Leath covers budget, legislation and enrollment during senate update

President Steven Leath provided his annual update at the Feb. 14 Faculty Senate meeting. His remarks touched on several topics, including the budget, state and federal legislative issues, projected growth, faculty excellence, the research enterprise and the fundraising campaign.

Mid-year budget cut: "As you would expect, the No. 1 priority in Beardshear is to protect the academic core and minimize the impact on our academic mission, so just over half the reduction -- about $4.2 million -- will be absorbed centrally."

FY18 budget: "We have a very large request -- $100 million over five years for a major capital project to build a brand-new veterinary diagnostic lab. It's a critically important project that's risen to the top of our list. It plays a huge role in our $17 billion animal agriculture industry in this state. We'd have to put about $20 million in fundraising into that project."

Collective bargaining legislation: "Bottom line at the university, we want the state to be committed to competitive wages and good benefits for our employees. Right now it seems to be on a very, very fast track and it's reasonable to expect a fairly large and complete overhaul very soon."

Managing growth: "One question you're probably asking is 'are we going to be bigger or smaller next fall?' We'll be bigger. I think we've done a good job with turning the dials and we're growing at a much more modest pace than we were a couple years ago."

Tuition: "We're still the most affordable university in our peer group, whether you're looking at it from a resident point of view, or a nonresident point of view. We've never gotten the resources in scale with the size that we've grown. The reality is that we could raise [resident] undergraduate tuition eight percent at once and nonresident undergraduate tuition 10 percent at once and still be the lowest of our peer group. So we're trying to make that point that we want to be affordable and we want to be accessible, but we don't necessarily have to be the cheapest."

Executive order impact: "Right now it looks like graduate student applications from outside the U.S. have gone way down -- not just for Iowa State, but it's a phenomenon in the U.S. Until this thing shakes out and calms down, we are going to see a fundamental decline in applications and that's going to affect a number of things in our graduate programs."

Forever True, For Iowa State $1.1 billion fundraising campaign: "To put it in perspective, if you don't see me on campus, I have to raise $328,000 a day, seven days a week, for the next four and a half years. If you think about that, it takes a lot of time, a lot of energy, and you have to -- unfortunately -- be gone quite a bit to raise these kinds of dollars and you have to go where the people with those resources are. This will be a pretty intense period. The deans and everybody in upper administration are heavily engaged in this."