UI Tippie College of Business welcomes first female dean

BY JENNY EARL | MARCH 19, 2012 6:30 AM

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The University of Iowa Tippie College of Business will have a female dean for the first time in the school's history.

UI officials announced last week that University of Tennessee administrator Sarah Gardial would take over as the head of the college in July, following the retirement of Dean William Hunter.

Officials here say picking Gardial demonstrates the university's push toward diversity.

"I think it is a reflection of the UI commitment to diversity and equal opportunity," UI spokesman Tom Moore said. "Yes, clearly this is a great hire for the university."

UI business faculty members are also optimistic about the new hiring.

"It's always nice to bring in youthful enthusiasm," said Gary Fethke, a professor of management sciences and economics. "I hope it works out very well for the school. We need good leadership."

Still, some faculty said they're sad to see Hunter go.

"I was kind of surprised when Hunter announced his retirement," said Philip Jones, a professor of management sciences. "Initially, I was quite disappointed, because I really thought [Hunter] has made some good strides and was doing good things for the college."

Gardial has worked as the vice provost for faculty affairs at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville, where she facilitated training and workshops related to new faculty orientation and administrative leadership skills for deans, directors, and department heads.

The opening salary for Gardial will be $380,000.

Tom Snee, an editor/writer in the University News Services, said Gardial's experience working with deans and the variety of areas she worked in impressed UI business faculty members and officials.

"[They were] impressed with her overall breadth of experience," he said. "At Tennessee, she worked with the M.B.A. program, undergraduates, worked in central administration of the university — her general background really impressed [everyone] as well as her goals and hopes for the future of Tippie."

Jones said the business school should expect to see changes.

"My experience with these things is new deans tend to kind of leave things in place from six months to a year to get the lay of the land, and then they start making changes," he said. "I anticipate something like that. Undoubtedly, she'll have some ideas of her own and want to make changes and so on."

Gardial's hiring fills just one of a handful of dean positions at the UI.

In addition to Hunter, Linda Maxson, the dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, will retire this summer, Carver College of Medicine Dean Paul Rothman will take a new job at Johns Hopkins, and then-Engineering Dean P. Barry Butler left his post in 2010 to take over as, first, interim provost and then provost.

Moore said this isn't an unusual trend for a university. The typical tenure of administrators is usually around seven years, and many candidates who accept these positions are more advanced in their career, he said.

"If someone stays roughly eight or 10 years, that's going to be fairly typical," he said.

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