Editorial | Barbara Wilson points the user interface in the right direction


As University of Iowa President Barabra Wilson begins her tenure, her goals and strategies have promised her a bright future.

Grace Smith

University of Iowa President Barbara Wilson speaks at a groundbreaking ceremony at the construction site of hospitals and clinics at North Liberty University in Iowa on Thursday, 14 October 2021. Many leaders attended this event including Wilson, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds, Iowa City Mayor Bruce Teague, UIHC CEO Suresh Gunasekaran, Iowa Board of Regents , and more. The new facility will include intervention rooms, emergency treatment rooms, laboratories, outpatient clinics, a pharmacy, advanced diagnostic imaging and teaching / research space.

University of Iowa President Barbara Wilson left a positive impression on the Daily IowanEditorial Board after the first three months of his term.

Wilson entered a whirlwind of UI challenges. From financial losses related to COVID-19 and state budget cuts to diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives, she entered the job with her work cut out for her.

But the Editorial Board believes Wilson’s goals and strategies have set a bright future for the university and are a step in the right direction to tackle current user interface issues.

First, Wilson established strong and healthy relationships among various campus stakeholders, including the UI undergraduate student government and the State Board of Regents.

So far Wilson has tried to meet with the student regent once a month and has met with USG to strengthen collaboration for student success. Additionally, Wilson intends to meet with each college and a group of students within each.

She’s already starting to reach out to colleges, so far meeting with colleges of nursing, dentistry, engineering, law and the Tippie College of Business, she said in a recent interview with Daily Iowan editors.

“And at the end, they get a bunch of students together, and that’s always a highlight, because I just talked to some student leaders who care about college, and the first question I ask everyone is, ‘Why are you at the University of Iowa?’ Wilson said. “And I’m getting some great responses and that’s really, really inspiring. “

Second, Wilson has made it a priority to increase student retention rates. Unemployment insurance has seen a decline in student enrollment rates since 2017; Prioritizing student retention is crucial to upholding UI’s reputation as a premier university.

Wilson stressed the importance of investing in student resources, which are essential to ensure that students feel supported on campus.

“The more money, time and attention we spend on these supports, the more we will have many different ways of ensuring student success, and we are lagging behind our peers – we need to be better at these. domains, ”Wilson said.

When it comes to student life on campus, Wilson said she wanted to focus on preventing and educating sexual assault and misconduct – two important steps in addressing it as a cultural issue.

“The more we can help students, faculty, and staff appreciate the issues of sexual misconduct, and the more we can prevent people from getting into situations that take place under very bad circumstances, the better off we will be. “Wilson said. “So I’m always going to pay attention to prevention and education, and I think that’s what we need to do as a university. “

Another goal of Wilson is to increase the availability of mental health resources for students.

While she mentioned the difficulties UI has in hiring enough counselors for individual therapy for every student who needs it, she is committed to investing in mental health programs to ensure that the university cares not only about the academic success of students but also their health and well-being.

Wilson is keen to implement similar programs, such as the 24-hour mental health support line in partnership with CommUnity Crisis Services, to address the increase in mental health issues during the COVID-19 pandemic.

One thing we would like to see Wilson do, however, is stand up for academic freedom and state budgeting for the university. For three years, the Iowa legislature introduced bills to eliminate tenure, which is essential not only for academic freedom but also for faculty retention.

“I mean, if we lose academic freedom here, we lose this university,” Wilson said. “We need to celebrate, strengthen and nurture academic freedom here. The minute we lost this, if we had to, we would see the teachers leave.

However, Wilson believes the importance of tenure is dedicated to educating faculty about its importance, which is essential once the legislative session begins. The DI The Editorial Board saw her dedication to these efforts, as she has already met with lawmakers from across the state.

Wilson will also have to stress the importance of funding the Regents’ universities this year. With an estimated loss of revenue of $ 83.4 million due to COVID-19 and state budget cuts, it is important that Wilson advocates for increased funding to make up for the losses and maintain the quality of facilities. ‘Higher Education.

As Wilson advances in her presidency, it is important for her to continue to defend the university’s name in the legislature.

But so far the board has been impressed with the goals it has set for the university and believe the future is bright for UI.

Editorials reflect the majority opinion of the DI editorial board and not the opinion of the publisher, Student Publications Inc. or the University of Iowa.

Members of the Editorial Board are Caleb McCullough, Rylee Wilson, Josie Fischels, Hannah Pinski, Shahab Khan and Sophie Stover

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