Guest Opinion: The public/private partnership supports the UI’s academic mission

The UI academic deans support the public/private partnership, citing the deal’s aid with resource allocation.


Roman Slabach

The Old Capital from the roof of UIHC in Iowa City, Iowa on March 25, 2019.

The new public/private partnership (P3) provides an unprecedented opportunity for the University of Iowa to deliver on its promise to the people of the state of Iowa and the students it serves. With the financial pressures caused by increasing demographic changes, this partnership gives us the opportunity to invest in excellence and innovate while keeping the costs to students as low as possible.  

A 50-year partnership is a long-term commitment.  We understand that through this time we have a responsibility to continue pursuing academic excellence, sustainability, and support of the people in our larger community.  We are confident that the inclusive and transparent process used during the ongoing discussions of this P3 has afforded opportunities for input and problem-solving to ensure that these goals are met.

It remains critical that the use of these funds support our core academic mission.  Continued use of shared governance and existing review and approval structures will ensure transparency and accountability. Placing P3 funds in an endowment, which will be managed by a committee of three, ensures enduring funds to invest in our short- and long-term goals for academic excellence.  The endowment fund committee will consist of the vice president for Finance and Operations at the University of Iowa, one member of the state Board of Regents, and one faculty member appointed by the Faculty Senate.  Proposals to use endowment earnings will be accepted from any member of the university community to address strategic priorities.  These proposals will be reviewed by existing Path Forward work groups and the Path Forward Steering Committee, then sent forward to the campus-wide Budget Review Board for the final approval. 

As the academic council of deans, we strongly support the use of these funds to support our core academic mission.  We also appreciate the use of a transparent process that ensures accountability and sustainability for use of P3 funds.  Indeed, this provides an opportunity for the UI to remain a destination university with resources committed to pursuing the excellence that our state as well as our students, faculty, and staff deserve.  

— Daniel L. Clay, College of Education, John Culshaw, Jack B. King University Librarian, Sarah Fisher Gardial, Tippie College of Business, Steve Goddard, UI Alumni Association, J. Brooks Jackson, Carver College of Medicine, David C. Johnsen, College of Dentistry, John Keller, Graduate College, Donald E. Letendre, College of Pharmacy, Edith Parker, College of Public Health, Alec Scranton, College of Engineering, Downing A. Thomas, International Programs,  Tanya Uden-Holman, University College, Kevin K. Washburn, College of Law, Julie Zerwic, College of Nursing

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