He said a $5.8 million pool through reallocations from academic units is the goal.”I believe we need a way to get better in times in which our resources are limited,” Richmond said. “We need to bring this university forward.”Iowa State has four main sources of support, Richmond said, which include state tax funding, money from tuition, research funds and private funding from the ISU Foundation. While one of the goals of the Academic Plan is to help provide extra project money, some faculty members think ISU colleges and departments already have too little money to work with to set any aside for special projects.James Hutter, associate professor of political science, said money is already a problem for many colleges and departments. Hutter said he is concerned about where the money in the Academic Plan will be going. “Are you not looking for the wrong group for help?” he said. “Why are you not looking to the regents, the legislature and the ISU Foundation for this money?”While many departments have little financial flexibility, Richmond said the plan is one of the few alternatives.”There is no mechanism that exists now to look at allocations between colleges and emphasize differences,” he said. “This academic plan would give us an opportunity to do that.”Anthony Hendrickson, associate professor of logistics, operations and management information systems, also said he thinks the plan is a good idea.”We simply have to do something to give people a mechanism to shovel resources with colleges,” he said.