P&S Council committee seeking input on representation

A pending motion to change the Professional and Scientific Council's organizational areas of representation was withdrawn at the council's Dec. 6 meeting. The representation committee is seeking feedback on the issue.

Committee chair Dick Pfarrer showed council members the six current representation areas (academic and research; extension; business and finance; student affairs; IPRT and Ames Laboratory; and president's office), and a proposed reconfiguration into four areas (academic affairs; business and finance; president's office; and student affairs) that align more closely with the university's organizational chart.

"We want to find a best practice so that you feel value and that you're representing appropriately, and that all of your constituents feel that they have representation," Pfarrer said.

Open forum on excellence

Senior vice president and provost Jonathan Wickert was the featured speaker at the council's open forum that preceded the meeting. His "Excellence at Iowa State" presentation outlined ways to measure the quality of the university, including its membership in the Association of American Universities (AAU).

 Wickert listed four ways ISU measures its excellence, including:

  • Quality of programs in education, research and extension
  • Quality of the student experience
  • Progress on strategic plan (measured by the state Board of Regents)
  • Reputation and the company ISU keeps (such as AAU membership)

AAU membership
The Association of American Universities has 62 members, including 36 public and 26 private institutions. Membership is by invitation and restricted to the leading research universities in the United States and Canada.

Wickert stressed that AAU membership is an important factor in attracting quality faculty and graduate students, and large-scale research funding. He said two of president Steven Leath's initiatives -- the institutional excellence committee and the student experience enhancement council -- support areas important to continued membership in the AAU.

Iowa State has been an AAU member since 1958. The universities of Texas and Kansas are the only other Big 12 Conference institutions on the membership list. The University of Iowa also is a member.

In closing, Wickert encouraged all members of the campus community to continue their contributions toward institutional excellence. He included four priority areas:

  • Maintaining academic excellence
  • Enhancing ISU's research footprint
  • Promoting economic development
  • Improving the campus environment