Education

University of Iowa restarts dean of students search

After none of the finalists hired, search firm to help

The Old Capitol building is shown in Iowa City on Monday, March 30, 2015. (Adam Wesley/The Gazette)
The Old Capitol building is shown in Iowa City on Monday, March 30, 2015. (Adam Wesley/The Gazette)

IOWA CITY — Earlier this year, a University of Iowa search committee brought to campus four finalists under consideration for the next dean of students, nearly in time to quickly succeed Lyn Redington when she departed May 1.

But the UI will require some interim help in the position after all, after not hiring any of those initial prospects. The university has announced plans to extend its search for a new associate vice president and dean of students.

Although the UI at first chose not to pay tens of thousands to hire a search firm and instead move quickly to bring in finalists, the university — in starting over — this time will employ consultant Isaacson Miller Inc.

The UI signed an agreement June 6 with the Boston firm to pay it one-third the amount it will pay the candidate it eventually hires. The salary is expected to be about $150,000; Redington was earning $135,155 as of March, according to an online UI database.

That means Isaacson Miller will earn about $50,000 on the search, among a growing list the UI is managing amid extensive turnover in its administrative ranks.

Redington, named as UI assistant vice president and dean of students just over two years ago, became vice president for student life at Idaho State University.

The UI formed a search committee to identify candidates to replace her. The committee brought to campus four finalists between April 25 and May 3, all of whom participated in public presentations. The university collected feedback a search website.

Florida State University Dean of Students Victoria Dobiyanski was the first named finalist; followed by University of Idaho Associate Dean of Students Hassel Morrison; Eric Norman, vice chancellor for student affairs and deans of students at Purdue University Fort Wayne; and Calvin Phillips, associate vice president of student affairs at Eastern Michigan University.

UI officials did not disclose whether its search failed because it chose not to extend an offer or because it did and the offer was rejected.

“We’re not sharing specifics out of respect for the four candidates,” UI spokeswoman Anne Bassett said in a email, adding, “Isaacson Miller Inc. will help the search committee work to refine the applicant pool and throughout the interview process.”

With Redington now gone, the university plans to tap Angie Reams, associate dean of students, and Bill Nelson, associate dean of students and executive director of the Iowa Memorial Union, to help.

The new search will begin this summer, the UI Office of Strategic Communications said.

The search is one of several either underway or recently wrapped up. The UI is in the hunt for a new provost, vice president for research and economic development, chief diversity officer and associate provost for undergraduate education, among others.

At the collegiate level, the UI has seen recent changeover its Carver College of Medicine and College of Law, and it’s losing College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Dean Chaden Djalali in July. It recently named Edith Parker its new College of Public Health dean.

UI President Bruce Harreld has stressed a need for more state funding to retain top faculty and administrators.

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

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