Education

Two University of Iowa administrators take jobs at other schools

Melissa Shivers served in diversity role much of UI stint, Sarah Gardial was business dean since 2012

Melissa Shivers, vice president for Student Life at the University of Iowa, talks Sept. 22, 2017, about diversity and inclusion on campus during The Gazette’s inaugural Iowa Ideas symposium in downtown Cedar Rapids. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)
Melissa Shivers, vice president for Student Life at the University of Iowa, talks Sept. 22, 2017, about diversity and inclusion on campus during The Gazette’s inaugural Iowa Ideas symposium in downtown Cedar Rapids. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)
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IOWA CITY — Two upper-level female University of Iowa administrators this week have announced their departures for other schools.

Melissa Shivers, the UI’s vice president for student life and interim diversity head, is leaving to take a similar job at the larger Ohio State University.

Sarah Gardial, who has been dean of the UI’s Tippie College of Business since 2012, was just named dean of the Massey College of Business at Belmont University, a private Christian school in Nashville.

Shivers said she was not looking for another position and was approached by Ohio State.

“I certainly never planned to leave Iowa,” she said in an interview.

During her time at Iowa, she persevered though issues including alcohol and hazing violation at fraternities, strained race relations on campus and the quick departure of a newly-hired head of diversity, equity and inclusion.

Shivers also was among the UI administrators sued for discriminating against faith-based religious groups. A judge recently found she and others could be held personally liable for violating InterVarsity Graduate Christian Fellowship’s “clearly established right to free speech” by deregistering it and about a dozen other student groups for requiring that their leaders align with their faith.

She’ll start Jan. 6 at Ohio State, according to the UI Office of Strategic Communication. Her last day at Iowa will be after the end this fall’s semester in December. Shivers arrived on the UI campus in June 2017.

“I want to extend my deepest thanks to the students,” she said in a statement. “There are no words to describe how much they made me feel a part of the Hawkeye community. They are truly my motivation and inspiration and I will be forever grateful.”

The university will launch an internal search for a replacement.

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The university also is without a director of diversity, equity and inclusion after TaJuan Wilson signed a settlement Aug. 9 agreeing to resign just six weeks after he started June 28. He’s working remotely in a “special assignment” and continuing to earn his $224,000 salary — even as he’s allowed to job search.

Gardial, who the UI said took the job at Belmont to be closer to family in the South, will start her new position in March, the UI announced. The UI will name an interim business dean and conduct an external search.

As dean, Gardial expanded the Tippie College’s master’s degree offerings to include finance and business analytics, and oversaw development of a new online part-time MBA program that began this fall. She also phased out the college’s full-time MBA program.

Gardial oversaw recruitment efforts that pushed the Tippie College’s enrollment to record highs, and led efforts to revise and broaden the undergraduate curriculum, the UI reported.

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

Erin Jordan of The Gazette contributed to this report.

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