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 2015.

Renewing the Iowa Promise

Progress Report

FY 2015 Highlights

  • Fall 2015 incoming class largest and most diverse ever
  • Opened first new residence hall since 1968
  • Record graduation rates (preliminary fall 2015 data)
    • Four-year graduation rate: 53.2% 
    • Six-year graduation rate: 72.0%
  • 7 active clusters, 49 new cluster faculty
  • High quality graduate/professional programs: 11 programs and specialty areas ranked in top 10 overall
  • Combined public and private funding for research: $438.5M in FY15, up 2% from previous year

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Pillar #1: Student Success

Access and Enrollment Growth

  • Largest class in university history (5,241)
    • Most diverse (20.6% minority)
    • Highest GPA
  • Ranked among top 10 Best Colleges for Veterans by U.S. News and World Report 2 years in a row
  • Named a military-friendly school for 6th straight year
  • First new residence hall since 1968 open for fall 2015; additional new hall under construction; third new hall being studied


  • Second lowest resident undergrad tuition in Big Ten
  • Designated a “Best Buy” by Fiske Guide to Colleges for 11th straight year
  • Extended Summer Hawk Tuition Grant
    • Students enrolled in three-year degree programs eligible for an additional summer session
  • Made almost 1100 awards totaling almost $3.5M

Improved Retention and Graduation

  • Record graduation rates (preliminary fall 2015 data)
    • Four-year graduation rate: 53.2% 
    • Six-year graduation rate: 72.0%
  • Iowa Degree in Three: 6 majors with accelerated programs available fall 2015

Increased Students’ Academic Engagement

  • Record number of students or alumni (13) awarded Fulbright Awards to go abroad to conduct research, attend graduate school, teach English, or pursue other creative endeavors in 12 countries during 2015-16 – direct result of increased engagement between International Programs and colleges
  • Developed 2 new TILE (Transform, Interact, Learn, Engage) classrooms, increasing the pool of TILE classrooms to 11
  • All first-year students in living-learning communities
  • $1,000 study abroad scholarship for undergraduate Iowa residents
  • Program innovation
    • BA and BS in Public Health
    • Minor in Translation for Global Literacy
    • Certificates: Large Data Analysis, Event Planning, Social Science Analytics
  • New requirement in Engineering fall 2015 – all entering students required to take at least 3 SCH in the creative arts
  • Tippie College of Business – undergraduate experiential graduation requirement approved Spring 2015 (RISE:  Research, Internship, Study Abroad, Experiential course)

Graduate/Professional Student Success

  • High quality programs: 11 programs/specialty areas ranked in top 10 overall
  • Degree completion rates for doctoral students improved from 57% for the cohort entering in the years 2001-2005 to 64% for the cohort entering in the years 2003-2007
  • Restructured all major fellowships to provide larger numbers of students with targeted funding
  • Program innovation
    • First ever open major undergraduate to graduate degree approved (Public Health)
    • Master’s in Business Analytics approved
    • Successful launch of Digital Humanities Certificate – expanded interdisciplinary opportunities for students
    • College of Law launched team-taught “legal capstone” course to expand experiential learning opportunities for third-year students
    • Online graduate certificate in Teaching English as a Foreign Language – for overseas English teachers and administrators
  • Continued review of programs = 10 program actions taken
  • Partnered with 3 additional Iowa colleges and universities for early matriculation 3+3 program in Law (total partnership agreements = 12)
  • Enhanced Center for Teaching professional development program for teaching assistants and strengthened partnership with the Graduate College
  • Held 2nd Careers Outside the Academy Conference and inaugural Three Minute Thesis (3 MT) competition
  • 5 National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program recipients

Office of Teaching, Learning, & Technology

  • Added staff resources to the Center for Teaching to support teaching
  • Improved TILE training
  • Published and presented the outcomes of the Large Lecture Transformation project at national and international conferences
  • Won grants from NSF and Mellon Foundation for teaching innovations in STEM and digital humanities
  • Participants on a grant from the Federal Government Office of Naval Research to enhance engineering education

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Pillar #2: Knowledge and Practice

