Gupta praises UI's research, values

BY NINA EARNEST | MAY 02, 2011 7:20 AM

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University of Iowa provost candidate Yash Gupta says he intends to stay at the UI if he is selected for the position.

Gupta, the current dean of Johns Hopkins Carey School of Business, fielded questions about his numerous job changes in the past during a public forum April 29. He is the second of three candidates for the UI's provost position.

H. Glenn Penny, a UI associate history professor, stressed the importance of seeing plans to completion.

"We just had one provost issue an ill-advised strategic plan and leaving us to clean up the mess," Penny said, referring to former Provost Wallace Loh's departure to head the University of Maryland after two years here. "Why would we want to do that again?"

While hurrying out the door following the forum, Gupta said he intends to stay at the UI if he is chosen to be the university's second-in-command.

"That's it," Gupta said after the meeting. "I'm done if I come."

After his speech to an audience of roughly 90 people in the Bijou, Michael Barron, the UI director of Admissions, asked why Gupta chose to leave Johns Hopkins — which Gupta had identified as an example of a well-run institution.

"If you're having a wonderful career at one of the best-run institutions in the country, and yet you have a reputation for moving to areas of need and helping to reposition those institutions, what precisely attracted you to this one?" Barron asked.

Gupta said he felt Johns Hopkins had an affinity with the UI because of its achievements in research. He said he was also drawn to work in a public university and cited the UI's landmark achievements in equality in granting some of the first law degrees to underrepresented minorities.

"These are about the values," he said. "And these values are something that's important to me."

Before becoming the founding dean of the Carey Business School, Gupta served as the dean of three separate business schools, including the University of Southern California's Marshall School of Business. His longest tenure as dean, at the College of Business and Administration at the University of Colorado-Denver, lasted seven years.

"You need diverse experiences to solve different challenges that go along with it," Gupta said about his job variety.

According to Businessweek, Gupta raised more than $55 million as part of a campaign at Marshall, but observers at the school and experts said his job hunt — he was then a candidate for the presidency of University of Arizona — could have hurt fundraising efforts.

"It made more sense not being a dean than being a dean," Gupta told Businessweek in 2006. "Whenever you're a candidate elsewhere, it creates a lot of tension."

During his presentation, Gupta emphasized the importance of internationalization and interdisciplinary study in higher education

In his presentation, based on a "New Normal" theme — taken from what he called a "fascinating phrase" from the UI's strategic plan — he stressed the need for teaching, research, and service learning across department boundaries.

He also addressed the UI's financial and enrollment projections as well as growth in diversity.

"There are big issues," Gupta said. "And the big issues cannot be solved by one single discipline."

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