Education

University of Iowa moving quickly to fill another director vacancy

Director of UI Student Financial Aid leaves for University of Kentucky

The Pentacrest on the campus of the University of Iowa including the Old Capitol Building (center), Macbride Hall (top left), Jessup Hall (bottom left), Schaeffer Hall (top right), and MacLean Hall (bottom right) in an aerial photograph. (The Gazette/file photo)
The Pentacrest on the campus of the University of Iowa including the Old Capitol Building (center), Macbride Hall (top left), Jessup Hall (bottom left), Schaeffer Hall (top right), and MacLean Hall (bottom right) in an aerial photograph. (The Gazette/file photo)
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IOWA CITY — The University of Iowa is moving quickly to fill its growing list of vacancies, including its now-open director of student financial aid position, which former Assistant Provost Kathy Bialk left Oct. 26.

UI didn’t publicly announce her departure to the University of Kentucky, which on Oct. 31 unveiled Bialk as its new executive director of Student Financial Aid and Scholarships.

UI spokeswoman Jeneane Beck told The Gazette that Bialk — who served as UI financial aid director from Sept. 1, 2017, to Oct. 26 — left Iowa for the Kentucky position and to be nearer her children and grandchildren.

Before joining UI, Bialk served for a decade as director of student financial assistance at Marshall University in West Virginia.

“Kathy is a national financial aid expert and brings a wealth of expertise and leadership to the University of Kentucky,” UK Associate Provost for Enrollment Management Christine Harper said in a statement. “Her skills and knowledge will help us continue to move our Wildcat Student Financial Aid experience forward.”

The Iowa Board of Regents on Thursday approved Cindy Seyfer as interim director of UI Student Financial Aid, effective Oct. 19, at an annual salary of $130,000. Seyfer had been senior associate director of student employment, retention, athletics and Advantage Iowa in the Office of Student Financial aid, making an annual salary of $102, 467, according to UI records.

Finalists to permanently replace Bialk as financial aid director will be on campus next week, according to Beck.

TWO DEANS

Those visits comes as the university unveils finalists for its College of Engineering dean and International Programs dean posts, who have been visiting campus and participating in public forums in recent weeks.

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The four finalists for the engineering dean’s post — who visited campus Monday and Tuedsay — are Kevin T. Pitts, vice provost for undergraduate education at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; Harriet B. Nembhard, engineering professor and head of the School of Mechanical, Industria, and Manufacturing Engineering at Oregon State University; Andrew C. Hillier, professor and endowed chair of the Department of Chemical and Biomedical Engineering at Iowa State University; and Linda Ng Boyle, professor and chair of industrial and systems engineering at the University of Washington in Seattle.

VICE PRESIDENTS

The UI — in addition to those searches — is seeking to fill a slew of other administrative vacancies or soon-to-be vacancies, including its vice president for student life and Tippie College of Business dean positions.

Of the university’s 12 college dean positions, eight have seen turnover in the past two years.

As for vice presidents, the UI has lost or welcomed at least seven since 2017 — including four who served for at least some time atop the UI Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.

After former UI Chief Diversity Office and Associate Vice President Georgina Dodge left in July 2017 for Pennsylvania’s Bucknell University, Lena Hill stepped in as interim until she, too, left in 2018 to become dean of the College of Washington and Lee University in Virginia.

Newly outgoing Vice President for Student Life Melissa Shivers stepped in as interim for Hill until the university — following a national search — welcomed TaJuan Wilson in June to direct its diversity office. Wilson, though, resigned after just six weeks on the job, and officials haven’t committed to launching another search to replace him.

Instead, they’ve announced a restructuring will have diversity, equity, and inclusion divisions reporting to the university’s new Provost Montse Fuentes — who started the same day as Wilson.

The university, at the same time, had been searching for a new dean of students — without luck — bringing seven total finalists to campus, without making a hire. Then — on Oct. 29, after two failed searches and just weeks after launching a third — the university appointed Angie Reams, who had been serving as interim dean of students since January, to the position.

Like Reams’ appointment from within the UI ranks, Iowa is seeking to fill Shivers’ vice president post with an internal candidate this fall. It also is hoping to fill its international programs dean post with someone already on campus.

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Finalists for that job announced over the last week include Corinne Peek-Asa, associate dean for research in the UI College of Public Health; Russell Ganim, director of the Division of World Languages, Literatures and Cultures in the UI College of Arts and Sciences; and Kenneth Brown, professor of management in the UI Tippie College of Business, who earlier this month visited the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs as a finalist for its dean of the Henry B. Tippie College of Business.

That school hasn’t yet made a selection.

Comments: (319) 339-3158; vanessa.miller@thegazette.com

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