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University of Iowa President Dr. David Skorton (#3024)
January 31, 2003

Yepsen: THERE'S NEW LEADERSHIP COMING TO THE UNIVERSITY OF IOWA. WE DISCUSS THE FUTURE AND THE MISSION OF HIGHER EDUCATION IN THE STATE WITH THE NEW PRESIDENT, DR. DAVID SKORTON, ON THIS EDITION OF "IOWA PRESS."

FUNDING FOR THIS PROGRAM WAS PROVIDED BY "FRIENDS," THE IOWA PUBLIC TELEVISION FOUNDATION... GENERATIONS OF FAMILIES AND FRIENDS WHO FEEL PASSIONATE ABOUT THE PROGRAMS THEY WATCH ON IOWA PUBLIC TELEVISION. AND BY THE IOWA BANKER'S ASSOCIATION... FOR PERSONAL, BUSINESS, AND COMMERCIAL NEEDS, IOWA BANKS HELP IOWANS REACH THEIR FINANCIAL GOALS; AND BY THE ASSOCIATED GENERAL CONTRACTORS OF IOWA... THE PUBLIC'S PARTNER IN BUILDING IOWA'S HIGHWAY, BRIDGE, AND MUNICIPAL UTILITY INFRASTRUCTURE. ON STATEWIDE IOWA PUBLIC TELEVISION, THIS IS THE FRIDAY, JANUARY 31 EDITION OF "IOWA PRESS." HERE IS DAVID YEPSEN.

Yepsen: ON SATURDAY, MARCH 1, THE 19TH PRESIDENT OF THE UNIVERSITY OF IOWA WILL BE INSTALLED IN CEREMONIES IN IOWA CITY. DR. DAVID SKORTON WAS CHOSEN BY THE IOWA BOARD OF REGENTS TO SUCCEED MARY SUE COLEMAN AS PRESIDENT, AND ALL INTERESTED PARTIES EXPECT DR. SKORTON TO GET OFF TO A QUICK START. THAT'S BECAUSE HE'S BEEN A UNIVERSITY OF IOWA FIXTURE FOR BETTER THAN TWO DECADES, BOTH AS A FACULTY MEMBER AND AS A UNIVERSITY ADMINISTRATOR. IN FACT, SKORTON IS THE ONLY CANDIDATE FROM INSIDE THE UNIVERSITY TO BE INTERVIEWED FOR THE POSITION. DR. SKORTON IS A MEDICAL DOCTOR AND HOLDS PROFESSORSHIPS IN INTERNAL MEDICINE, ELECTRICAL AND COMPUTER ENGINEERING, AND BIOMEDICAL ENGINEERING. IN ADMINISTRATION, DR. SKORTON HAS SERVED IN A NUMBER OF CAPACITIES, INCLUDING VICE PRESIDENT OF EXTERNAL RELATIONS. AND IN HIS SPARE TIME, DR. SKORTON WORKS THE STACKS-OF-WAX AS A JAZZ DISC JOCKEY ON RADIO STATION KSUI IN IOWA CITY. DR. SKORTON, WE'RE GLAD TO HAVE YOU WITH US. IS YOUR PRESIDENCY GOING TO BE MORE OF DIZZY GILLESPIE OR A DUKE ELLINGTON?

Dr. Skorton: YOU'LL JUST HAVE TO TUNE IN TO FIND OUT, DAVID.

Yepsen: IT'S GOOD TO HAVE YOU WITH US.

Dr. Skorton: THANKS A LOT FOR HAVING ME. I'M REALLY PLEASED TO BE HERE.

Yepsen: ALSO WITH US AT THE "IOWA PRESS" TABLE ARE KAY HENDERSON, NEWS DIRECTOR WITH RADIO IOWA, AND MIKE GLOVER, SENIOR LEGISLATIVE AND POLITICAL REPORTER WITH THE "ASSOCIATED PRESS."

Glover: DR. SKORTON, YOU'VE BEEN AT THE UNIVERSITY OF IOWA A LONG TIME, BUT YOU'RE ASSUMING A NEW HIGH-PROFILE POSITION AS ITS PRESIDENT. WHAT DO IOWANS -- OR WHAT SHOULD IOWANS KNOW ABOUT YOU TO BEGIN JUDGING YOUR PRESIDENCY?

Dr. Skorton: MIKE, ACCESSIBILITY TO HIGHER EDUCATION HAS BEEN A THEME OF MY LIFE. MY DAD WAS BORN IN RUSSIA AND EMIGRATED, CAME TO THE U.S., AND DIDN'T EVEN HAVE A CHANCE TO FINISH HIGH SCHOOL. HIGH ON HIS PRIORITIES WAS THAT HIS KIDS GO THROUGH COLLEGE. IF IT WASN'T FOR ACCESSIBILITY AND SCHOLARSHIPS AND STUDENT AID, I NEVER WOULD HAVE HAD THE OPPORTUNITIES THAT I'VE HAD. SO ONE THING YOU'LL HEAR FROM ME IS AN IMPORTANT EMPHASIS ON ACCESSIBILITY.

Glover: AND ANOTHER ASPECT OF YOUR HAVING BEEN AT THE UNIVERSITY FOR A LONG TIME -- SOMETIMES WHEN UNIVERSITIES BRING IN NEW PRESIDENTS, THEY BRING IN CHANGE AGENTS. HOW CAN YOU BE A CHANGE AGENT WHEN YOU'VE BEEN AT THE UNIVERSITY FOR A COUPLE OF DECADES?

Dr. Skorton: THAT'S A FAIR QUESTION. I THINK IT'S NOT DESPITE ME BEING THERE BUT BECAUSE I'VE BEEN THERE FOR A LONG TIME, I HAVE HIGH HOPES THAT PEOPLE IN THE UNIVERSITY KNOW ME, WILL HAVE SOME CONFIDENCE AND TRUST IN ME, AS WELL AS FOLKS AROUND THE STATE IN THE BUSINESS AND GOVERNMENTAL COMMUNITIES. AT LEAST THEY KNOW WHAT THEY'RE GOING TO GET. THEY HAVE SOME IDEA OF MY COMMUNICATION STYLE. AND I HOPE THAT IT WILL POSSIBLE FOR US TO HAVE VERY STRAIGHTFORWARD, HONEST CONVERSATIONS ON A VARIETY OF DIFFICULT ISSUES RIGHT OFF THE BAT, MIKE.

Henderson: ON THURSDAY A CAMPUS COMMITTEE ISSUED A REPORT IN REGARDS TO THE PIERCE INCIDENT ON CAMPUS IN WHICH A UNIVERSITY OF IOWA ATHLETE WAS INVOLVED IN A SEXUAL ASSAULT. THEY CONCLUDED THAT THE STATUS OF MR. PIERCE AS AN ATHLETE APPEARS TO HAVE DOMINATED THE CONCERN OF INDIVIDUALS INVOLVED, TO THE DETRIMENT OF THE UNIVERSITY. (A) DO YOU AGREE WITH THAT CONCLUSION; AND (B) IF YOU DO, WHAT CHANGES WILL BE MAKE?

