The University of Iowa

Click any of the four "pillars" or any of the three "foundational commitments" of the strategic plan (Renewing the Iowa Promise) below the graphic for some highlights of recent efforts and investments in that area.  Scroll down for additional details (including links to Provost Butler's presentation to the Board of Regents, State of Iowa), or to see highlights of progress in FY 2014.

Renewing the Iowa Promise

Progress Report

FY 2014 Highlights

  • 27th among the nation’s best public universities
  • More than 75% of graduate programs ranked in the top 30 among like public programs, 8 ranked in the top 10 nationally
  • Largest and most diverse incoming class ever
  • Four-year graduation rate continues to rise
  • Focused faculty hiring in cluster areas
  • Second lowest resident undergraduate tuition in the Big Ten
  • “Military Friendly” and “Best Buy” schooltop of page]

Pillar #1: Student Success

Access and Enrollment Growth

  • Fall 2014 incoming class
    • Largest ever (4,666)
    • Most diverse (19% minority)
  • Military-friendly school (5th year)
  • Ranked #6 among Best Colleges for Veterans by U.S. News & World Report


  • Second lowest resident undergrad tuition in Big Ten
  • Undergraduate resident tuition freeze
  • Continued listing as “Best Buy” in quality-to-cost ratio by major higher education publications
  • Extended Summer Hawk Tuition Grant – full tuition scholarship for one summer session for Iowa residents

Improved Retention and Graduation

  • Four-year graduation rate up to 51.1%
  • Implemented Student Experience in the Research University (SERU) survey to gather data on student performance and satisfaction
  • Expanded financial literacy services for undergraduates
  • Expanded free tutoring service to additional gateway courses
  • Placed nearly all students on the four-year graduation plan

Increased Students’ Academic Engagement

  • Living-learning communities (LLCs)
    • Every first-year student in an LLC starting 2013
  • Large investments in learning spaces
    • Opened 40,000 sq. ft. state-of-the-art learning commons with 24/5 access
  • New undergraduate programs
    • Three new majors in CLAS: sport and recreation management, enterprise leadership, biomedical sciences
    • New tracks: anthropology for health professions (anthropology), engaged social innovation (interdepartmental studies)
  • First new residence hall since 1968 under construction to help meet enrollment growth; focus on LLCs - additional new hall being planned
  • Expanded entrepreneurship program to include more majors
  • Substantially revised the Bachelor of Liberal Studies to meet the needs of place-bound working adults

Graduate/Professional Student Success

  • High quality programs: >76% in top 30 publics; 5 programs ranked in top 10 overall
  • For 76 doctoral programs over 10 years (entering 2001-2005, completed 2007-2011)
    • Composite median time to degree decreased to 5.3 years
    • Composite degree completion improved to 57% (1/3 of programs > 67%, 1/4 of programs <50%)
    • Doctoral initial placement: 20% tenure track academic; 50% non-tenure track academic; 19% nonacademic; 11% unknown
  • Post-comprehensive fellowship recipients achieved 90% degree completion (2008-2011)
  • Continued review of programs – 12 program actions taken
  • Created 3 new graduate certificates: online teaching, digital public humanities, business analytics
  • Created 2 new dual degree programs: BA-MAT/Mathematics, BA-MPH with Grinnell
  • Partnered with 9 colleges and universities in Iowa for new early matriculation 3+3 program in Law
  • First year of Graduate Success Initiative involved more than 1,000 students
  • “Careers Outside the Academy” conference – linking students to jobs in Iowa

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Pillar #2: Knowledge and Practice

Invested in Faculty Cluster Hires

  • 44 cluster faculty hired with new and matching funds
  • Newest (7th) cluster announced: Informatics

Enhanced Processes for Monitoring/Rewarding Faculty

  • Implementing UI Academic and Professional Record (central database of faculty activities)

Sponsored funding for Research

  • $515.8M in FY14 – up $9.5M over previous year despite increased competition for funding
  • Increased external funding from new sponsors (157 new sponsors in FY14)
  • Industry/corporate funding up 13.2% over FY13

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Pillar #3: New Frontiers in the Arts

Rebuilding the Arts Campus

  • Working together to move forward on building, renovation, flood protection
  • Meeting schedule for building, renovation, and mitigation of facilities; construction continuing on Hancher, School of Music, School of Art & Art History (2016 completion)
  • Planning and partner selection process initiated to enable replacement of the Museum of Art
  • Aligning campaign priorities  with arts campus needs  

