Strategic Plan ARecord.html

Achieving Distinction 2000:

A Strategic Plan For The University Of Iowa

Appendix D


Sharpening our focus: Accomplishments under Achieving Distinction.
Advocating a "strategy of focus" aimed at "greater educational depth, distinctiveness, and quality," Achieving Distinction directed us toward six primary goals: (1) comprehensive strength in undergraduate programs;
(2) premier graduate and professional programs in a significant number of areas; (3) a faculty of national and international distinction; (4) an academic community diverse in gender, race, ethnicity, and nationality;
(5) strong ties between the University and external constituencies; and (6) a high quality of life.
We have taken a two-pronged approach, directing major efforts toward the first, second, and fourth goals, while making modest gains in areas related to the third, fifth, and sixth goals. Here are some examples:

Goal 1: Improving undergraduate education.
Under the oversight of the Office of the Provost, according to college-based strategies developed in response to the 1992 Framework for Selected Instructional Improvement, we are increasing the involvement of tenured and tenure-track faculty in undergraduate education, enhancing incentives for excellent teaching, and coordinating faculty development programs more closely with academic programs.
In the College of Business Administration, for instance, full-time faculty members now teach 84% of the upper-division courses (as compared with 18% in 1991); in 1994 that proportion will increase to 100%. In lower-division courses, the proportion of faculty-taught classes has risen from 33% in 1991 to 65% in 1993; four introductory courses have been changed from a TA format to a faculty lecture / TA discussion format, with a fifth introductory course soon to follow.
  • In the College of Liberal Arts, which enrolls 96% of our first- and second-year undergraduates, we have been particularly concerned with strengthening our teaching capacity. Recognizing that faculty size did not keep pace with the expanding enrollments of the mid-1980s, we embarked upon an ambitious program of faculty expansion in 1989. Despite budgetary setbacks that swept away the new positions we gained in the first two years of the plan, our cumulative five-year record is encouraging. Between 1989-90 and 1993-94 the size of the tenured and tenure-track Liberal Arts faculty increased from 632 to 676, a gain of 44, or 7%, while undergraduate enrollments in the college decreased by about 1800; therefore, the tenured / tenure-track faculty-student ratio in the College of Liberal Arts at the undergraduate level improved significantly: from about 1:27 in 1989 to 1:22 in 1993. It is important to note, however, that the improved ratio obscures heavy continuing pressures upon certain departments, resulting from uneven distribution in student demand. And next year there will be some slippage in the number of faculty lines in this college.
  • We have extended the Honors program from its original base in Liberal Arts to all colleges that enroll undergraduates; participation has risen from 1,561 in 1989 to 2,100 this year. In 1994-95 we will begin offering four new faculty-taught Honors seminars at the lower-division level, with enrollments limited to 20 students in each class. To promote more extensive academic interactions among undergraduates, we have introduced a new registration option, "courses in common," which allows small groups of students to take many of their required courses together. In 1991, the first year of the program, 355 students participated; this year participation has risen to 468.
  • The College of Liberal Arts has improved advising and access to information;for example, by adding advising staff in heavily-enrolled majors and making the College's Guide to Courses and other information available on the University's computing system. The College is cooperating with the Office of Admissions to anticipate and accommodate demand for courses that meet the General Education Requirement.
  • We have expanded and upgraded students' access to computers, using a special fee earmarked for that purpose.
  • We have provided a large array of state-of-the-art classrooms in the new John Pappajohn Business Administration Building, and we are renovating older classrooms to improve lighting, seating, instructional equipment, and access for persons with disabilitiesfor example, in Shambaugh Auditorium, 121 Schaeffer Hall, Chemistry classrooms, Galagan Auditorium in the Dental Sciences Building, and the undergraduate laboratories in the Medical Education Building (old Psychiatric Hospital).

    Goal 2: Developing and maintaining high-quality graduate programs in selected areas
  • The Graduate College has endorsed new graduate programs in Immunology, Physician Assistant Studies, and Exercise Science as well as new degree subtracks in Information Science, Foreign Language Education, and Software Engineering; new programs are pending in TV and Film Production, Third World Development, Oral Science, Nurse Anesthesia, and Gerontological Rural Nursing. We have discontinued graduate programs in Home Economics, Human Nutrition, Dental Hygiene, Public Administration, and Chemical Physics; Criminal Justice will soon follow.
  • The College of Liberal Arts has identified Fine Arts, Mathematics, and African-American World Studies as areas for continued program enhancement and is rebuilding historically strong and central departments, including English, Psychology, Biological Sciences, and Chemistry.
  • On the basis of quality, the Graduate College has reallocated among departments and programs about 20 percent of its funds for research assistantships, graduate fellowships, and scholarships. The college has also reallocated Teaching-Research Fellowship Funds to other merit-based fellowship and scholarship programs, thus increasing the number of Iowa Fellowships awarded as well as the number of Iowa Arts Fellowships and Seashore Dissertation Year fellowships.
  • In 1993-94 the Graduate College began offering health insurance as a first step toward improving compensation for TAs and RAs. To bring support for graduate students closer to levels available elsewhere, the college has increased research assistant stipends and graduate scholarships and fellowships by 5%.

