Regents move on salary, budget and capital project items

The Iowa Board of Regents convened June 5 in Iowa City with two new members appointed by Gov. Terry Branstad just a day earlier. Larry McKibben (Marshalltown) and Milt Dakovich (Wateroo) will need approval from the Senate next year. Interim board president Bruce Rastetter (Alden) was elected president, serving through April 30, 2014. He succeeds Craig Lang (Brooklyn), whose term expired April 30. Katie Mulholland (Marion) was elected president pro tem.

Salary policy

The board approved Iowa State's FY14 salary parameters for faculty, professional and scientific staff and postdoctorates. Minimum increases for satisfactory or better performance evaluations are 1.5 percent for employees with a salary of $60,000 or less, and 1 percent for those who earn more than $60,000. The P&S pay matrix will be raised 1.25 percent to reflect market changes. Merit employees are subject to collective bargaining agreements made with the state.

Capital improvements

Three campus capital projects received approval, including:

  • A request to move forward with planning for renovations at Marston Hall, which houses the College of Engineering. The project would encompass about 60,000 square feet in the 110-year-old building at an estimated cost of $20 million, paid with university funds and private gifts.
  • A $4 million upgrade and expansion of the electrical substation on Haber Road, using utility repair funds. The budget includes the purchase and installation of a new transformer for the campus electrical system.
  • Changes to renovations in Lagomarcino Hall for the School of Education, increasing the budget by more than $1.3 million (to about $5.1 million). The scope of the project was expanded with additional funding identified by the college.

NGO in Uganda

The board authorized the creation of a branch office in Uganda for the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences' Center for Sustainable Rural Livelihoods. With oversight by the university's global programs board, the ISU Uganda Program will seek registration as a nongovernmental organization (NGO) in the country to continue service learning programs, outreach, research and internship and collaborative efforts.

"This is a program that has been in place for over a decade and has strong philanthropic support," said president Steven Leath. "It gives us an opportunity to show our global impact, where we can make a real difference in the world -- especially in developing countries."

Senior vice president and provost Jonathan Wickert said the move would help position the program more competitively for sponsored funding opportunities and university counsel Paul Tanaka outlined the legal advantages for NGO registration, which would help the center conduct business abroad (for example, opening an independent bank account, hiring employees or signing a lease).

This would not be a first for the university. Tanaka said the College of Design's Rome program established NGO status with board approval in 1999.

Bond sales

Bids were accepted for the sale and issuance of refunding bonds, taking advantage of savings through better interest rates. Iowa State bonds included:

  • Utility system revenue bonds, saving an estimated $1.1 million, or $136,000 annually
  • Dormitory revenue bonds, saving more than $559,000, or $65,000 annually

Leath's report

In his report to the regents, Leath applauded the more than 3,700 students who graduated last month, noting that a high percentage already are employed or committed to graduate studies. He also pointed out that some graduating students returned to campus to help prepare for possible flooding due to heavy rains and recognized junior Nicole Donato, who received the ROTC Medal of Heroism for life-saving acts at the scene of a car accident.

“It really makes you feel good to see that in our students,” he said.

Leath told the regents he was pleased to see “great support” for Iowa State across Iowa during the 2013 legislative session, and thanked the legislature for its support, particularly the $12 million appropriation for expansion of the ISU Research Park.

Other business

Additional Iowa State agenda items approved by the board, include:

  • The appointment of David Spalding as College of Business dean, effective Aug. 1, and reappointment Joan Piscitello and Pam Elliott Cain as ISU treasurer and secretary, respectively
  • FY 2014 capital plans that include more than $169 million in new projects at Iowa State
  • Renewal of the operating agreement with Iowa Public Radio, for a term of six years (until June 30, 2019). The agreement includes a requirement to conduct meetings and maintain open records consistent with Iowa's open meeting laws.
  • A lease agreement with the ISU Foundation, allowing ISU to operate the Vondra Geology Field Station in central Wyoming. The geological and atmospheric sciences department has used the facilities for 55 years. The 25-year agreement sets rent at $1,000 annually through June 30, 2038.
  • The donation of a one-acre tract of land from the Committee for Agricultural Development. The tract is adjacent to ISU's McNay research and demonstration farm near Chariton in Lucas County.
  • An amended FY13 operating budget, which reflected an increase of $3.8 million in tuition revenues from record enrollment numbers and savings in utilities ($1.2 million) and supplies and services ($8.9 million). Additional expenditures were made on hourly wages ($2.65 million) and building repairs ($12 million).