Education

University of Iowa announces new vice president for student life

UI also names committee to help find a new diversity head

Sarah Hansen is the new University of Iowa vice president for student life. She is the manager of strategic programs in
Sarah Hansen is the new University of Iowa vice president for student life. She is the manager of strategic programs in the UI Office of the Provost and will begin her new job April 1, 2020. She was one of four internal candidates for the job.

IOWA CITY — Sarah Hansen has been named the new University of Iowa vice president for student life.

Hansen, now manager of strategic programs in the UI Office of the Provost, will begin her new job April 1.

She’ll earn an annual salary of $290,000. Her current pay is $163,173.

She succeeds Melissa Shivers, who left the campus three months ago to become vice president of student life at Ohio State University.

Hansen starts at an unprecedented time on campus, as administrators this week — for the first time — moved all in-person classes online in response to the global coronavirus pandemic.

The initial period of virtual instruction begins March 23, after spring break, and extends through April 3 — although the campus will continue to monitor the situation and could extend the cessation of in-person classes.

Although UI residence halls and dining facilities will remain open, Hansen will start her oversight of student life on the UI campus with many students off campus.

Hansen was one of four internal finalists to succeed Shivers. UI President Bruce Harreld said he wanted an internal successor in hopes of speeding the hire and maintaining “momentum built over the past several years.”

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Other finalists were Brian Lai, associate professor and department executive officer in the UI Department of Political Science; Danielle Martinez, associate director of UI Academic Support and Retention; and Kenneth Brown, management professor in the UI Tippie College of Business.

Hansen since October has managed strategic programs in the provost office, providing direction, consultation and management for institutional strategic planning and implementation of the campus Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Action Plan.

Before that, she was associate vice president in the vice president’s office for student life for three years, where she supervised five units — student health, student wellness, recreational services, the Rape Victim Advocacy Program and University Counseling Service. She also served as senior adviser to the vice president.

In a statement, Harreld called Hansen a “true university citizen who has shown time and time again an ability to bring together teams to support the success of our students.”

“With her connections across the university, I am certain that the integration of student life across our campus will broaden and deepen,” he said.

Hansen has a bachelor’s degree in sociology and a master’s in education from the UI. In addition to her recent jobs, she was project manager for the American Talent Initiative, co-chair of the 2016-21 UI Strategic Plan Committee, co-creator of the On Iowa! program, co-chair of the Path Forward Student Success Work Group and author of the UI Alcohol Harm Reduction Plan.

Hansen co-chaired the campus’ Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Action Plan, helped create the Campus Inclusion Team, and she served on the Provost’s Graduation Task Force.

“I am thrilled and honored to serve as the vice president for student life at the institution I love,” Hansen said in a statement. “The Division of Student Life plays a significant role in supporting student success by providing meaningful experiences outside the classroom and services that enable students to be included, safe, and healthy.”

Diversity search

On the same day the university announced its new vice president for student life, it named a search committee and search consultant to help find a new associate vice president for diversity, equity, and inclusion.

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Shivers, during her UI tenure, also served as interim diversity head — after the campus’ former Chief Diversity Officer Georgina Dodge left in 2017. Another former UI administrator Lena Hill served as the campus’ first interim diversity head until leaving in 2018.

That’s when Shivers stepped in — serving as interim diversity head in addition to vice president for student life until the campus hired TaJuan Wilson last summer as her permanent successor.

Wilson, though, resigned without much explanation after only six weeks. He stayed on as a UI employee though — and continued earning his $224,000 salary — while he looked for another job.

Wilson on Jan. 31 officially ended his employment with UI, which didn’t initially commit to hiring a replacement. But the campus now is moving forward with a search — with Nadine Petty, executive director of the Center for Diversity and Enrichment, and Russ Ganim, associate provost and dean of International Programs, named co-chairs of the 19-person search committee.

The university is using Isaacson-Miller for the search, which is expected to officially launch next month. A new associate vice president for diversity, equity and inclusion is expected to be named in a year, in the spring 2021 semester.

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

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