In case you missed it

As we begin the second half of the semester, here are a couple of news items you may have missed over spring break.

State Board of Regents plans review of DEI programs

The state Board of Regents issued a statement over spring break announcing plans for a review of all diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) programs at the three regent institutions.

The board directed the universities to pause the implementation of any new DEI programs until the study is completed. This directive does not apply to existing programs, events or activities at Iowa State, which will continue. University leaders are awaiting guidance on the scope of the review and how the universities will be engaged in the process.  

The board, along with several other Iowa organizations, has registered against current state legislation that would prohibit funding for university DEI offices and officers. The bill has not passed the Iowa House or Senate. Similar legislation has been introduced by governing bodies in more than two dozen states.

In February, prior to the introduction of the legislation, President Wendy Wintersteen and the two other regent university presidents spoke to members of the Legislature's Education Appropriations Subcommittee about the need for additional state support (read the full story). During that meeting, Wintersteen emphasized Iowa State's long history of diversity and inclusion efforts and how necessary they are to prepare students for today's workforce.

Proposal process opens for strategic plan funds

Faculty and staff are invited to submit proposals by April 28 for projects that align with one or more of the strategic plan's aspirational statements and have the potential to move Iowa State forward in transformational ways. Funding decisions will be announced by late June, with funds available on July 1. This is the inaugural cycle and has an unusually short timeline. Senior advisor to the president Sophia Magill said the annual competitive process will be iterative, and anticipates launching the next one in the fall. 

All ideas are welcome and may include new ideas for campus initiatives to support students, improve campus services or are research-related efforts. Proposals can be submitted through the website and should demonstrate how they will advance one or more components of Iowa State's mission.

Magill is holding a series of informational sessions this week, including Thursday, March 23 (2-3 p.m., Campanile Room, Memorial Union) for those interested in learning more about the inaugural RFP process for the nine-year strategic plan. Magill said a virtual session also will be scheduled soon, or members of the campus community may schedule short meetings with her; contact administrative assistant Sue Kessel, 294-2042.

Among the details Magill shared this week:

  • Pending additional direction from the regents, proposals for projects to enhance DEI at Iowa State will be accepted.
  • Funding for the projects comes from institutional funds set aside for priorities, Magill said. In the interest of not limiting ideas, she declined to suggest a funding ceiling. Noting "$10,000 may be transformative for some units; for others $500,000 is needed," she said proposals may include funding requests for up to three years. Continued funding in subsequent years would depend on progress, she said. 
  • The submittal form (linked from the strategic plan website) is on an IT service portal not available to the public. It must be completed in a single sitting. Magill encouraged people to review the form and work offline to draft responses, heeding the word limit on some questions. The form includes components such as a budget template, performance/success metrics and the option for partnerships -- internal or external, public or private entities. An individual can be the project leader on just one proposal. However, individuals can be team members on multiple proposals.
  • For those who haven't read it, Magill encouraged a review of the full strategic plan document, available in a PDF. Appendix 1 (page 15) provides useful progress indicators used in Iowa State's annual progress report to the regents. She noted departments, colleges or academic disciplines also have metrics for success.
  • This first annual RFP process shouldn't be confused with concurrent processes this spring for funds connected to several of the nine jump-start initiatives first announced last summer.