Dr. Skorton: I'M NOT GOING TO BE ABLE TO ANSWER YOUR QUESTION DIRECTLY BECAUSE, AS YOU KNOW FROM GOING TO THE CONFERENCE, THAT COMMITTEE IS GOING TO TENDER A REPORT TO PRESIDENT BOYD. PRESIDENT BOYD WILL RECEIVE THE REPORT, I BELIEVE, IN THE NEXT WEEK OR SO AND HAS ON HIS AGENDA COMPLETING A REVIEW OF THE REPORT AND MAKING A RECOMMENDATION TO ME. I'LL BE MORE THAN GLAD TO TALK TO YOU AFTER THE REST OF THAT PROCESS OCCURS. AND I'D LIKE TO TAKE THE OCCASION TO SAY THAT UNFORTUNATE SET OF CIRCUMSTANCES, TO BE SURE, BUT THE SYSTEM, TO MY WAY OF THINKING, APPEARS TO BE WORKING. WE HAVE A PROCESS. INTERIM PRESIDENT OF THE UNIVERSITY CHARGED A FACULTY AND STAFF COMMITTEE TO LOOK INTO IT. I'D LIKE TO LET THAT PROCESS CONTINUE TO ITS CONCLUSION.

Glover: LET'S STEP BACK A SECOND AND LOOK AT THE BIGGER PICTURE. YOU'RE PRESIDENT OF THE UNIVERSITY OF IOWA -- OR GOING TO BE PRESIDENT OF THE UNIVERSITY OF IOWA. ATHLETICS IS ONE OF THE HIGHEST PROFILE THINGS THAT GOES ON AT A PUBLIC UNIVERSITY. IT'S HOW YOU GET A LOT OF YOUR ATTENTION. IT'S HOW YOU GET A LOST OF BOOSTER SUPPORT AND SO FORTH AND SO ON. WHAT'S YOUR VIEW OF HOW ATHLETICS FITS INTO THE MISSION OF THE UNIVERSITY OF IOWA?

Dr. Skorton: FAIR ENOUGH. FIRST, YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT ME THAT I'M A HAWKEYE FAN AND I BELIEVE ATHLETICS HAVE AN IMPORTANT PLACE IN THE UNIVERSITY. A PIECE OF IT, MIKE, IS BECAUSE OF THIS ISSUE I BROUGHT UP ABOUT ACCESSIBILITY. STUDENT ATHLETES SOMETIMES CAN GO TO COLLEGE BECAUSE OF THE FACT THAT THEY GET ATHLETIC SCHOLARSHIPS. SECONDLY, JUST AS YOU MENTIONED, ATHLETICS IS A VERY IMPORTANT EXTERNAL RELATIONS TOOL, IF YOU WANT TO LOOK AT IT THAT WAY. AND I BELIEVE IT'S FAIR TO SAY, AS YOU MOVE AWAY FROM JOHNSON COUNTY, A COUPLE OF THINGS THAT PEOPLE TEND TO ASSOCIATE WITH THE UNIVERSITY OF IOWA, AT LEAST IN MY EXPERIENCE, IS HEALTH CARE AND ATHLETICS. SO IT'S A VERY IMPORTANT TOUCHSTONE FOR US WITH OUR COMMUNITY, ESPECIALLY THE GREATER COMMUNITIES IN THE STATE AND BEYOND. HAVING SAID THAT, ATHLETICS HAS TO OPERATE IN THE UNIVERSITY LIKE EVERY OTHER UNIT. STUDENT ATHLETES ARE STUDENTS FIRST. UNDER MY PRESIDENCY, YOU'LL SEE THAT EMPHASIZED.

Henderson: WHEN YOU WERE SELECTED AS PRESIDENT, YOU DESCRIBED RECENT TUITION INCREASES FOR STUDENTS AS EXUBERANT, I BELIEVE. IT'S BEEN GOING UP 50 PERCENT IN THE PAST THREE YEARS. IF I'M THE PARENT OF A STUDENT WHO IS ENROLLED OR MAY BE ENROLLING AT THE SCHOOL IN IOWA CITY, SHOULD I EXPECT DOUBLE-DIGIT INCREASES IN THE COMING YEARS?

Dr. Skorton: IT'S TOO SOON FOR ANY OF US TO BE ABLE TO ANSWER THAT. AS YOU'RE WELL AWARE, THE BOARD OF REGENTS IN THE STATE OF IOWA SETS TUITION. I AM CONCERNED, AS MANY OF US ARE, ABOUT THE RATE OF RISE OF TUITION. AND DURING MY INTERVIEW PROCESS, I HAD A CHANCE TO SHARE MY CONCERNS WITH THE BOARD. I DON'T HAVE SPECIFIC PLANS TO RECOMMEND TO THE BOARD, AND THEY WILL CONSULT, AS THEY ALWAYS DO, IN MAKING A DECISION ABOUT TUITION. BUT I AM CONCERNED ABOUT IT AND HAVE SHARED THOSE CONCERNS WITH THE BOARD.

Glover: YOU MENTIONED EARLIER THE ISSUE OF ACCESS TO HIGHER EDUCATION. AS KAY MENTIONED, TUITION HAS GONE UP 50 PERCENT IN THE LAST THREE YEARS. IT'S A PRETTY EXPENSIVE BILL NOW TO SEND A KID TO A PUBLIC COLLEGE IN IOWA. WHERE ARE WE IN THE CONTINUUM OF ACCESS TO EDUCATION FOR MIDDLE CLASS -- LOWER MIDDLE CLASS WORKING FAMILIES IN TERMS OF BEING ABLE TO GET TO PUBLIC COLLEGES IN IOWA? ARE WE STARTING TO SHUT DOWN ACCESS? IS IT STILL A BARGAIN? WHERE ARE WE?

Dr. Skorton: WELL, WE'RE ALONG THE PATH TOWARD MAKING IT LESS OF A BARGAIN. THERE'S NO QUESTION ABOUT THAT. I STILL THINK, HOWEVER, THAT HIGHER EDUCATION IN IOWA -- PUBLIC HIGHER EDUCATION IN IOWA IS STILL A RELATIVE VALUE COMPARED TO MANY OTHER PLACES. BUT INCOMES OF THE FAMILIES IN IOWA ARE ALSO LOWER THAN SOME OF OUR SURROUNDING STATES. ALL OF US, THE UNIVERSITY OFFICIALS AND CERTAINLY THE BOARD OF REGENTS AND THE FAMILIES THROUGHOUT THE STATE, ARE CONCERNED THAT WE DON'T CROSS WHATEVER THAT LINE MIGHT BE THAT YOU'RE REFERRING TO THAT WILL MAKE PUBLIC HIGHER EDUCATION SUCH A BURDEN THAT IT WON'T BE ON THE AGENDA OF FAMILIES THROUGHOUT THE STATE.

