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Dr. Gregory Geoffroy,
President of Iowa State University

(#3045)
June 27, 2003

IOWA PRESS #3045>>

Yepsen: THE STATEHOUSE BUDGET CRUNCH IS FORCING CUTS ACROSS STATE GOVERNMENT, INCLUDING MONEY FOR THE STATE UNIVERSITIES. WE DISCUSS THE IMPACT AND ASSESS THE FUTURE WITH DR. GREGORY GEOFFROY, THE PRESIDENT OF IOWA STATE UNIVERSITY, 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 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.

ON STATEWIDE IOWA PUBLIC TELEVISION, THIS IS THE FRIDAY, JUNE 27 EDITION OF "IOWA PRESS." HERE IS DAVID YEPSEN.


Yepsen: IN THE ARENA OF STATE BUDGET WINNERS AND LOSERS, CONVENTIONAL WISDOM HAS IT THAT THE BOARD OF REGENTS INSTITUTIONS -- THE UNIVERSITY OF IOWA, IOWA STATE UNIVERSITY, AND THE UNIVERSITY OF NORTHERN IOWA -- HAVE COME UP LOSERS. AND THAT'S BEEN THE ASSESSMENT FOR THE LAST THREE BUDGET CYCLES, INCLUDING THE 2004 BUDGET, WHICH GOES INTO EFFECT ON TUESDAY, WHERE ANOTHER $18 MILLION HAS BEEN CUT FROM THE BUDGETS OF THE REGENTS UNIVERSITIES. IT MEANS THE ADMINISTRATIONS IN IOWA CITY, AMES, AND CEDAR FALLS WILL HAVE TO DO MORE WITH LESS: FACULTY AND STAFF LAYOFFS ARE ON THE TABLE; CLASS OFFERINGS ARE BEING TRIMMED; THERE ARE RESTRICTIONS ON NEW CAMPUS CONSTRUCTION; AND THERE'S A 17.6-PERCENT TUITION INCREASE COMING, THAT FOLLOWING AN 18-PERCENT ONE LAST YEAR, AND MORE COULD BE ON THE HORIZON. IT MAKES THE JOB OF DIRECTING A MAJOR ACADEMIC INSTITUTION JUST THAT MUCH MORE DIFFICULT. DR. GREGORY GEOFFROY IS FINISHING HIS SECOND FULL YEAR AS PRESIDENT OF IOWA STATE UNIVERSITY, AND HE HAS THE TWO-PART CHALLENGE OF BALANCING THE BOOKS AND MOVING IOWA STATE FORWARD. DR. GEOFFROY, WELCOME ONCE AGAIN TO "IOWA PRESS" AND TO IOWA PUBLIC TELEVISION.

Geoffroy: IT'S A PLEASURE TO BE HERE.


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

Geoffroy: GOOD TO BE HERE.


Yepsen: ALSO WITH US AT THE "IOWA PRESS" TABLE ARE TODD DORMAN WITH "THE LEE NEWSPAPERS" AND JENEANE BECK OF "KUNI PUBLIC RADIO."


Beck: WELL, DR. GEOFFROY, WHILE YOU ARE PROBABLY FOCUSED ON THE BUDGET, MANY IOWA STATE FANS ARE WONDERING IF AN ALCOHOL OR SUBSTANCE ABUSE PROBLEM IS GOING TO DERAIL THE MEN'S BASKETBALL PROGRAM. IS THERE A PROBLEM AND WHAT IS THE UNIVERSITY DOING ABOUT IT?

Geoffroy: I DON'T THINK IT WILL DERAIL THE PROGRAM. IT'S CLEAR THAT THERE ARE SOME CHALLENGES THERE. THERE HAVE BEEN SEVERAL PLAYERS WHO HAVE RUN AFOUL. AND THE NEW HEAD MEN'S BASKETBALL COACH, WAYNE MORGAN, AND HIS TEAM, HIS COACHING STAFF, ARE COMMITTED TO ADDRESSING THOSE ISSUES. AND I THINK THEY'RE GOING TO TAKE SOME STRONG STEPS TO WORK WITH THE PLAYERS, TO EDUCATE THE PLAYERS, AND HOPEFULLY GET THEM ALL BACK ON TRACK.


Beck: IS THIS A LEFTOVER PROBLEM FROM THE PREVIOUS COACH, LARRY EUSTACHY, OR IS THIS A SYSTEMIC PROBLEM WITH JUST CAMPUSES IN GENERAL, THIS DRINKING ISSUE?

Geoffroy: IT'S ALWAYS HARD TO ANSWER THAT. THESE ARE INDIVIDUAL DECISIONS THAT YOUNG PEOPLE MAKE, AND YOUNG PEOPLE ALL OVER THE COUNTRY, UNFORTUNATELY, MAKE BAD DECISIONS SOMETIMES ON ISSUES LIKE THIS. AND, UNFORTUNATELY, IF YOU'RE A STUDENT ATHLETE, PARTICULARLY A TOPNOTCH ONE, ANYTHING YOU DO GETS IMMEDIATE MEDIA ATTENTION, BUT THOSE PLAYERS KNOW THAT. THEY NEED TO KNOW THAT AND THEY NEED TO BE ESPECIALLY CAREFUL ABOUT HOW THEY BEHAVE THEMSELVES AND WHAT THEY DO.


Yepsen: CAN YOU ASSURE FANS, THOUGH, THAT IOWA STATE IS NOT GOING TO BE LOSING GAMES BECAUSE OF THIS?

