The University of Iowa says it will close seven centers and reduce funding for five others within the next year, in response to two consecutive years of budget cuts.
University leaders say they decided on the cuts after receiving recommendations from school vice presidents and deans about which activities could be trimmed without significantly harming the university’s academic mission or student success.
“We’re disappointed to be in this position because these centers and employees provide valuable outreach and service to Iowans,” says University President J. Bruce Harreld. “But we can no longer ask our students to support activities previously supported by the state just a generation ago.”
The Des Moines Register reports that among the centers that will close is the Iowa Center for Higher Education in Des Moines. The university will continue to offer classes in Des Moines, but they will be moved to the John and Mary Pappajohn Educational Center.
"The cost of maintaining a campus without appropriate state support is unsustainable at this time,” says Tom Rice, director of Center for Higher Education.
Iowa says it will seek a buyer for the center.
Other closures announced:
- University of Iowa Center on Aging
- Confucius Institute
- Iowa Center for Assistive Technology Education and Research (I-CATER)
- Labor Center
- Office of Iowa Practice Opportunities
- UI Mobile Museum
The university also will reduce funding for a handful of other centers: the DeLTA Center; Iowa’s Center for Agricultural Safety and Health (I-CASH); and Iowa Supports Education and Resources for Veterans and Enlisted (I-SERVE).
The closures and reductions will result in job losses for 33 people, the university says. School officials estimate the reductions will save nearly $3.6 million.
“The university will offer assistance to the affected employees to help them understand their options and the resources available for securing other employment at the UI,” says Cheryl Reardon, chief human resources officer and associate vice president.
In the past decade, the state’s three public universities — the University of Iowa, Iowa State University and the University of Northern Iowa — have relied more heavily on revenue generated from tuition because of cuts by the state legislature.
In 2008, 49 percent of the universities’ revenue came from state aid and 45 percent from tuition. Last year, tuition generated 63 percent of revenue, compared with 32 percent for state aid.
“The university cannot continue doing everything it’s done in the past if we want to have enough resources to recruit and retain top-notch faculty, which we know results in better instruction, research, and scholarship opportunities for our students,” says UI Interim Provost Sue Curry.
“As part of our commitment to Iowa, we value outreach and the positive impact our university has on communities across the state, but these difficult decisions are necessary to protect our core mission of teaching and research.”