    Goal 4: Increasing diversity among faculty, staff, and students.
  • We have strengthened the Office of Affirmative Action and expanded its range of responsibilities to include, among others, more extensive educational programs and implementation of the Americans with Disabilities Act. We now expect Deans, Departmental Executive Officers, and other supervisors to attend training sessions on prevention of sexual harassment and on the impact of greater diversity upon the institution.
  • We are making the directorship of the Opportunity at Iowa program a full-time position, supported by two full-time and one half-time staff members, and we have established a Strategic Planning Diversity Committee to work with Opportunity at Iowa, Affirmative Action, academic units, and constituency groups to facilitate and monitor implementation of our diversity goal.
  • We have appointed a coordinator of Spouse/Partner hiring, with links to the Associate Provost for Faculty Development and the Associate Vice President for Finance/Personnel, to help us attract a more diverse faculty and staff.
  • The Office of the Provost is developing a collegiate-based mentoring program to serve as a resource for women and minority faculty members in the early years of their careers.
  • We have brought more than 50 groups of minority students to campus, conducted extensive outreach efforts to elementary schools, high schools, and community colleges with sizable minority enrollments, and sponsored "Bridging the Gap" conferences to link minority students with advisors.
  • The proportion of women in tenured and tenure-track faculty ranks rose from 17.3% (276) in 1989 to 21.5% (355) in 1993; the proportion of ethnic minorities in those ranks rose from 9.1% (145) in 1989 to 11.3% (186) in 1993. (These figures do not count faculty members who serve in full-time administrative positions.)
  • Minority enrollment at the UI rose from 6.8% in 1989 to 8.3% in 1993.
    Although our third, fifth, and sixth goals have received less emphasis in comparison with the other three, we can report progress along these lines as well:

    Goal 3: A faculty of national and international distinction.
  • Our faculty is to be congratulated on its robust performance in developing distinguished research programs, successfully competing for precious external funding in such areas as the Human Genome Project, nursing and other health sciences, as well as maintaining our tradition of excellence in creative writing, space science, social sciences, and many other fields.
  • We have established centers that consolidate research strengths in selected areas, such as the National Advanced Driving Simulator to be located at Oakdale Research Park and the Center for Global and Regional Environmental Research in the Iowa Advanced Technology Laboratories.
  • We have appointed ten new faculty members to senior ranks in the College of Liberal Arts and strengthened standards for new appointments, developmental assignments, promotion, and tenure throughout the University.
  • Several members of our faculty received major awards in 1989-94: for example, one was elected to the National Academy of Arts and Sciences, two were named MacArthur Fellows, and three were named Investigators in the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

    Goal 5: Strong ties with external constituencies.
  • The Oakdale Research Park, initiated in 1989, promotes academic-industrial collaboration and the transfer of new technologies from the University to the private sector. Without using any money from the General Fund, the research park is off to a successful start, providing space for CADSI, Neural Applications, the National Advanced Driving Simulator, and externally supported projects in biocatalysis and bioprocessessing and advanced drug delivery. To assist faculty members with the appropriate commercial development of their intellectual property, we have established a new position: Director of Research Marketing.
  • We have connected four classrooms to the Iowa Communications Network to promote off-campus learning, and the College of Business Administration has established a technologically advanced teaching facility in Cedar Rapids (also available to other Colleges) to assist with our educational outreach efforts.
  • With a $7.3 million contract from the National Library of Medicine, we are using the Iowa Communications Network to support and improve health care delivery to rural areas through the establishment of a high-technology National Laboratory for the Study of Rural Telemedicine. The three rural hospital test sites are in Ottumwa, Davenport, and Keosauqua.
  • In 1991 we established the Office of the Vice President for University Relations to coordinate outreach activities among alumni affairs, state relations, and publications, broadcasting, and news services.
  • The University of Iowa Foundation has greatly strengthened the University's ties with alumni and friends and has achieved remarkable success in the Iowa Endowment 2000 campaign (which exceeded its goal of $150 million by raising $235 million for the University's advancement); in addition, in 1993, the Foundation's record of annual giving reached a new height of $55.5 million in gifts and pledges.