Geoffroy: I CERTAINLY DON'T THINK THAT WE WILL. IT'S ALWAYS HARD TO -- WHEN YOU LOSE GAMES, IT'S ALWAYS HARD TO KNOW WHY. BUT THERE'S NEVER BEEN ANY INDICATION THAT PROBLEMS LIKE THIS IN THE PAST HAVE IMPACTED ON COURT PERFORMANCE, AND WE CERTAINLY DON'T THINK THAT WILL HAPPEN AGAIN THIS YEAR.

Dorman: DO YOU FEEL LIKE THIS ISSUE COULD POSSIBLY HAVE AN IMPACT ON RECRUITING? I MEAN, THERE ARE A LOT OF FANS OUT THERE WONDERING WHAT'S GOING TO HAPPEN TO THE NEXT RECRUITING CLASS. ARE PARENTS GOING TO BE AFRAID TO SEND THEIR CHILDREN TO THE UNIVERSITY?

Geoffroy: I DON'T THINK SO. THIS IS REALLY A TRANSITION PERIOD FROM A PREVIOUS COACHING REGIME TO THE NEW ONE. I THINK EVERYBODY KNOWS THAT. THIS IS THE OPPORTUNITY FOR COACH MORGAN AND HIS STAFF TO PUT THEIR STAMP ON THE PROGRAM, INDICATE WHAT THEY'RE GOING TO DO TO ADDRESS THE PROGRAM. AND I CAN TELL YOU I'VE HAD CONVERSATIONS WITH COACH MORGAN ON THIS ISSUE, AND HE IS ABSOLUTELY COMMITTED TO ADDRESSING THIS ISSUE AND BASICALLY PREVENTING THIS KIND OF BEHAVIOR IN THE FUTURE. AND I THINK THAT WILL RESONATE WELL WITH PARENTS AND FUTURE STUDENT ATHLETES.

Dorman: WELL, OTHER IOWA STATE UNIVERSITY EMPLOYEES MAY BE WONDERING IF LAYOFFS ARE COMING BECAUSE OF BUDGET CUTS. HAVE THOSE PLANS BEEN LAID OUT? DO YOU KNOW HOW MANY ARE GOING TO BE LAID OFF, WHAT DEPARTMENTS ARE GOING TO BE AFFECTED, WHAT PROGRAMS WILL BE AFFECTED?

Geoffroy: WE DON'T ANTICIPATE MANY LAYOFFS. IT'S UNSURE HOW MANY BUT IT PROBABLY WOULDN'T BE MORE THAN A HANDFUL. WE -- IF THERE ARE STAFF REDUCTIONS IN AREAS, WE WORK HARD, FIRST OF ALL, TO TRY TO RELOCATE PEOPLE IF WE CAN INTO EXISTING VACANCIES WHERE THEY MIGHT OCCUR. IT'S POSSIBLE THAT THERE COULD BE SOME LAYOFFS IN THE COOPERATIVE EXTENSION AND SOME OF THE AGRICULTURE RESEARCH AREAS, BUT WE DON'T THINK THERE WILL BE VERY, VERY MANY.

Dorman: WE'RE HEARING THAT AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH IS THE ENGINE THAT'S GOING TO DRIVE ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT. HOW DOES IT -- HOW DOES THAT MESSAGE DOVETAIL WITH THE FACT THAT YOU'RE LAYING PEOPLE OFF?

Geoffroy: WELL, THAT'S A VERY IMPORTANT AREA AT IOWA STATE, IN PART BECAUSE IT'S PART OF OUR LAND GRANT, OUR MISSION, WHAT WE'RE EXPECTED TO DO. AND AGRICULTURE IS ONE OF OUR STRONGEST COLLEGES AT IOWA STATE. BUT IT'S JUST LIKE THE REST OF THE UNIVERSITY; IT'S HAVING TO DO WITH LESS RESOURCES AND BECOME MORE EFFICIENT, STREAMLINE ITS OPERATIONS, AND THAT'S WHAT'S OCCURRING IN THIS CASE. THE COLLEGE OF AGRICULTURE HAS GONE THROUGH A VERY CAREFUL ANALYSIS AND CONCLUDED THAT THEY CAN BE MORE EFFICIENT BY COMBINING SOME OF THEIR FACILITIES INTO A SINGLE FACILITY. THAT MEANS CLOSING DOWN SOME OTHER FACILITIES. BUT IT'S THE NAME OF THE GAME THESE DAYS, AND THEY'RE NO DIFFERENT THAN THE REST OF THE UNIVERSITY OR THE OTHER REGENTS UNIVERSITIES.


Beck: WHEN YOU'VE SPOKEN BEFORE THE LEGISLATURE IN THE PAST, ONE OF THE CONCERNS YOU'VE EXPRESSED IS SALARIES, AND THERE IS NOT NEW MONEY FOR SALARIES THIS YEAR. SO IF THERE AREN'T LAYOFFS, ARE WE GOING TO SEE REDUCTIONS IN SALARIES? ARE THEY GOING TO STAY PRETTY STAGNANT? AND DOES THAT HURT OR HELP THE UNIVERSITY AS YOU TRY TO ATTRACT PROFESSORS?

Geoffroy: THAT IS MY GREATEST CONCERN IS OUR DECREASE IN COMPETITIVENESS FOR OUTSTANDING FACULTY AND STAFF. IF YOU LOOK AT OUR COMPENSATION PACKAGES AND HOW THEY COMPARE TO OUR MAJOR COMPETITORS, OTHER PEER LAND GRANT UNIVERSITIES AROUND THE COUNTRY, OF THE TEN UNIVERSITIES THAT WE COMPARE OURSELVES AGAINST, WE'RE NOW NEXT TO LAST IN THE SALARY COMPARISON. AND, OF COURSE, THAT IMPACTS US WHEN WE TRY TO RECRUIT FACULTY AND THEY GET OFFERS FROM OTHER INSTITUTIONS AT HIGHER LEVELS, WHEN OUR GREAT FACULTY GET RECRUITED BY OTHER UNIVERSITIES. JUST AS AN EXAMPLE, WE HAD A MATHEMATICS PROFESSOR THAT JUST RECENTLY RECEIVED AN OFFER FROM THE UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN AT A 30-PERCENT SALARY INCREASE, AND THAT'S NOT UNCOMMON THESE DAYS. AND, UNFORTUNATELY, WE LOST THAT FACULTY MEMBER.


