Metro briefs

BY DI STAFF | FEBRUARY 11, 2015 5:00 AM

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Mason talks student enrollment, housing

President Sally Mason discussed her priorities for the next five-and-a-half months with University of Iowa enrollment.

“Provost [P. Barry] Butler has done an outstanding job in terms of increasing applications and enrollments for next fall,” Mason said during Tuesday’s Faculty Senate meeting, UI has seen a 10 percent increase in student admissions over last year, or nearly 1,400 more students.

Mason doesn’t believe an influx of students will cause problems in student housing, she said.

“I don’t anticipate housing being a limiting factor on the university growing,” she said.

UI is constructing a dorm on the West Side of campus —Petersen Hall — which is scheduled for completion by May.

The UI also plans to build a new dorm on the East Side of campus.

“Our current housing system [as it stands] is undersized, but it’s safe to say it always has been,” Mason said.

Barta discusses state of athletics

Athletics Director Gary Barta spoke to members of the Faculty Senate on the current state of the Athletics Department.

“We continue to have great success in many areas,” Barta said during the Tuesday meeting,
In terms of academic success, student-athletes have a graduation success rate of 89 percent, he said.

“Our student-athletes graduate,” Barta said. “Our student-athletes are doing well in the classroom, doing well in earning their degrees, do very well socially, and spend hours volunteering.”

Financially, the Athletics Department has a budget of $84 million. None of its funding comes from state money.

Faculty survey results revealed

Members of the Faculty Senate on Tuesday wanted to know how to best use the results of a UI survey.

Kevin Ward, an assistant vice president for Human Recourses, delivered the results of the Iowa Survey.

Iowa Survey asked faculty what it means to be employee at the University of Iowa; 69 percent of faculty members responded.

From the results of the survey, more than 92 percent of faculty surveyed recommended UI as an option of employment, with 85 percent having great things to say about unit.

While a large number of faculty members recommended the university for employment, only a small percentage said there were opportunities for influence. 

Twelve percent said there were opportunities for promotion, and only 12 percent said there was a support balance of work and personal responsibilities, Ward said.

“The devil is in the details,” said Shelly Campo, an associate professor of community and behavioral health.

Thomas addresses upcoming presidential search

Alexandra Thomas, the president of the UI Faculty Council, gave an update to faculty members on Tuesday regarding the search to find a replacement for President Sally Mason.

“I am pleased to announce that there will be opportunities for faculty to contribute [in the search], which will take several forms,” she said. “First the screen and search committee will take several faculty members.”

Thomas, the Faculty Senate president-elect will join the 21-member committee along with five nominated faculty members appointed by state Board of Regents.

Thomas also said faculty members would be given the opportunity to look over the list of finalists.

“The finalists will have come to campus and have meeting with stakeholders,” Thomas said.

Faculty members are also encouraged to attend open forums that the university is holding to voice their opinions on the search.

— by Brendan MaGee

CR man charged with theft

Authorities have accused a Cedar Rapids man of writing bad checks.

Jereme Williams, 33, was charged with second-degree theft on Dec. 8, 2014.

According to online court documents, Williams wrote three checks for $2,030.96.

The checks were returned because of non-sufficient funds, and Williams signed a certified letter to pay on Jan. 2.

Williams had 10 days to comply, but he reportedly made no attempt to pay for the merchandise.

Third-degree theft is a Class-D felony.

— by Alyssa Guzman

GOP hopefuls to return to Des Moines

Potential Republican presidential candidates will return to Iowa April 9 to attend the eighth-annual Homeschool Iowa Day at the State Capitol.

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum are said to have confirmed their invitations.

The event is in participation with the Network of Iowa Christian Home Educators.

Organizers of the event have targeted a number of Republican lawmakers to attend the event and discuss topics regarding society and education.

“We’ve invited a number of Christian conservatives to hear from Iowa’s home educators about issues that concern us and share their vision for Iowa and our country,” Network of Iowa Christian Home Educators President Justin Lavan said in a press release.

The organization is Iowa’s only statewide group dedicated to helping Christians who choose to homeschool their children.

The event will commence with family activates at the Capitol, with more than 1,000 people expected to attend. That afternoon, the group will gather at the Holiday Inn Airport to watch these possible candidates participate in a roundtable discussion.

Lavan said the event will be hosted by radio personality Steve Deace, and additional speakers are definitely a possibility.

— by Aaron Walker

Biden to speak at Drake

Vice President Joe Biden will speak at Drake University on Thursday, marking the potential 2016 candidate’s first visit to the state this year.

Biden will speak to members of the Drake community in the campus’ Sheslow Auditorium. He’s expected to talk about the administration’s plans for the economy.

“One of the hallmarks of education at Drake is the ability to connect our students with highly accomplished practitioners in a broad range of fields,” Drake University President David Maxwell said in a statement. “This is a wonderful chance for our students, faculty, and staff to hear from and interact with the vice president.”

The Harkin Institute for Public Policy and Citizen Engagement, the Drake University Student Senate, and the Drake Department of Political Science are sponsoring Biden’s visit.

Biden was most recently in Iowa to encourage voter registration and campaign for Democratic Senate candidate Bruce Braley.

Those with authorized Drake IDs can obtain tickets for the event through tonight. Attendees must go through airport-like security and have a ticket to attend. Tickets are free.

Biden is expected to speak at 11 a.m., and the remarks will run for roughly an hour. Doors for the event will open at 9:30 a.m. and close at 10:45 a.m.

— by Kristen East

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