University of Iowa solicits nominations for vice president of student life

'We have remarkable talent all across our campus'

Melissa Shivers Vice President for Student Life at the University of Iowa talks about diversity and inclusion on campus
Melissa Shivers Vice President for Student Life at the University of Iowa talks about diversity and inclusion on campus during the inaugural Iowa Ideas Conference at the Cedar Rapids Convention Complex in northeast Cedar Rapids, Iowa, on Friday, Sept. 22, 2017. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)

IOWA CITY — With the University of Iowa hoping to fill its soon-to-be vacant vice president of student life post quickly and with someone already on campus, the dean of its largest College of Liberal Arts and Sciences this week put out a call for nominations.

“I am pleased to announce the internal search for a new vice president for student life is underway,” according to an email Dean Steve Goddard sent to colleagues Monday. “We invite members of the UI community to nominate individuals whom they believe to be qualified to serve as the next vice president for student life.”

That campus call comes less than two weeks after UI’s outgoing Vice President of Student Life Melissa Shivers announced she’s leaving at the end of this semester for the same job at Ohio State University — where her salary will bump up from $295,000 to $325,000.

Her departure comes amid widespread turnover across the UI administrative ranks, with at least seven vice presidents coming or going since 2017. Of the university’s 12 college dean positions, eight have seen turnover in the past two years.

The university is in the middle of welcoming to campus four finalists for the College of Engineering dean post — with the third finalist on campus Tuesday and Wednesday and the fourth and final finalist scheduled to participate in a public forum Nov. 11.

The university on Wednesday also announced a search committee for its vacant dean of International Programs post has chosen three internal finalists to participate in public forums from Nov. 8-15.

Similarly, after Shivers announced her departure last month, UI President Harreld in a statement said the institution can’t afford to lose “the momentum built over the past several years” and thus would look internally for her replacement.


“We have remarkable talent all across our campus, and I am sure the (search) committee will develop an exciting slate of candidates for the next leader of student life,” Harreld said in his statement.

The university has struggled lately with some of its external searches. Its yearslong hunt for a dean of students, for example, brought seven finalists to town and cost the university tens of thousands before administrators finally nixed the search and hired the woman who had been serving as interim for more than a year.

Additionally, after losing two diversity heads and finally hiring TaJuan Wilson for the post over the summer, he abruptly resigned in August — although he continues to earn his $224,000 salary and other benefits while he looks for another job and completes “special assignment” tasks for UI.

In Goddard’s Monday email seeking nominations for Iowa’s open vice president of student life post, he links to a site listing job qualifications and procedural details — including that only current UI employees are eligible for consideration.

The site requests nominations by Nov. 18 and reports screenings will begin immediately. They will continue until the job is filled — with initial interviews expected later this month or in early December.

“You will have the opportunity to provide additional input into the search process when finalists are identified,” according to Goddard’s email. “Thank you for your assistance in identifying top talent for this important position.”

Comments: (319) 339-3158;

Give us feedback

We value your trust and work hard to provide fair, accurate coverage. If you have found an error or omission in our reporting, tell us here.

Or if you have a story idea we should look into? Tell us here.