Beck: WITH THAT IN MIND, WILL YOU RECOMMEND OR SUPPORT ANOTHER DOUBLE-DIGIT TUITION INCREASE? WE'VE SEEN THOSE FOR TWO YEARS IN A ROW, AND THERE'S BEEN SOME CONCERN FROM STUDENTS THAT IT'S PRICING THEM OUT OF THE UNIVERSITY MARKET. WHAT'S ON THE HORIZON FOR THAT?

Geoffroy: I THINK THAT'S A REAL CONCERN. THE TUITION INCREASES, WE BELIEVE, ARE BEGINNING TO HAVE AN IMPACT ON CERTAINLY STUDENTS' CHOICES OF WHERE THEY WISH TO PURSUE HIGHER EDUCATION. SETTING THE TUITION IS A REGENTS PRIORITY IN THE REGENTS SYSTEM --


Beck: BUT YOU MAKE RECOMMENDATIONS AS THE PRESIDENT, CORRECT?

Geoffroy: NOT EXACTLY. WE -- THERE ARE DISCUSSIONS BUT I WOULDN'T CALL THEM RECOMMENDATIONS. THE REGENTS GUARD THAT PREROGATIVE VERY, VERY CAREFULLY. TO MY KNOWLEDGE, THERE HAVE NOT BEEN DISCUSSIONS OCCURRING YET ABOUT WHAT LEVEL OF TUITION INCREASE WILL BE SET FOR THE FOLLOWING YEAR. I THINK IT'S FAIR TO SAY THAT THERE PROBABLY WILL BE A TUITION INCREASE, BUT I THINK IT'S ALSO FAIR TO SAY THAT IT WON'T BE ANYWHERE NEAR AS HIGH AS THE LAST TWO YEARS.


Yepsen: ARE TUITION -- WHY IS THIS ALL BAD? I MEAN IF YOUR SALARY SITUATION IS NEAR THE BOTTOM, WHY ISN'T IT A RATIONAL CHOICE FOR THE REGENTS TO RAISE TUITIONS TO, SAY, THE MID RANGE OF PEER INSTITUTIONS? YOU HAVE, AT IOWA STATE UNIVERSITY, A TUITION LEVEL THAT IS AGAIN IN THE BOTTOM PART AMONG YOUR PEER INSTITUTIONS. WHY ISN'T IT REASONABLE TO RAISE TUITIONS TO THAT MID RANGE SO THAT YOU CAN PAY SALARIES IN THE MID RANGE?

Geoffroy: I THINK THE KEY QUESTION IS WHAT IS THE AFFORDABILITY FOR PARENTS AND STUDENTS. AND CERTAINLY IF YOU LOOK AT STUDENTS THAT WE HAVE TRADITIONALLY DRAWN TO IOWA STATE, A LOT OF OUR STUDENTS COME FROM RURAL IOWA, THEY COME FROM SMALL COMMUNITIES, NOT ALL BUT CERTAINLY A LOT DO. AND AS WE ALL KNOW, INCOMES ARE NOT AS HIGH IN THOSE AREAS. AND WE ALSO KNOW THAT STUDENTS GRADUATE FROM IOWA STATE WITH AN APPRECIABLY HIGHER OVERALL DEBT THAN OTHER INSTITUTIONS, AND THAT'S IN PART BECAUSE THEIR FAMILY INCOMES ARE LESS TO START WITH. SO OUR STUDENTS AND PARENTS I THINK FEEL THAT TUITION IMPACT MUCH GREATER THAN MANY OTHER STATES THAT WE COMPARE OURSELVES AGAINST.


Yepsen: BUT ISN'T AN IOWA STATE DEGREE WORTH A LOT TO A PERSON IN THEIR LIFETIME? I MEAN THAT DEBT CAN BE PAID FAIRLY SOON.

Geoffroy: IT ABSOLUTELY IS. IF YOU LOOK AT THE AVERAGE INCOME OVER A LIFETIME, THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A HIGH SCHOOL DIPLOMA AND A BACHELORS FROM A UNIVERSITY LIKE IOWA STATE, IT'S WELL OVER A MILLION DOLLARS OVER THE COURSE OF A LIFETIME. SO PAYING TUITION FOR A FOUR-YEAR COLLEGE DEGREE IS A VERY WISE INVESTMENT FOR YOUNG PEOPLE.


Yepsen: TALK ABOUT THE ACCESS ISSUE FOR A MINUTE. I MEAN I HEAR PEOPLE IN IOWA, ACADEMIC INSTITUTIONS SAY THAT THEY'RE WORRIED ABOUT PRICING THEMSELVES OUT OF THE MARKET, AND YET THE ENROLLMENTS AT OUR STATE UNIVERSITIES CONTINUE TO GO UP ALMOST EVERY YEAR. WHERE'S THE EVIDENCE THAT THESE TUITION INCREASES ARE PRICING PEOPLE OUT OF THE MARKET?

