Regents approve new programs, give first green light to more student apartments

Meeting Aug. 3 in Cedar Falls, the state Board of Regents approved Iowa State requests to:

  • Begin planning to add up to seven apartment buildings to the Frederiksen Court student community to respond to higher enrollments -- and strong student demand for on-campus housing. Since 2005, on-campus occupancy rates have outpaced enrollment growth by 12 percentage points. The department will use construction documents for the existing buildings, making minor floor plan modifications and other changes for greater energy efficiency. Even so, the first new building likely won't open until early 2014.

  • Purchase 17 acres of woodland and a lodge from the YMCA of Greater Des Moines for approximately $120,000. The land is located between Veenker golf course and the Applied Sciences Complex. Purchase funds would come from ISU's facilities overhead use fund.

  • Award an honorary Doctor of Science degree for James Barnard, a leading environmental engineer in the world, at this fall's commencement ceremony. The South Africa native is renowned for his innovative research in water quality, particularly wastewater treatment. He focuses on using biological methods, such as algae, on a massive scale instead of expensive chemicals to remove nutrients from wastewater.

  • Name the outdoor track at the Cyclone Sports Complex for former ISU coach Bill Bergan and his wife Karen, who provided a lead gift of $1 million for the complex. In 23 years of coaching at Iowa State (1971-94), Bergan brought unprecedented success to the cross country and track and field programs that included two NCAA titles and 25 conference championships.

  • Name the athletics department's combined football facilities – the existing Steve and Debbie Bergstrom Indoor Training Facility and the nearly completed football training facility addition -- the Bergstrom Football Complex. As on the indoor training facility, the Bergstroms provided the lead gift, $2 million, for the football addition.

  • Establish three new master's programs:

    • Master of Engineering in engineering management (developed in the industrial and manufacturing systems engineering department with assistance from the College of Business)

    • Master of Urban Design (interdisciplinary program in the College of Design)

    • Master of Design in Sustainable Environments (interdisciplinary program in the College of Design)

  • Move an NSF-supported center, the Center for e-Design, from the Virginia Tech campus to Iowa State's industrial and manufacturing systems engineering department. Janis Terpenny, who came to Iowa State last August as department chair, has directed the center for several years. The center applies principles of science, math and engineering to help develop and implement new methods and technologies for improved product design.

Innovation funding

The board approved Iowa State's proposed use of its $1.05 million portion of the Regents Innovation Fund appropriation from the state (replacing the former Grow Iowa Values Fund of FY06-FY12). The innovation funds require a 1:1 match.

Funding summary

Innovate Iowa Proof of Concept pilot $500,000
Entrepreneurial support* $245,000
Infrastructure projects/programs $200,000
Small Business Development Center (regional centers) $105,000
Total $1,050,000

 *Shared by the ISU Research Park, ISU Pappajohn Center, Biobased Foundry pilot project and VP for Research/Economic Development

The board also approved schematic designs for:

  • A remodel of the MacKay Hall auditorium. The room currently seats up to 370 students on two levels; the renovation would convert the room to a contemporary, interactive classroom with seats for 215 students. The board approved the $3.2 million budget in March. Construction will begin next May.
  • A new facility south of campus on Mortensen Road, the Jeff and Deb Hansen Agriculture Student Learning Center. All but $300,000 of the $7.3 million budget is covered by private gifts, including the Hansens' lead gift of $2 million. Construction could begin in late fall.

Presidential salaries

Following his evaluation with the board on Thursday, president Steven Leath received a 2 percent increase to his base salary, bringing his FY13 salary to $448,800. University of Iowa president Sally Mason and University of Northern Iowa president Ben Allen also were awarded 2 percent salary increases, which board president Craig Lang characterized as "cost of living" increases.

Lang announced Allen's decision to retire from UNI by July 1, 2013. Allen, who has served as president since 2006, earlier served for 26 years (1979-90, 1991-2006) at Iowa State as a faculty member, department chair, center director, dean of the College of Business, interim vice president for external affairs and provost.

Public protest

About three dozen members of the group Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement loudly protested Regent Bruce Rastetter's status as a regent during the early portion of the meeting. The group filed a complaint in June with the Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board claiming that Rastetter abused his position as a regent to negotiate a business deal in Tanzania between his company, Agrisol Energy, and Iowa State. Group members also said Friday that Rastetter is violating the board's own conflict of interest policy.

UNI campus police escorted out more than a dozen protesters who shouted at board members or tried to advance to the board's table, and shortly after, the remaining protesters left the room. Lang said it would be premature for the board to take any action until the ethics board rules later this month on the complaint against Rastetter.