Just a few weeks after the New Year every year, headlines begin to appear in the media about the budget process on both state and federal levels. While the effect of proposed legislation on higher education is usually discussed at length, it isnt always clear what effect legislative actions might have on individual educational institutionsand on your student.
The University of Iowa has an Office of Governmental Relations that is the channel for the Universitys legislative communications. The office oversees and coordinates the Universitys relationships with national and state elected officials and their staffs, and with governmental agencies. You can read about it on the Governmental Relations site.
The office is charged with carrying out the portion of the Universitys strategic plan that dedicates the University to building strong relationships with external constituencies. Sometimes, this means the office lobbies on behalf of the Board of Regents, State of Iowa, which governs the states Regents universities, as well as the Iowa Braille and Sight Saving School and the Iowa School for the Deaf. The Boards web site is www2.state.ia.us/regents.
The office also advises President Mary Sue Coleman and other University officials regarding state and national legislative strategies and assessments of proposed legislation. When the provost, vice presidents, and directors of major administrative units are developing budget requests and legislative initiatives, the office is always involved. It also manages responses to legislative inquiries and requests for information, and coordinates contacts with legislators, other colleges and universities in the state, and other agencies.
In some instances, the opinions and viewpoints of faculty, staff, and students at Iowa are used in order to inform officials of possible effects that legislative changes might have.
While youre on the Universitys governmental relations web site, the link to Federal Relations takes you to a long list of interesting links. Scroll to the end and youll find links to Washington, D.C., mediaRoll Call and The Hill, newsletters about federal politics; the Washington Post; and the Washington Times.
The University of Iowa State Relations page keeps the University up to date on what is happening as state budgets are developed, debated, passed, and implemented. Frequently the page notes what effect particular legislation would have on all Regents universities. Those effects can be serious when the legislation is being considered near the end of the Universitys July-June fiscal year, when most of the Universitys funds already would be spent.
The state web site contains links to all state offices and to the office of Gov. Tom Vilsack. From it, you also can reach links to state political parties, related public interest groups, newspapers, and television stations.
If you wish to express your opinion on pending legislation or other issues, another link takes you to ways to contact Iowa state legislators and the Iowa Congressional Delegation.