U of Iowa and the botanical museum

Mary Barkworth Mary at BIOLOGY.USU.EDU
Tue Apr 13 08:19:53 CDT 2004

It is my impression that NSF is not directly responsible here. Moreover,
herbaria in state insitutions were original founded on the premise that
they were essential to research that was in the state's interest. As I
understand it, the University upper echelon made a decision about
direction. Earlier in my life I was made unpleasantly aware of what
universities can and cannot do; change direction is wone of them.  I
deplore the decision. I consider it ridiculous to consider that a state
the size of Iowa needs only one major herbaria. The University faculty
will be forced to train students to do field oriented plant research
without consulting the most basic reference for much of such work -
specimens. I am sure that they have not provided an increase in research
budget that will permit regular cross-state trips for consulting
specimens. It reminds of my undergraduate days. First and second year
students were not allowed past the card catalog in the library. It was
excellent training in not using a library. Fortunately I was in math and
physics (and had minimal general requirements, praise be). What puzzled
me wsa why faculty criticized students for not using the library. 
I wish I could offer helpful suggestions for both the Iowa and Nebraska
situations. I cannot. I am taking note that this year, for the first
time, I was told that part of my responsibility is to establish ongoing
outside funding for the herbarium. I am preparing to ask that the fact
that I have a significant responsibilty that most other faculty do not
have be reflected in my pay. I am sure that for most of us it is not. If
I could come up with some ideas for generating ongoing funding that will
leave my successor with enough time to establish an externally funded
research program, preferably one that complements directing the
herbarium, I shall consider myself to have been incredibly successful.
Suggestions are, of course, welcome. 

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