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Release: May 13, 1999

UI faculty members show gains in teaching undergraduate courses

IOWA CITY, Iowa - An increasing number of tenured and senior faculty members are teaching undergraduate students at the University of Iowa, according to the UI’s annual Faculty Activity Report prepared for the Board of Regents, State of Iowa.

The report shows that the percentage of undergraduate courses taught by tenured and tenure-track faculty in 1997-98 was 56.8 percent, up from 56.3 percent the previous academic year. The percentage of senior faculty teaching undergraduate students rose to 86.3 percent in 1997-98, up from 85 percent in 1996-97.

"We are pleased to see these gains because increasing the percentage of tenured and senior faculty who teach undergraduate courses is an important component of our goal of comprehensive strength in undergraduate education," said Provost Jon Whitmore. By the year 2000-01, the UI hopes to have 60 percent of its undergraduate courses taught by tenured and tenure-track faculty. Likewise, it hopes to increase the percentage of senior faculty teaching undergraduate courses to 87.5 percent.

"It’s worth noting that during the 1997-98 academic year our College of Liberal Arts offered its first slate of First-Year Seminars," Whitmore added. "These are courses on a variety of interdisciplinary topics that match 15 to 20 students with a senior faculty member."

These were other highlights of the annual Faculty Activity Report:

• UI faculty members worked an average of 58.4 hours a week during 1997-98. The national average for public research universities is 56.4 hours.

• UI faculty said they devoted more than 50 percent of their time to teaching. By comparison, faculty at peer institutions said they spent 40 percent of their time on teaching.

• Overall, UI faculty members spent more than 30 hours a week on teaching and about 21 hours a week on research. The remaining hours were spent on administrative tasks and public service activities.

The annual report also demonstrated progress toward other strategic planning goals related to faculty activity.

• Progress was made in three areas related to the goal of "A faculty of national and international distinction." First, the number of faculty members named to national academies rose to 21 in 1997-98, exceeding the goal of the five-year strategic plan before the 2000-01 deadline. Second, the number of high-prestige national awards won by UI faculty rose from 11 in 1996-97 to a cumulative of 32 in 1997-98. The goal for the five-year period ending in 2000-01 is 50. Third, the number of faculty named to national peer review boards rose to 90. The goal for 2000-01 is 100.

• Faculty also made significant progress toward the goal of "Distinguished Research and Scholarship." The UI received a total of $217 million in external funding for sponsored programs for 1997-98, an increase of $5 million over the $212 million received the previous year. The goal for 2000-01 is $250 million. The percentage of faculty receiving external support rose to 44 percent in 1997-98, exceeding the 2000-01 goal of 40 percent. And the number of intellectual property disclosures increased to 90 in 1997-98, equaling the goal of the five-year strategic plan.

The information on progress toward strategic goals for teaching undergraduates, faculty awards, and distinguished research and scholarship was previously reported to the Board of Regents last fall as part of UI President Mary Sue Coleman’s annual report on the strategic plan.