Faculty promotions, diversity updates on regents' agenda next week

Meeting next week at the ISU Alumni Center, the state Board of Regents will elect board leaders to two-year terms and receive updates from the three university presidents on their campus' response to the board's November directives on diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI). Board committee meetings are scheduled for Wednesday, April 24, with the full board convening on Thursday, April 25. The agenda is online, as is a livestream option for all public portions of their meeting.

New terms for the board's president and president pro-tem begin May 1 and run through April 30, 2026. Regents Sherry Bates and Greta Rouse have been serving in the two positions since the board's February meeting.

Board members will receive the presidents' DEI directive updates, including implementation timelines; no board action is required. The presentations are scheduled for early Thursday afternoon. Each university developed its own process to respond to the directives. At Iowa State, President Wendy Wintersteen established a 14-member focus group -- faculty, staff, students and administrators -- to provide feedback on how to comply with the board directives while supporting the educational success of all students and maintaining a welcoming environment for all members of the ISU community. Senior leaders held a series of meetings with the focus group and received additional feedback from senior vice president for student affairs Toyia Younger's student advisory group.

Faculty promotion and tenure

The board will be asked to give final approval to faculty tenure and promotion requests for the 2024-25 academic year. Iowa State's request contains 66 cases: 24 requests for promotion to associate professor with tenure, and 42 requests for promotions for previously tenured faculty.

New degree programs

Iowa State leaders will seek final approval for two new degree programs: a Master of Digital Health in the kinesiology department and a Bachelor of Arts in sports media and communication in the Greenlee School. The digital health program would be the first approved from an initial six "degrees of the future," a 2022-31 strategic plan-supported initiative to create degree programs that address workforce and student demands. If approved, both programs would be implemented this fall.

Final approval: Parking permit, residence and dining increases

Following a first reviews at its February meeting, approval of increases to parking permits, campus dining rates and student housing rates are in the board's consent agenda. Iowa State seeks a 3% increase to campus parking permits for the year that begins July 1. The Memorial Union manages its parking ramp separately from ISU parking but has requested the same increase to its various permits.

Iowa State is asking the regents to approve room rate increases of about 6.5% and meal plan and flex meal package increases of 5% for next year. Rate increases averaging 1.6% since 2020-21 have not kept pace with inflation in nearly every expense category -- wages, fringe benefits, utilities, insurance and food.

Presentations during the meeting

The board, or its various committees, are scheduled to hear these presentations next week:

  • Remarks from faculty and staff leadership groups in advance of a FY 2025 salary policy, board of regents, Thursday, 10:15 a.m., by leaders of representative employee groups, including Patrick Wall, P&S Council; and Sarah Bennet-George, Faculty Senate
  • Annual report on faculty tenure, academic affairs committee, Wednesday, 12:45 p.m., by board staff
  • High-impact educational practices, academic affairs committee, Wednesday, 12:45 p.m., by administrators from the three universities
  • Regents' biennial free speech survey, free speech and academic affairs committee, Wednesday, 1:45 p.m., by board staff
  • Programming and services provided for ISU military veteran students, free speech and student affairs committee, Wednesday, 1:45 p.m., by Rita Case, director of the Military-Affiliated Student Center
  • Biennial review of the Regents Admissions Index (RAI), academic affairs committee, Wednesday, 12:45 p.m., by board staff
  • Faculty research project: Using discarded plastics as feedstocks for manufacturing valuable chemicals and liquid fuels, board of regents, Thursday, 10 a.m., by Aaron Sadow, David C. Henderson Professor in the department of chemistry, senior scientist in the U.S. Department of Energy Ames National Laboratory, and director of the Institute for Cooperative Upcycling of Plastics based at Ames Lab