Glover: IN YOUR MIND, WHERE IS THAT LINE?

Dr. Skorton: I WISH I COULD ANSWER THAT IN A SPECIFIC WAY. I DON'T KNOW. BUT I KNOW THAT WE NEED TO WORK, ALL OF US, TOWARD STABILIZING THE STATE ECONOMY. AND ONE FEATURE OF MY PRESIDENCY THAT I HOPE I'LL BE ABLE TO MAKE GOOD ON IS THAT I DON'T INTEND FOR US TO BELLYACHE ABOUT WHATEVER THE STATE IS ABLE TO SHARE WITH US. THE STATE IS UNDERGOING VERY SIGNIFICANT AND REAL FINANCIAL PROBLEMS. AS A STATE AGENCY THAT RECEIVES VERY GENEROUS SUPPORT AND HAS FOR 150 YEARS, WE NEED TO DO OUR PART IN DEALING WITH THAT. WE NEED TO DO OUR PART IN HELPING TO GROW THE STATE ECONOMY, IF I COULD USE THAT TERM, THROUGH ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT. WHATEVER IT IS, THOUGH, I'M HOPING AND ASSUMING THAT AS THE STATE'S ECONOMIC SITUATION STABILIZES, THE STATE WILL RETURN TO STABLE, PREDICTABLE SUPPORT OF THE UNIVERSITIES AS IT HAS FOR THE VAST MAJORITY OF ITS HISTORY SO THAT WE CAN RETURN TO STABLE, PREDICTABLE TUITION LEVELS.

Yepsen: DR. SKORTON, WHAT'S A FAIR MIX HERE? I MEAN IT USED TO BE THE STUDENT PAID ABOUT 30 PERCENT AND THE STATE PAID 70 PERCENT OF THE COST. THOSE FIGURES ARE GETTING CLOSER TOGETHER NOW. WHAT'S A FAIR MIX? IS 50/50 A REASONABLE MIX? WHAT DO YOU TELL AN IOWA LEGISLATOR FOR WHAT THEY OUGHT TO BE PUTTING IN THE POT TO MATCH WITH WHATEVER THE STUDENT CAN PUT IN THE POT?

Dr. Skorton: I WOULDN'T, PRESUME, DAVID, TO TELL AN EXACT NUMBER. I WOULDN'T PRESUME TO TELL YOU AN EXACT SET OF PROPORTIONS. I WOULD SAY THE FOLLOWING. HIGHER EDUCATION IS AN EXPENSIVE PROPOSITION, AND EVERY ONE OF US HAS TO DO WHAT WE CAN TO RAISE FUNDS. IT'S MY RESPONSIBILITY TO HELP THE UNIVERSITY RAISE EXTERNAL FUNDS THROUGH PRIVATE PHILANTHROPY. IT'S MY RESPONSIBILITY TO HELP THE UNIVERSITY RAISE FUNDS THROUGH FEDERAL FUNDING WHICH, OF COURSE, ALL OF US PAY AS FEDERAL AS WELL AS STATE TAXPAYERS. IT'S THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE FAMILIES AND THE STUDENTS TO PAY THEIR FAIR SHARE, AS YOU'VE MENTIONED MANY TIMES IN YOUR COLUMN. AND I HAVE TO TELL YOU I AGREE WITH THAT. I BELIEVE IT'S ALSO THE STATE'S RESPONSIBILITY TO KEEP PUBLIC HIGHER EDUCATION PUBLIC. AND AS I SAY, I'M NOT GOING TO COMPLAIN ABOUT THAT BECAUSE ONE OF THE REASONS THAT I'VE STAYED HERE FOR 23 YEARS AND HAVE BEEN SO HAPPY AND FALLEN IN LOVE WITH THE PLACE IS THAT THE CITIZENS OF THIS STATE TAKE EDUCATION AS A VERY HIGH PRIORITY.

Yepsen: WHERE CAN WE EXPECT TO SEE YOU MAKING CUTS IN THE UNIVERSITY BUDGET? I MEAN TODAY WE'VE GOT A STORY IN MY PAPER THAT YOUR OFFICE AT THE UNIVERSITY RELATIONS HAS GOT 40 FULL-TIME EMPLOYEES MAKING $3 MILLION -- FOR A TOTAL BUDGET OF $3 MILLION. AT A TIME WHEN YOU CAN'T PAY PROFESSORS ENOUGH, WHEN YOU TALK ABOUT ACCESS PROBLEMS, DO WE REALLY NEED TO BE SPENDING THAT KIND OF MONEY ON PUBLIC RELATIONS?

Dr. Skorton: WELL, NEITHER YOU NOR I, I BELIEVE AT THIS STAGE IN THE INTERVIEW, KNOW HOW THAT NUMBER COMPARES TO OUR BUDGET COMPARED TO OTHER PUBLIC UNIVERSITIES. I APOLOGY. I SURE DON'T KNOW WHAT IT IS. I WILL TELL YOU AS THE INTERIM AND THEN VICE PRESIDENT FOR EXTERNAL RELATIONS OVER THE LAST YEAR, WE CUT THE UNIVERSITY RELATIONS BUDGET MORE THAN ALMOST ANY BUDGET UNDER MY CONTROL. SO MY PHILOSOPHY, WHICH REALLY HARKS FOR MARY SUE COLEMAN'S PHILOSOPHY WITH WHICH I COMPLETELY AGREE, IS THAT WE SHOULD MAKE CUTS SELECTIVE, NOT ACROSS THE BOARD IN THE UNIVERSITY, AND THAT WE SHOULD CUT THE UNDERGRADUATE ACADEMIC UNITS, LIKE THE COLLEGE OF LIBERAL ARTS AND SCIENCES, THE LEAST, AND CUT OTHER COLLEGIATE INSTRUCTIONAL UNITS NEXT AND CUT THE ADMINISTRATIVE UNITS THE MOST. UNDER MARY SUE COLEMAN, INCLUDING UNDER MY ADMINISTRATION, YOU WILL SEE CUTS DISPROPORTIONATE, IF THEY HAVE TO OCCUR AGAIN, DAVID, AND UNITS LIKE UNIVERSITY RELATIONS AND OTHER ADMINISTRATIVE UNITS WILL CONTINUE TO BEAR THE DISPROPORTIONATE SHARE OF THE CUTS. DO WE NEED SOME UNIVERSITY RELATIONS PERSONNEL? OF COURSE WE DO. WE NEED TO BE ABLE TO INTERACT WITH THE MEDIA, PEOPLE LIKE YOU AND OTHERS. WE NEED TO BE ABLE TO GET OUR WORD OUT TO THE STATE OF IOWA, AND WE NEED TO BE ABLE TO ANSWER MANY, MANY QUERIES OF MANY KINDS FROM IOWANS AND PEOPLE OUTSIDE THE STATE. SO AS IN MANY OTHER AREAS OF MY PRESIDENCY, WE NEED TO STRIKE A BALANCE. WE NEED TO HAVE SOME CAPABILITY FOR INTERACTING WITH THE EXTERNAL WORLD. IT CAN'T BE EXTRAVAGANT IN A TIME LIKE THIS, AND IT WON'T BE.

