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UI Faculty Council react to Regent President Rastetter's challenge

BY BRENDAN MAGEE | JANUARY 28, 2015 5:00 AM

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At Tuesday’s Faculty Council meeting, many members felt a recent challenge from the state Board of Regents was a slight to the university.

“Is this in vain of U.S. News Report?” was one of the questions posed at the first meeting of the semester.

Members of the council gathered on Tuesday and discussed the possibility of creating a group to start looking into how the University of Iowa can become a top ten public research university, particularly under the U.S. News ranking.

State Board of Regents President Bruce Rastetter challenged members of the council to improve UI’s rankings last December.

“We should strive to do bigger things,” Rastetter said at a regents meeting.  

However, at the Tuesday meeting, the idea drew criticism from council members during a discussion.

U.S. News Education ranks universities by their academic reputation, retention rates faculty rate, and student selectivity.

Faculty noted the ranking does not account for research.

“The ranking of universities are based on this [certain] criteria,” said Paul Muhly, a professor in the math department. “We haven’t become an awful university. It’s that the criteria has changed.” 

Many members of the council attributed UI’s lower ranking with its higher selectivity rate.

However Alexandra Thomas, faculty council president and Christina Bohannan, vice president of the council called it an opportunity for the UI to start a discussion on what they wanted out of the rankings.

Justine Kolker, an associate professor in the Department of Operative Dentistry., questioned the challenge.

“Are we doing this to make President Rastetter happy? Or are we doing this because we actually want to be in the top ten?” she said during the meeting.

Many members of the council questioned how they should go about creating such a plan for attaining the top 10 ranking.

“This is his directive, is it something we’re suppose fulfill for him and if so, shouldn’t we be listing off all of these categorical things that are evaluated saying, ‘What is important to you, president?’ ” Kolker said.


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