Enrollment breaks records, shows progress toward diversity goals
Total undergraduate enrollment this fall was 20,907 students, breaking last year's record. The total enrollment of 30,409 students—undergraduate, graduate and professional—also set a record. Additionally, the University enrolled 4,287 new first-year students in 2007, only 2 fewer than last year's record-breaking class of 4,289 students.
Tom Rocklin, UI vice provost, said careful planning by the University ensured that new students had sufficient class offerings and residence hall space, even though some students applied for housing after the official deadline. He called this year's freshman class "arguably the University's most well-prepared class ever, as evidenced by its mean ACT composite score of 25.1, which is a modern record, and by the fact that the class includes a record number of honors students."
Another indicator of the incoming class's readiness for college was the increase in the percentage of students who graduated from high school in the top 10 percent of their class, and a decrease in the percentage who graduated in the middle of their class. Undergraduate minority student enrollment also increased. Students who identify themselves as members of minority groups now make up 9.6 percent of first-year students, up from 9 percent last year.
Recommendations in the report include:
The ad hoc task force was asked to identify best practices in the mentoring of faculty from both the literature and current campus programs, and to make recommendations to further improve the mentoring of faculty members at the University.
The goal of the initiatives is to increase the rate at which qualified faculty members attain promotion, improve the retention rate of qualified faculty and improve and enhance the UI environment by making it more supportive and welcoming, Lopes says. Additionally, the task force noted that an increased exchange of ideas between senior and junior faculty would contribute to the campus' intellectual vibrancy.
Toward these ends, the Office of the Provost implemented several strategies this fall, including the creation of a new full-time professional staff position to coordinate faculty career and leadership development. Other initiatives include an electronic newsletter for new faculty, a dedicated e-mail address for new faculty inquiries (firstname.lastname@example.org), professional development workshops for mentees and mentors featuring a nationally known expert, and Noon NetWork Luncheons to support peer mentoring.
The Mentoring Task Force was co-chaired by Usha Mallik, professor of physics and astronomy in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and Susan Johnson, associate provost. For more information see http://provost.uiowa.edu/work/mentoring.htm.
Recognition sought for UI faculty and staff members for diversity efforts
The Office of the Special Assistant to the President for Equal Opportunity & Diversity is encouraging campus leaders to show their appreciation for faculty and staff who support diversity efforts in a survey at www.survey.uiowa.edu/wsb.dll/280/divleadership.htm.
Examples of events include diversity-related job or college fairs, school visits and workshops. Faculty and staff who tutor minority or underrepresented students, serve on boards and commissions focusing on diversity, or assist with on-campus student retention programs can also be recognized.
The information provided in the survey will be used to generate a letter to the person's supervisor or department head for inclusion in their personnel file. It will also provide a better understanding for many ways in which volunteer support advances diversity interests at the University, says Marcella David, special assistant to the president for equal opportunity and diversity and associate provost for diversity.
"Best Doctors in America" lists 269 UI physicians
For a list of those recognized, see the University News Service release at
Benefits enrollment period nearly over—don’t be without health insurance!
The annual open enrollment period is almost over for all benefits-eligible employees. All staff should take this opportunity to carefully review their benefit choices to ensure those choices still best meet their needs.
Faculty, professional and scientific (P&S), and merit supervisory exempt employees are reminded that their health insurance options for 2008 have changed drastically. The UI Care, UI Select, and CHIP III health care plans have all been eliminated. Those who had these plans MUST choose a new plan if they wish to continue to purchase health insurance through The University of Iowa. A new health plan, UI Choice, is being offered.
Open enrollment for faculty, P&S, and merit supervisory exempt employees runs through Friday, Nov. 23.
Merit employees have an open enrollment for dental insurance; otherwise, they will see very few changes this year. The open enrollment period for merit staff runs through Monday, Nov. 26. Merit staff who do not want to make any changes for 2008 do not need to take any action.
All staff may enroll, change their contribution amount, or withdraw from the flexible spending accounts during open enrollment. To enroll, visit the HR Self Service web site: https://hris.uiowa.edu.
Detailed open enrollment information is posted on the Benefits Office web site: www.uiowa.edu/hr/benefits.
W-2 forms will be available on HR Self Service web site
Once again, the University of Iowa W-2 and/or 1042-S (for nonresident aliens) forms will be available on the HR Self Service web site (http://hris.uiowa.edu/selfservice).
The IRS allows for electronic delivery of W-2/1042-S forms if permission is given. To do this, select “Stop Paper Mailings” under the general section on the Personal tab on the HR Self Service site.
The 2007 W-2/1042-S forms will be available mid- to late-January 2008, and by electing electronic delivery you will have access to your form approximately one week before the forms are mailed. For more information, refer to the Payroll web site, www.uiowa.edu/hr/payroll.
See what Learning and Development courses are right for you
UI Learning and Development, a unit of Organizational Effectiveness, provides professional development services to faculty and staff. There are many learning opportunities that will support your professional development and growth. Look for classroom instruction on leadership issues for managers, frontline supervisors, human resource professionals, and office professionals.
Check out the following links:
UI finding may eventually help tailor treatment for depression
The study focused on a gene associated with the availability of serotonin, a chemical that at low levels can affect mood and sleep. The researchers found that among people with a variation in this gene, women were more likely than men to have altered processes related to serotonin.
The results, which were based on genetic analysis and depression assessments for 192 individuals, appeared online Nov. 7 in the American Journal of Medical Genetics.
While the finding is exciting, the researchers caution that they have not found a "depression gene," as genes alone cannot cause behaviors.
"Genes, in conjunction with a person's exposure to different life experiences and environments, play a role in depression, even though all the specific mechanisms by which this happens are not well understood," said the study's lead author, Robert Philibert, associate professor of psychiatry in the UI Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine. "This study gave us some interesting information about one specific mechanism."
For more information, see the University News Service release at http://news-releases.uiowa.edu/2007/november/110707depression_treatment.html.
UI study finds "runner's high" may also strengthen hearts
It has long been known that the so-called "runner's high" is caused by natural opioids that are released during exercise. However, a UI study, which is published in the online edition of the American Journal of Physiology-Heart and Circulatory Physiology, suggests that these opioids may also be responsible for some of exercise's cardiovascular benefits.
Working with rats, UI researchers showed that blocking the receptors that bind morphine, endorphins, and other opioids eliminates the cardiovascular benefits of exercise. Moreover, the UI team showed that exercise was associated with increased expression of several genes involved in opioid pathways that appear to be critical in protecting the heart.
"This is the first evidence linking the natural opioids produced during exercise to the cardio-protective effects of exercise," said Eric Dickson, UI associate professor and head of emergency medicine in the Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine and the study's lead investigator. "We have known for a long time that exercise is great for the heart. This study helps us better understand why."
For more information, see the University News Services release at http://news-releases.uiowa.edu/2007/november/110807runners_high.html.
UI team discovers first moisture-sensing genes
Subtle variations in humidity influence reproductive behavior and geographic distribution in many animals, including insects, reptiles, and birds. Because of their small size, insects, in particular, require a finely tuned ability to detect moisture levels in their environment in order to survive. However, the mechanisms and molecules involved in moisture sensing have remained a mystery.
"Moisture sensing is a sensory modality, which up to this point no one has understood. This is the first study to identify genes that are involved," said Lei Liu, UI postdoctoral fellow in internal medicine and lead author of the study.
For more information, see the University News Services release at http://news-releases.uiowa.edu/2007/november/110807moisture_genes.html.