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 2010 to FY 2016.

Renewing the Iowa Promise

Progress Report

  • Provost Butler's presentation to the Board of Regents, State of Iowa - October 20, 2016: link to this YouTube video and advance to Provost Butler's presentation at 1:37.)
  • PDF iconProgress Report

FY 2010 - FY 2016 Highlights

  • Largest and most diverse incoming classes ever
  • Record graduation rates
    • Four-year graduation rate: 53.5% (2011 cohort)
    • Six-year graduation rate: 72.1% (2009 cohort)
  • 7 active clusters, 71 new cluster faculty
  • High quality graduate/professional programs: 24 programs and specialty areas ranked in top 25 overall
  • 2015 Carnegie Community Engagement Classification
  • Average annual combined public and private funding for research: $438M
  • Second lowest resident undergraduate tuition in Big Ten

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Pillar #1: Student Success

Access and Enrollment Growth

  • Projecting the largest class in university history (more than 5,600; fall 2015 class was 5,241)
  • Increased the number of transfer students enrolling at Iowa by 17%
  • Named a 2016 Military-Friendly School
  • Petersen Residence Hall, first new since 1968, opened for fall 2015; Madison Street Residence Hall to open summer 2017; Daum Residence Hall to be renovated


  • Second lowest resident undergrad tuition in Big Ten
  • Designated a “Best Buy” by Fiske Guide to Colleges for 12th straight year (July 2016)

Improved Retention and Graduation

  • Record graduation rates effective fall 2015
    • Four-year graduation rate: 53.5% 
    • Six-year graduation rate: 72.1%

Increased Students’ Academic Engagement

  • Record number of students or alumni (15) awarded Fulbright Awards to go abroad to conduct research, attend graduate school, teach English, or pursue other creative endeavors abroad during 2016-17 – direct result of increased engagement between International Programs and colleges
  • Program innovation
    • BSE in Computer Science and Engineering
    • BA in English and Creative Writing
    • BA/BS in Global Health Studies
    • BA/BS in Criminology, Law, and Justice
    • Public Health – first undergraduate degree-seeking students to start this fall
  • Increased supplemental instruction for 23 undergraduate courses (13,621 student visits, an increase of 82% from last year)
  • Created and implemented a required academic integrity training for all new undergraduate students
  • Provided a summer academic workshop for incoming students at the Pappajohn Education Center in Des Moines
  • Pre-enrolled at-risk first-year students in Rhetoric, First-Year Seminars, and other courses associated with student success

Graduate/Professional Student Success

  • High quality programs: 24 programs/specialty areas ranked in top 25 of their kind overall
  • Program innovation
    • MS and PhD in Biomedical Science
    • Internationalization of course work through the use of MOOCs and online learning

Academic Engagement

  • Midwestern Association of Graduate Schools (MAGS) Distinguished Thesis Award winner for 2016
  • Mellon-Sawyer grant-supported seminars, publications

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Pillar #2: Knowledge and Practice

Invested in Faculty Cluster Hires

  • 7 clusters; 71 cluster faculty hired to date with new and matching funds
  • Cluster Progress Highlights
    • Eight Water Sustainability Initiative (WSI) faculty members were awarded 12 funded grants as PIs or co-PIs for more than $2,231,600
    • WSI faculty generated more than 50 peer-reviewed publications
    • Obesity Research and Education Initiative (OREI) faculty received 8 new R01s in the past 18 months, including 4 in the past year
    • Enrollment in OREI undergraduate course on obesity has grown from 58 students in fall 2013 to 161 in fall 2015; new online offering of the course enrolled 49 students in spring 2016
    • Public Digital Arts conducted 4 successful searches, and developed a gateway course, “Digital Arts: An Introduction”
    • Informatics cluster faculty generated 63 new publications; secured 14 external funding grants from DOE, NSF, and NIH; and taught more than 20 informatics-related courses
    • Aging Mind and Brain (AMBI) faculty were awarded 17 funded grants as PIs or co-PIs for a total of $1,723,283; 28 grant applications pending
    • AMBI faculty have assembled the chapters for a comprehensive text, the Wiley Handbook on the Aging Mind and Brain, to be submitted for publication 2016-17
    • Public Humanities in a Digital World (PHDW) faculty generated 9 new publications and made 20 presentations in the U.S. and abroad in 2015-16
    • 17 students are enrolled in the Public Digital Humanities Certificate program
    • Genetics Cluster Initiative (GCI) faculty generated 79 new publications and were awarded 28 new external grants
    • GCI implemented a “Big Crazy Idea” quarterly lecture series, with presentations by members of the GCI and Iowa Institute of Human Genetics (IIHG)

Best Practices

  • Conducted review of all PhD programs
  • Increased graduate student service offerings including teacher training and expanded career preparation