Academics and Outreach

  • CLAS Frank N. Magid Center for Undergraduate Writing partnership with Iowa Youth Writing Project – writing, tutoring, creative learning, and publishing opportunities for Iowa youth
  • International Writing Program: first two MOOCs, “Every Atom: Walt Whitman’s Song of Myself” (1,700+ registrants) and “How Writers Write: Talks on Craft and Commitment”; open-application courses; outreach courses developed in collaboration with international institutions
  • “Book Wings” theatre project with international partners
  • College of Public Health partnered with Hancher and Working Group Theater on Out of Bounds (a play about bullying) with workshop performance in February, 2014; developed companion curriculum tool kit for junior high school teachers

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Pillar #4: Better Futures for Iowans

Educating Iowa

  • Degree completion programs with 15/15 Iowa community colleges
  • 43.3% of enrollments in for-credit continuing education at Regent universities are in UI programs
  • New certificates and degrees serving Iowans: online teaching certificate, executive MHA
  • College of Nursing developed statewide online nurse residence program in collaboration with Future of Nursing Iowa Action Coalition
  • Teacher-Librarian program – MA degree for working teachers interested in becoming school librarians

Statewide Partners

  • STEM engagement – Iowa Governor’s STEM Advisory Council, Kirkwood Community College partnership
  • Iowa Obesity Network (UI, ISU, UNI)
  • Iowa Initiative for Sustainable Communities expanding to Sioux City, Decorah, Iowa City, Storm Lake, and Maquoketa
  • College of Public Health Business Leadership Network fostering relationships with business and community leaders across the state
  • College of Nursing continues to lead the statewide Future of Nursing Action Coalition, established Task Force on Advanced Practice
  • College of Engineering partnered with more than 150 Iowa-based companies on employee recruitment, research, faculty consulting, etc.
  • University Libraries, in collaboration with the State Library of Iowa, participated in a White House initiative to educate more than 300 public librarians across the state about the Affordable Care Act’s Health Insurance Marketplace


  • Launched Venture School, an advanced entrepreneurial training program based on the Lean Launchpad and Business Model Canvas; two pilot cohorts with 15 entrepreneurial teams completed initial program in FY 2014; expanding to several locations across Iowa in FY 2015 including Des Moines, Cedar Falls, Council Bluffs and the Quad Cities
  • Created the Iowa Innovation Associates student internship program designed to connect UI students with Iowa-based startup and early stage companies; 45 interns placed during the first year
  • Expanded the Entrepreneurial Management Institute program that provides faculty/student business consulting services to Iowa organizations; 55 projects completed last year
  • Launched the STEMInnovator Institute for Iowa secondary educators to incorporate entrepreneurship and innovation into K-12 STEM curriculum; 36 educators from 20 Iowa school districts participated in the first year program

Engaged Scholarship

  • Faculty clusters - serving Iowans
  • Digital Studio for the Public Humanities
  • Public Digital Arts Cluster
  • DeLTA Center/Obermann Center school readiness initiative “Get Ready, Iowa: Partnering to Enhance the School Readiness of Iowa’s Children”

Carnegie Community Engagement Classification

  • Application submitted April 2014

K-12 Engagement

  • 126 Iowa high schools registered with the Iowa Online Advanced Placement Academy (IOAPA); 639 online AP courses completed by Iowa high school students (and almost 2,000 students registered for AP Exam Review)
  • STEM-Entrepreneurship training for K-12 teachers
  • Leadership training for Iowa K-12 principals and superintendents

Office of Outreach and Engagement

  • Outreach and Engagement web site ( started and under continued development
  • Engagement with Iowa regional Resource Conservation & Development (RC&D) councils
  • Hawkeye Lunch & Learn events in Des Moines and Iowa City; expanding to other parts of the state through Rotary/service organization talks
  • First theme semester, spring 2015: “Food for Thought”
  • Discussions with colleges started re: outreach and engagement in the promotion & tenure process
  • Medical student community involvement program

Outreach and Service Examples

  • Iowa Flood Center serving Iowa communities; at halfway point of six-year project to develop updated floodplain maps for 85 Iowa counties 
  • College of Law class of 2014 logged more than 12,000 hours of pro bono legal and community service
  • Dentistry, Medicine, Pharmacy mobile clinics
  • Center for the Book traveling exhibit, “History of the Book”
  • Tippie College of Business students logged almost 4500 hours of tax return support for low-income residents of Johnson County, and built their 7th annual Habitat for Humanity House

