Iowa Press; 1611; Higher Education
Major funding for this program was provided by friends of Iowa Public Television. On the campuses of Iowa State Universities operating budgets and wishes are on the rise. Some say the clutch itself in crisis proportions. Others say things will improve. State universities are straight public universities are in excellent shape but they could be much better. If the studies continue. But the report cards are due. I reach occasionally gets an appraisal tonight on Iowa. December 18 edition of Iowa promise here is being born. Tonight at this hour on college campuses across Iowa. There is a certain amount of tension and uncertainty flight full anticipation and perhaps the despair of lost hope. That's always the case at exam time this finals week brings into the fall semester for our Iowa
collegians we hope our wishes of good luck and productive study mix well with the midnight oil. Among the non student population though there is also a measure of uncertainty in the air over the future of higher education in Iowa. The dollars just aren't as abundant as they once were consecutive to wish and boost of tax the pocketbooks of parents and students. The solution is to Iowa's problems in higher education are bound to be both expensive and controversial. But first as Wayne Broom's explains the problems must be identified. Competing philosophies and interests color a plethora of investigations into the future of higher education in Iowa and all concerned want to be heard. The border regions is preparing an extensive fiscal audit that's due in the next 60 days. The Iowa legislature has commissioned a higher education task force that will make recommendations after a two year study for the governor's office the executive branch has its own Higher Education Task Force and its prospective should be known by the first of the year and staff and administration in each of the state's three public universities have comprehensive
studies underway as are the faculties on each of the three campuses long term strategic planning is the name of the game in each of the players begins at the same starting point. Education I was become a very important quality. It's an ethic if you will. And violence is therefore really believe that education is vital. Our state universities US Republican adversities are in excellent shape but they could be much better. And the reason that one business executive Martin Pomerantz is chair of the Board of Regents Institute is used as a pragmatist to believe the notions of high quality education and cost effectiveness as objectives should not be at odds with each other. POMERANTZ and others believe that more academic focus and a higher degree of academic specialization is what's needed to attract private grants and research dollars to the academic workplace. That translates into cutting or eliminating some academic programs at each of the schools. A notion that frightens some faculty members.
It's our feeling that the people of Iowa wants a believe that we're utilizing the resources we have effectively and efficiently will indeed be willing to pay an incremental additional price to achieve that level of excellence. And that's what we're after. I want as I think or have as much. Pride in our Probably putting as much emphasis on education as they ever get and don't want to truly add Biddles these Iowans remaining firm in their support for the mission of the state's universities. Biddle is co-chair of the legislature's comprehensive two year study on higher education. We are very interested to know what. People in Iowa think about higher education. Indeed Ed Bill believes I along with three major state universities and 15 community colleges and thirty private institutions could in fact be in a position to develop higher learning as an export industry. That's occurred to me that higher education maybe is at least an important resources tourism and a state in terms of product so to
speak that you might sell to other parts of the country that are going to be in need of that kind of service. Developing another export industry in Ioway is an attractive idea but those who appropriate the state's money must consider the commitments that are already made. High Ridge occasion in Iowa including commitments to two year institutions and tuition grants to students attending I was 30 private colleges the state in the not too distant future will direct nearly a half billion dollars to higher education annually. Recently students were notified that a ninth consecutive to wish an increase is on its way. Officials from the three state universities did say this week though they expect we should is now to grow at the rate of inflation instead of the shock wave increases of recent years. For their part faculty have received on average a 10 percent pay raise but some say the salaries still are not competitive in Iowa tonight. We probe the future of Iowa's commitment to higher education.