Henderson: DR. SKORTON, YOU COME FROM THE RAZZLE-DAZZLE PARTS OF THE UNIVERSITY, THE RESEARCH AND THE MED SCHOOL. WHAT DO YOU SAY TO PARENTS WHO ARE CONCERNED THAT THERE'S A FOCUS ON GETTING A GRANT FROM NASA IN MAKING SURE THAT THE LAW SCHOOL IS AMONG THE PREMIERE INSTITUTIONS IN THE COUNTRY AND NOT A FOCUS ON MY FRESHMAN'S RHETORIC CLASS?

Dr. Skorton: WELL, KAY, LET ME STEAL A COUPLE SECONDS AND TELL YOU A BIT MORE ABOUT MY BACKGROUND. MY FIRST EMPLOYMENT OUTSIDE OF MY FAMILY SHOE STORE WAS AS A PROFESSIONAL MUSICIAN, SO I HAVE A BACKGROUND IN THE ARTS. AND MY FIRST AREA OF FOCUS AS AN UNDERGRADUATE STUDENT AT UCLA BEFORE I WENT TO NORTHWESTERN WAS IN PHILOSOPHY AND COMPARATIVE RELIGION. SO YOU NEED TO KNOW THAT MY BACKGROUND IS ACTUALLY IN THE ARTS AND HUMANITIES. AND I HOPE YOU AND OTHERS WILL TAKE THE CHANCE TO LOOK AT MY TRACK RECORD AS VP FOR RESEARCH, WHERE I EXERTED MOST OF MY EFFORTS TO FIND FUNDING FROM THE STATE AND INTERNAL REALLOCATION TOWARD THE ARTS AND HUMANITIES. YOU WILL SEE ONE OF MY VERY MAIN EMPHASES ON THE COLLEGE OF LIBERAL ARTS AND SCIENCES BECAUSE I'M A TRUE BELIEVER, IF I COULD USE THAT TERM, THAT THE CORE, THE SOUL, OF THE UNIVERSITY, IS THE HUMANITIES AND THOSE RELATED DISCIPLINES. AND THE SETTING FOR THAT SOUL IS THE COLLEGE OF LIBERAL ARTS AND SCIENCES. NOW, IT'S EASY TO SAY THAT SITTING HERE AT THIS COMFORTABLE STUDIO. WE'LL HAVE TO TALK SIX MONTHS OR A YEAR FROM NOW AND SEE IF MY HANDLING OF THE UNIVERSITY BUDGET FOLLOWS THOSE PRECEPTS. I THINK IT WILL.

Glover: NOT LONG AGO THERE WAS A HUGE ISSUE ABOUT DUPLICATION AT THE MAJOR STATE PUBLIC UNIVERSITIES, WERE THEY DUPLICATING EACH OTHER'S PROGRAMS. IS IT TIME TO TAKE A LOOK AT THAT, OR ARE YOU CONFIDENT THAT EACH UNIVERSITY HAS CARVED OUT A UNIQUE ROLE?

Dr. Skorton: I THINK WE NEED TO KEEP AN EYE ON DUPLICATION, MIKE, ALL THE TIME, NOT JUST WHEN WE'RE ASKED TO DO IT BY CONSTITUENTS AND WATCHDOGS BUT ALL THE TIME. THERE ARE MECHANISMS IN PLACE, AS I BELIEVE YOU KNOW. WHEN A NEW COURSE IS RECOMMENDED, IT'S EVALUATED NOT ONLY BY THE INSTITUTION ITSELF BUT BY OTHER REGENTS INSTITUTIONS. SOME COURSES, OF COURSE I HOPE YOU'LL AGREE, HAVE TO BE PRESENT ON EVERY CAMPUS. IT WOULDN'T BE ACCEPTABLE TO NOT HAVE THE CORE DISCIPLINES FOR UNDERGRADUATE EDUCATION AT EVERY CAMPUS. BUT WHEN YOU MOVE BEYOND THOSE CORE DISCIPLINES, WE NEED TO KEEP A VERY CLOSE EYE. NOW, MY OWN DISCIPLINE IN ENGINEERING, I'VE HAD A CHANCE TO WORK WITH COLLEAGUES AT IOWA STATE UNIVERSITY'S EXCELLENT COLLEGE OF ENGINEERING AND RELATED COLLEGES FOR TWENTY YEARS, AND I BELIEVE THAT THERE'S VERY LITTLE DUPLICATION. IN FACT, I THINK THERE IS AN EMPHASIS ON THE STRENGTHS OF EACH INSTITUTION. THE BOTTOM LINE ANSWER IS WE NEED TO KEEP AN EYE ON THAT ALL THE TIME, MOST PARTICULARLY IN A TIME OF BUDGET DURESS, ABSOLUTELY.

Henderson: WHAT KIND OF A PRESIDENT WILL YOU BE? WHAT KIND OF A LEADER? MARY SUE COLEMAN HAD THE COMMUNITY READ A BOOK, AND EVERYBODY TALKED ABOUT IT. HOW WILL YOU REACH OUT TO THE COMMUNITY?

Dr. Skorton: WELL, I THINK I MIGHT SHARE BOOKS WITH THE COMMUNITY, ALTHOUGH THE KIND OF CHEAP MYSTERY NOVELS THAT YOU'LL FIND AT MY BEDSIDE MIGHT NOT BE GREAT FOR THE WHOLE COMMUNITY TO READ. PARKER -- A ROBERT B. PARKER NOVEL AND SO ON. PERHAPS I SHOULDN'T HAVE CALLED THAT CHEAP. [ LAUGHTER ] IN ANY CASE --

Glover: HE'LL GET YOU FOR THAT.