Geoffroy: WELL, WE'RE SEEING THAT EVIDENCE. AS WE LOOK AHEAD TO THIS COMING FALL, WE ANTICIPATE THAT OUR TOTAL NUMBER OF NEW STUDENTS ENTERING THE UNIVERSITY WILL BE DOWN BY ABOUT 300. THAT'S NOT INTENTIONAL. WE HAVE RECRUITED AS HARD AS WE TYPICALLY DO, BUT YET THE NUMBER OF NEW STUDENTS COMING TO THE UNIVERSITY IS DOWN. AND WE BELIEVE THAT IS IN PART DUE TO THE TUITION INCREASES THAT WE'VE EXPERIENCED AND, AGAIN, THE PARTICULAR KIND OF STUDENTS THAT COME TO IOWA STATE.

Dorman: THE FOLKS THAT ARE PAYING THESE TUITION INCREASES, STUDENTS AND THEIR PARENTS, WHAT ARE THEY GETTING FOR THEIR MONEY? HAVE YOU BEEN ABLE TO IMPROVE ACADEMIC PROGRAMS, OR ARE YOU JUST PLUGGING BUDGET HOLES?

Geoffroy: WE HAVE REALLY FOCUSED EVERYTHING ON TRYING TO MAINTAIN THE QUALITY OF THE EDUCATIONAL EXPERIENCE AT IOWA STATE, BECAUSE THAT'S THE MOST IMPORTANT THING WE DO AND THAT'S OUR CORE MISSION. SO WE'VE TRIED TO TAKE BUDGET CUTS IN AREAS THAT WOULD NOT IMPACT THE EDUCATIONAL QUALITY. I CAN'T TELL YOU THAT THERE'S BEEN NO IMPACT, BUT WE'VE WORKED HARD TO MINIMIZE THAT AND I THINK WE'VE BEEN VERY EFFECTIVE AT IT. ONE THING THAT WE'RE DOING THIS YEAR IS WE'RE TAKING SOME OF THE NEW TUITION REVENUES AND INCREASING THE NUMBER OF FACULTY AT THE UNIVERSITY, NOT BY VERY MANY, A TOTAL OF ABOUT 15 ADDITIONAL NEW FACULTY POSITIONS. BUT THAT'S AN AREA THAT HAS REALLY BEEN HURT BY THE BUDGET CUTS OVER THE LAST FOUR YEARS, WHERE WE'VE LOST WELL OVER A HUNDRED FACULTY POSITIONS. SO WE'RE BEGINNING TO TRY TO RESTORE THAT WITH THESE NEW FUNDS.


Yepsen: WHAT CAN BE DONE TO BRING SOME PREDICTABILITY TO THESE TUITION INCREASES? I MEAN IT'S ONE THING TO HAVE A BIG INCREASE, BUT IT'S ANOTHER THING NOT TO BE SURPRISED BY IT. WHY CAN'T THE REGENTS INSTITUTIONS PUT SOME PREDICTABILITY INTO THIS SO THAT WHEN A STUDENT COMES IN AS A FRESHMAN, THEY KNOW WHAT THE PRICE TAG IS GOING TO BE AT THE END?

Geoffroy: PREDICTABILITY CAN BE ACHIEVED IF WE COULD SIMULTANEOUSLY ACHIEVE PREDICTABILITY IN OUR STATE APPROPRIATIONS, BOTH THE OPERATING BUDGET AND THE SALARY APPROPRIATIONS. IF WE COULD GET A FOUR-YEAR PROJECTION AND BE CONFIDENT IN THAT PROJECTION, THEN WE COULD, I'M SURE, PROJECT A TUITION INCREASE. I DON'T -- THERE REALLY AREN'T VERY MANY UNIVERSITIES AROUND THE COUNTRY THAT WILL GIVE A FOUR-YEAR TUITION GUARANTEE. THERE ARE SOME THAT HAVE TRIED THAT. SOME HAVE GOTTEN INTO GREAT DIFFICULTY WITH IT BECAUSE OF BUDGET CUTS THAT CAME AFTER THEY MADE CERTAIN TUITION PROMISES. BUT YOU'VE GOT TO HAVE PREDICTABILITY OF YOUR INCOME AS WELL.


Yepsen: WELL, IS IT TIME IN IOWA FOR THE LEGISLATURE AND THE GOVERNOR AND THE STATE UNIVERSITIES TO HAVE A LITTLE DEBATE OVER WHAT'S AN APPROPRIATE LEVEL OF TUITION AND, MORE IMPORTANTLY, WHAT'S THE APPROPRIATE MIX OF THE STATE'S CONTRIBUTION VERSUS THE STUDENTS? WE ALL KNOW THAT THE STUDENTS' CONTRIBUTION IS GOING UP. IT'S ABOUT 60/40 NOW, AS I RECALL. IS IT TIME WE HAVE A LITTLE DEBATE OVER WHAT IT OUGHT TO BE, MAYBE PUT IT INTO LAW?

Geoffroy: I THINK THAT WOULD BE A VERY GOOD DEBATE TO HAVE. WE HAVE THOSE KINDS OF DISCUSSIONS PRIVATELY, BUT CERTAINLY NOT IN A LARGE PUBLIC WAY. THAT RATIO RIGHT NOW AT IOWA STATE IS APPROACHING 50/50. THE COST OF EDUCATING A STUDENT IS ABOUT HALF BORNE BY STATE APPROPRIATIONS AND THE OTHER HALF BORNE BY TUITION FROM PARENTS AND STUDENTS. BUT I THINK THAT IS -- WOULD BE A VERY, VERY CONSTRUCTIVE DEBATE.