Enhanced Processes for Monitoring/Rewarding Faculty

  • UI Academic and Professional Record (APR) project on track to migrate all colleges into a centralized database to capture and promote faculty activities by February 2017
  • Using the APR, Carver College of Medicine is piloting a “research interest search” project to facilitate increased research collaboration

Sponsored funding for Research

  • Combined public and private funding for research: $437.9M in FY16
  • Total external funding, including gifts and grants through the UI Foundation: $551.9M in FY16
  • Federal support increased $8.5M (4%) from previous year
  • Grant proposals up 3% and total awards up 5% from previous year

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Pillar #3: New Frontiers in the Arts

Rebuilding the Arts Campus

  • Visual Arts Building, Music Building, Hancher Auditorium to open in 2016
  • Art Museum design progressing  

Enhancing the Arts

  • Interdisciplinary efforts bring the Folger Shakespeare Library’s First Folio to campus
  • International Writing Program’s organization of global workshops, cultural exchanges, and a system of micro-loans

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Pillar #4: Better Futures for Iowans

Educating Iowa

  • Increased the enrollment of Iowa freshmen by over 15% (390 students) in fall 2016 compared to fall 2015
  • Launched the “Iowa for all 99” micro-scholarship program to help students in Iowa build an academic path to higher education
  • STEM engagement – Kirkwood Regional Center opened fall 2015
  • Former AIB campus in Des Moines now the Iowa Center for Higher Education – four programs offered fall 2016 (enterprise leadership, political science, sport and recreation management, social work)

Statewide Partners

  • Iowa Initiative for Sustainable Communities announced 2016-17 partnerships with Mason City and the East Central Iowa Council of Governments


  • Fully implemented UI I-Corps program to accelerate commercialization of technologies developed by UI faculty inventors; 28 faculty-led teams received training, 6 teams selected to participate in national program and receive a $50,000 commercialization grant
  • Launched Iowa Startup Games—an intensive entrepreneurial program for student teams; offered twice per year on the UI campus and expanded to Des Moines Area Community College in spring 2016
  • Continued delivery of UI Venture School in Cedar Falls, Council Bluffs, Davenport, Iowa City, and Des Moines, with expansion into Sioux City this past year; 59 startup teams received training and support
  • Welcomed 25 Mandela Washington Fellows (the flagship program of the Young African Leaders Initiative) to campus for a six-week entrepreneurship program

K-12 Engagement

  • Iowa Online Advanced Placement Academy (IOAPA):
    • 503 Iowa students (89 middle school, 414 high school), from 115 Iowa school districts (101 public, 14 nonpublic) enrolled in 657 IOAPA semester enrollments
    • 130 IOAPA-registered schools in 60 of Iowa’s 99 counties
    • 1,477 students registered for online AP Exam Review, participating in 1,820 exam review modules

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
    • Spring 2016 “Just Living” (social justice)
    • Spring 2017 topic “Our Lives Online”
  • In 2014-2016, the Iowa Initiative for Sustainable Communities (IISC) managed 69 community development projects in 3 communities (Decorah, Iowa City, Sioux City); involved 15 colleges and departments; 390+ students and faculty completed more than 70,000 hours of work
  • Resource, Conservation, & Development (RC&D) Partnership: 34 student projects completed in 2015-16, with roughly 10,000 hours of work completed by about 150 students
  • Arts Share and the Grant Wood Art Colony (GWAC) joined the Office of Outreach & Engagement
    • Arts Share is now more institutionally connected, working with the International Writing Program, UI Museum of Art, Hancher, Department of History, IISC, RC&D, and GWAC as well as traditional partners Division of Performing Arts, School of Art & Art History, and Writers’ Workshop
    • Since joining the Office, GWAC staff and fellows have been in eight Iowa counties, engaging over 1,000 towns
  • Website launched September 2015 to serve as a portal for outreach efforts across campus

Graduate & Professional Student Outreach and Engagement

  • Support and collaboration with Obermann Center’s Graduate Institute on Engagement and the Academy
  • Student-prepared bike/pedestrian “active transportation plan” for Sioux City accepted

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Foundational Commitment: Inclusion and Internationalization

Student and Faculty Diversity

  • Record diversity of incoming fall 2015 class (20.6%)
  • Positive trends in faculty diversity, fall 2015
    • Women: 32.8% of TT faculty, 39.6% of total
    • Minorities: 20.7% of TT faculty, 20.3% of total
  • UI led a statewide initiative to form a regional chapter of the Higher Education Recruitment Consortium (HERC), a nationally recognized consortium of higher ed employers and community partners committed to increasing the diversity of faculty and staff pools
  • Central administration and collegiate partners launching faculty search committee training designed to address unconscious bias in faculty searches and promote best practice strategies
  • Office of the Provost and Human Resources collaborating to develop a searchable “Work/Life Resources” web portal and brand UI’s strengths as a place to “Build a Career|Build a Life”