Dr. Skorton: YOU'RE GOING TO SEE -- OR HIS CHARACTER, SPENCER, WILL. YOU'RE GOING TO SEE ME A CONSULTATIVE PRESIDENT. YOU'RE GOING TO SEE ME ALL OVER THE STATE, AS MUCH AS MY TIME WILL ALLOW. YOU'RE GOING TO SEE ME WITH FAMILIES OF STUDENTS. YOU'RE GOING TO SEE ME WITH THE STUDENTS THEMSELVES. AND I HOPE THAT A YEAR FROM NOW YOU'LL LOOK BACK AND YOU'LL SAY, THIS GUY HAS BROUGHT THE MEDIA AND THE WATCHDOGS AND THE CRITICS OF THE UNIVERSITY INTO THE BOSOM OF THE PRESIDENT'S OFFICE TO TALK ABOUT WHAT'S GOING ON. I'LL BE VERY CONSULTATIVE. THERE HAS TO BE A BALANCE, OF COURSE, BETWEEN CONSULTATIVE, LISTENING TO PEOPLE, AND ACTUALLY EXTRACTING OPINIONS FROM FOLKS AND MAKING SOME DECISIVE CHANGE. I THINK THE FIRST CHALLENGE FOR ME IS GOING TO BE THE LEGISLATIVE SESSION WE'RE IN RIGHT NOW, WHERE THE STATE IS AGAIN FACING REAL WORLD PROBLEMS.

Yepsen: HOW DO YOU DEAL WITH THIS ISSUE OF THE GOVERNANCE OF UNIVERSITIES AND THE PRICE TAG OF IT? I MEAN EVERY INSTITUTION OF HIGHER LEARNING IN THIS STATE IS STRUGGLING WITH BUDGET PROBLEMS, AND YET IOWANS RANK ABOUT FIFTH IN PER CAPITA LEVELS OF SPENDING FOR HIGHER EDUCATION. DO WE EVER REACH A DAY WHERE WE DO THINGS DIFFERENTLY IN HIGHER EDUCATION? I'M THINKING OF SHIFTING MORE OF THE UNDERGRADUATE FOCUS TO THE COMMUNITY COLLEGES SO THAT YOUR FOLKS CAN PURSUE A RESEARCH MISSION. DO WE EVER SEE A TIME WHEN YOU BETTER ALLOCATE WHO DOES WHAT?

Dr. Skorton: WELL, TO SAY BETTER ALLOCATE PRESUMES WE'RE NOT DOING A VERY GOOD JOB RIGHT NOW. AND AS YOU MIGHT EXPECT, I REJECT THAT NOTION. IOWA, OVER THE YEARS, HAS ACTUALLY BEEN PRETTY PARSIMONIOUS ABOUT SETTING UP INSTITUTIONS AND SECTORS OF HIGHER EDUCATION. AS YOU MAY BE AWARE, SOME OTHER STATES -- FOR EXAMPLE, CALIFORNIA HAS SOMETHING EQUIVALENT TO OUR REGENT SYSTEM, BUT ALSO HAS A STATE UNIVERSITY SYSTEM AS WELL AS A COMMUNITY COLLEGE SYSTEM. SO I WOULD SAY THAT WE'VE DONE THINGS RELATIVELY CAREFULLY AND PARSIMONIOUSLY. I HAVE A LOT OF CONNECTIONS IN THE COMMUNITY COLLEGE WORLD BECAUSE OF WORK I'VE DONE ON ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT, ESPECIALLY WITH THE FOLKS AT KIRKWOOD. AND I WOULD SAY THAT THERE REALLY ARE TWO SETS OF NEEDS FOR HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS LOOKING FORWARD THAT ARE MET QUITE DIFFERENTLY BY COMMUNITY COLLEGES AND BY REGENTS UNIVERSITIES. I WOULDN'T SAY BETTER OR WORSE, I WOULD JUST SAY DIFFERENTLY. AND I THINK THERE'S ROOM IN OUR STATE EVEN WITH BUDGET PROBLEMS FOR BOTH SECTORS OF HIGHER EDUCATION. I WOULD ALSO LIKE TO ENTER THE PRIVATE COLLEGE SYSTEM, WITH WHICH I'VE ALSO HAD THE GREAT FORTUNE TO WORK WITH LEADERS OF DRAKE AND OTHER -- CORNELL, COE, AND OTHER SCHOOLS IN THAT SYSTEM ALSO HAVE A PLACE TO PLAY. OF COURSE, I'M A RAH-RAH FAN OF HIGHER EDUCATION. YOU WOULD NEVER EXPECT ME TO SAY ANYTHING ELSE, BUT I BELIEVE IT'S TRUE THAT THE VIBRANCY OF THE STATE'S ECONOMY, THE VIBRANCY OF THE STATE'S CULTURAL LIFE, THE VIBRANCY OF THE QUALITY OF LIFE IN THIS STATE, THERE'S SOME REAL RELATIONSHIP TO HAVING A BROAD EFFECTIVE SPECTRUM OF HIGHER EDUCATION, AND I THINK WE CAN'T DO THAT BY CUTTING IT MUCH MORE.

Glover: FOR AT LEAST A COUPLE OF DECADES -- YOU MENTIONED ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT FOR AT LEAST A COUPLE OF DECADES. ONE OF THE ROLE'S THAT THE REGENTS INSTITUTIONS HAVE PLAYED HAS BEEN AS AN ENGINE OF ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT. THERE'S BEEN A LOT OF BUSINESS-INCUBATOR-TYPE STUFF HAPPENING AROUND THE UNIVERSITY CAMPUSES. THERE ARE CRITICS WHO SAY THAT'S BEEN A GREAT THING FOR IOWA CITY AND AMES, BUT IT HASN'T DONE MUCH FOR THE REST OF THE STATE. HOW DO YOU TAKE THAT ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT THING, WHICH HAS MADE JOHNSON COUNTY AND STORY COUNTY PRETTY GOOD PLACES, AND SPREAD IT STATEWIDE?

Dr. Skorton: VERY FAIR AND IT'S A VERY, VERY IMPORTANT OBSERVATION. OF COURSE, IF YOU SET UP A BUSINESS INCUBATOR IN A COMMUNITY, WHATEVER THE COMMUNITY, IT'S GOING TO MAINLY BENEFIT THAT COMMUNITY. HOW COULD IT NOT? HOW DOES IT BENEFIT THE STATE? I GUESS I WOULD SAY A COUPLE, THREE WAYS. ONE IS THAT THE MORE EMPLOYMENT THERE IS IN THE STATE, THE MORE TAX REVENUES FLOW, TO SOME EXTENT, THE MORE ALL THE SHIPS RISE, TO SOME EXTENT, IF YOU CAN BUY THAT. THE SECOND THING I WOULD SAY IS PLEASE REMEMBER THE SUPPLIES, THE SECONDARY EFFECTS OF BUSINESS YOU SET UP ANYWHERE SPREAD. AND THERE'S SOME AT LEAST REGIONAL EFFECT IF NOT STATEWIDE EFFECT IN THAT FASHION. WE'VE HEARD THE TERMS CEDAR RAPIDS / IOWA CITY CORRIDOR, DES MOINES / AMES CORRIDOR. I BELIEVE THAT THAT EFFECT IS A REAL EFFECT AND DEMONSTRABLE NUMERICALLY. AND THE THIRD THING TO COMMENT ON IS THAT MY OWN VIEW OF ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT IN THE STATE THAT I HAVE BEEN PUBLIC ABOUT IN MANY ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT FORUMS OVER THE LAST TEN YEARS IS THAT OUR STATE IS TOO SMALL IN POPULATION TO TAKE ANYTHING BUT A STATEWIDE VIEW. SO I DO HAVE SOME IDEAS OF THE DETAILS, OF WHICH I DON'T HAVE CLEAR ENOUGH TO SHARE WITH YOU TODAY, ABOUT HOW WE CAN SPREAD THESE EFFECTS A BIT MORE BY THINKING IN A MORE STATEWIDE FASHION. AND I HOPE WE'LL STAY IN TOUCH ABOUT THAT AND YOU'LL SEE SOME OF THESE IDEAS UNFOLD. IT'S A VERY FAIR CRITICISM. IT'S A VERY IMPORTANT POINT OF VIEW.