    Goal 6: A high quality of life.
  • In an effort to make the central campus more attractive, more student-oriented, more accessible to people with disabilities, and safer, we have relandscaped sections of the Pentacrest, reserved Hubbard Park as green space, upgraded heavily used bus stops, developed the T. Anne Cleary Walkway, resurfaced sidewalks and added new ones, improved lighting, and installed an outdoor emergency telephone system.
  • Our Student Health Service has extended its mission to include health education as well as clinical services, and it organized a mass immunization to protect students against the threat of meningitis.
  • We have continued to provide a progressive and competitive package of fringe benefits for faculty and staff, including the added provision of health coverage for domestic partners.

    Disappointments in realizing expectations for 1990-94.
    In retrospect, we can see that some elements of Achieving Distinction were based upon unrealistic assumptions of revenue growth and high student enrollment; too few strategies, it turned out, were based upon nominal growth or growth from reallocation. When budget reversions occurred, it was difficult for the University to adjust. It is fair to acknowledge, then, that along with our successes we have suffered setbacks, failed to achieve some goals, andin some instanceseven lost ground, as compared with our position five years ago. For example:

    Enrollment decline.
    As one of its leading "Institutional Strategies," Achieving Distinction called for maintaining the 1989 enrollment of approximately 29,000 students and increasing the number of tenured and tenure-track faculty by 165. Instead, enrollment has slipped to 27,000 and faculty lines have increased by 136, with the greatest gains coming in Liberal Arts (44, supported by increases in the General Fund) and Medicine (74, supported largely by increases in external grants and revenue from patient care). A drop in freshman applications, with an accompanying decrease in tuition revenue, occurred in 1990, in part the result of a sharp decrease in the number of high school graduates in Iowa and surrounding states. Now the number of high school graduates is rising slightly, our enrollment has stabilized, and we expect undergraduate enrollment to grow slowly for the rest of the decade. Undergraduates are coming to us better prepared: they are taking courses at higher levels, and their rate of persistence to graduation has improved every year. We now attract a greater proportion of our students from out of the state, as called for in the strategic plan. In the future, we should set our enrollment goal at a level for which, within our resources, we can provide quality education.

    Faculty recruitment and support.
    We have not had as much success as we had hoped for in attracting additional faculty members of acknowledged eminence across our senior ranks. Nor have we been able to increase travel money and other support for scholarly activities; in fact, these sectors of the budget have been cut back to some degree, partly because state support for our departmental and collegiate infrastructure has not kept pace with inflation. In an effort to encourage faculty development despite these disappointments, however, the Vice President for Research has established a peer-reviewed Central Investment Fund for Research Enhancement (CIFRE) to provide seed funds for promising investigators, help applicants make their grant proposals more competitive, and provide interim support to investigators whose external funding has been interrupted.

    Library purchasing power.
    Although we have given priority to University Libraries in reallocating funds and have obtained special state appropriations for library support, we have not been able to keep pace with inflation in the cost of library materials. Therefore, like most other research universities, we have been forced to cancel journal subscriptions and cut back on the purchase of monographs.

    Forced reduction of staff.
    In response to reversions in our appropriations, the University was forced to eliminate almost 500 staff positions, with many through layoffs. The urgency and extent of this requirement neutralized, to some degree, our ability to make strategic decisions on staffing.
    Despite these disappointments, strategic planning has been of great benefit to the University in helping us preserve many of our gains through difficult times. And in some notable instances, our approaches toward several goals have converged, enabling us to accelerate our advances across multiple fronts. The best example is the cascade of improvements set in motion by completion of the John Pappajohn Business Administration Building. This new facility, equipped with up-to-the-minute computing and communications technology, has enabled us to make multifaceted progress: to teach more undergraduate classes in a lecture-discussion format, to strengthen graduate programs, and to conduct research with the aid of advanced technological support; in addition, the building's fine architecture, student-oriented design, and pedestrian-friendly surroundings have enhanced the quality of life on campus. Moreover, the relocation of the business faculty is having a ripple effect in the College of Liberal Arts, beginning with the opening of space in remodeled Phillips Hall, which will allow us to consolidate foreign language departments now scattered in Schaeffer, Jessup, and Gilmore halls. Now that we have remodeled Maclean Hall and upgraded its facilities for mathematics, computer science, and statistics, we are positioned to renovate Schaeffer Hall for other programs in the Liberal Arts. Behind the integrated planning of all these interdependent improvements is the guiding vision of Achieving Distinction. Return to Environmental Assessment Table of Contents

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    Last updated on July 17, 1995 by Campus Communications