IOWA CITY — Ten months after stepping in as interim chief diversity officer and associate vice president for the University of Iowa, Lena Hill is leaving May 25 to become dean of the College at Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia.
Hill — who also holds UI titles of senior associate to the president and English and African American studies professor — was asked in July 2017 to step in on an interim basis for Georgina Dodge, who had been chief diversity officer and Title IX coordinator before leaving for a similar post at Bucknell University.
Monique DiCarlo, UI’s sexual misconduct response coordinator, took over Dodge’s Title IX duties on a permanent basis. But this week’s announcement of Hill’s departure comes before the university has launched a national search for a permanent chief diversity officer — which will add to the many administrative searches underway across campus once it begins later this spring or early summer.
Until the role is filled, UI Vice President for Student Life Melissa Shivers will serves as interim chief diversity officer. Shivers has been on campus less than a year, as she was appointed in June 2017 to replace former Student Life Vice President Tom Rocklin.
The university has seen much turnover of late, adding to the number of faculty and administrators doing double-duty across campus.
Departures include former UI Provost Barry Butler, who left one year ago; UI Assistant Vice President and Dean of Students Lyn Redington, who announced in January plans to leave for another job; and Lon Moeller, UI associate provost for undergraduate education and dean of the University of College, who announced in January he’s following Butler to Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Fla.
With former UI College of Public Health Dean Sue Curry serving as interim provost, Keith Mueller is serving as interim dean over public health. The university’s largest college — its Liberal Arts and Sciences enterprise — is losing its Dean Chaden Djalali in July, and the College of Law just announced a replacement for Dean Gail Agrawal. Kevin Washburn, regents professor of law and former dean at the University of New Mexico School of Law, will take over for Agrawal on June 15.
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Filling the UI post of vice president for research and economic development on an interim basis is Graduate College John Keller, after former Vice President Daniel Reed stepped down in September. The university is searching for a new UI Museum of Art Director after Sean O’Harrow left at the start of the year. Former Iowa congressman and visiting professor Jim Leach is serving as interim director.
University of Iowa Health Care also is going through major administrative transition. Longtime Vice President for Medical Affairs Jean Robillard — who retired in November — was replaced with Brooks Jackson, who held a similar role at the University of Minnesota. Among other administrative turnover within UI Health Care, the system is looking for a new chief financial officer after Ken Fisher retired in June. UI Hospitals and Clinics Ken Kates in January announced he’s retiring this summer.
Searches are underway for some of those posts, although others — like the diversity officer position — haven’t started.
Hill has been at Iowa since 2006 and received tenure in 2013, according to the UI Office of Media Relations. She and her husband Michael Hill, a UI associate professor of English, coedited “Invisible Hawkeyes: African Americans at the University of Iowa During the Long Civil Rights Era.”
In a statement, UI President Bruce Harreld praised Lena Hill for working “tirelessly over the past year, urging us to survey our campus and truly reflect on our weaknesses and bringing the campus together to engage in conversations in order to improve.”
“The Hills introduced a new generation of students to important members of our Hawkeye family,” Harreld said in the statement. “They have graciously shared their time and knowledge with students, faculty, and staff inside and outside of the classroom, making this a more welcoming place.”
Hill, who earned a doctorate in English from Yale University, served on several UI committees and groups and in 2011 received the James N. Murray Faculty Award, recognizing an assistant professor for excellence in teaching. Awarded by the Beta Iota Circle of Omicron Delta Kappa, a national leadership honor society founded at the college she’ll soon be serving, it honors “a young scholar who has demonstrated outstanding rapport with students and who creates an exemplary classroom atmosphere.”
In a news release out of Washington and Lee University, Hill said that school is distinguished by the “talented students and exceptional faculty and staff who form the lifeblood of this institution.”
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Of Shivers appointment in Hill’s stead, UI President Harreld pointed to collaboration between the women.
“Throughout Melissa’s 21-year career in higher education as a student affairs scholar-practitioner, 13 years of her efforts were focused on diversity, inclusion, and social justice work, for which she remains committed in her role as vice president for student life,” Harreld said in a statement. “I’m confident she can provide similar support for faculty and staff during the interim.”
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