Education

University of Iowa bringing provost finalists to town, two years after departure

Four prospects will participate in public forums

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 in Iowa City on Wednesday, May 14, 2014. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette)
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 in Iowa City on Wednesday, May 14, 2014. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette)
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IOWA CITY — Nearly two years after seasoned University of Iowa Provost Barry Butler vacated the position for a presidential gig at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Florida, a UI search committee has identified four finalists who might replace him.

The candidates are scheduled to visit campus over the next three weeks to participate in meetings with faculty, staff and administrators and in public forums at the Iowa Memorial Union.

A UI committee convened in April 2018 thus far has conducted its search in private, but names of the finalists will be unveiled the day before the planned open forums.

Former College of Public Health Dean Sue Curry has been serving as interim executive vice president and provost since April 2017, when UI President Bruce Harreld aired plans for an extended interim period to allow his team to review the provost position and potentially restructure it.

Since Butler left in March 2017, the university has completed a new strategic plan and an academic organizational review — which found “big ideas” are lacking at the university but did not produce any.

A committee tasked with taking on that organizational review cited hefty administrative turnover among the reasons, stating “This was probably not the best time to ask the UI community to think long-term.”

Curry, in her interim role, also has hired new deans of the colleges of law, public health, and the liberal arts and sciences, for example.

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The university has been using the search firm Isaacson, Miller to help find a permanent provost — at an estimated fee of about $133,333. Through August, the UI had paid the firm $153,603, including expenses.

Harreld will make a final provost selection after the upcoming campus visits.

IF YOU GO:

All the one-hour open forums are planned for 3:30 p.m. in the Iowa Memorial Union, Big Ten Theater, room 348. The forums will be Wednesday, Jan. 16; Monday, Jan. 28; Thursday, Jan. 31; and Thursday, Feb. 7.

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

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