Thursday, January 21, 2021

It goes without saying that life has been difficult and stressful for all of us, especially over the past year. In light of that, we thought it would be an opportune time to welcome everyone to the spring semester with a reminder about some of the truly remarkable things we’ve accomplished at Iowa. Just because times are difficult right now doesn’t mean we aren’t on the right track. We will weather this just as we’ve weathered previous crises—and come out stronger.

Bruce Harreld portrait
Bruce Harreld

The success of our students is at the heart of who we are as a campus and, over the past five years, we have witnessed some amazing accomplishments from our students. The University of Iowa has been named a top producer of Fulbright student awardees five years in a row, with 84 Hawkeyes honored with this scholarship. Additionally, three UI students have been named Rhodes Scholars, placing the UI among the top 40 in the U.S. all time. These remarkable Hawkeyes obtained their success through hard work on a daily basis, as well as support from faculty and staff. It is just another example of our campus demonstrating the caliber of an Iowa education and raising the university’s profile worldwide.

Kevin Kregel

Additionally, as a member of the Association of American Universities, the UI is recognized as among the top 63 research institutions in the nation and continues to gain prestige and relevance: Since 2016, Iowa research funding has increased from $552 million to $666 million, which is a remarkable accomplishment. An increase like this is due to the work of many faculty, staff, and students. It is no secret that the university employs many of the world’s leading faculty, and this is evidenced by the fact that five more members of our faculty have been recognized for their excellence by being inducted into national academies since 2015.

In order to support and maintain this progress, the university has established an open and transparent budget model that allows us to allocate resources strategically, prudently, and fairly—including the investable resources gained from the recent P3 utility partnership. And, through work with the Board of Regents, State of Iowa, the university and its students can rely on a stable and predictable five-year tuition plan, one that proactively responded to predicted demographic shifts in higher education.

Then there are Hawkeyes’ efforts to reshape the climate of our campus. Especially in times of such great uncertainty, it is important to know that the university you call home is a safe and inclusive place. During the summer of 2020, the UI released an update to the campus Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Action Plan and created a Reimagining Campus Safety Action Committee to develop a new future of public safety for the campus that further prioritizes campus diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts.

Yes, times are difficult and uncertain. But by stepping back for a moment, we can see that the UI is quite well-positioned and heading for even greater achievements. We are incredibly proud of the work this community has accomplished under undeniably challenging circumstances, and we wanted to remind everyone, as a new semester begins, that Hawkeyes have demonstrated great strength, grace, and resilience, all while preparing for a brighter future. We can’t wait to see what we accomplish next.

Bruce Harreld, president
Kevin Kregel, interim executive vice president and provost