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IOWA CITY — About 80 percent of University of Iowa faculty, staff, students, administrators and community members who provided feedback as part of the campus presidential search said they support or strongly support Barbara Wilson as campus president — the highest approval rating of all four presidential finalists.
Wilson, executive vice president and vice president for academic affairs for the University of Illinois System, was named Friday as the UI’s 22nd president, succeeding the retiring Bruce Harreld.
More than 320 people — mostly faculty and staff — provided feedback about Wilson, describing her as a “relationship builder,” “logical thinker” and “composed and confident,” according to a summary provided Friday evening by the Board Regents.
Wilson’s career at a Big Ten university and her experience with health care and athletics administration made her the top pick, as did her strengths in diversity, equity and inclusion, the summary noted.
The next-highest level of campus support went to Wendy F. Hensel, Georgia State University provost, with about 73 percent of respondents saying they supported or strongly supported her being selected president.
Penn State Law Dean Hari Osofsky had about 63 percent support from feedback providers and Dan Clay, UI College of Education dean, had about 36 percent overall.
The majority of people who provided feedback said they got their information by reviewing the finalists’ resumes or listening to finalist presentations on campus. Smaller numbers of respondents said they met the finalists individually or in small groups.
The regents committed to releasing public feedback on finalists after criticisms following the 2015 presidential search, after which Harreld was hired. In that search, faculty, staff and students expressed concerns about Harreld’s candidacy, but the board hired him anyway.
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