Colleges and universities

UNI Foundation

A Cedar Falls couple is giving the University of Northern Iowa a multi-million dollar gift. David Takes is a member of the UNI Foundation Board of Trustees and a 1981 alumnus. Takes and his wife, Karen are donating $10 million to his alma mater. Their gift will support multiple programs and projects at UNI, including an endowment for business students, the school's mascot program and future capital improvements.

Gabrielle Ludlow / Flickr https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/

An Iowa State state study has found that two out of five young adults have a substance use disorder.

The study, which was published in the Journal of American College Health, surveyed more than 3,200 young adults both in college and not in college and found nearly 40 percent of college students and more than 44 percent of their non-college peers had at least one substance use disorder within the past year. 

Katarina Sostaric / IPR

This school year, some college students are getting help from a new state-funded scholarship that was proposed by Gov. Kim Reynolds as a way to prepare Iowans to fill high-demand jobs. But an error in the law means many 19-year-olds can’t qualify for this form of financial assistance, known as the Last Dollar Scholarship.

Joe Wolf / Flickr

Iowa State University has been undergoing several changes this fall, including the development of new mobile app safety technology.

"One of our new tools that we have in place is something called the ISU Guardian App," said Iowa State University President Wendy Wintersteen.

Priscilla Du Preez / Unsplash

A community college in western Iowa is reaching out to countries around the world and bringing international students to the area.

Terry Murrell is the president of Western Iowa Tech Community College. He says the school is the only one in North America where South Korea sends students. 

"We’re kind of the Harvard of South Korea, if you will, so if you go to any of the schools in South Korea, the hardest shirt to get is a Western Iowa Tech shirt over Harvard and some of the other schools."

Ben Godar / Birth of the Cy-Hawk: A Documentary

When Iowa and Iowa State renewed their football rivalry in 1977, a group of ordinary guys conceived and created the trophy they would call “the Cy-Hawk.” A new documentary, Birth of the Cy-Hawk, tells this unique, Iowa story.

Cassie Mathes / University of Northern Iowa

The University of Northern Iowa has been facing a series of challenges, including a decline in enrollment, freezing tuition costs and re-branding. On this segment of River to River, host Ben Kieffer spoke with UNI President Mark Nook about these challenges as well as the new renovations on the Cedar Falls campus and what he's most looking forward to for the 2019-20 academic year.

Guest:

Mark Nook, President, University of Northern Iowa

University of Iowa
Vladimir Kulikov / Wikimedia Commons

This story was last updated at 12:27 p.m., Wednesday, March 27, 2019. 

Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds signed a bill into law Wednesday that she says protects free speech at public universities and community colleges in Iowa. 

"Our public universities and community colleges should always be places where ideas can be debated, built upon, and creative thoughts flourish without limits," Reynolds said in an emailed statement.

Fibonacci Blue

 

 

A recent New York Times investigation revealed possible changes to the way sexual misconduct is handled on college campuses across the country.

 

Flickr - The U.S. National Archives

 

While her peers were renting their first post-grad apartments, Kari Grindberg was moving into a different residence -- a senior living community in Pella, Iowa. She's a recent Central College graduate who is spending her summer fostering relationships with Iowans much, much older than she is.

On this hour of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe explores the benefits of intergenerational relationship building, both for senior communities, and young people alike.

 

Iowa State University
Wikimedia Commons

As Iowa’s Board of Regents voted to increase college tuition Thursday, one board member called recent budget cuts to higher education the “worst state government attack” he’s seen on Iowa’s public universities.

“I view it that way when we are taking three great universities downhill,” said Regent Larry McKibben, a former Republican state lawmaker. “And for me as a board member, to see that happen is extremely difficult.” 

flossyflotsam/flickr

College students at Iowa’s Regents universities should plan to spend a little more for supplies under a bill that advanced in the Iowa House today.  

The bill would eliminate the sales tax exemption students currently enjoy at university-owned campus bookstores. 

Private industry complains the tax break is unfair competition.  

The owner of Iowa Book, a private store near campus, wrote a letter to lawmakers urging them to change the law.  

Joyce Russell/IPR

Religious groups on Iowa’s university campuses would have more freedom to choose their leaders, under a GOP-sponsored bill that advanced in the Iowa House today.

Backers say the bill will address a conflict at the University of Iowa, where a student group lost its certification after denying a leadership post to a gay student.    

Rep. Sandy Salmon (R-Janesville) calls the university’s action outrageous. 

regents presidents
Joyce Russell/IPR

One by one, the presidents of Iowa’s public universities gave severe warnings to lawmakers today about declining state support for higher education, and what it will mean for the institutions in the future.  

University of Iowa President Bruce Harreld told the House Appropriations Committee that over the past 20 years, the state budget, the student body, and consumer price index have all grown, while state support for the U of I today is a few million dollars less than it was back then.  

Joyce Russell/IPR

The presidents of Iowa’s Regents universities today made presentations to Gov. Kim Reynolds and her budget advisors, requesting minimal increases in funding for next year. 

Last year, university budgets were cut by $30 million.

Now the universities are asking for a mostly status quo budget for next year, except for new money to increase financial aid for students and for new capital projects on the campuses.   

New ISU president Wendy Wintersteen, now in her second week in office, was making her first budget appeal.          

Sarah Boden/IPR

A group of state attorneys general, including Iowa's Tom Miller, are suing U.S. Education Sec. Betsy DeVos and her department for what they say is a failure to enforce a rule that protects student borrowers from predatory for-profit schools.