Invested in Faculty Cluster Hires

  • 7 clusters; 49 cluster faculty hired to date with new and matching funds
  • Cluster Progress Highlights
    • Water Sustainability Initiative (WSI) faculty hold more than 30 active grants
    • WSI “Water Underground” exhibit toured with the UI Mobile Museum across the state to 48 communities in 36 counties, welcoming more than 33,000 visitors
    • Faculty in the Obesity Research and Educative Initiative (OREI) have partnered with leaders of UIHC’s childhood obesity clinic to conduct clinical research and patient education
    • Faculty in Genetics have published 44 articles in scientific journals and earned over $26 million in grant support
    • Genetics has developed educational opportunities for learners and educators of many ages – to educate participants about genetics and help inspire the next generation of genetics professionals
    • Aging Mind and Brain Initiative (AMBI) faculty have participated with the Iowa State Extension and Outreach offices to deliver the Midlife and Beyond outreach program
    • AMBI faculty have obtained 29 grants as principal investigators totaling $6.4 million and 4 grants as co-investigators totaling $4.2M
    • The Digital Studio for Public Arts & Humanities co-hosted with the National Endowment for the Humanities an event that reviewed funding opportunities for humanity scholars and researchers; 11 Iowa and Midwestern colleges and universities participated

Enhanced Processes for Monitoring/Rewarding Faculty

  • Implementing UI Academic and Professional Record (central database of faculty activities)
  • Carver College of Medicine non-clinical faculty incentive plan revised and approved by Board

Sponsored funding for Research

  • Combined public and private funding for research: $438.5M in FY15, up 2% from previous year
  • Total external funding, including gifts and grants through the UI Foundation: $560.7M in FY15, up 9% from previous year
  • Business/corporation research support up 28%

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Pillar #3: New Frontiers in the Arts

Rebuilding the Arts Campus

  • Art Building, Music Building, Hancher Auditorium on track to open in 2016  

Academics and Outreach

  • International Writing Program launched 2nd Massive Online Open-Enrollment Course (MOOC), “How Writers Write Fiction”
  • College of Public Health partnered with Working Group Theater on Out of Bounds (a play about bullying) as a service learning opportunity for students, in collaboration with Cedar Rapids middle schools
  • 300+ Art Share-sponsored events held throughout the state

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Pillar #4: Better Futures for Iowans

Educating Iowa

  • 45.3% of enrollments in for-credit continuing education at Regent universities are in UI programs
  • Degree completion programs with 15/15 Iowa community colleges
  • UI/Kirkwood partnership, AAS to BBA degree program
  • STEM engagement – Kirkwood Regional Center opening fall 2015
  • Significant expansion of Teacher-Librarian initiative – allows place-bound teachers to advance careers
  • Quad Cities MBA-PM facility groundbreaking, spring 2015
  • Implemented statewide online nurse residency program = 272 RNs enrolled in first 9 months

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 worked in Decorah/Winneshiek County, Iowa City, and Sioux City
  • College of Engineering partnered with more than 160 Iowa-based companies on employee recruitment, research, faculty consulting, etc.
  • College of Nursing continues to lead statewide Future of Nursing Action Coalition initiatives
  • College of Public Health Business Leadership Network expanded to 44 Iowa counties


  • I-Corps program to accelerate commercialization of technologies developed by student and faculty inventors and entrepreneurs – funded by NSF, builds on work of JPEC’s Venture School
  • Expanded delivery of Venture School advanced entrepreneurial training program to Cedar Falls, Cedar Rapids, Council Bluffs, Davenport and Des Moines while continuing programs in Iowa City
  • Launched BA in Enterprise Leadership; will be available online in FY 2016
  • Continued to assist Iowa startups and existing small businesses through faculty/student consulting projects and internships through the Entrepreneurial Management Institute, the Iowa Innovation Associates and Institute for International Business
  • Expanded dissemination of Biz Innovator and recently created STEM Innovator high school entrepreneurship curriculum and teacher training programs
  • Enhanced support for student entrepreneurs through the formation of the Founders Club— featuring professional mentoring, technical and prototyping assistance, and strategic business planning assistance

Engaged Scholarship

  • DeLTA Center/Obermann Center school readiness initiative “Get Ready, Iowa: Partnering to enhance the School Readiness of Iowa’s Children”

Carnegie Community Engagement Classification

  • Selected to receive the 2015 Community Engagement Classification from the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching

K-12 Engagement

  • 158 Iowa high schools registered with the Iowa Online Advanced Placement Academy (IOAPA); 667 online AP course semesters completed by Iowa high school students; 1,855 students registered for AP Exam Review
  • Project Lead the Way (PLTW) grown to 24,060 Iowa students in 278 schools spanning 83 counties
  • FIRST Tech Challenge grown to 192 Iowa teams; this year UI hosted State Kick-off, 55 league matches, 8 league championships, the Iowa State Championship (with 48 teams) and the North Superregional Championship in Des Moines (with 68 teams from 13 different states)

