Former governor Tom Vilsack viewed the regent universities as engines for economic development and incubators for entrepreneurs. A Des Moines Register column by David Yepsen (PDF iconRegents face daunting task, April 24, 2005) quoted Vilsack as saying that traditionally it's been "publish a paper, write a book and you get rewarded." But in the future it should be "come up with an idea, start a business and you'll get rewarded."

The UI chapter of the AAUP took great exception to this position and vice president Lois Cox submitted a letter to the editor of the Des Moines Register (PDF iconProfessors are not entrepreneurs, May 8, 2005 ) stating the basis for our opposition.