Joining us is Senator Richard Varne of Solon and Representative Jack hatch of Des Moines both lawmakers chairing committees in the Iowa legislature that deal with higher education appropriations that we question by Des Moines Register political reporter Davie Upson. And by Eric Woolson political reporter for the Waterloo career. Gentlemen the two of you were in charge of the budgets for these institutions of higher learning. And as I talk to your leaders there they tell me you're both put there because you're bright you're smart and you can serve well the oversight functions that are necessary of keeping track of the public's dollars. Mr. Hatch and I'd like them to go to you Senator Varney What's your agenda. We're going to do with these committees. I think the the important thing to stress is the oversight responsibility that speaker avers and has clearly mapped out for the for our preparation side of the legislature. And we've been increasing that role as the years go on. Representative poncy who was the chair before I was spend a great deal of time with the community colleges and oversee oversaw a lot of their spending and what's it mean when you
say oversight what are you going to do we're going to take a look at that the line items we're going to see whether or not the money we appropriated for programs for institutes for centers at all the institutions actually accomplish what the intent of the of the appropriation was. And we're going to do that not by asking simple questions. My agenda is to probe deep to be incisive and to ask tough questions. And the least we expect our tough response is we may not like the responses but we can we can do so much better if we know where the regions are going where the presidents are going where the superintendents were that what their agenda is. They are forthright with us and I think that's our responsibility to make sure that they are. Senator Varney What's your agenda with this budget subcommittee. Well it's a crucial mix of your policy and a program that you want to pursue and then making sure the institutions follow up on the responsibilities they take on and the responsibilities that you give them. So oversight is crucial and we have
instituted a series of procedures for looking after certain things tagging certain mandates that we give to institutions and following up on them to see if they're continuing to do them running our hearings in such a way that we don't get a dog and pony show every year. We don't have to have people come in and just tell us what a wonderful institution they're running. We have them come in give us a brief presentation of the issue we're interested in then the straight questions. So oversight is crucial the key though is what we want to do with it. Access to higher education quality of teaching in our institutions of higher education how well they're run. And looking out for things like Minority Recruitment recruiting women into key positions those will be some of the specific issues will do it. I see your district you're from Solum. Is that a conflict of interest for a legislator from a community county like Johnson County to to oversee the budgets of those universities that I have a little bit of everything I have Grinnell College in my district I have through two community colleges that serve my district Marshalltown and Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids. I border on two other three other private colleges called
Cornell Mount Mercy and university Y while business in my district neighbors that have very strong interest in education in my area. But we also have people who are equally critical of the institution many of whom are inside the institution so I don't feel it is a con no matter what your agenda for education next year. There are a lot of people in the academic field that feel that the legislature really doesn't have a role but that if you're injecting yourselves in an area that you you're not is well versed as you should be how do you protect the academic freedom that that we need at universities and yet still do the job that you're you're supposed to do. Well I'm very sensitive about academic freedom. One of the other issues always clearly in our jurisdiction is student access and making sure that Iowans have access to higher education. Fifty percent of the students in the state do not go on to any form of higher education whatsoever. We're going see a 25 percent decline in the student population. People traditional college age. Those are clearly issues we have jurisdiction over. We are sensitive to academic freedom issues and I think
Representative Hatch and I are very in tune with those issues. But we can still go after issues of quality and accountability and be sensitive to it. Mr. Hatch Isn't that a bit of a straw man that sort of set up by academics that say oh you're interfere with our academic freedom you're not talking about doing anything in their classrooms are you. You're talking about what is going to be taught. There's a big difference in that. Well I think you're right. There's a big difference and I think that's one of our task is to convince the. The administrators and the faculty that when we bring up questions regarding the neither the quality of the education but the direction in which they're taking their program. Now we're not talking about infringing on their academic freedom we're talking about being a partner with them maybe being a critical partner or overseer of whether or not they are actually doing what they have stated they wanted to do. So you're born I know as we mentioned in the introduction program and all these studies was a study of months of higher education going on. And many leaders I talked
to say that next year is going to be the big year for higher education. Not this year. Is that your feeling are we going to see a basically a holding pattern on these questions this year in the legislature are you getting ready for 1990 or are you going to try to do something in 1990. We will move forward I believe. Representative Hatch and I have discussed some of these issues and there are some things I just can't wait. Student access to higher education is just too crucial the federal government is abandon the area. Students are leaving college with a tremendous debt load. It's encouraging them to leave the state because in order to survive to pay those debts and they leave college they have to have higher paying salaries that out of state jobs can bring some of these questions just can't wait. There will be the impetus or there will be an argument made that we should wait wait until all the studies are done the gov study will be done this year and they will have recommendations what do you anticipate or some items that you will what I've heard you say earlier is a tighter oversight. But what are some specific items that you think you can get done this year even before the studies are completed.