Office of Outreach and Engagement

  • Hawkeye Lunch & Learn lectures monthly in Des Moines and Iowa City; select lectures visited Rotary Clubs in state
  • Theme Semester program launched
    • 2014-15 topic “Food for Thought”; 18 courses participated, 150+ events and activities on campus and in Iowa
    • 2015-16 topic “Just Living,” a social justice theme, currently being planned by cross-campus committee
  • Iowa Initiative for Sustainable Communities (IISC) managed 33 community development projects in 3 communities (Decorah, Iowa City, Sioux City); involved 11 colleges and departments; more than 300 students and faculty completed more than 25,000 hours of work
  • Iowa Resource Conservation & Development (RC&D) partnership held 5 statewide workshops in Des Moines and Iowa City providing expertise on economic development, cultural development, leadership, and nonprofit development; 15 community engagement projects established across 9 RC&D regions for 2015-16
  • Collaborated with campus-wide STEM Outreach luncheon group; created online network and STEM at UIowa communication resources
  • Partnered on 10th Faculty Engagement Tour in spring 2015, visiting Boone, Atlantic, and Ft. Dodge with  40 faculty and staff

Additional Outreach and Service Examples

  • Iowa Flood Center’s Iowa Flood Information System (IFIS) provides flood condition information to more than 1,000 communities
  • College of Pharmacy graduates in 96 Iowa counties, reaching ~80% of all Iowans
  • More than 125,000 patient visits per year in the College of Dentistry, with particular attention to the underserved
  • College of Law pro bono and community services through the Citizen Lawyer Program and clinical program
  • Tippie College of Business students built 8th 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%)
  • Record diversity of incoming class (20.6%)
  • Positive trends in faculty diversity
    • Women: 32.8% of TT faculty, 39.6% of total
    • Minorities: 20.7% of TT faculty, 20.3% of total

International Students

  • International students from 26 countries comprise 12 percent of the fall 2015 incoming class
  • UI international students and their dependents contribute over $125M to Iowa’s economy and created or supported 1,628 jobs in the state

Study Abroad

  • Positive impact on retention and success - undergraduate students in the class of 2013 who studied abroad were 25% more likely to graduate in 4 years than those who did not study abroad
  • 2013-14: 874 undergraduate, 310 graduate/professional

Student Success and Mentoring

  • Storm Lake Program for first-generation students

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Foundational Commitment: Sustainability


  • No increase in energy consumption despite campus growth (8 new buildings since 2010)
  • Renewable energy on target to be at 15% by end of 2015
  • Waste diversion rate on target to reach 40% by end of 2015

Education and Research

  • Sustainability Certificate enrollment increased 12-fold from 2010 to 2014
  • Launched unique media arts Climate Narrative Project
  • Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture grant – developing Energy Sustainability Index

Planning, Administration, and Engagement

  • Iowa Initiative for Sustainable Communities worked in Decorah/Winneshiek County, Iowa City, and Sioux City


  • 2015 “Governor’s Iowa Environmental Excellence Award” with special recognition in energy efficiency/renewable energy
  • 2014 Iowa Recycling Association Award for Excellence in Recycling, “Best Public Education Campaign,” for University of Iowa's RecycleMania campaign
  • Silver Bicycle Friendly University award from the League of American Bicyclists
  • American Conifer Society selected two University of Iowa conifer gardens as Reference Gardens for 2014
  • UI recognized by U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
    • As a Top 30 On –Site Green Power Generator
    • As Collective Conference Champion for EPA’s 2014-2015 College & University Green Power Challenge
  • AASHE STARS Gold  - Among top 18% of colleges and universities
  • 2014 Princeton Review top 300 Green Colleges and Universities

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Foundational Commitment: Collaboration, Enterprise, Innovation

