UI seeks approval from regents for numerous program changes

The state Board of Regents will consider the approval of several program addition and termination requests from the University of Iowa, during their meeting on Thursday.


Katie Goodale

Board members listen during the Board of Regents meeting on September 12, 2018 in the IMU Main Lounge. Regents members discussed remodeling various buildings and sights across various Iowa campuses.

Katie Ann McCarver & Kelsey Harrell, News Editor, News Reporter

At the state Board of Regents meeting on Sept. 18 in Council Bluffs, the Academic Affairs Committee recommended approval of the University of Iowa requests to change the name of a university center, terminate a program, and create two more.

The UI seeks approval from the regents for a departmental name change from the Center for Computer-Aided Design to the University of Iowa Technology Institute.

UI Executive Vice President and Provost Montserrat Fuentes said the center evolved from its original mission of design to involve more modeling and simulation, so a name change is required.

“Because of the growth and expansion, it is more appropriate at this point to change the name to ‘institute,’” Fuentes said. “[It’s] more consistent with other institutes on campus, no additional funding is required, and the leadership and administration will remain the same.”

The name change will primarily show that more than just computer-aided design now drives the program, Fuentes said, including aerospace simulation, driving simulation, human simulation, and more.

She noted that the program has grown to house nearly 150 scientists. According to regents documents, the center has 18 laboratories and specialized facilities, and its current name is too antiquated to fully cover the extent of cross-disciplinary depth of today’s research environment.

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The regents will also address a request by the UI to terminate its Master of Arts in Leisure Studies, which Dean of the Graduate College John Keller said received no applications in the last couple of years.

“This is largely due to the fact that the student enrollment and interests in these areas are moving in different directions,” Keller said.

Leisure studies primarily covers both therapeutic recreation and recreation administration, according to regent documents. Keller said students involved in the areas are mostly moving to sports and recreation management or health and human physiology.

“All the students that were originally in this program have graduated,” Keller said. “There are no enrollees, no applicants, and we’re coming before [the regents] with what we think is a logical request to terminate the program.”

The same regent documents suggested that the number of applicants to the program decreased from 17 students in the fall of 2016 to two students in the fall of 2017.

The UI also seeks approval from the regents to offer a Master of Public Affairs.

Most of the courses offered in the interdisciplinary program will be conducted on campus, but some will be online, Keller said.

Expected enrollment in the program includes students returning to school from the workforce, he said, as well as from related undergraduate programs at the UI and other universities.

“There is no accredited degree program available in this area in the state currently,” Keller said. “So state agencies, government officials, and city administrators and whatnot have to recruit individuals from other states to come and work in these areas.”

The UI also requested approval for a long-awaited Bachelor of Screenwriting Arts, which is intended to complement and highlight the writing programs already offered.

Students in the program will gain skills and knowledge to help them become successful members of the screenwriting industry, Associate Provost for Undergraduate Education Tanya Uden-Holman said.

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A program such as this one is not currently offered in Iowa and few similar degree programs exist in accredited universities, she said.

“Although we don’t currently have a screenwriting program, we do have multiple alumni of the University of Iowa who have come through English, creative writing, and other degree programs, and other majors that have done very well in the industry,” Uden-Holman said.

The regents will address each of the requests at on Sept. 19.

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