Wickert details challenges of proposed budget cut

Next P&S Council meeting: 
March 1 (2:10-4 p.m., MU Gallery)

Next P&S Council seminar: March 13 (2-3 p.m., MU Pioneer Room)

Senior vice president and provost Jonathan Wickert told the Professional and Scientific Council at its Feb. 1 meeting that the Iowa Senate's Jan. 25 proposal to cut an additional $6.9 million from Iowa State's state operating appropriations was "surprising" and seemed to target higher education in a "very clear and direct way."

The Senate proposal, which comes on top of an $11.5 million cut in state funding last fiscal year, may push ISU to its financial limits, Wickert said.

Wickert said Iowa State and the other regent universities plan for funding shortfalls, but the negative impact of slashing almost $7 million from Iowa State's budget nearly three-quarters into FY18 is burdensome.

"This is what really makes this difficult and very negative and almost cruel -- and I choose that word specifically -- because most of the [fiscal] year is already over," he said. "There are four quarters in a year and we really won't know until March what they are going to do, then you only have that next quarter between March and July 1 to be able to handle it."

Wickert urged councilors to contact state legislators and convey the "remarkable return on investment" the state of Iowa and its taxpayers receive for every dollar that supports Iowa State.

"I think it's important we make a powerful statement that further cuts to our institution, as well as the sister regent institutions, will start to cut down to the bone of our higher education system," he said.

Additional presentations

  • Sarah Nusser, vice president for research, provided an overview of the research office's latest activities and accomplishments. She highlighted the upcoming Iowa State Research Day on March 27 (11 a.m.-4 p.m., Memorial Union ballrooms), which includes lightning talks, poster displays, exhibits and resource tables. Gregory Petsko, chair of the department of biochemistry, Brandeis University, Waltham, Massachusetts, will give the keynote address, "Science and the Arts/Humanities: A Marriage Made in Heaven."
  • Kristin Constant, interim vice president and chief information officer, gave an update on Workday. She said much has been accomplished, including more than 200 design confirmation sessions on how to create a particular business process or component of the Workday system, and testing of more than 2,500 individual business process scenarios. Because of the volume of work yet to be done and a change of leadership, she said the original launch date for Workday's finance and human capital management systems will not be July 1, as planned. Constant said a new launch date will be announced in early March.

Other business

  • The council was presented the first reading of a motion to amend the council's rules and bylaws
  • Suzanne Ankerstjerne, geological and atmospheric sciences, was seated on the council, representing academic affairs. She will serve on the awards committee and represent Ames Laboratory employees.
  • Councilors submitted nominations for officers. Nominations will remain open through 2 p.m. March 1 and must be submitted to the representation committee.
    • President-elect, no nominations
    • Vice president for planning and budget, Barry McCroskey, value-added agriculture, extension and outreach
    • Vice president for university community relations, Kelly Friesleben, admissions
    • Vice president for equity and inclusion, Jacob Cummings, equal opportunity; Carolyn Duven, dean of students
    • Secretary/treasurer, no nominations