Iowa State's top building funding request to the state for the year that begins next July 1 is $5 million in planning funds for a new building and building renovations in the biosciences. The state Board of Regents finalized and prioritized FY15 state funding requests at its meeting Wednesday in Cedar Falls.
The board's first capital request next year is $75 million for deferred maintenance and fire and environmental safety improvements at the five regent schools. How that would be allocated among the five hasn't been determined yet.
Iowa State's biosciences proposal calls for another $50 million in state support over three years (FY16-FY18), supplemented with $25 million in private gifts. Planning funds for a new building also was a top request for the current fiscal year, but the 2013 Legislature failed to fund the request. University leaders have cited both a critical shortage of space and the ineffectiveness of antiquated, functionally obsolete facilities in making biosciences building improvements a top priority.
Iowa State will ask for a 4.0 percent increase (nearly $7 million) in state support for general operating funds and a 3.2 percent increase for units receiving a direct appropriation (such as the Ag Experiment Station and the Veterinary Diagnostic Lab), state economic development funds and the Regents Innovation Fund. The board proposed that, with this level of state support, the regent universities could keep tuition flat for a second year for Iowa undergraduate students.
Board president Bruce Rastetter said keeping Iowa's universities accessible and affordable is a shared responsibility of the schools, the board and legislators.
The increase request is based on the Higher Education Price Index's inflation projection for FY15, which is a range from 1.8 percent to 3.2 percent. The higher increase for general operating funds, he said, would help the universities meet inflationary costs without raising tuition for in-state undergraduate students.
Biennial report: Faculty activity
The board also received a biennial report on faculty work responsibilities and work week at all five regent schools. The report is based on a survey of faculty during the 2012-13 academic year; about 85 percent of Iowa State faculty returned the survey.
At ISU, tenured and tenure-track faculty members reported working 58.2 hours per week, non-tenure track faculty 51.8 hours, clinicians 56.8 hours and department chairs 59.1 hours.
When compared to the 2010-11 survey, there has been a slight shift of teaching responsibilities, away from tenured and tenure-track faculty to non-tenure track faculty. Last fall, 58.0 percent of all student credit hours (SCH) and 54.3 percent of undergraduate SCH were taught by tenured or tenure-track faculty. This represents a decrease of about 4.5 percentage points from fall 2010.
Non-tenure track faculty taught 31.0 percent of total SCH and 33.5 percent of undergraduate SCH in fall 2012, an increase of 4.1 percentage points (in both cases) compared to fall 2010.
Teaching responsibilities assigned to graduate assistants was nearly unchanged. Graduate assistants taught 11.0 percent of total SCH and 12.2 percent of undergraduate SCH in fall 2012, an increase of 0.4 percentage points in each instance compared to fall 2010.
More information from the faculty activity survey is available in the board's agenda item (PDF).
ISU faculty activity: Hours worked per week
Who's teaching our students: ISU student credit hours taught
The board also approved Iowa State requests to:
- Replace senior vice president for business and finance Warren Madden with university relations executive director John McCarroll as the ISU appointee on Iowa Public Radio's board of directors. Madden had served on the board since it was founded in 2005.
- Close the Airworthiness Assurance Center of Excellence in the Institute for Physical Research and Technology. The center was established in 1997 with Federal Aviation Administration funding. It no longer receives federal funding and is not financially sustainable.