Public can comment on regents agenda

Danielle Ferguson

The ISU community has the opportunity to provide input on the Board of Regents February meeting agenda, which includes a proposal to renovate the Forker building, a discussion on distance learning, a proposal on a change in the Regents Admission Index and an update on the efficiency review.

The regents open forum is from noon to 1 p.m. on Jan. 30 in the Oak Room of the Memorial Union, where anyone from the university community can comment on the regents agenda. The board will meet Feb. 4 to 5 at the University of Northern Iowa Maucker Union in Cedar Falls.

Those wishing to contribute at the open forum will be required to sign in and record a video message for the board members to view prior to the full board meeting.

A few of the main topics on the agenda include:

Forker renovation 

Iowa State is requesting permission to plan a 6,250-net-square-foot renovation on the ground floor of the Forker Building for the College of Human Sciences Department of Kinesiology.

A May 2012 university study found that the Department of Kinesiology has grown 81 percent since 2007, and the growth has created a shortage of functional and office space.

The changes would add faculty offices, restrooms, replace the exterior window units and provide a fully automatic fire sprinkler system throughout the original 1940 portion of the building, according to the Board of Regents agenda item. The estimated project cost is $5 million and would be funded by the university.

Regents Admissions Index

As part of the comprehensive efficiency review of the three public Iowa universities, Deloitte, the consulting firm performing the study, suggested the universities create a new admissions index so that high schools without class rankings have equal index scores.

The new method would standardize the way the universities calculate the Regents Admission Index, commonly referred to as RAI. The RAI is calculated by adding an applicant’s ACT score, high school GPA, number of high school courses completed in each core subject and the high school class rank. 

High schools in Iowa are moving away from the class rank technique, said Phil Caffrey, Iowa State’s associate director of admissions, in a previous interview about the subject.

Iowa State already uses a mathematical formula to estimate a class rank for applicants who attend a high school that doesn’t rank.

The Admissions Study Team recommended the following alternative calculation of the RAI, which will only be used by Iowa high schools that do not provide a high school class rank:

RAI = ACT composite x 3 + High School GPA x 30 + High School Core Courses x 5.

If the regents approve the proposal, the board office will inform Iowa high schools that do not provide class rankings of the change in the alternative calculation of the RAI. The method would begin in fall 2016.

Distance education

The board will receive the education and student affairs committee report on distance education. Iowa State has found an increased need in online learning opportunities for the student body.

“Online enrollments are becoming more popular for both on-campus and distance-based students,” according to the agenda item. “Online components in traditional courses are becoming more common and may be a key to stimulating more acceptance of distance-based educational models and collaboration between the Regent universities, as well as with community.” 

The number of ISU students taking distance education classes has increased from 6,324 in 2011 to 7,280 in 2014. The number of students taking a mix of traditional and distance-education classes increased from 5,302 in 2011 to 11,353 in 2014.

Regent Larry McKibben and TIER Transformation Project Manager Mark Braun will give an update on the Transparent, Inclusive Efficiency Review.