Fall, 2013 Update

Friday, September 20, 2013

Dear UNI Family,

The fall semester is off to a great start and classes are well underway! Last week we had our first Cabinet meeting of 43 university leaders, an orientation for three new Regents, and we held a Board of Regents and a Legislative Fiscal Committee meeting on campus. This provided opportunities for thorough dialogue on our definitive need for state support, especially for Schindler Education Center.

This week, I enjoyed the opportunity to share my academic year goals with faculty at the Sept. 16 faculty meeting, led by Chair of University Faculty, professor Jeff Funderburk.

To keep all informed, a brief summary of the Sept. 11 Board of Regents meeting actions included sharing with the Board a few of our recent accomplishments:

  • Scott Ketelsen, our new director of University Relations, was introduced. We are pleased to have Scott return to his alma mater and provide leadership to university branding, communications and marketing efforts.

  • We are pleased to report that in addition to retaining our No. 2 ranking among Public Regional Midwest Universities for the past 10 years, our ranking in the category of the combined Private and Public Regional Midwest Universities improved from No. 22 to No. 13. (Our actual six-year graduation rate of 66 percent exceeded our expected graduation rate of 54 percent.)

  • Our fall enrollment of 12,159 exceeded our budgeted enrollment projection by 359 students. Thank you, faculty, staff and students, for your efforts this summer and for your future efforts to recruit and retain students. Also, retention of students from year one to year two increased to 82.9 percent, the highest retention rate since 2007!

  • Congratulations to Andrey Petrov, assistant professor of geography, for being awarded a $750,000 NSF Grant for the project RCN-SEES: Arctic-FROST: Arctic FRontiers Of SusTainability: Resources, Societies, Environments and Development in the Changing North.

  • Our Panther Marching Band is the largest in history with more than 280 members, led by associate professor Danny Galyen. The highly accomplished marching band consists of students from 79 different majors leading our Panther spirit and pride.

  • Our FY 2015 state appropriations request was approved by the Board of Regents, state of Iowa. Approval will now be sought from the governor and legislature in the spring 2014 session.

General Fund Appropriations request:
Base operating general funds: $83.2M
Funds to replace the one-time money received in FY 2014: $10M
Funds to address inflationary increase: $3.7M

Strategic Initiatives request:
Bachelor of Applied Science (over two years): $3M
Entrepreneur Outreach Program: $1.5M
Governor's STEM Advisory Council Initiative: $5.2M

For FY 2015 capital project requests, we are seeking funds for building repair, fire and environmental safety, deferred maintenance, and the Schindler Education Center renovation.

  • Two exceptional presentations led by our faculty were presented to the Board: "Restructuring Field Experiences in Teacher Education and Expanding Professional Development School Partnerships" was presented by Becky Hawbaker, UNI coordinator of field experiences; Curt Nielsen, UNI field experience coordinator at Cedar Falls Lincoln School; Debbie Lee, Waterloo Schools executive director K12 curriculum and instruction; Debra Beving and Jarith Witt, Cedar Falls Lincoln School; and pre-service teachers Jessie Hutcheson, Shawna Becker and Julia North.

  • Our three Fulbright Scholars also gave presentations. Professor Bettina Fabos presented her work on a detailed interactive photo chronology of Hungary between 1848 and 1956; professor Kevin J. Finn presented his work on factors associated with obesity in adults and intervention strategies to prevent obesity; and assistant professor Tammy Gregersen spoke about her teaching and research in the linguistics master's program in Chile.

  • Congratulations to our Regents Faculty and Staff Excellence award recipients! These 10 individuals were recognized by the Board of Regents for their significant service to UNI and the state of Iowa.

The Regents Faculty Award Recipients for Excellence include:

Helen Harton, professor of psychology
Paul Siddens, associate professor of communication studies
Grant Tracey, professor of languages & literatures
Carl Thurman, professor of biology
Jennifer Waldron, associate professor of health, physical education & leisure services
Catherine Zeman, professor of health, physical education & leisure services

The Regents Staff Award Recipients for Excellence include:

Mary Baumann, associate registrar, Office of the Registrar
Beth Kuehl, information technology administrator, Human Resource Services
Dan Schofield, associate director of admissions, Admissions Office
Donna Uhlenhopp, office coordinator, Department of Communication Studies

Again, congratulations to our Regents Faculty and Staff Excellence award recipients!

Purple for Life!

Bill Ruud