Beck: WHEN YOU MENTIONED EARLIER LAYOFFS OR REDUCTIONS, ONE OF THE DEPARTMENTS YOU TALKED ABOUT WAS EXTENSION SERVICES. AND AS YOU ARE LOOKING AT KEEPING QUALITY PROGRAMS FOR THE STUDENTS, EXTENSION SERVICES TEND TO SERVE THE GREATER PUBLIC. IS THAT AN AREA THAT WE SHOULD CUT BACK ON OR START CHARGING FEES FOR? I MEAN IS THAT REALLY A NEED THAT THE UNIVERSITY FULFILL ANYMORE?

Geoffroy: IT IS AN IMPORTANT NEED. IT'S AN IMPORTANT NEED FOR IOWA. IF YOU LOOK AT WHAT EXTENSION DOES AND THE IMPACT IT HAS ALL ACROSS THE STATE IN HELPING COMPANIES SUCCEED AND BUSINESSES, WORKING WITH COMMUNITIES TO HELP THEM ADDRESS COMMUNITY PROBLEMS, AND OF COURSE THE AGRICULTURE EXTENSION ROLE WHICH IS VERY, VERY IMPORTANT, IT IS AN IMPORTANT ROLE. AND EXTENSION DOES HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO CHARGE FEES FOR THEIR SERVICES. AND OVER THE LAST SEVERAL YEARS, THEY HAVE BEGUN TO INSTITUTE FEES. 4-H HAS STARTED CHARGING A PARTICIPATION FEE, AND EXTENSION IS NOW CHARGING FOR SOME OF THEIR BROCHURES, THEIR PUBLICATIONS, AND THE VARIOUS THINGS THAT THEY DO. ONE OF THE THINGS THAT EXTENSION IS DOING AS THEY LOOK TO THE CURRENT BUDGET REDUCTIONS THAT THEY'RE GOING TO HAVE TO DEAL WITH IS ASSESSING WHAT IS THE APPROPRIATE FEE STRUCTURE THAT THEY SHOULD HAVE IN ORDER TO BALANCE THEIR BUDGETS.


Beck: I THINK THAT MOST PEOPLE WOULD AGREE THAT THEY ENJOY THEIR FREE EXTENSION SERVICES THEY MAY TAKE ADVANTAGE OF. BUT AS TAXPAYERS AS WELL, IF THEY'RE CONCERNED ABOUT HOW MUCH OF THEIR MONEY GOES TO THE UNIVERSITY, YOU KNOW, IS THAT SOMETHING THEY SHOULD GIVE UP?

Geoffroy: THAT'S THE KIND OF BALANCING THAT, YOU KNOW, IS IMPORTANT TO DO. AS YOU PROBABLY KNOW, EVERY COUNTY HAS A COUNTY EXTENSION COUNCIL THAT THE MEMBERS ARE ELECTED BY THE COUNTY RESIDENTS. THOSE EXTENSION COUNCILS HAVE REVENUES THAT COME FROM THE RESIDENTS OF THE COUNTY, AND THEY MAKE A LOT OF THE DECISIONS OF THE PRIORITIES IN THOSE COUNTIES WHERE THOSE EXTENSION REVENUES ARE DISTRIBUTED, WORKING WITH THE EXTENSION OFFICES AT THE UNIVERSITY AND SO -- SO THAT'S -- YOU KNOW, THAT'S GOVERNANCE AT A LOCAL LEVEL, IN WHICH THE LOCAL FOLKS ARE REALLY MAKING THOSE KEY DECISIONS.


Yepsen: HOW WILL AN IOWAN SEE THE CUTBACKS IN EXTENSION SERVICES?

Geoffroy: WELL, THAT'S ALREADY BEEN OCCURRING. OVER THE YEARS THE EXTENSION HAS HAD TO CONSOLIDATE A LOT OF ITS ACTIVITIES, AND THEY NOW HAVE A LOT OF AREA OFFICES IN WHICH AGRICULTURAL SPECIALISTS, INSTEAD OF HAVING ONE IN EVERY COUNTY, THEY'LL HAVE ONE THAT SERVES MAYBE 10, 20 COUNTIES. AND SO YOU DON'T GET THE KIND OF DIRECT CONTACT IN MANY WAYS THAT YOU'RE USED TO. AND A LOT OF THE SERVICES THAT EXTENSION USED TO PROVIDE SIMPLY AREN'T THERE ANYMORE. EXTENSION HAS BEEN CHARGING FEES FOR THESE SERVICES, AND BECAUSE OF THAT, THEY HAVE BEEN ABLE TO MAINTAIN MANY ASPECTS OF THEIR PROGRAM, BUT CERTAINLY NOT ALL.

Dorman: WELL, WHILE YOU'RE STRUGGLING TO BALANCE YOUR BUDGET, THE LEGISLATURE AND THE GOVERNOR ARE EXPECTING YOU TO TURN OUT THE KIND OF RESEARCH THAT'S GOING TO TRANSFORM THE ECONOMY. DO YOU HAVE THE RESOURCES TO DO THAT? DID THEY PROVIDE RESOURCES TO YOU IN THE VALUES FUND, AT LEAST ENOUGH FOR YOU TO GET STARTED WITH THAT?

