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SPRING, 2007
Volume 50,
Number 3


From global health to museum studies to entrepreneurship

A rededication to educational excellence

Vote with your voice

Beyond academics: Helping create a remarkable citizen

Displayed to advantage

Jay Holstein: The rabbi behind the lecturn

Helping students where they live

Union renovation provides a cue for study and relaxation



The University of Iowa

Vote with your voice: Parent contact with legislators can influence University-related decisionsIowa State House As a parent, you know your student looks to you for advice and guidance. There’s another body  of individuals who also value your ideas and opinions—the 150 members of the Iowa General Assembly.

Because The University of Iowa is a state university, the legislature significantly influences its budget, and your involvement with your local legislators can have an impact on the resources available for your child’s  UI education.

“The more we can have parents telling their legislators to support the University legislative agenda, the better,” says Mark Braun, UI director of state relations.

For that reason, the University has an ongoing UI Advocates program that provides parents, alumni, and other UI supporters with information and tools that enable them to effectively communicate with their local legislators. As advocates, parents will receive regular updates from Braun’s office about how the Iowa House of Representatives and Senate are making higher  education funding decisions.

These updates educate advocates about University-related legislation and funding proposals, enabling parents and other advocates to then share their thoughts with their local legislators.

Even though UI officials are in close contact with members of the legislature, a visit, phone call, letter, or e-mail from a parent can have a significant impact on how individual legislators understand UI-related issues.

“Legislators view parents as the underwriters of their children,” Braun says. “When those underwriters say they want something, that resonates with the elected officials. If a parent raises an issue with  a member of the legislature, I’ll hear about it in  the rotunda of the state capitol the next day. The more contact we can have on the University’s behalf, the more influence we can have. ”

Braun and his counterparts at Iowa State University and the University of Northern Iowa spend their days at the state capitol when the legislature is in session, attending committee meetings, reviewing bills, and keeping the lines of communication open between the universities and the General Assembly. By building relationships with legislators, Braun positions the University for favorable consideration when budget decisions are being made.

This session, the three Regents universities are encouraging the General Assembly to appropriate $72.8 million. This amount would put the Regents universities $5.2 million below the level of funding they received in 2001.

“I’ve been serving as the University’s liaison to the legislature for eight years, and the University and Board of Regents have the most coordinated and structured approach to the legislative session that I’ve ever seen,” Braun says. “The opportunity for state support is as good as it has ever been, and support from parents will help bring our funding proposal to fruition.”

For information on becoming a UI Parent Advocate, contact Braun’s office at 319-335-0553 or see becomeanadvocate.htm.


Published by University Relations Publications. Copyright The University of Iowa 2004. All rights reserved.

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