IPR/Pat Blank

The nonprofit organization Joppa continues to receive tiny houses for its proposed community village for the homeless in Des Moines. Earlier this month, three of the shelters built by Drake University alumni, students and volunteers were donated. Three more are on their way to the capital city from the University of Northern Iowa.

UNI Senior Baily Abbott says he jumped at the chance to get hands-on experience helping build the houses.

http://www.mattkuhns.com

The Iowa and Iowa State football rivalry as we know it today only dates back to 1977, but even during the years when the Cyclones never played the Hawkeyes, there was a rivalry between the two schools. And the sports rivalry may pale in comparison to a conflict when Virgil Hancher was the president of the University of Iowa and James Hilton was the President of Iowa State University.  Matt Kuhns has written about those years in the new book Hancher vs. Hilton: Iowa’s Rival University Presidents.

Drugs, Clemency, and Freedom

Aug 1, 2017
photo submitted

In 2004, Mandy Martinson was addicted to methamphetamine. She helped her drug dealer boyfriend as a way to feed her habit, but when her home was raided and drugs were found she received a 15 year mandatory minimum sentence in federal prison. She received clemency last year and is now home rebuilding her life. During this Talk of Iowa interview, host Charity Nebbe talks with Martinson about her long road to freedom and recovery.

Bill Adams / University of Iowa

In his new book, Campus Confidential: How College Works, or Doesn’t, for Professors, Parents and Students, author Jacques Berlinerblau explains why he thinks the tenure system is falling apart, and why many PhDs are leaving the world of academia for better employment.

“The American academic enterprise is all upside down, and we have a peculiar incentivisation system, he says, "whereby the most accomplished professors, as measured by their research accomplishments, spend the least time in the classroom with undergraduates.”

Matt Murphy

Due to the Iowa Legislature’s statewide budget cuts, the state’s fifteen community colleges will see a $3 million decrease in funding. In this River to River, host Ben Kieffer talks with three Iowa community college presidents: Des Moines Area Community College President Robert Denson, Kirkwood Community College President Mick Starcevich, and Northeast Iowa Community College President Liang Chee Wee.

UNI's Mark Nook on Higher Education

Jul 20, 2017
University of Northern Iowa

University of Northern Iowa President Mark Nook is relatively new to the job, and he joins River to River host Ben Kieffer to talk about higher education and priorities at UNI.  He says his school will continue to have a high percentage of Iowa residents attending.  Nook says about 85%-90% of UNI’s students are from Iowa, though he's open to admitting more out-of-state students.  

michael richards
Dean Borg / IPR

Iowa's Board of Regents will allow public comments at its regular meetings starting next month. 

The first opportunity for public comment will be at the regents' June 8 meeting in Cedar Falls. That is when the board is scheduled to take a final vote on tuition increases for the upcoming school year.

Regent Michael Richards directed staff to develop a "pilot program" for taking public comment when he was elected board president earlier this month.

bruce rastetter
Amy Mayer/IPR

Outgoing Iowa Board of Regents President Bruce Rastetter says the state's public universities need to raise tuition for the upcoming school year.

He says he asked the board office to work with the universities on an additional tuition increase to make up for cuts in state funding. The increase would come on top of a two percent hike previously approved for this fall. 

Rastetter says state budget cuts for the current and next fiscal year make tuition hikes necessary.

Chris Becker/flickr

Students from Iowa State University were at the Capitol Thursday lobbying for a bill they believe will save the lives of underage drinkers on college campuses.  

The bill is designed to get young people to seek help when someone is incapacitated from too much alcohol.       

ISU Student Body President Cole Staudt recalls returning home with a drunken friend who was borderline unresponsive.

“I thought to myself, probably he should see someone, but I'm 19 years old,” Staudt recalls.  “If I get in  trouble with the law my world is over.”

Aaron Hawkins / Flickr

The average student graduating with a bachelor’s degree in 2016 graduated with more than $37,000 in student loan debt, and according to the personal finance website, Make Lemonade, there are more than 44 million borrowers with $1.3 trillion in student loan debt in the United States.

Joyce Russell/IPR

Representatives of university towns are back at the capitol this year, trying to get relief from loud and drunken student parties that are disrupting life in residential areas.  

They oppose a bill that pits landlords against residents who want peace and quiet for their single-family neighborhoods.     

Joyce Russell/IPR

The presidents of Iowa’s three regents universities today made their annual trip to the state capitol, imploring lawmakers to increase funding for the universities by over $20 million. 

That far exceeds the governor’s recommendation.     

Governor Branstad’s budget includes $8 million to be shared among the three universities.  

President Steven Leath seeks more than $8 million for ISU alone.

He says state funding has fallen, while enrollment has soared.

Photo by Luke Runyon/Harvest Public Media

Close to 60,000 jobs are set to open up in agriculture, food and natural resource sectors each year for the next five years, according to a report from Purdue University and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The American agriculture industry has a problem though: there are not enough grads to fill those jobs. The report projects about two open jobs for every qualified graduate. That's left the USDA, land grant universities and private industry scrambling to try and bridge the gap.

MjZ Photography / Flickr

Rey Junco, an associate professor in the school of education at Iowa State University, believes the long-held wisdom is true--if you want to do well in class, you have to spend time with the material. But with shifty students who might inflate how much time they're spending reading, he's had to get more creative with how he collects data.

"We often identify students who are struggling by their grades--by their poor grades or their poor attendance or something that we can measure. But often by the time we've measured it, it's too late."

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