Henderson: THERE ARE FOLKS ON CAMPUS WHO WORRY THAT THE PRESTIGE OF THE UNIVERSITY HAS SUFFERED AND IT HAS BECOME, INSTEAD OF AN IN-STOP, A MERE STEPPING STONE. MARY SUE COLEMAN LEAVES TO TAKE THE JOB IN MICHIGAN. HOW CAN YOU RESTORE THE PRESTIGE OF THAT INSTITUTION?

Dr. Skorton: WELL, I DON'T THINK MARY SUE COLEMAN LEAVING FOR MICHIGAN WAS A RESULT OF THE UNIVERSITY HAVING FALLING PRESTIGE. MARY SUE COLEMAN IS AND WILL BE FOR THE REST OF HER CAREER A VERY, VERY EXCELLENT NATIONAL LEADER IN PUBLIC HIGHER EDUCATION. WE WERE FORTUNATE TO HAVE HER IN IOWA FOR THE TIME THAT WE DID. I BECAME VERY CLOSE WITH HER. I HAVE GREAT ADMIRATION FOR HER. AND I DON'T HAVE ANY NEGATIVE FEELINGS IN ANY WAY ABOUT HER MOVING ALONG TO ANOTHER EXCELLENT INSTITUTION OF HIGHER EDUCATION. OF COURSE, THEY'LL HAVE TO CHASE ME OUT OF THE PRESIDENCY BECAUSE I'VE BEEN IN IOWA AS MY FIRST JOB OF MY WHOLE CAREER, AND I INTEND TO DEVOTE MY HEART AND SOUL TO STAYING THERE FOR A LONG TIME. BUT YOU'RE ASKING A BIGGER QUESTION, KAY. AND I THINK THERE ARE TWO QUESTIONS EMBEDDED IN IT. HAS THE PRESTIGE OF WHAT I'D LIKE TO CONSIDER THE FLAGSHIP PUBLIC INSTITUTIONS OF HIGHER EDUCATION -- UNI, ISU, UNIVERSITY OF IOWA -- SUFFERED SO FAR FROM BUDGET CUTS? I WOULD SAY NOT YET. BUT THE WARNING SIGNALS ARE UP THERE, AND WE HAVE TO BE VERY CAREFUL, ESPECIALLY IF THE CUTS RESULT IN A DIMINUTION IN OUR ABILITY TO RECRUIT AND RETAIN THE BEST FACULTY AND STAFF AND STUDENTS. THE SECOND QUESTION IS WHAT CAN WE DO TO MAINTAIN THAT -- WHAT CONCRETE STEPS CAN WE DO TO MAINTAIN THAT. THE MOST CONCRETE TWO STEPS THAT I'M GOING TO LEAD WITH IS, TO THE GREATEST OF MY ABILITY ARE, NUMBER ONE, WORKING TOWARD THE STATE'S ECONOMY SO THAT EVENTUALLY WE'LL BE ON A BETTER GROUND AND IT WILL BE EASIER TO STABILIZE APPROPRIATIONS TO OUR UNIVERSITIES. AND SECONDLY, I WANT TO GET OUT MORE, EVEN MORE THAN I HAVE AS EXTERNAL RELATIONS VP, TO THE PEOPLE IN THIS STATE, BECAUSE THEY HAVE A RIGHT TO QUESTION US ABOUT THESE ITEMS. THEY HAVE A RIGHT TO QUESTION WHERE THEIR TAX DOLLARS ARE GOING. AND I WANT TO CONVINCE THEM, NOT BY SALESMANSHIP BUT BY FACTS, THAT THE UNIVERSITY OF IOWA ADDS ENORMOUS VALUE TO LIFE ALL OVER THE STATE OF IOWA.

Glover: ONE OF THE BIGGEST PROBLEMS THAT THE REGENTS INSTITUTIONS HAVE, THE UNIVERSITY OF IOWA AND THE OTHERS, IS A POLITICAL PROBLEM AT THE STATEHOUSE. IT USED TO BE YEARS AGO THE PUBLIC UNIVERSITIES WERE SORT OF THE FAIR-HAIRED CHILD AND GOT PRETTY MUCH WHAT THEY WANTED. NOW THEY'RE KIND OF A WHIPPING BOY AT THE STATEHOUSE. HOW DO YOU GET YOURSELF OUT OF THAT POLITICAL BOX AND GET YOURSELF BACK INTO FAVORED STATUS WITH THE LEGISLATURE?

Dr. Skorton: WELL, I CERTAINLY AGREE THAT WE HAVE HAD TIMES IN WHICH IT APPEARS THAT HIGHER EDUCATION, ESPECIALLY REGENTS UNIVERSITIES, HAVE BEEN HELD IN HIGHER REGARD. I ONLY HAVE A SIMPLE-MINDED ANSWER TO THAT, WHICH IS ANOTHER ONE STRAIGHT FROM THE HEART, AND THAT IS I HAVE TO GET TO KNOW THESE LEGISLATORS PERSONALLY. AND WITH THE GUIDANCE OF THE BOARD OF REGENTS AND THE BOARD OFFICE STAFF, THEY HAVE TO GET ME AND OTHER LEADERS OF THESE THREE UNIVERSITIES OUT NOT TO SELL PEOPLE BUT TO COMMUNICATE THE REAL THINGS THAT ARE GOING ON. THAT'S ONE, BETTER COMMUNICATION. THE SECOND ONE THAT'S MORE IMPORTANT IS WE ACTUALLY -- WE ACTUALLY -- EXCUSE ME -- HAVE TO DO MORE. WE HAVE TO DO MORE FOR THE STATE OF IOWA. WE HAVE TO HAVE MORE EFFECTIVE OUTREACH. WE HAVE TO HAVE MORE EFFECTIVE CONTACT WITH THE CITIZENS OF THIS STATE AND THEIR LEADERS. THERE'S GOING TO BE NO WAY TO SOFT-SOAP THIS. WE HAVE TO MAKE A STRONGER CONTRIBUTION.

