After eight consecutive years of record enrollment at Iowa State University, enrollment for the fall semester was down about one percent. With uncertainty about state taxpayer support in the future, ISU president Wendy Wintersteen is willing to at least talk about limiting enrollment.
“We actually are in the process of putting together a small committee to have a discussion about enrollment strategies at Iowa State University,” Wintersteen said. “What is the right size for Iowa State University? How should we go forward? So we’re going to have that discussion this year.”
Wintersteen made her comments late this morning during taping of Iowa Public Television’s “Iowa Press” program that airs tonight at 7:30. A reporter on the program asked Wintersteen if she’d consider limits or caps on enrollment if the university’s financial situation doesn’t improve.
“That is a great question,” Wintersteen replied.
Wintersteen said she’s worried about faculty recruitment and retention since there were no pay raises this year.
“I think that the faculty morale has been damaged by our inability to give a salary increase and by the workload that is being carried every day by our faculty in the classroom, in the research lab, in our Extension programs,” Wintersteen said. “…It’s not so easy to just simply go out and replace somebody that decides to leave, especially when it’s the stars that are being recruited away.”
For example, Wintersteen said Cornell offered a million dollars to lure away the ISU faculty member who had developed a gene editing system.
Wintersteen has been at Iowa State for 35 years, but she’s been the university’s president since November. Wintersteen said she wants to the campus to be a “welcoming and inclusive environment.”
“Other priorities would include issues related to how we maintain a high-quality student experience, how we support and achieve continued great excellence in our research and innovation programs and I think how we build a creative culture,” Wintersteen said, “so that we can be more entrepreneurial and we can contribute more to the state’s economy.”