Guest Opinion: UI leaders share message about public-private partnership

The UI will host two public information sessions to discuss the exploration of a public-private partnership.


Nick Rohlman

Icicles form on the Old Capitol on Monday, Jan. 28, 2019.

We would like to thank the University of Iowa community for its active and engaged participation surrounding the exploration of a potential public/private partnership (P3) for our utility system. Robust dialogue is necessary to ensure that the university pursues an appropriate strategic direction for the campus.

Our university is far from the point of deciding on a P3. However, we know that having an open and robust dialogue is key to any major decision affecting campus. To that end, the university will host two additional public information sessions prior to the end of the spring semester:

• May 1: 9 to 10 a.m. in the Prem Sahai Auditorium, 1110A Medical Education Research Facility

• May 2: 1 to 2 p.m. in the Big Ten Theater, 348 IMU

The overall timeline for exploring a possible P3 is fluid since campus input is so important — and  we’re going to do this right, not quickly. The current schedule is to issue a Request for Qualifications this month and a Request for Proposals to follow sometime this summer.

The rest of the timeline depends on whether the university chooses to move forward with a P3. In fiscal 2020, the UI would use its budget process, which requires input from shared governance groups and academic leadership, to review strategies that would allocate resources to implement our strategic plan.

As you may be aware, institutions of public higher education in Iowa and across the country continue to balance mounting budgetary pressures with the goal of providing a high-quality, affordable educational experience. In Iowa, the governor asked the three public universities to consider options that will enable them to create additional resources through innovative partnerships.

The UI is exploring new partnerships because there is a meaningful gap in available resources to help execute and support the UI’s Strategic Plan 2016-21. A P3 that aligns with the UI’s values, while adding long-term usefulness to utility assets, could secure the university’s future and enhance outcomes for students and Iowans through investment into the core missions of teaching, research, and scholarship.

An open dialogue to consider the idea of a P3 began in February. In addition to informal conversations with shared governance leaders, several formal information sessions were held on both sides of the river. These six opportunities allowed for meaningful discussion and engagement. They also raised important questions and provided helpful feedback.

We appreciate your continued participation in this collaborative exploration process.

Terry Johnson

UI chief financial officer and treasurer

Russ Ganim

Faculty Senate president

Michael Hesseltine

Staff Council president

Hira Mustafa

UISG president

Dexter Golinghorst

GPSG president

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