Updates from the Board of Regents

NIXSON BENITEZ, Executive Editor

This past Wednesday, Nov. 9  and Thursday, Nov. 10, the Board of Regents approved seven items on the agenda that directly relate to construction projects and faculty research. The Board also approved the nursing program. 

Masters plan 

The Board of Regents approved the campus master plan. Michael W. Zwanziger, assistant vice president and director of the department facilities management presented on behalf of the University of Northern Iowa to update the university campus master plan conducted in the first half of 2020. The master plan aims to “reinvest in, renew and right-size its facilities in support of the institution’s academic curricular mission,” 

Some of the goals mentioned in the presentation included reinvesting in iInfrastructure, renewing program space and right size campus. This update would align more with the academic positioning; this will also look into improving overall space, renewing existing space to serve these programs and to address the backlog of maintenance needs. Students have seen this recently with renovations of the Innovative Teaching and Technology Center (ITTC) roof and the ongoing construction with the Applied Engineering Building. 

The three public universities have requested $30 million per year from the state for building renewal funds, for the next five years.  The request will be determined by the state legislature.

These funds would go directly to 15 buildings; these buildings equate to 50% of the general fund space. These spaces contain 68 general purpose classrooms and 41 teaching laboratories. UNI would also modernize traditional housing, upgrade restrooms in select halls and provide more apartment-based units.

Some of the requests include roof replacements and maintaining the spaces. Some successful stories reported include the relocation of the Honors Program; this program is now located on the third floor of Bartlett – this building allows the program to be fully accessible prior to its previous location in the Honors Cottage. 

GBPAC Remodel 

The Board approved the project description and budget including the schematic design.

The project proposed would add 16,400 square feet and remodel 4,500 square feet. The expansion would mainly focus on updating portions that directly enhance revenue. This would include concessions, restrooms, ticket counters and incorporating lounge areas such as the Marquee lounge and prep kitchen. 

The project is estimated to be about $14.1 million; this would be funded  entirely through private gifts and grants. The actual construction date could be determined based on funding availability and determination of cash flow of the private gifts. Construction is scheduled to start in the Spring of 2023.

Termination of Majors and new add ons 

The Board of Regents approved the termination of the Bachelor of Applied Science in Technology major. The major  has not drawn sufficient enrollments at UNI. The current Bachelor in Tech program overlaps with the curriculum of the technology management program. The remaining students can complete their coursework existing offerings and will be offered the opportunity to transition to the technology management program. Between 2020-2021 there have been a total of six students that have completed the major, and as of 2021 there were two enrolled. No significant impacts will be expected.

Human Resource management 

The Board approved for UNI to move the current track to a stand alone major in human resource management.  The program was housed under the department of management. The stand-alone program will allow the human resource management major to give more weight to the degree and allow students to compete with the market demand. The first cohort will largely be internal transfers and the program cohort to be about 60 students. 

The Board also approved a Masters of Arts and Interdisciplinary Studies as a stand-alone 30 hour degree. This program is mostly online and this program serves as a completion for non-traditional students who have some graduate credit and are looking for an opportunity to finish a graduate credential. This degree program will allow to create a unique individual course of study and can be tailored to specific career goals.

Professional Development Assignment requests

The Board of Regents approved nine faculty members from UNI to do special projects for the fiscal year 2024. These projects allow faculty members to be involved in research. This research is directly applied to expanding the knowledge of students and education around the world. The following staff members were approved 

Abebe, Tilahun 

Castillo, Juan Carlos

Cutter, Barbara

Hurley, Kimberley 

Lou, Shangzhen

Petrov, Andrey

Rumsey, Chepina

Shen, Xinhua

Yoon, Gunwoo

President’s update 

President Mark Nook announced the week set of celebrations that happened in October. Including the “Our Tomorrow” Campaign. Nook also announced that as of the end of September the campaign is at $187.5 on its way to the $250 million goal.Following this update he mentioned the introduction of the seven new bells and two additional bells that will be melted in cincinnati. The two being melted in Cincinnati will be the largest bells added on and weigh over 4,000 pounds, making a total of nine new bells. This will complete a total of four and a half octaves for the campanile.  The commemorative bell was also melted, and this bell will commemorate the 150th anniversary of UNI in 2026. 

Nook also recognized during the meeting the 50th anniversary of the Black Student Union (BSU) organization 2010 alumni Parnell Cezar, owner of Blk and Bold Coffee. Five percent of the profits of Blk and Bold are invested back into the youth. Nook also recognized 2002 alumni Cortland Butts, founder of Life Guardian World Wide, a group which helps young people grow and find their place in the community. Both were mentioned as they were a product of BSU and Nook emphasized the student life professionals on the campus.

“These infinity groups help these students connect to each other and better connect to the university and grow the UNi family. Grow our university families” Nook said.