Board of Regents president, Craig Lang spoke about taking over leadership of the board today in his first meeting in the position. Lang was elected last month after it was revealed that then president David Miles was resigning at the request of the governor.
Lang, who is president of the Iowa Farm Bureau, said he had not done any interviews with the media because he wanted to do some research first.
“Let me begin by saying that in life and in this role, I’m a firm believer in getting input from key players before making any major decisions. That’s why I’ve spent the past couple of weeks reaching out to the Regents, University Presidents and other key leaders to learn more about issues that are “top-of-mind” for them,” Lang said, “All of these conversations are necessary during a transition to determine common ground, and assess our future direction.”
Lang’s move to take over leadership of the board raised some controversy and he sought to smooth that over. “My conversations with the Regents, University Presidents and others revealed that we all have far more in common than not,” Lang said, “We are all united in our support and commitment for our students and higher learning institutions.”
Lang says he has three priorities that he feels are necessary to focus on, priorities that he says all the regents in general agree on. He says the first priority is to find a new president for Iowa State University. Secondly he says the regents need to build a stronger relationship with the Iowa Legislature.
Lang says the regents believe it is important to stop the loss of state funding “so that a student’s cost is more closely aligned to the cost of inflation.” Lang says they will also work to improve the relationship with the executive too to provide “openness and transparency on Regents system operations.” Lang invited some legislators to the meeting today and said that has not happened in the past. Lang says the third priority is to create an awareness of the value of the universities to the state.
In action today at the meeting in Cedar Falls, the regents approved a 4% salary increase for the presidents of each state school. University of Iowa President Sally Mason and University of Northern Iowa President Ben Allen were also given an increase in their deferred compensation packages, while Iowa State President Greg Geoffroy is retiring and the regents are searching for his replacement.
The board also approved a 4% raise for the executive director of the regents and a $5,000 incentive bonus. The board met in a closed session Wednesday to discuss the raises and then voted 9-0 to approve them without discussion in the open meeting.
Mason’s salary will increase to $483,600, Geoffroy’s to $440,249 and Allen’s to $332,800. Regents executive director Bob Donley will see his pay jump up to $153,816. Mason was given a 3.3% pay raise last year, while Geoffroy and Allen declined salary increases in light of the tough budget. All three did get an increase in their deferred compensation last year.