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President Mason looks forward to working with new Regents

BY BRIANNA JETT | APRIL 12, 2013 5:00 AM

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Even as the state Board of Regents prepares to lose a few members next month, University of Iowa President Sally Mason doesn’t expect much change when it comes to the regents’ goals.

Mason believes the regents deserve thanks for all the hard work they have contributed, and she looks forward to working with whoever the new regents will be.

“Citizen volunteers — that’s who these people are that serve as regents, and they are hard jobs,” she said in an interview with The Daily Iowan. “I’m prepared, anxious, and willing to work with anyone who is appointed.”

Although a few faces are changing, Mason does not expect big change.

“I don’t know that the challenges are going to be very different,” she said. “The challenges are helping the institutions, the special schools, and the three universities — helping us obviously achieve our aspirations and our goals.”

Historically, Regent Robert Downer said, change does not usually come in swift and strong, but there are smaller differences between people.

“I haven’t seen that we’ve seen abrupt changes in direction,” he said. “Every time you see people come on, you see different changes in opinion.”

Bill Monroe, Gov. Terry Branstad’s transparency adviser, is not expecting any huge shift in regards to transparency efforts.

“It’s my expectations that the Transparency Task Force will continue with the full support of the Board of Regents,” he said.

At the end of April, three regents will leave the board — the terms of Regent President Craig Lang and Regents Jack Evans and David Miles will end. Branstad had hoped Lang would stay on, but the Iowa Senate failed to confirm him, in addition to Robert Cramer.

Downer says there will be an action taken to replace Lang as president, but that it is currently not an emergency situation, and he has not talked to anyone yet about the next step.

Appointed to the regents in 2007, Lang became president in 2011. Over the last few years, Mason said, she has worked closely with him.

“I’ve had a good working relationship with President Lang,” she said. “We’ve certainly had many, many opportunities for discussion and conversation. He needs to be thanked for his service on the board. He has done a good job on the Board of Regents.”

When asked if she agreed with the Senate’s rejection of Branstad’s appointments, Mason said she works well with all of those who serve as regents.

Lang will be missed among the faculty at the UI.

“I think as a Faculty Senate officer, we had a nice working relationship with him and he appreciated and supported shared governance,” said Erika Lawrence, the vice president of the Faculty Senate. “I think he will be missed because of that.”

Lawrence said Lang was always willing to take the time to meet with faculty, staff, and students. She and the rest of the Faculty Senate will watch the process to fill Lang’s position, and the other regents’ spots, closely.

“The Board of Regents has an extremely important and powerful role,” she said. “It’s important for them to continue to work with President Mason, the faculty, and appreciate the difference and challenges each university has and work with us collaboratively to meet the challenges.”


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