Meeting telephonically in a special session June 28, the state Board of Regents gave final approval to Iowa State's proposal to offer a bachelor's degree in nursing for registered nurses, beginning in fall 2018. The program will be housed in the food science and human nutrition department, and emphasize the connection between nutrition, activity, health promotion and nursing care management. The program will be offered on campus, which will distinguish it from the University of Iowa's online program.
The board also approved a new phased retirement policy for the regents system to replace the one that sunsets on June 30. The replacement provides one- and two-year phased options. If a two-year phasing is selected, the maximum appointment in year one is 65 percent, and 50 percent in year two. Compensation matches the phased work percentage in both years, but in the first year only, the university has the option of offering up to an additional 10 percent of the employee's full-time salary.
The terms of a one-year phased retirement match the second year in a two-year phased period.
During both years of the phasing, university and employee contributions for life insurance, health insurance, disability insurance and TIAA retirement accounts continue at the employee's full-time rate. Contributions to the Iowa Public Employees Retirement System or federal Civil Service System are based on the employee's actual salary during the phased period.
Eligibility for phased retirement isn't changing. Faculty, professional and scientific staff and merit staff who are at least 57 years old with a minimum 15 years of accumulated service to the university may request participation in the program.
The new policy is in effect through June 2022.
The board gave Iowa State permission to begin planning for an east addition to the Gerdin Business Building that will expand the College of Business facility by 35 to 40 percent. The estimated cost, $22 million, would be covered by a combination of university funds and private gifts.
According to the agenda item, the college has outgrown its space in Gerdin, and the university's growth likewise has left no space for expansion in other academic buildings. The addition would include offices for faculty, staff and graduate students; classrooms with capacity for 50-75 students; conference/collaboration spaces; and computer labs.
The board approved Iowa State's request to close two centers, the Center for Integrated Animal Genomics and Midwest Agribusiness Trade Research, which have been inactive since 2012 and 2011, respectively.
The board also voted to adopt changes to the Iowa Administrative Code (chapter 3) that take effect July 1 regarding merit system employees. The code changes are the result of legislation passed in February that restricted collective bargaining rights for the state's public employees.
The code changes put a cap on pay increases for pay grade promotions (higher increases require permission from the merit system director) and modify the grievance procedure. Notably, merit employees may be accompanied only by co-workers at grievance meetings, not the broader "persons," which allowed union representatives to be present; and the initial written grievance now goes to the department head rather than the employee's supervisor.
Executive director search
The board also directed the three-member governance and evaluation committee to work with interim executive director Keith Saunders on the search for the next executive director of the board of regents. Earlier this month, Robert Donley announced he would resign from the position on July 15. Saunders, who serves as the board's state relations officer for the University of Iowa, will begin his interim leadership July 16.
The regents who serve on the governance and evaluation committee are Patty Cownie (chair), Sherry Bates and Nancy Boettger.
A tentative timeline calls for the position to be advertised in July. In August, committee members will narrow the candidate pool, interview selected semifinalists and forward a list of finalists to the full board. In September, the full board would interview the finalists and select its next executive director.