Henderson: AND IS --

Glover: DOESN'T IT INVOLVE MORE DIRECT INVOLVEMENT OF LEADERSHIP OF THE UNIVERSITY COMMUNITY WITH THE LEGISLATURE? DO YOU NEED TO SPEND MORE TIME AT THE HILL?

Dr. Skorton: I'VE ALREADY SPENT A TREMENDOUS AMOUNT OF TIME, AND I INTEND TO ONCE AGAIN UNDER THE GUIDANCE OF THE BOARD OF REGENTS. AND BY THE WAY, I DON'T WANT YOU GUYS TO HAVE TO FIGHT ABOUT ASKING ME QUESTIONS. THERE'S TIME FOR EVERYBODY. [ LAUGHTER ] I'M HAVING A GREAT TIME.

Henderson: BUT ISN'T THE PROBLEM THE TYPE OF STUDENT THAT YOU'RE GRADUATING FROM YOUR INSTITUTION -- DOCTORS, LAWYERS -- PEOPLE WHO LEAVE THE STATE; WHEREAS, PEOPLE WHO GRADUATE FROM COMMUNITY COLLEGES GENERALLY STAY HERE AND EARN A LIVING HERE?

Dr. Skorton: WHOA, LET'S LOOK AT THOSE ASSUMPTIONS. OUR UNDERGRADUATES TEND TO STAY IN THE STATE TOO. I DON'T HAVE THE EXACT NUMBER. I'LL BE GLAD TO GET BACK TO YOU. MOST OF THEM STAY IN THE STATE. IN TERMS OF WHETHER OR NOT THE PROFESSIONAL AND GRADUATE STUDENTS STAY, SOME OF THAT DEPENDS ON FACTORS THAT HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH ANYTHING WE CAN DEAL WITH IN HIGHER EDUCATION: HOW MANY JOBS ARE AVAILABLE; WHAT'S THE QUALITY OF LIFE LIKE. NOW, AS YOU KNOW, THE MAJORITY OF PHYSICIANS, DENTISTS, BACHELOR'S DEGREE NURSES AND SO ON AROUND THE STATE ACTUALLY GRADUATED FROM THE UNIVERSITY OF IOWA. I THINK THAT MIGHT BE A MEANINGFUL MEASURE. ARE WE HELPING TO SUPPLY THE NEEDS OF THE STATE? I WOULD SUBMIT THE FACTS SUGGEST THAT WE ARE.

Yepsen: DR. SKORTON, I WANT TO GO BACK TO MIKE'S QUESTION ABOUT THIS RELATIONSHIP WITH THE LEGISLATURE. LET'S SAY I'M A LEGISLATOR. WHAT DO YOU SAY TO ME WHEN I SAY, "YOU KNOW, DR. SKORTON, I'VE GOT K-12 SCHOOLS RIGHT AT HOME. I'VE GOT A COMMUNITY COLLEGE RIGHT DOWN THE ROAD. I'VE GOT A PRIVATE COLLEGE JUST UP THE ROAD. NOW, IN MY DOLLARS THAT I HAVE TO ALLOCATE AROUND HERE, THOSE STAY IN MY COMMUNITY. WHY SHOULD I BE GIVING YOU MONEY THAT I COULD GIVE TO PEOPLE CLOSER TO HOME?"

Dr. Skorton: THIS IS THE KEY QUESTION. I DON'T MEAN TO BE TOO FRIENDLY WITH YOU, BUT THIS IS THE KEY QUESTION THAT YOU'RE ASKING THAT YOU'VE ALSO ASKED BEFORE MANY TIMES IN YOUR COLUMN. THERE'S TWO ANSWERS TO THAT AND I'M GOING TO GIVE THOSE ANSWERS AGAIN AND AGAIN AT THE STATEHOUSE AND THROUGHOUT THE STATE. NUMBER ONE, THE STUDENTS OF THAT COMMUNITY, THE HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS, THE NONTRADITIONAL STUDENTS, THE EXECUTIVE MBA STUDENTS, ET CETERA, FROM THOSE COMMUNITIES DO PARTAKE OF EDUCATION FROM THE UNIVERSITY OF IOWA. IF THAT'S NOT WELL ENOUGH KNOWN TO YOU, DAVID, AND TO PEOPLE AROUND THE STATE, THAT'S MY FAULT AS IMMEDIATE PAST VP FOR EXTERNAL RELATIONS. TO GET THOSE FACTS OUT, I INTEND TO PUBLISH A SERIES OF MAPS OF THE STATE OF IOWA VERY SOON TO SHOW OUR EDUCATIONAL OUTREACH. THAT'S NUMBER ONE. WE HAVE TO BE ABLE TO SHOW FOLKS IN EVERY COUNTY IN THIS STATE WHAT THE FACTS ARE. NOT TRY TO SELL THEM, BUT WHAT THE FACTS ARE. IS THERE EDUCATION OCCURRING IN THAT AREA OF THE STATE AND SO ON AND SO FORTH. THAT'S ALL PART OF THE NUMBER ONE. NUMBER TWO, AS I MENTIONED IN RESPONSE TO MIKE'S QUESTION -- AND I'LL TRY TO BE CLEARER ABOUT IT -- WE HAVE TO ACTUALLY DO BETTER FOR ALL PARTS OF THE STATE, NOT ONLY IN ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT BUT IN EDUCATIONAL OUTREACH AND IN RESPONDING TO WHAT THEIR CONCERNS ARE. AS MARY SUE SAID AND HAS HUNTER RAWLINGS BEFORE HER AND JIM FREEDMAN BEFORE HIM AND SANDY BOYD THE FIRST TIME AROUND, WE'RE NOT THE UNIVERSITY OF EASTERN IOWA. WE'RE THE UNIVERSITY OF IOWA AND WE HAVE TO DO OUR BEST TO DO BETTER FOR ALL PARTS OF THE STATE. NOW, HAVING SAID ALL THAT AND MEANING IT, OF COURSE, OUR IMMEDIATE EFFECT IS GOING TO BE ON THE STUDENTS ON OUR CAMPUS, THOSE 30,000 STUDENTS AND 14,000 FULL-TIME EMPLOYEES. BUT WE NEED TO BE ABLE TO SAY TO THE LEGISLATOR IN RED OAK, CARROLL, SPENCER, DOWS, WHEREVER IT IS, THAT HERE'S THE FACTS, HERE'S THE THINGS WE ARE DOING FOR YOU, YOU TELL ME WHAT WE COULD DO MORE, AND I'M GOING TO DO MY VERY BEST TO BE RESPONSIVE.

Glover: WE TALKED ABOUT DUPLICATION EARLIER. THERE'S A FLIP SIDE OF DUPLICATION, AND THAT'S CALLED COORDINATION. ARE YOU SATISFIED THAT THE THREE MAJOR PUBLIC INSTITUTIONS IN THIS STATE ARE WORKING TOGETHER TO PULL TOGETHER TOWARDS THE SAME END, THAT THERE'S ADEQUATE COORDINATION BETWEEN THEM?

