Regents approve property purchase, online degree, bond sale

Meeting March 11 in Iowa City, the state Board of Regents approved Iowa State's purchase of five acres and the building at 925 Airport Rd. for $1.4 million. The property formerly housed a John Deere implement dealership and is adjacent to a Central Stores storage facility. Senior vice president for business and finance Warren Madden told board members that, initially, it will meet some university long-term storage needs, and part of it may be used as a shipping/receiving facility to reduce traffic and congestion on campus. Additional warehouse space also is needed as ISU Research Park firms grow, particularly Harrisvaccines.

Items that potentially could be stored in the building include ISU Theatre props and costumes, which currently are stored in the Industrial Education Building (scheduled to be razed); and Reiman Gardens' Nature Connects LEGO exhibits between installations.

New bachelor's degree

The board approved a bachelor of science program in early childhood education and programming in the College of Human Sciences. It will be offered entirely online through the seven-university Great Plains Interactive Distance Education Alliance, and students may take courses at all seven schools. The program's primary focus is to prepare professionals to work as teachers or administrators in childcare programs. Participants won't be licensed to work in public schools.

It's anticipated that most participants will be members of military families. The program is being offered in response to a request from the U.S. departments of Agriculture and Defense to meet the educational needs of military service members and spouses who are interested in careers working with young children, and to better serve U.S. military installations.

TIER update

Regent Larry McKibben outlined a new management plan for the implementation phase of the board's Transparent Inclusive Efficiency Review (TIER). Mark Braun, who had been serving as project manager in the board office, will return in April to his position at the University of Iowa as vice president for external relations and the president's chief of staff, with reduced duties on the TIER project. Three regents each will have broad oversight for a group of business cases: Milt Dakovich, cases related to facilities; McKibben, cases related to administration; and Katie Mulholland, cases related to academics, including admissions. In addition, each campus has a contact person for all implementation matters who also is the consultant's primary contact on specific cases; associate vice president and chief of staff Miles Lackey serves in that role at Iowa State and with Pappas and Ad Astra consultants.

Braun provided this update on the work of the board's four current consultants:

  • Chazey Partners (HR, IT and financial transactions business cases): First phase of analysis is complete (data gathering, conversations and workshops on all three campuses). Chazey staff will take the next two weeks to review three sets of information: universities' data and plans, original Deloitte business case information and the information Chazey gathered in phase 1. These three will be "meshed together" to further develop implementation plans, he said.
  • Huron Consulting (purchasing): Consultants have been doing data analysis and have identified six of the seven categories for which they will do "deep dive" analysis. Three other categories will receive a high level review.
  • Pappas Consulting (academic review): Hired in February to do Phase 2 analysis on two cases: distance education and time to graduation, consultants have been reviewing information gathered by the previous consultant. From this, they're developing a work plan. Tentatively, they plan to visit the campuses the last week of March and first week of April.
  • Ad Astra (classroom and faculty scheduling): Consultants have been analyzing data provided by the universities and are on track to present preliminary results by the end of spring semester.

Student retention

The board received annual reports (as of fall 2014) on student retention and graduation rates at each of the three universities. Iowa State's fall 2013 entering class had a one-year retention rate of 86.4 percent, compared to 86.1 percent overall for the three regent universities and 77.9 percent for public four-year colleges nationally.

One-year retention rates (Fall 2013 entering class)

All students






     African American


     American Indian


     Asian American


     Hispanic American


     Two or more races



AFSCME contract

Tom Evans, the board's staff attorney, reported that the state and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (Iowa Council 61), did not reach agreement on a two-year employment contract, which would cover most ISU merit employees beginning July 1. The impasse is on the issues of wages and insurance. An arbitration hearing was held Feb. 26-27, and the arbitrator's binding decision is due by March 15.

2015-16 parking rates

The board took a first look at parking permit prices for campus lots and the Memorial Union ramp, which would go up $3 to $12 annually under proposed rates for the year that begins July 1. A vote on parking proposals will occur at the board's April 23 meeting.

Parking permit increases



Proposed FY16

24-hour reserved






General staff*









Staff motorcycle



MU ramp


















*Includes residence department and Ames Lab staff
**Valid November-February

2015-16 residence/dining rates

The residence department's preliminary FY16 budget estimates 12,774 students living in university-managed housing, an increase of 537 students from this year. To accommodate student demand for housing beyond the existing permanent spaces, 329 beds will be offered in residence hall dens, and off-campus apartments operated by the department will expand to 1,454 beds (up from 1,059 this year).

As proposed, most residence hall and on-campus apartment rates would go up 3 percent on July 1. That's an increase of $112 to $216, depending on the building. The exceptions are a proposed 2 percent increase ($93-$113) at University and Schilletter Village apartments, and 8 percent ($464-$586) for off-campus leased apartments. Student meal plans would go up approximately 3 to 3.5 percent, depending on the plan selected.

The board will vote on residence and dining proposals at its April meeting.

Other business

In other business, the board:

  • Approved the sale of $11.765 million of Athletic Facility Revenue Refund bonds (taxable) to advance refund $12.175 million of bonds issued in 2007 to partially fund the first phase of renovations at Jack Trice Stadium. Repayment on the 2007 bonds wasn't scheduled to begin until next year. Lower interest rates will result in estimated interest savings of $818,000 for the athletics department.
  • Approved revisions for ISU's 2015-16 general catalog. The changes include 75 title changes, 123 new courses and 195 dropped courses, for a net effect of 72 fewer courses.
  • Received ISU calendar year 2014 reports on human resources and on campus safety and security.
  • Heard from the board's policy and operations officer Joan Racki that the dime increase in the state's gas tax, effective March 1, will send an additional (estimated) $400,000 each calendar year to the regents' Institutional Roads fund. This fund helps pay for both maintenance and replacement road projects on the regent campuses.