I wouldn't like the two areas specifically as in student aid for instance I would like to see us pursue a work for college program to start that we have to reach down into even the grade school level get parents to save more and get students to think about that 50 percent that doesn't go it's not all of whom are not qualified and many who are qualified they don't go just don't plan like to see maybe a work for college program where students work for two years when they graduate from high school then they get four years of college educations and benefit from that. Another area is in the area of telecommunications. We're seeing telecommunications just explode in the state. And the thinking about it has not reached higher education yet. So we clearly need some pilot projects and some work in that area and those are just two examples. I think the agenda the plate is way too full to wait until night. But there will be certain issues such as governance which will there will be I think a strong push to wait on some of those questions representative Hatch what in addition what has just been mentioned you see on the agenda this year you know you mentioned that you're going to be asking some tough questions I think is a quote from you and one of my questions back to you is seemed to be saying we want strategic plans in place. Is that right.
Well I think the legislature last year reacted by or acted by establishing the higher ed task force. We will not wait for that complete report because as as Senator Boren said the agenda is too full. We will speak specifically look at technology transfer university research as an extension of economic development. We're going to push the universities to come up with plans that would will not acknowledge that we have pure and applied research going on at the university but we're doing very little to get to commercialize that into a product a product that we can manufacture here in Iowa. I'll give you an example. The university has one of the University of Iowa has one of the WHO HAS THE ONLY. FDA drug manufacturing programs authorized by the federal government but we do not have a drug manufacturer in the state to have that type of quality in our university to have that type of that knowledge made by the federal government that we have those
resources and not have a a drug manufacturer located near the university implies that we have the research and the technology but we don't know how to transfer that into a commercial product to the point that we need a drug manufacturer here we don't need the expertise at the university to know that we need a drug manufacturer here we want to use the quality of our education institutions to draw businesses to these to the state then we could do what Rich was suggesting and that is those students that leave the graduate degrees at the University of Iowa have a place to go to. In our state they will be going to Illinois or Tennessee or Florida or New Jersey where Pfizer and Upjohn have plans they will be staying here in Iowa. And that's what we're going to push those universities saying we like what you're doing but you're not doing it well enough to commercialize your research. So you're going to encourage the research parks that well but not research parks but technology transfer this because you that that's where how it's how you create jobs center of on your time out student
access and when you talk about that the question that that is on everyone's mind is tuitions. What reassurances do you have or do you have any reassurances that these huge increases in tuition that we have seen in the last nine years are finally going to level off. Well we do have the plan that was put in place is a three year substantial increase in faculty salaries and this is the last year of that. So we know the regents have said themselves that they'll be backing off the double digit or high single digit increases in tuition so we know they'll take the pressure off. Tuition increases. We also heard POMERANZ say that when they show that they're well-run and that they've done everything they can they'll be coming out to more state dollars not more tuition increases. I think we're maxing out on that. We can also look to the work study program that was initiated We have one of the few state run state supported work study programs in the country. And we're going to look to that program possibly for some increase as well as some other innovations like the I work for college program.
I think that we're going to try to be and at least we've talked about it with more specifically the house. I mean we're talking about putting a cap on the wish. And I think that cap will. It's not afraid it will probably be related to an index so that there will be a slower growth but I think it's a knowledge meant that we can no longer expect our students to take more of the burden on tuition increases. Even though there may have been some need for it in the past we've come to the point where we have to start looking at other resources if indeed we need it. As one of them on the subject of two issues we lit into this discussion with the philosophy of maybe this is an export industry should we be charging more for out-of-state wishes then because this is an industry where the plan is we're going to put a cap on Iowa and state residents to wish and leave the August state tuition at more flexible is flexible it is now senator Veyron will that tuition cap fly in the sun.
