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Rastetter outlines plans for study into state universities

BY IAN MURPHY | FEBRUARY 12, 2014 5:00 AM

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State Board of Regents President Bruce Rastetter outlined plans for an efficiency study for the three regent universities at a Faculty Senate meeting Tuesday after the regents announced their choice to lead the study.

The regents chose Deloitte, a global professional service company based in New York City, to find inefficiencies at the regent universities and highlight ways they can be better, Rastetter said. Each campus will have a team, and Mark Braun, UI President Sally Mason’s chief of staff and the UI’s transparency officer, will lead the UI’s team.

Erika Lawrence, the Faculty Senate president and associate professor of psychology, said Rastetter was scheduled to speak at the Faculty Senate meeting and today happened to be the day the regents announced the consulting firm.  

Deloitte will lead the study with input from teams at each of the three universities, Rastetter said.

Rastetter said the regents hope the study will help highlight the specialties of each university to differentiate each institution.

”Longer term, we can’t have all three universities doing the same thing,” Rastetter said. “We need to reinvest in the strategic messages of the universities.”

He said the study will look at all aspects of the universities, including facilities, information technology services, and athletics. The study will work not only work with Mason but will also include individual faculty members, Rastetter said.

“We believe the study will be transformational in terms of long-term operation,” he said.

Any inefficiency found by the study will be reinvested in the university, he said. This reinvestment will be a way to secure taxpayer’s investments.

Rastetter said the regents cannot keep asking the state Legislature for more money without taking a look at the universities, but he said he hopes the study will help minimize student debt.

“We recognize that we will not be able to freeze tuition every year,” he said. “It’s just not sustainable.”

However, the tuition freeze is not long-term solution to the mounting cost of a college education.

“In the last 35 years, tuition has gone up 11 times … and one of the primary drivers is state budget cuts,” Rastetter said.

He said he has high hopes for the study, however.

“We hope the study will keep the cost of education down,” he said.

Lawrence said she is happy the regents are conducting the study and that the study will highlight the strengths of the universities instead of focusing solely on areas the universities can be better.

University of Iowa Student Government, the Executive Council of Graduate and Professional Students and Hawkeye Caucus worked together to ensure an instate tuition freeze for the coming year, Jack Cumming, vice-president of UISG, said.

“I think it’s very important to a lot of instate families,” UISG Vice President Jack Cumming said.

Lawrence said she was pleased to see the tuition freeze.

“I think it’s wonderful that the board approved it,” she said. “A lot of people worked very hard on it.”


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