Regents approve faculty promotions

Meeting virtually April 14, the state Board of Regents approved Iowa State's request for promotion or tenure for 69 faculty members. The changes officially take effect in August.

While 69 faculty requests is about 30% fewer than last spring's 98 requests, that large number was a record and reflected the significant number of faculty hires in 2015 during record student enrollment. Associate vice provost for faculty Dawn Bratsch-Prince said promotions and tenure follow faculty hiring patterns. For example, at the other end of the spectrum, the recession of 2008-09 crimped hiring for a time and P&T requests in the springs of 2015 and 2016 dropped into the 50s. A spring presentation to the board of around 70 promotion and tenure requests is typical, she said.

ISU faculty promotions, 2021-22





Promotion with tenure




Promotion (already tenured)




Tenure only









ISU faculty counts: three academic years













Non tenure-track








No mandate on vaccines

In his report, board president Michael Richards affirmed that the three regent universities will make COVID-19 vaccines available on their campuses, but not require anyone to be vaccinated.

"While we strongly encourage members of our campus communities to get vaccinated, the regent universities will not be mandating vaccinations for students and employees, now or for the 2021-22 academic year," he said.

Salary increase comments

Preceding the board's fiscal year 2022 salary policy discussion at its June meeting, it received written comments this month from leaders of all university employee groups who aren't represented by a labor union. Faculty Senate president Carol Faber and Professional and Scientific Council president Sara Parris were included in this group.

Faber said she reviewed comments submitted by her 12 predecessors and noted time hadn't altered the message very much. ISU faculty salaries remain at or near the bottom of its peer universities, and the lack of movement in their salaries is demoralizing for hard-working faculty. In the last year, she wrote, as faculty adapted to the complexities of working through a pandemic, "tension in politics and the debate over tenure compounded the climate, bringing a whole new meaning to the term demoralization."

Perhaps it's time to think differently about everything we do -- including adjusting salaries, she wrote.

"Doing more with less over a long period of time is not healthy or wise," Faber wrote. "Nor does it support a diverse, equitable and inclusive environment we all strive for at Iowa State University."

Parris encouraged leaders to adopt a performance-based salary increase plan that rewards high performers, noting it's "beyond time" to fairly compensate the hard work of P&S staff.

She said she also reviewed the comments of five previous council presidents and was disheartened by their similarity.

Praise from university leaders and supervisors, she said, while generous and sincere "doesn't pay our bills, nor our increased health insurance costs, nor make up for lost retirement contributions.

"As infections wane, vaccines are distributed and we near the finish line, we are greeted with more budget cuts, no revision to HR policy that allows for performance-based increases, no plans for meaningful raises, inadequate student [tuition] increases that fall short of departmental needs and requests, and open hostility from the state legislature," Parris wrote.

So long to coal boilers

The board gave a final green light to Iowa State's plans to replace the last two coal-fired boilers on campus with natural gas boilers at a cost of $16 million. It will bring the end for two coal fields on campus and reduce greenhouse gas and other regulated air emissions. The cost will be covered by $7 million in utility funds and $9 million in internal university financing. The financing is generated by a $3.9 million annual power plant cost savings due to the lower cost of operating and maintaining natural gas versus coal boilers. The switch will occur during the window of January 2022-June 2023.

Ross Hall restoration

The board approved Iowa State contracts with Johnson Controls (new fire alarm system) and Story Construction (building repairs) approved in March on an emergency basis by board executive director Mark Braun. Total fire restoration costs have risen to $3.75 million, including $2.4 million in cleaning costs to ServiceMaster, $500,000 for repair projects and $177,000 for the fire alarm system.

Parking permits hold steady

Employee and student parking permit rates will hold at current levels for the fiscal year that begins July 1, following board final approval. The only change is to parking meters and metered lots, where the rate will go from $1/hour to $1.25/hour.

Annual and seasonal permits for the Memorial Union ramp also won't change next year. Hourly ramp rates will go up 25-50 cents per hour, with the maximum daily rate rising $2, to $17. The illegal exit fee and lost ticket fee each will jump $10, to $150 and $40, respectively. MU staff manage the ramp.

Plans for parking lots

The athletics department received permission to begin planning a new parking lot (lot G7) for football fans' recreational vehicles east of the new southeast recreation complex on University Boulevard. The project, estimated at $4.5 million to $5.2 million would include concrete pads, electrical outlets and lighting for 330 RVs and a new north-south sidewalk to connect South 16th Street football parking lots to the future gateway bridge.

The department also wants to resurface, extend and connect the parking lot north of the Scheman Building (lot B1) and the lot west of Stephens Auditorium (lot F) to create an L-shaped lot of up to 350 parking stalls in a convenient location for Stephens and Fisher event patrons. The estimated cost of this project, $4.5 million to $5.2 million, includes utilities, paving, sidewalks, lighting and an accessible drop-off area to both theaters. Athletics department funds would pay for both parking lot projects.

Residence system rates

A 2% inflationary increase to meal plans, including flex meals, will be offset by reductions to most residence hall room rates next year. The few room increases are in single rooms and former triple or quad rooms offered as doubles. The paired cost of a standard double non-cooled room and the common Cardinal meal plan will go down $193 (1.1%) next year.

The residence department will temporarily close Wallace, Wilson, Oak-Elm and Linden halls for 2021-22 to reduce operating costs. Apartments built in Ames during the 2013-16 window as ISU enrollment climbed now are competing for tenants, which has impacted the demand for on-campus housing. Both Frederiksen Court and Schilletter-University Village student apartments will offer a pet option next year.

The pay-at-the-door rate in dining centers for guests also will go up 2%, to $10.81 for breakfast and $13.92 for lunch and dinner. The new rates take effect July 1.

Other ISU agenda items

In other ISU business, the board approved a gift of 389 acres of farmland in Worth County from the Lavonne Gregory revocable trust agreement. Gregory died in August. The university will operate the farmland, with net income to be shared between the colleges of Veterinary Medicine and Agriculture and Life Sciences for teaching and research related to companion animal care and health.

The board approved these name changes:

  • College of Human Sciences program/major: from child, adult and family services to human development and family studies.
  • Colleges of Liberal Arts and Sciences and Agriculture and Life Sciences department: from sociology to sociology and criminal justice to better reflect the curriculum and the current and future research of its faculty.
  • College of Engineering center: from the Information Assurance Center to the Center for Cybersecurity Innovation and Outreach.

The board also approved Iowa State's request to end the biorenewables resources and technology interdepartmental graduate program due to declining enrollment. No students have started the program in three years, and students pursuing degrees will complete them.