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Foundational Commitment: Inclusion and Internationalization

Student and Faculty Diversity

  • Record diversity of incoming class (17.1%)
  • Positive trends in faculty diversity
    • Women: 32.8% of TT faculty, 39.0% of total
    • Minorities: 20.6% of TT faculty, 20.3% of total

International Students

  • Record number of international students (4,049)
  • New course requirement for all incoming undergraduate international students started fall 2013
  • Hired new Global External Relations Coordinator and created position of International Support and Retention Coordinator
  • College of Engineering hired new Director of Global Experiences
  • UI international students and their dependents contribute $101M to Iowa’s economy

Study Abroad

  • Positive impact on retention and success
  • 2012-13: 888 undergraduate, 360 graduate/professional

Student Success and Mentoring

  • UI awarded $1.2M Sloan Foundation grant to establish one of five University Centers of Exemplary Mentoring in the nation (enhancing diversity of graduate students in STEM disciplines)
  • Graduate diversity scholarship recipients achieved 70% degree completion (2001-2005)
  • CIC Summer Research Opportunities Program (SROP) providing underrepresented undergraduate students with in-depth research experiences
  • Created Friends Without Borders friendship matching program for new international and current domestic undergraduate students, to begin fall 2014


  • Engaging international alumni, students, and parents through social media
  • May 2014 commencement streamed online and translated into Chinese for the benefit of international students’ families and friends

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Foundational Commitment: Sustainability


  • Energy use remains level from 2010 to 2014 despite campus growth
  • Renewable energy at 12% (EPA Top 30 list of on-site green power users for 5th year)
  • Waste diversion rate at 38%
  • Second year of competition in RecycleMania: 2nd place among Big Ten schools
  • Received LEED Platinum certification for new data center, the first building on campus and first educational institution data center to be LEED Platinum certified
  • Received LEED Platinum certification for new College of Public Health building

Education and Research

  • Two sustainability-related living-learning communities offered in FY14

Planning, Administration, and Engagement

  • Iowa Initiative for Sustainable Communities focused on Cedar Rapids, Muscatine, Washington
  • AASHE STARS Gold rating, among top 18% 

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Foundational Commitment: Collaboration, Enterprise, Innovation

Institutional Cost Savings and Efficiencies

  • Short payback project investments and UI Energy Control Center – accumulated savings of over $1M annually and growing
  • Biomass Fuel project, in collaboration with Dr. Heaton of ISU’s Biomass Crop Production & Physiology lab, launched in pilot phase
  • Completed expansion of electronic workflow to approach one million transactions per year
  • Mainframe computers retired - $800,000 saving
  • At or under budget for all major flood recovery construction projects
  • Activated MAUI student information system and received innovation award from University Business Magazine
  • Streamlined applicant processing reduced admissions decision time from two weeks to 48 hours for 15,000 applicants
  • Implemented paperless course drop/add process
  • Engaged Accenture to review and provide input into shared services model for business, IT, and HR functions on campus
  • 3rd consecutive year of declining UI fringe benefit costs
  • Eduroam wireless service enabled efficiencies for faculty and staff while traveling, and relieved IT staff of supporting campus visitors

Inter-Institutional Cost Savings and Efficiencies

  • Business and HR systems installations for UNI – continued conversion of UI systems with UNI brand
  • Hosting UNI computing services in UI data center
  • UI-led effort to joint negotiate Mathematica license
  • UI serving as administrative agent for student athlete health insurance plans for ISU and UNI
  • Assessing Worker’s Compensation decentralized to Regents for savings
  • UI and UNI collaborated on joint contract for selected green cleaning supplies; UI annual savings more than $100,000

Facilities Innovation

  • Privately financed and operated apartment housing have replaced Hawkeye Court Apartments and sere opened on August 1, 2014; 100% filled, savings of $31M in foregone construction and financing costs
  • First public entity in Iowa to use design-build construction delivery approach (Hawkeye Tennis Center Addition and the Oakdale Biomedical Research Support Facility)
  • Unique partnership with Microsoft to pilot a fault detection and diagnostic methodology that represents the future of how higher education building operations will benefit from use of Big Data analytics

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