Ending some academic programs and out-sourcing campus police are some of the cost-cutting ideas the University of Northern Iowa’s president is considering. The initial reaction from the top two officers on the board that oversees the state universities is positive.
Craig Lang, president of the Board of Regents, says these are the kind of moves the board asked U.N.I. president Ben Allen to make. “Even putting colleges together, whatever services he had to out-source and come back to us with a plan,” Lang says. “…We think it’s very important that education’s sustainable in the future.”
Bruce Rastetter, president pro tem of the Board of Regents, says the board wants all the universities to start focusing on key “centers of excellence” and U.N.I. is “great at” educating future teachers.
“There’s great opportunity for it to support K-12 resurgence in Iowa in terms of the quality of education and lead with that,” Rastetter says. More than 350 K-through-12 students are enrolled at U-N-I’s “lab school” but the university’s president has indicated part or all of the school may be closed.
The board of regents president says a consultant’s report has raised questions about the lab school’s future. “If they said they had to rebuild the school because there’s some antiquated facilities there, it could be $30 million to do that,” Lang says. “That’s not affordable at this time so we’ve asked for some solutions.”
U.N.I.’s president has suggested “virtual” connections with schools around the state is a more “forward-looking” way to do the research conducted today at U.N.I.’s lab school and provide the student teaching opportunities.