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University of Iowa picks dean of students after two years, two failed searches

Angie Reams, the interim dean, will take permanent post

The Old Capitol between Schaeffer Hall (left) and Macbride Hall (right) on the Pentacrest on campus of the University of Iowa in Iowa City in April 2014. (Gazette file photo)
The Old Capitol between Schaeffer Hall (left) and Macbride Hall (right) on the Pentacrest on campus of the University of Iowa in Iowa City in April 2014. (Gazette file photo)

IOWA CITY — Nearly two years after losing its dean of students – and upon learning last week that its vice president of student life is leaving at the end of the semester – the University of Iowa on Tuesday named its interim Dean of Students Angie Reams to fill that role permanently.

Reams has been in the role at the interim level since January 2019 – about one year after former dean Lyn Redington left for Idaho State University in January 2018 and after two failed UI searches to replace her.

“I’m grateful that Angie has served in the interim role and feel she’s prepared to fill it permanently,” outgoing Vice President for Student Life Melissa Shivers said in a statement. “She’s continued to do an outstanding job providing guidance when students struggle, as well as helping them celebrate successes.

“She’s deeply committed to helping create and sustain positive and inclusive communities through advocacy, education, and engagement,” according to Shivers, who after just two years at Iowa will take over as vice president of student life at Ohio State University in the new year.

The university in September announced it was – for a third time – launching a search for a dean of students, which oversees student engagement and governance activities like the Greek system and several diversity and equity initiatives.

UI officials, at the time, said it was compiling a 12-member search committee to work with search firm Isaacson-Miller to replace Redington. The university already had paid Isaacson-Miller $61,363 for its first attempt to find a new dean – which actually was the university’s second attempt, as its first attempt without a search failed.

That first search brought four finalists to campus in April 2018, although none were hired. The second search brought another three finalists to UI in November 2018, and – again – none were chosen.

Isaacson-Miller’s initial 2018 contract with UI includes the caveat that if no one is hired in a year the deal will be terminated “and a revised contract with adjusted fees, if necessary, will be negotiated.”

But UI officials last month told The Gazette the terms of the agreement – including its estimated fee of about $50,000 – still apply.

In her interim role, Reams was earning $140,000 annually – up about 43 percent over the $98,000 she was making before the interim appointment as associate dean of students. Per her new agreement, Reams will be making $170,000 – and she won’t be eligible for a pay raise in January.

“We are very excited you have chosen to continue to share your talents with one of the best public universities in the country and a division that believes in working together as one team to achieve our mission: fostering student success by creating and promoting inclusive, educationally purposeful services and activities within and beyond the classroom,” according to her offer letter.

Her appointment will become official Nov. 1 – pending Board of Regents approval – enabling the UI Division of Student Life “to make a seamless transition when it comes to one of the most integral positions relating to the student experience.”

Likewise, the university has said it plans to move quickly to replace Shivers with an internal candidate this fall – before she’s even scheduled to leave at the end of the fall semester.

“It’s critical to have someone with Angie’s experience and proven strong leadership skills lead the Office of the Dean of Students as we move forward,” Shivers said in a statement.

The appointment comes at a time of widespread turnover across the UI leadership ranks – with many of its collegiate deans either leaving or with under two years on campus. The university also has several new or open vice president positions – including its head of diversity, equity, and inclusion post.

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

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