Geoffroy: YES AND NO. THE RESOURCES THAT ARE AVAILABLE IN THE GROW IOWA VALUES FUND FOR IOWA STATE -- DESIGNATED FOR IOWA STATE IS ABOUT $10 MILLION. THAT WILL BE USED TO CONSTRUCT A BIOLOGICS FACILITY AT OUR RESEARCH PARK. THAT WILL BE A COMBINATION OF AN INCUBATOR FACILITY FOR START-UP BIOTECHNOLOGY COMPANIES AND A PILOT-SCALE FACILITY FOR PROTEIN EXTRACTION THAT COMPANIES CAN USE TO COME IN AND DO PILOT-SCALE EXPERIMENTS TO MAKE SMALL QUANTITIES OF MATERIALS THAT THEY CAN THEN TAKE OUT TO PARTICULAR CUSTOMERS. SO IT WILL ALLOW US TO, I THINK, DO SOME VERY POSITIVE THINGS AND GET STARTED. IT'S NOT AS MUCH AS WE HAD ORIGINALLY ANTICIPATED. WE ALSO WILL WORK TO BE IMPORTANT PARTNERS WITH, YOU KNOW, COMPANIES ACROSS IOWA, TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF OPPORTUNITIES WITH THE IOWA VALUES FUND. TRANS OVA, FOR EXAMPLE, HAS A STRONG INTEREST IN WORKING WITH US ON A -- FOR US TO PROVIDE GRADUATE EDUCATION IN INTERNS FOR THEIR OPERATION. AND ONE OF THE THINGS THAT WE'VE TALKED ABOUT IS TRYING TO ESTABLISH SOME SORT OF A SATELLITE FACILITY FOR OUR GRADUATE PROGRAM IN ANIMAL SCIENCE. THAT IS PARTICULARLY AN AREA THAT TRANS OVA IS INTERESTED IN. SO THERE MAY BE OPPORTUNITIES THERE. ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT HAS LONG BEEN A PRIORITY AT IOWA STATE. IT'S PART OF OUR LAND GRANT MISSION. IT'S SOMETHING THAT WE WORK HARD IT. AND I'LL TELL YOU, I THINK THAT IOWA STATE IS ONE OF THE MOST EFFECTIVE UNIVERSITIES IN THE COUNTRY IN THE TOTAL ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT FRONT.

Dorman: WELL, THERE'S A QUESTION ON SOME PEOPLE'S MINDS AS TO WHETHER YOU CAN BALANCE BEING ESSENTIALLY A RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT ARM FOR COMPANIES AND STILL MAKE ROOM FOR, MAYBE, VITAL RESEARCH THAT'S NOT POSSIBLY AS LUCRATIVE AND ALSO YOUR TEACHING MISSION. I MEAN CAN YOU BALANCE ALL THAT?

Geoffroy: THAT'S PART OF WHAT BEING A MAJOR RESEARCH UNIVERSITY LIKE IOWA STATE, THE UNIVERSITY OF IOWA ENTAILS, THE KIND OF DECISIONS THAT ALL OF US HAVE TO MAKE AS ADMINISTRATORS AND FACULTY MEMBERS. AS A LAND GRANT UNIVERSITY, WE HAVE A THREE-FOLD MISSION, AND WE KEEP THOSE THREE PARTS OF OUR MISSION CONSTANTLY IN FRONT OF US. THE FIRST IS TO PROVIDE A TOP-QUALITY EDUCATION TO THE STUDENTS WHO COME TO THE UNIVERSITY AND TO PROVIDE BROAD ACCESS TO THAT EDUCATION TO IOWANS. SECONDLY IS TO TAKE THE KNOWLEDGE OF THE UNIVERSITY AND EXTEND IT BROADLY ACROSS IOWA THROUGH EXTENSION ACTIVITIES AND OUR VARIOUS OTHER OUTREACH PROGRAMS. THAT'S WHAT BEING A LAND GRANT UNIVERSITY, IN PART, MEANS. AND THIRD IS TO CONDUCT THE FRONTIER WORLD-CLASS RESEARCH, BUT PARTICULARLY IN AREAS THAT ARE RELEVANT TO THE NEEDS OF IOWA. AND WE HAVE TRADITIONALLY DONE THAT. IF YOU LOOK AT IOWA STATE, WE CERTAINLY HAVE A LOT OF WHAT YOU MIGHT CALL BASIC OR FUNDAMENTAL RESEARCH PROGRAMS GOING ON, BUT WE HAVE A MUCH HIGHER RATIO OF APPLIED RESEARCH OCCURRING AT THE UNIVERSITY, RESEARCH IN AREAS THAT ARE RELEVANT -- DIRECTLY RELEVANT TO IOWA'S NEEDS AND POSSIBLE ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT.


Yepsen: DR. GEOFFROY, LET ME TRY TO PIN YOU DOWN ON SOMETHING. IF A LEGISLATOR WERE SITTING HERE TODAY TALKING TO YOU, WHAT PERCENTAGE BUDGET INCREASE DO YOU NEED IN YOUR ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT INCREASE TO PULL ALL THIS OFF? I MEAN THEY'RE LOOKING TO YOU TO TRY TO BECOME AN ENGINE IN ECONOMIC GROWTH AND TO DO MORE BIOTECHNOLOGY, TRANS OVA, ALL THIS. HOW MUCH MORE MONEY DO YOU NEED FROM THE LEGISLATURE AND THE GOVERNOR?

Geoffroy: THE -- IF YOU LOOK BACK -- JUST GO BACK TWO YEARS, OUR ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT APPROPRIATIONS FROM THE STATE WERE REDUCED BY ABOUT 60 PERCENT, WHICH HAD A HUGE IMPACT ON WHAT WE WERE ABLE TO DO. I HAVE SOME DATA THAT I CAN CITE THAT JUST SHOWS THE FALLOFF IN THE NUMBER OF CLIENTS THAT WE'VE BEEN ABLE TO SERVICE ACROSS IOWA. OVERALL THOSE BUDGET CUTS WERE ABOUT $3 MILLION OUT OF THOSE ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMS. I THINK TO BRING THOSE PROGRAMS BACK UP TO THE LEVEL THAT WOULD BE APPROPRIATE FOR THEM AND APPROPRIATE FOR WHAT IOWA NEEDS, WE PROBABLY WOULD NEED ABOUT A $5-MILLION APPROPRIATION INCREASE FOR THOSE DIRECT ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT ACTIVITIES THAT REALLY HAVE BEEN RAVAGED BY THE BUDGET REDUCTIONS.