International Students

  • International students from 113 foreign countries and territories comprised 14 percent of the total enrollment
  • UI international students and their dependents contribute over $137M to Iowa’s economy and created or supported 1697 jobs in the state
  • Graduation ceremonies are now narrated in four languages: Chinese, Korean, Spanish, and Arabic
  • A new online tool allows students to record the pronunciation of their names through a web browser, and makes the audio recording available to other applications so course instructors and advisors can access it

Study Abroad

  • Positive impact on retention and success – undergraduate students in the class of 2015 who studies abroad were 33% more likely to graduate in 4 years (or less) than those who did not study abroad.
  • 2014-15:  976 undergraduate, 408 graduate/ professional

Increased Students' Academic Engagement

  • Jeffrey Ding was named as one of 32 American Rhodes Scholars; he also won the Udall scholarship and the Truman scholarship, becoming the first UI student to win all three

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Foundational Commitment: Sustainability


  • UI and Iowa Department of Natural Resources reached a landmark agreement for an innovative air quality permit that allows expanded use and testing of environmentally-friendly fuels at the main Power Plant, to accelerate the university’s transition off of coal

Education and Research

  • Unique partnership with Honey Creek Resort State Park – students researching how the park’s sustainability measures compare against competitors, and how to leverage their success for additional market growth

Planning, Administration, and Engagement

  • Iowa Initiative for Sustainable Communities (IISC) completed 10 projects in the Decorah, Iowa City, and Sioux City areas


  • UI Dedicated Energy Crop Project received the 2015 Iowa Governor’s Environmental Excellence Award – Special Recognition in Energy
  • UI consistently recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as one of the top 30 on-site green power generators

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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: Revised hiring process saved $900,000 and 13,85 FTE in CY 2015
    • Information Technology: Created 16 projects to implement the IT recommendations adopted by the Board of Regents; one-third complete and $2M saved
    • Sourcing and Procurement: streamlining the sourcing process to increase cost effectiveness
    • Student Services: Common application portal for students who wish to apply to multiple regent institutions completed July 2015; standardized manual calculation of Regent Admission Index at each of the 3 universities (completed February 2015)

Strategic Planning and Path Forward

  • Draft plan unveiled by Strategic Plan Development Group July 2016; to be finalized fall 2016
  • Support and management of institutional vision and goals moving forward
    • Strategy Implementation Team: 1 to 5 year timeline
    • Operations Team: 0 to 18 month timeline
    • Continuous, collaborative process (including input from UI community, subject experts, president’s cabinet)

New Budgeting Process

  • Collaborative effort in spring 2016 to create a new, value-based budgeting process – guiding principles:
  • Student Success
    • Increased retention and 4-year graduation rates
    • Creation and expansion of a high-impact and well-rounded student experience
    • A campus-wide culture of diversity and active inclusion
    • Increasing the value/return-on-investment of choosing our institution
  • Quality Indicators
    • Increased attention to key AAU/Research indicators
    • New and increased faculty/interdisciplinary collaborations
    • Accenting the balance necessary between “an AAU aim” and success in our core values of teaching and well-rounded student success
    • Development and use of key performance indicators (for teaching, research, students)
  • Our Values
    • Protection of and investment in existing areas of excellence and unique advantage
    • Exploration of new areas that will shape and build a successful and sustainable UI future
    • Disinvestment in other areas as necessary to enable success in areas of strength
    • Collaboration and alignment of efforts, in order to be effective stewards of our resources, build the scale of our excellence, and add value
  • Our Future
    • The creation of transformative societal impact
    • True interdisciplinary collaboration, aligned to maximize our shared success
    • The quality and strategic mix of student - the drive for life-long leaders and learners
    • Exploration and celebration of risk-taking that enables short- and long-term excellence

Strategic Investments

  • The FY 2017 General Fund budget allowed $10.8M incremental dollars for strategic investments – examples include
    • Student Success
      • Additional academic advisors
      • Interactive tools allowing students to build personalized academic plans
      • Enhanced analytics to increase retention and better position students for success in graduate and professional programs
    • Quality Metrics
      • Mentoring for faculty who are competing for large interdisciplinary grants
      • Technical support for faculty who are excelling in creative endeavors
      • Targeted hire in Engineering/Pappajohn Biomedical Institute
      • Adding resources to critical research support functions that allow the University to compete nationally for the best researchers
    • Our Values
      • Ensuring university classrooms and laboratories are well maintained
      • Hiring of 12 faculty into the Informatics cluster
    • Our Future
      • Continuing to invest in energy conservation
      • Providing competitive recruitment packages to bring top faculty to Iowa 

Data Availability and Transparency

  • Inaugural Data Digest
  • Business Intelligence Shared Services Center – Admissions dashboards completed, additional dashboards in development
  • Education Advisory Board – Academic Performance Solutions project with Education Advisory Board
  • OneIT Business Intelligence Team data needs assessment

Administrative Reorganization

  • Reorganized Division of Continuing Education into University College

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