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Release: Sept. 11, 2001

UI announces plan to revitalize College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Revitalizing the University of Iowa College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS) is the goal of an initiative that would be funded with a portion of the revenue from a tuition increase for the 2002-03 academic year. The CLAS enrolls 85 percent of the UI’s undergraduates and offers crucial foundational courses to students in all undergraduate colleges, including business, education, engineering, nursing and pharmacy.

The Board of Regents, State of Iowa, will get a first look at the initiative during its meeting Sept. 12 and 13 in Iowa City, when tuition and fees will be discussed.

The proposal has two primary components:

• Hiring additional faculty over the next four years. The goal is to increase the number of CLAS faculty to about 700. Between 1994 and 2000, CLAS faculty size dropped by 25 positions, from 668 to 643. That reduction came even as the number of UI undergraduate students rose.

• Additional funds to support faculty recruitment, to equip faculty laboratories for research and teaching, and to renew instructional equipment in other areas of the CLAS.

“The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences has put forward a compelling plan to reinvigorate departments in urgent need of additional faculty lines to support student needs and interests,” said UI President Mary Sue Coleman. “Even in these austere times, we cannot lose sight of our responsibility to provide students with the quality of education they deserve.

“Thoughtful decision-making with respect to new tuition revenues has never been more critical,” Coleman noted. “While we all hope that the state budget picture will improve for the upcoming year, we must plan realistically and are doing so.

“However, our ability to move forward to achieve our goals and aspirations is absolutely contingent upon the underlying base of state support,” she added. “Without our state partnership, we will neither be able to advance in meeting the needs of our students nor sustain what the university now provides.”

Rebuilding the number of faculty will benefit all students, CLAS officials said. For example, in introductory chemistry courses, which are required for many majors, the initiative would greatly increase the percentage of credit hours taught by tenure and tenure-track faculty.

In heavily enrolled majors, departments would be able to offer a wider variety of intermediate and advanced courses and could alleviate bottlenecks in progress toward graduation.

In restricted-access majors, such as communication studies and journalism and mass communication, more students would be able to declare the major.

Class sizes in general education courses, which were increased by 10 to 15 percent to respond to this year’s budget cuts, could be restored.

In addition to supporting the plan to revitalize the CLAS, the university will invest new tuition and fee revenue as follows:

• Student financial aid will be maintained at 16 percent of budgeted tuition revenues.

• Earmarked tuition surcharges and fee revenues will be used only for the specific programs and projects for which they are proposed. The surcharges affect several of the UI’s professional colleges. Among the fees proposed for increases are the student health fee, mandatory computer fee, the student services fee that funds CAMBUS, and the student union fee.

• Increases in tuition revenue from growth in enrollment will be used to serve additional students by providing adequate course sections, academic counseling, and other services.

• The increase in tuition will also cover increases in costs attributable to inflation, such as energy costs.