I don't know if the tuition cap would fly by the governor's office. I don't know if it'll fly in the Senate. I'll give it serious consideration because we're reaching one of the highest percentages in the Big Ten in the country for student support of higher education. You're getting up past it almost to the third. You know 33 percent more. That's a lot for the students to bear and will give it serious consideration but they got you know the options maybe a tuition cap and maybe more student aid programs. I think those arresting the problem is will be done issue. You mentioned faculty salaries because I'm curious what do you see that the third year of those increases continuing sort of are. Well I think that the third year will go through that. The only question will be if there is money needed to fund more student aid programs. From where did that come Mr. Hatch will go through the house. I think it will we have to remember that we have committed ourselves to a three year agreement and that. I don't think we're we're at all talking about reducing that we have pumped in 43 million dollars to increase for
as our share of increasing the faculty salaries and we will commit ourselves to the third year which is why we think we can now say to that to the residents of the state we've we've talked about X Excellence at the college level. We're talking about increasing the faculty we've thought about them we thought about the administration we thought about the faculty. Now it's time for us to think about the kids. That's why they're there and to give them some relief and some planning opportunities I think is the real intent behind the tuition cap. You talk about maxing out on tuitions at what point do you max out the state dollars. What point do you say we can't afford anymore. While I think that obviously depends on the economy and the number of institutions that are asking for more aid and the kind of aid that I think we're approaching the cap on the number of state dollars we can put in given that we're going to see a 25 percent decline in the college age population in the state. Unless you can bring more out-of-state students here which the private colleges are starting to gear up to you know consider more recruiting or if you can bring continue to bring in more nontraditional students which is fill the gap without a decline in the
number student population. But we have seen a decline in enrollment yet because it will introduce our students unless that can happen going to be having more and more dollars going into educating fewer people. We're talking about here are cuts ultimately. Now do you see this legislature making cuts I mean just talk about the student age and the student population declining we were seeing I was population starting to flatten out depending on who you believe. Mr. Hatch are we going to see some actual cuts made in university programs departments degrees. I think what we're going to see we won't see a cut in allocation because I think what we are committed to constantly increasing the allocation for higher education. It's a matter of resources. And then to answer your question directly it's a matter of consolidation. For example I don't think we need a graduate degree of journalism and I was State University. We need an undergraduate degree in communication but a graduate degree in journalism when I was state is is a duplication of the find
and established degree at the University of Iowa. And I think that's where we start asking the regents and the universities if you're going to have we need to consolidate. We want you to make those decisions. We want you to consolidate. And if you don't then two and three and four years from now you're going to leave it in the hands of the politicians. And that's that's not ideal it's acceptable to me that we want and that's what first last week on the show Senator Kinley suggested that the number of area colleges and I will be reduced. Senator Varney is that a serious trial balloon floating around the I was cut the number of very colleges. If you don't see in the near future more cooperation through telecommunications courses being shared sharing of administrative services a lot more cooperation and reduction of duplication between all of the high institutions of higher edge in this education in the state and online and in the K-12 institutions who are you going to see a strong push to consolidate functions or consolidate administrative entities.
I don't think you'll see any reduction of service delivery sites back you're going to see an expansion of service delivery sites because of telecommunications. All you need now is a phone line or a satellite dish. You know that you now get a classroom. You've got educators saying that's that's an unfair rap on them though because you guys put this telecommunications system on paper and it looks great on paper and you haven't given them any money to fund it and put it to make it a reality. Why don't you guys have to come up with some money this year to do that. Yes and this is the year to do it. We really need to implement that. The plan is done the request for proposal is out gotten the request back to choosing which Plan now and they'll come to us with them. The telecommunications worm come to us with a plant representative and what about that led me to the college question that Dave just asked of Senator Varney. How do you feel about that. Too many community colleges No. I think we have to look at what function do we want the community colleges to perform. I think you'll find some discussion about a new type of K through 13 system where we're talking about vocational education going beyond the 12th grade
because the careers that demand more education more skills should be delivered by a public education system. If you go to the 13th year that I think sort of Arne is right we're talking about Access is more important than the actual number of community colleges. I think we had a we're seeing and we and the legislature is clearly making this a point that we want fewer administrative units and whether or not you go from 15 to 8:49 is probably going to be discussed within two years. Do you think you are ahead of the curve of public opinion on this. Or do you feel a groundswell out there Representative hatch for some of the things you're saying on this program. I think it's a lot like the ground water bill that we passed two years ago I think. I think the politicians are behind the populous. I think they realize that they don't want to spend more money on that to wish and they demand clearer for a clearer efficiency in our universities and our community colleges and a and