Yepsen: DO YOU THINK OUR POLICYMAKERS ARE RECEPTIVE TO THAT? I MEAN WE SIT HERE AND SAY ECONOMIC GROWTH IS A BIG PRIORITY IN IOWA, AND YET THEY DO SOMETHING LIKE CUT YOUR BUDGET 60 PERCENT FOR ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT.

Geoffroy: THAT WAS A -- WE NEVER COULD UNDERSTAND WHY THAT OCCURRED. IT OCCURRED AT THE LAST MINUTE AS THE LEGISLATORS A YEAR AGO WERE WORKING TO BALANCE THE BUDGET. I THINK MANY OF THEM REALIZED THAT WAS AN ERROR, BUT IT WAS DONE. ONE THING THAT -- I WAS VERY GRATIFIED THROUGH THIS LAST LEGISLATIVE SESSION OF THE LEGISLATORS. I THINK UNDERSTANDING THE ROLE THAT THE REGENTS UNIVERSITIES HAVE IN ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT, APPRECIATING THAT ROLE, AND WANTING TO SUPPORT IT -- OF COURSE, THE OVERALL ECONOMY AND THE LEVEL OF FUNDS AVAILABLE HAS RESTRICTED WHAT THEY'VE BEEN ABLE TO DO. BUT THE GOOD NEWS IS AT LEAST THEY DIDN'T CUT OUR ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT BUDGETS ANY MORE.


Beck: ONE OF THE CRITICISMS OF THE VALUES FUND -- THE GROW IOWA FUND WAS THAT IT WOULD PICK WINNERS AND LOSERS IN INDUSTRIES AND COMPANIES, AND ONE OF THOSE THAT SEEMS TO BE CHOSEN AS A WINNER IN IOWA IS GENETICALLY MODIFIED ORGANISMS, OR GENETICALLY MODIFIED CROPS. AND IOWA STATE HAS BEEN A LEADER IN THAT AND IN THE RESEARCH ON THAT. IS THERE A RISK IN PUTTING SO MANY EGGS IN ONE BASKET WHEN SOME OF THESE CROPS ARE BANNED IN EUROPEAN AND AFRICAN NATIONS?

Geoffroy: I WOULDN'T DESCRIBE THAT TIGHT OF FOCUS ON GMO CROPS IN THE GROW IOWA VALUES FUND. I KNOW THAT'S PART OF THE THINKING, BUT I DON'T THINK IT'S AS TIGHTLY DEFINED AS YOU OUTLINED IT, BUT IT CERTAINLY IS PART OF WHAT'S THERE.


Beck: BUT OVERALL IT HAS BEEN A ROLE THAT IOWA STATE HAS PLAYED IN THE RESEARCH OF THAT. YOU KNOW, IS THAT RISKY?

Geoffroy: WELL, THERE'S ALWAYS A RISK TO THAT, BUT I THINK ANY WAY YOU LOOK AT IT, GENETICALLY MODIFIED CROPS ARE GOING TO BECOME MORE AND MORE AND MORE IMPORTANT WORLDWIDE. THERE'S STILL A LOT OF EDUCATION TO DO. THERE'S A LOT OF TRADE BARRIERS, A LOT OF PROTECTIONISM, PARTICULARLY FROM EUROPE, THAT IS PREVENTING INTRODUCTION OF, I THINK, VERY VALUABLE CROPS THAT HAVE BEEN BIOENGINEERED. IT'S GOING TO HAPPEN. IT CLEARLY IS GOING TO HAPPEN, AND IT'S JUST A MATTER OF WHEN AND GETTING THE RIGHT KIND OF CROPS THAT PEOPLE WANT.

Dorman: THAT GOES BACK TO THE QUESTION OF BALANCE. YOU'VE GOT RESEARCHERS AT IOWA STATE THAT ARE LOOKING INTO WHETHER THESE TECHNOLOGIES ARE SAFE, YET YOU'RE ALSO GOING TO BE SERVING COMPANIES THAT HAVE A VERY VESTED INTEREST IN MAKING SURE THAT THESE TECHNOLOGIES SUCCEED. CAN YOU ACHIEVE BOTH OF THOSE AIMS INDEPENDENT OF EACH OTHER?

Geoffroy: ABSOLUTELY. ABSOLUTELY. REMEMBER, WE HAVE A LOT OF FACULTY MEMBERS AT THE UNIVERSITY, AND THE FACULTY ARE INDEPENDENT INDIVIDUALS AND THEY -- THEY PURSUE THEIR OWN INTERESTS WITH HIGH INTEGRITY. AND IT'S NOT A PROBLEM AT ALL TO HAVE A FACULTY OR GROUP OF FACULTY REALLY WORKING ON DEFINING THE SAFETY OF GENETICALLY MODIFIED ORGANISMS WHILE HAVING OTHER FACULTY MEMBERS WORKING ON DEVELOPING A NEW GENETICALLY MODIFIED PLANT. I DON'T SEE A CONFLICT.

Dorman: ANOTHER TOPIC, THE SUPREME COURT RULED THIS WEEK THAT AFFIRMATIVE ACTION IS ACCEPTABLE WITH LIMITS. HOW DOES THAT AFFECT IOWA STATE UNIVERSITY? IS THAT GOING TO CHANGE ANY OF YOUR POLICIES?