Dr. Skorton: HONESTLY, BECAUSE I'M SO GREEN AT THE PRESIDENCY SIDE OF THIS -- I MEAN I'M MORE THAN GREEN; I'M STILL BELOW GROUND. I CAN'T TELL YOU CHAPTER AND VERSE ABOUT THE INTERACTION AMONG THE PRESIDENTS. ALTHOUGH LOOKING FROM OUTSIDE THE ROOM, IF YOU WILL, IT LOOKS LIKE THEY DO GET ALONG WELL. NOW, AS VP FOR RESEARCH AND WORKING IN ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AREAS AND IN GRADUATE EDUCATION AND SO ON, I'VE HAD ELEVEN YEARS EXPERIENCE AND I'VE GOT TO TELL YOU ONE OF THE REASONS I'VE STAYED HERE IS THAT INTERACTION AMONG THE REGENTS UNIVERSITIES.

Glover: AS YOU'VE SAID SEVERAL TIMES HERE, YOU'VE BEEN AROUND THE UNIVERSITY OF IOWA FOR A WHILE. YOU'RE TAKING OVER AS PRESIDENT. YOU'RE NEW. THERE'S STILL A LOT TO LEARN. THERE'S A LOT OF THINGS THAT YOU'VE GOT TO GET A HANDLE ON. BUT YOU'VE GOT TO BE THINKING ABOUT WHAT YOU WANT. YOU SAY YOU WANT THIS JOB TO BE THE JOB YOU RETIRE FROM. WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE YOUR LEGACY TO BE? WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE PEOPLE TO SAY ABOUT A DAVID SKORTON PRESIDENCY AFTER YOU'RE GONE?

Dr. Skorton: THANKS FOR THE OPPORTUNITY. AND I WANT YOU TO WRITE THIS DOWN AND PLEASE HELP ME MAKE IT HAPPEN, ALL RIGHT? [ LAUGHTER ] THE MOST IMPORTANT THING IS I WANT THEM TO BE ABLE TO SAY AT THE END OF MY PRESIDENCY THAT THE UNIVERSITY CARED MORE ABOUT THE STATE OF IOWA AND NOT ONLY ABOUT ITS OWN CONCERNS. SECONDLY, I'D LIKE THEM TO FEEL THAT WE STRUCK THE RIGHT BALANCE BETWEEN QUALITY AND ACCESSIBILITY, THE RIGHT BALANCE BETWEEN THOSE TWO, SO THAT THOSE STUDENTS IN IOWA COMING OUT OF HIGH SCHOOL OR OUT OF THEIR MIDCAREER OR WHATEVER IT MIGHT BE HAVE A RESPONSIVE INSTITUTION IN THEIR OWN STATE FOR A RELATIVELY GOOD BARGAIN TO GIVE THEIR MONEY'S WORTH FOR EDUCATION AND ALL THE BENEFITS THAT IT CAN SUPPLY. AND THIRDLY, I HOPE TO PUT MORE OF A HUMAN FACE ON THE UNIVERSITY OF IOWA, NOT ONLY FOR THE LEGISLATORS, AS YOU VERY CORRECTLY MENTIONED, DAVID, BUT ALSO FOR THE AVERAGE CITIZEN OF THE STATE, WHATEVER THAT IS. I CONSIDER MYSELF AN AVERAGE CITIZEN. AND I WANT TO GET OUT THERE. I WANT TO MEET PEOPLE WHO PUBLISH DAILIES ALL OVER THE STATE. I WANT TO GET OUT AND MEET PEOPLE AT SERVICE CLUBS ALL OVER THE STATE. I'M, THROUGH THIS SHOW, ASKING PEOPLE TO INVITE ME TO DO HIGH SCHOOL COMMENCEMENTS. I PROMISE I'LL TALK SHORTER ANSWERS THAN I AM TODAY. BUT I WANT TO PUT A HUMAN FACE. THOSE WOULD BE MY LEGACIES. PLUS WE'RE GOING TO BRING JAZZ INTO THE MAINSTREAM OF THE STATE THROUGH MY SHOW. [ LAUGHTER ]

Yepsen: WHAT SPECIFIC THINGS DO YOU HAVE IN MIND FOR THE ECONOMY, IN ABOUT FIFTEEN SECONDS?

Dr. Skorton: WELL, WE'RE GOING TO USE THE RESEARCH MACHINE THAT THE FEDERAL AND STATE TAXPAYERS SUPPORT SO LAVISHLY AT THE UNIVERSITY OF IOWA, AND I BELIEVE ALSO THROUGH IOWA STATE UNIVERSITY, TO HELP THE STATE PULL ITSELF UP BY ITS BOOTSTRAPS, DAVID.

Yepsen: THANK YOU. WHAT INSTRUMENT DO YOU PLAY?

Dr. Skorton: SAX AND FLUTE, AND NOT THAT WELL.

Yepsen: GOING TO GIVE CONCERTS?

Dr. Skorton: IT DEPENDS HOW MUCH YOU'RE WILLING TO PAY. [ LAUGHTER ]

Yepsen: PUT ME DOWN FOR A TICKET. THANKS FOR BEING WITH US.

Dr. Skorton: YEAH, THANKS SO MUCH FOR HAVING ME. I HOPE TO SEE YOU AGAIN.

Yepsen: ON OUR NEXT EDITION OF "IOWA PRESS," WE SHIFT OUR FOCUS TO THE STATE BUDGET GOVERNOR TOM VILSACK HAS JUST RELEASED. THAT'S NEXT WEEKEND, FRIDAY AT 6:30 AND SUNDAY AT NOON. AND THAT'S IT FOR THIS WEEKEND'S EDITION OF "IOWA PRESS." I'M DAVID YEPSEN OF "THE DES MOINES REGISTER" SITTING IN FOR DEAN BORG. THANKS FOR JOINING US HERE ON STATEWIDE IOWA PUBLIC TELEVISION.

FUNDING FOR THIS PROGRAM WAS PROVIDED BY "FRIENDS," THE IOWA PUBLIC TELEVISION FOUNDATION... GENERATIONS OF FAMILIES AND FRIENDS WHO FEEL PASSIONATE ABOUT THE PROGRAMS THEY WATCH ON IOWA PUBLIC TELEVISION; AND BY THE IOWA BANKERS ASSOCIATION... FOR PERSONAL, BUSINESS, AND COMMERCIAL NEEDS, IOWA BANKS HELP IOWANS REACH THEIR FINANCIAL GOALS; AND BY THE ASSOCIATED GENERAL CONTRACTORS OF IOWA... THE PUBLIC'S PARTNER IN BUILDING IOWA'S HIGHWAY, BRIDGE, AND MUNICIPAL UTILITY INFRASTRUCTURE.