Metro Briefs

Faculty Senate head stresses faculty importance to UI 

COUNCIL BLUFFS — The University of Iowa Faculty Senate president on Thursday told the state Board of Regents that attracting and retaining faculty is vital to the school’s strategic plan.UI Associate Professor Tom Vaughn and UI Staff Council President Erin Brothers addressed the regents in Council Bluffs to discuss their groups’ involvement in that plan.

Vaughn’s portion focused on the UI achieving excellency through faculty members who are invested in research and scholarship. To do this, he said, a few things needed to be done. One, he said, is reinvesting in the UI’s graduate programs.

“Attracting and retaining these faculty is highly dependent on their implication of our graduate programs,” Vaughn told the regents. “Creative faculty are attracted to, and remain with, universities in which they collaborate with other faculty who are engaged in cunning-edge research and scholarship.”

He said he believes the UI needs to invest more in salaries in order to recruit and maintain the best faculty.

Brothers’ segment placed the focus on staff members’ efforts to better the university.

She described the roles the staff plays on campus, some being lawyers, teachers, and performing-arts production managers.

Brothers noted that UI staff members are extremely involved in research.

“In 2016, staff served as principal investigators on 372 research projects, comprising $56 million worth of grants for contracts, which represents approximately 13 percent of the total research dollars awarded to the university,” she said.

In addition to their research efforts, Brothers also noted the staff’s continual involvement with the creation of programs that expose students to new experiences and student employment.

— by Emi Bendler

McKibben seeks regent presidency

COUNCIL BLUFFS — The departure of the state Board of Regents’ two top leaders will bring another member to the forefront.

Regent Larry McKibben announced his candidacy for regent president at the conclusion of Thursday’s meeting at Iowa School for the Deaf. Current President Bruce Rastetter and President Pro Tem Katie Mulholland will end their terms April 30.

McKibben recognized the difficult times Iowa’s public universities are facing because of the state Legislature’s midyear budget reductions, which resulted in a loss of $18 million for the three public universities. He said he believes his 12 years of experience in the Legislature and the connections he made while serving there have helped prepare him to take on this position.

In addition to his legislative experience, McKibben has served on several committees with the regents — vice chairman of the Property and Facilities Committee, vice head and chairman of the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics Committee, and chairman of the Audit/Compliance Committee.

Despite having served the state as a senator, McKibben said, he does not want to get the government involved in his candidacy, nor does he want to involve it in the regents as a whole.

“I believe that this needs to be an apolitical organization,” he said. “I think when you look at the new people coming in, this should not be about politics. This should be about children, families, high-quality education …”

The regents will elect their next leader May 1. McKibben is the only regent so far to publicly announce his candidacy.

— by Marissa Payne and 

Emi Bendler

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