Geoffroy: FIRST OF ALL, I THINK THAT THAT'S THE RIGHT DECISION. I WAS VERY PLEASED WITH THE DECISION WHEN IT CAME OUT. IT REALLY WON'T IMPACT US BECAUSE WE HAVE NEVER REALLY USED RACE AS A FACTOR IN THE ADMISSIONS PROCESS, AND THAT'S WHAT THE DECISION PERTAINED TO. WHAT THE SUPREME COURT SAID IS THAT RACE CAN STILL BE A FACTOR, BUT IT CANNOT BE AN OVERWHELMING, DOMINANT FACTOR IN MAKING THE DECISION. IT REALLY WON'T CHANGE ANYTHING THAT WE DO AT IOWA STATE, BUT CERTAINLY MANY UNIVERSITIES AROUND THE COUNTRY, IT WILL HAVE AN IMPACT. THERE ARE UNIVERSITIES THAT HAD PUT ON HOLD ANY CONSIDERATION OF RACE IN THEIR ADMISSIONS PROCESS BECAUSE OF PREVIOUS COURT DECISIONS. AND RIGHT AFTER THE SUPREME COURT DECISION, I SAW STATEMENTS BY PRESIDENTS, FOR EXAMPLE, THE UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS, THAT THEY'RE VERY RAPIDLY NOW GOING TO RESHAPE THEIR ADMISSIONS POLICIES TO HAVE RACE AS A FACTOR BUT WITHIN THE LIMITS AS DEFINED BY THE SUPREME COURT.


Beck: IT HAS --


Yepsen: GO AHEAD.


Beck: WELL, IT HAS BROUGHT UP A LARGER DISCUSSION. I KNOW THAT YOU DON'T USE RACE AS A FACTOR TO ADMISSIONS, BUT IT WOULD BE SAFE TO SAY THAT THE UNIVERSITY RECRUITS MINORITY STUDENTS AND CANDIDATES, CORRECT?

Geoffroy: WE DO. WE DO.


Beck: AND THERE'S BEEN SOME DISCUSSION, THEN, OF WHETHER THAT'S EFFECTIVE OR WORTHWHILE. IN YOUR OPINION, WHY IS THAT WORTHWHILE?

Geoffroy: I VERY STRONGLY BELIEVE THAT THE OVERALL EDUCATIONAL EXPERIENCE OF EVERY STUDENT AT THE UNIVERSITY IS ENRICHED BY HAVING A DIVERSE STUDENT BODY. STUDENTS WHO COME WITH ALL SORTS OF DIFFERENT LIFE EXPERIENCES, DIFFERENT BACKGROUNDS, DIFFERENT CULTURES, THE LEVEL OF THINKING HAS INCREASED, THE TOTAL ENRICHMENT OF THE EDUCATIONAL EXPERIENCE. PLUS, PREPARING THE GRADUATES TO GO OUT INTO THE REAL WORLD IS ENHANCED BY HAVING A DIVERSE STUDENT BODY, SO IT'S IMPORTANT FOR US TO DO THAT.


Yepsen: BUT HAVE YOU -- EXCUSE ME. HAVE YOU HAD MUCH SUCCESS? I MEAN I KEEP HEARING THESE STORIES THAT YOU'RE NOT ABLE TO MEET YOUR QUOTAS IN THE KIND OF FACULTY AND THE STUDENTS THAT YOU WANT TO HAVE.

Geoffroy: WE HAVE HAD A LOT OF SUCCESS IN OUR MINORITY STUDENT RECRUITMENT. IN FACT, OUR MINORITY POPULATION AT THE UNIVERSITY IS ABOUT TWICE THE MINORITY PERCENTAGE IN IOWA. NOW, THAT'S BECAUSE WE RECRUIT A LOT OF MINORITY STUDENTS FROM OUT OF STATE, AND THAT WORKS VERY WELL. NOW, THIS IS AN AREA, THOUGH, THAT, YOU KNOW, WE'RE FAR FROM, PERHAPS, WHERE WE WOULD IDEALLY LIKE TO BE. BUT WE'RE PLEASED WITH THE KIND OF PROGRESS THAT WE'VE BEEN ABLE TO MAKE.


Yepsen: DR. GEOFFROY, WE'VE GOT ABOUT THIRTY SECONDS LEFT. WE ALWAYS FOCUS ON ALL THE BAD NEWS OUT HERE. BUT YOU'VE BEEN THERE TWO YEARS NOW. WHAT'S THE MOST EXCITING THING GOING ON UP THERE AT IOWA STATE, AND WHAT MOST IMPORTANTLY DO YOU WANT TO ACCOMPLISH DURING YOUR STEWARDSHIP?

Geoffroy: I WANT TO CONTINUE TO RAISE THE EXCELLENCE OF THE UNIVERSITY. THAT'S THE MOST IMPORTANT THING. WHAT'S MOST EXCITING ARE OUR STUDENTS. WE HAVE SOME OF THE GREATEST STUDENTS THAT YOU'LL FIND ANYWHERE. THEY REFLECT IOWA VALUES. THEY'RE HARD WORKING. THEY'RE JUST GOOD PEOPLE AND THEY'RE FUN TO BE WITH.


Yepsen: THANKS.

Geoffroy: THANK YOU.


Yepsen: APPRECIATE YOUR TAKING TIME TO BE WITH US TODAY. APPRECIATE YOU COMING DOWN. THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

Geoffroy: THANKS.


Yepsen: AND THAT'S IT FOR THIS WEEKEND'S EDITION OF "IOWA PRESS." WE RETURN NEXT WEEK AT THIS SAME TIME: FRIDAY AT 6:30 AND SUNDAY AT NOON. I'M DAVID YEPSEN SITTING IN FOR DEAN BORG, WHO RETURNS WITH US NEXT WEEK, AND I HOPE YOU WILL AS WELL. THANKS FOR JOINING US HERE ON STATEWIDE IOWA PUBLIC TELEVISION.

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