I think they're going to be sending a very clear message to us that this is one of their priorities and we have to respond to that. How do you get those faculties to spend more hours in the classroom where figures are in the governor's budget hearing this week that 60 percent of the undergraduate hours the College of Business the University of our top my teaching assistants and how do you without violating somebody's academic freedom get faculty to spend more time teaching. Well it's it's certainly not a question of academic freedom when we spend $60000 on a professor who spends three hours in the classroom a week. Making $60000 and then makes $100000 as a consultant working at other states for other industries. I think we have a responsibility to say that's the kind of that's not academic freedom and what we're going to expect from you is our higher standards more work in the classroom. If you have research that we are trying also to encourage that research should first primarily be related to Iowa based research. And I would base technology. I think the other thing that you have to focus on is last year for the first time we earmark money
and said all the raises that are given a certain percentage have to be given solely on the basis of the quality of the teaching that that particular person does. So financial rewards is clearly one way. Obviously these other sorts of issues come into play though. How many students are going to be in these institutions and at what institution. If you've got students who can access a basic class at a community college that's taught at an institution and across the state I was state of Grinnell or you name it. Then the number of teachers and what they do is going to change I think the answer to your questions we need a basic rethinking of the function of the teacher in the classroom. In higher education and a way to reform higher education so that we improve the way things are taught. We don't we just cannot depend on these lecture classes. We have 200 people standing out there one person distributing information standing there talking to people. We have to reform that process. We've reformed K-12 education we beat them over the head. We've reformed until they're sick of it.
We've done nothing like get the higher education reforming higher education Oh there's a lot of concern that you turned to turn the regents institutions into these engines of economic development when they're really supposed to be just places of higher learning instead. Have you over reacted to the recession. And where do you draw the line here as you go about shaping the future of the university. Yes we've over reacted on both sides I think the institutions have unfortunately although they've tried to word it carefully have over promised the benefits of some of the initiatives in the molecular biology and in the laser science. And if those don't pan out you know that's I still think it's a good investment because we're furthering knowledge and we're doing good research in those programs. We've never reacted there first and foremost institutions to teach undergraduates. That is that the primary mission and to do it well and I don't think we're doing that. Do we have to go back to that basic mission and then look at these other things such as what Representative Hatch is talking about where we have a program that winds up very nicely with an economic opportunity to take advantage of it.
But that's not the sole function of an institution of higher education. Are you at odds with the governor to see understand. I believe that we would come down on a different side of the balance here I think you can down one side of them being engines of economic development. We've got I think it's appropriate but I don't think they can they could do as much as what might be asked to do. We've got less than a minute. Representative Hatch Are you satisfied with the job at the border regions the Department of Education are doing and overseeing. I was institutions of higher learning. Well they're beginning to respond to I think legislative inquiry and they have this performance audit that will be conducted. It's being conducted and its final report will be in February. So I think we have to realize that. That the that the legislature is the supreme authority in the state not the border regions and they have to open up and provide us with more information they provided to us when we asked for it but it's pulling teeth to ask for and I think that relationship has to change and I I think that maybe with it with a new leader the new a chairmans of the of the Education Committee may get the message that
we really want to be partners with it. We don't want to force him down the road they don't want to travel by. I think we need to be more partisan. I would agree wholeheartedly with that. We can have people withhold information from forthright. I'm sorry that just when you're talking about opening up I got to close down that time. Thank you very much Senator Varne and Representative hatch for being our guest and I think I will press on this is the final edition of I will press for 1988. We'll be back in January. But for now we're baby Upson Eric Wilson and the entire I will press staff our best wishes for an enjoyable holiday. We'll see you in the New Year. Major funding for Iowa press was provided by friends of
Iowa Public Television.
- Iowa Press
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- Higher Education
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- "Iowa Press is a news talk show, featuring an in-depth news report on one topic each episode, followed by a conversation between experts on the issue."
- Guests: Rep. Jack Hatch, D, Des Moines; Sen. Rich varn, D, Solon. UCA-30.
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- MLA: “Iowa Press; 1611; Higher Education.” 1988-12-15. Iowa Public Television, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. December 4, 2023. <http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-37-676t1r19>.
- APA: Iowa Press; 1611; Higher Education. Boston, MA: Iowa Public Television, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-37-676t1r19