IOWA CITY — The Iowa Legislature is pointing toward a closure to their 2022 session next week, and the University of Iowa’s president is hopeful of the budget that will be set for the next fiscal year.
Barb Wilson tells KGLO News they’ve been hearing positive messages from legislators and the governor’s office. “We’re hopeful that we are going to see some support for the Regent universities that will allow us to do even more and to continue to be the great engines of economic development and educational experiences for students across the state.”
Wilson is in her first year as the head of the University of Iowa after being the second-in-command of the University of Illinois system since 2016. She says the process of setting a budget in Iowa is similar to what she dealt with in Illinois. “Obviously Illinois is largely a ‘blue’ Democratic-run state, and this is more of a Republican-led state, but in the end, it’s about relationships with legislators and policymakers, making sure they understand the deep commitment we have to the welfare of the state, making sure that they appreciate all that we’re doing.”
Wilson says she’s made it a point to tell legislators why it’s important to have a research university in the state, especially with the work The University of Iowa did with COVID research. “We were doing clinical trials for COVID drugs. We’ve been taking COVID patients during the height of the pandemic. I think it’s given people a window into the importance of having a big research university, but we’re also doing research on Parkinson’s Disease and Alzheimer’s and cancer, pediatric cancer, and all these things affect the wellbeing of citizens across the state.”
The Iowa Senate’s Appropriations Committee has set a meeting for Wednesday to go over budget bills, with likely action on the Senate floor on those bills taking place next week.