Metro briefs

BY DI STAFF | FEBRUARY 06, 2015 5:00 AM

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Regents approve new admission index

On Thursday, the state Board of Regents approved a Regent Admission Index formula for students who attend high schools that do not determine class rank.

Before this change, the regent universities developed their own formulas for calculating high-school class rank or bypassed it by using techniques such as individual review.

Scores are intended to determine students’ probabilities of success at the regent universities.

The new formula for non-ranked students will be weighted more heavily on their ACT composite scores and high-school grade-point averages than those students from high schools providing class rankings.

All students will still be required to achieve a minimum score of 245 for direct admission to the regent universities.

Diana Gonzalez, the regents’ chief academic officer, said there is a good possibility the regents will arrive at one single formula for calculating admission scores in the future.

Regents OK new master’s degree

The regents approved the University of Iowa’s and Iowa State University’s proposed plans to add master-of-science-degree programs in business analytics on Thursday.

UI students would take 30 semester hours of credit, 10 courses, either online or on campus, and could complete their master’s degrees within two years.

Officials expect most students in the program will be working professionals who need to take classes at night.

ISU’s program will be primarily based online, with some on-campus components, and the two schools’ programs are designed to work cooperatively.

Business analytics involves organizing big data for a variety of companies to make the data more useable.

Presidential search moves forward

The regents began the process for finding the next UI president on Thursday.

After appointing UI Vice President for Medical Affairs Jean Robillard on Feb. 2 to be the head of the search committee for the next president, the regents will now decide upon a search process.

Robillard will lead a 21-member search committee that will include UI faculty members.

The regents anticipate they will select a search firm and announce it to the public by Feb. 12.

Robillard will hold at least one public hearing, on Feb. 16, to receive comments from the university community.

The regents plan to use a search process similar to recent ones for Iowa State University and the University of Northern Iowa.

— by Carly Matthew

Sycamore Street to be improved near new elementary school

If everything goes according to plan, employees and parents of Iowa City’s future Alexander Elementary won’t have to worry about safety or traffic when traveling this fall.

Currently Sycamore Street, near the intersection of South Gilbert Street, is a one-lane blacktop and is where the main entrance of Alexander Elementary will be.

However, Johnson County is working with Iowa City to complete Sycamore’s reconstruction to better facilitate the flow of traffic and students.

Dave Panos, senior civic engineer for the Iowa City Public Works Department, presented the reconstruction plan to the county Board of Supervisors on Thursday.

“Essentially, the project is being spurred along by the development of the school being built now and set to open in the fall,” he said. “So with that in mind, we wanted to get going on the project.”

The new street, Panos said, will be 34 feet wide, with an 8-foot sidewalk on one side and a 5-foot sidewalk on the other side.

Along with the new road, there will also be some storm-sewer improvements, he said, as well as some minor water-main improvements.

The reconstruction will take place in three phases, with the first phase consisting of construction from the south Iowa City limit to Daniel Place, the second from Daniel Place to the school’s entrance, and the third phase consisting of the south intersection.

The first two phases should be finished before the school opens in the fall, and Sycamore will be closed during their construction, Panos said.

“We have had this happen before on Lower West Branch Road, where the city asked our permission to improve a road they hadn’t yet annexed, and it went really, really well,” Supervisor Rod Sullivan said. “I think everyone was a winner on that, so I’m hopeful there will the same sort of thing here.”

— by Ben Marks

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