Institutional Cost Savings and Efficiencies - TIER

  • In implementation phase of TIER (Transparent Inclusive Efficiency Review) project
  • Academic cases:
    • Strategic space utilization: Have a comprehensive scheduling policy to increase classroom capacity.
    • Strategic space utilization: Assess, each academic term, opportunities to remove unneeded offerings from schedules by developing a more efficient schedule that is more aligned with student needs
    • Academic programs organizational excellence: Ensure cost-effective delivery of student learning outcomes through better programmatic configurations, faculty mix, and mix of class sizes so that students can expeditiously complete their programs.
    • Academic programs student success: Increase access and more effectively serve the non-traditional and place-bound student market through distance education online
  • Business cases:
    • Finance: Create a Shared Services model for common financial transaction; estimated savings between $1.4M and $2.6M
    • Human Resources
      • Effective May 1, 2015, implemented policy to eliminate use of search committees for most searches for professional and scientific staff, with smaller search committees for high level positions
      • Upon validation of business case, redesign of distributed HR structure under way, to consolidate the role of Human Resource (HR) Unit Representatives and strengthen their reporting relationship to the Senior HR Leader and the Vice President for Human Resources
    • Information Technology
      • Created 16 projects to implement the IT recommendations adopted by the Board of Regents
      • Pool IT services such as server management, end-user support, help desk, identity management, web hosting, electronic storage, and network management in central IT and focus decentralized units on specialized needs and consulting.
      • Restructure central IT to organize pooled services under one team and use technology innovations for those services
      • Create a Chief Information Officer Council among the three institutions to identify potential opportunities to standardize application and reduce overlapping applications
      • Increase visibility and reporting of all IT activities
      • Create an inventory of applications used across campus and develop a process to manage the portfolio of applications to minimize duplication
      • Reduce printing expenses by moving printing from local desktop printing to network printers and increasing the use of duplex printing
    • Sourcing and Procurement
      • Developing recommendations to streamline the sourcing process and increase cost effectiveness
      • Developing strategic sourcing savings opportunities cross seven key category areas with estimated savings of $3-7M
    • Student Services
      • Create an application portal for students who wish to apply to multiple institutions
      • Standardized manual calculation of Regent Admission Index at each of the 3 universities (completed Feb. 2015)

Other Institutional Cost Savings and Efficiencies

  • Population Health improvements continue to demonstrate a positive impact.  Individuals moving to lower risk categories result in an estimated annual cost savings and cost avoidance of up to $3M annually.  The University of Iowa was one of four employers recognized through the C. Everett Koop National Health Awards.
  • Continuing improvements in use of technology to increase efficiency and effectiveness this past year include:  initial deployment of new employee compliance system, next generation workflow system, and HR systems automation.
  • Early Retirement Incentive Program – FY 2015: 184 participants, $27.5M is savings over 5 year period
  • Consolidated 120 graduate program application processes to a single process, saving approximately $150,000 per year
  • Consolidated three faculty IT-support departments into the Office of Teaching, Learning & Technology
  • Office of Teaching, Learning & Technology increased efficiency through updated technology such as moving faculty evaluations to an online system

Inter-Institutional Cost Savings and Efficiencies

  • Held retreats (Feb and June) with ISU and UNI IT staff to identify and work on collaborative efforts.

Facilities and Operational Innovation

  • Short payback project investments and UI Energy Control Center – cumulative savings of $6.8M. 
  • Energy efficiency in UI design standards. The campus has received $3.35M in incentives from utility providers for completed projects to date. Energy efficiency projects under this program have an annual cost avoidance of $3.5M.
  • Modernization of Bowen Science Building is projected to save more than $1 million annually in energy costs when the final phase is completed in FY20.
  • The early stages of Facilities Management’s innovative pilot project to examine the benefits of Big Data for fault detection and diagnostics (FDD) uncovered 29 “silent” equipment faults in one building. The repair improved building system efficiency and generated an estimated $24,500 in annual energy savings. 
  • Rebates generated by energy management and curtailment have averaged about $1.5 million annually, but now are growing due to our re-engineered operations which enabled the negotiation of $1.1M in curtailment incentives alone. 
  • The Biomass Fuel Project is developing a regional energy stock in dedicated energy crops, such as Miscanthus. Our partnership with the Eastern Iowa Airport and Iowa State University led to the planting of 65 acres of Miscanthus at the airport.
  • The Power Plant has readied its operations for the influx of wood chips, due to the prevalence of the Emerald Ash Borer in Iowa.
  • A pilot project to test summer scheduling and use of classroom space resulted in an updated process that lowers electrical consumption in selected classrooms.

Administrative Reorganization

  • Initiated major restructuring of the Graduate College administration to address budgetary and visionary challenges
  • Facilities Management servers were moved to the ITS Data Center at a savings of approximately $400,000, and will continue to save that amount every five to six years. 
  • Office of the Registrar reorganized by moving some IT support to Information Technology Services to improve efficiency and alignment of IT strategies
  • Admissions office reorganization to increase efficiency and support focus on growing enrollment strategically

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