Third finalist speaks at forum


Ohio State University Provost Joseph Steinmetz, the third finalist to replace Sally Mason as University of Iowa president. The fourth and final presidential public forum will take place this afternoon. (The Daily Iowan/Carly Matthew)

The third presidential forum at the UI kicked off Monday with Joseph Steinmetz, the provost of Ohio State University, at the podium.

He introduced himself by talking about his children and their ties to the campus as former students.

“I am truly excited about the prospects of potentially leading a world-class institution,” Steinmetz said.

He then laid out six principles if he is named the next president of the university.

First, to have a vision of an administration and university that is transparent and accountable. Second, a university that is diverse and inclusive.

“Students show me they’re exposed to a variety of cultures,” Steinmetz said.

Third, a university that finds way to balance financial needs while maintaining a world-class university.

“You just don’t run into people who want us to deliver an average education,” Steinmetz said.

Fourth, to create greatness with the hiring and retaining of world-class faculty. “Talented students deserve talented faculty,” Steinmetz said.

Fifth, to create a university that places a premium on collaboration. “Students need to learn how to work together,” he said.

Finally, a university that is recognized by everyone as being outstanding. Everyone in the state of Iowa needs to tell stories about how the university helps the state, Steinmetz said.

“The president must instill compassion in all who touch the university,” he said.

After his speech, he took questions from the audience, composed mostly of UI faculty members.

When asked about how he would conceptualize diversity and excellence, he responded, “My excellence definition includes diversity, creating an environment which diversity is comfortable in.”

He was then asked about expenditures and the trend toward increasing expenditures in universities.

“I get why some costs have gone up, but not others … we have expenditure cuts that can be made,” Steinmetz said.

He was also asked about what he can do for students with disabilities at the UI.

“We need to have an individualized approach in order to meet their needs,” Steinmetz said.

When asked about funding for biomedical research, he responded that the dollars cannot come on the backs of student tuition and the UI would join in partnering with business and industry.

The issue of micro aggressions versus academic freedom was another question someone asked Steinmetz.

“I would be the last person to hinder academic freedom on this campus,” he responded.

He was also asked about sexual violence on campus and what he believes can be done to prevent it.

“It is a very serious problem that has to be dealt with; sexual assault is a crime, it should be treated as a crime,” he said.

UI graduate student Kyle Miller was impressed with Steinmetz.

“I liked his down-to-earth demeanor,” Miller said. “He really wants students’ best interests.”

UI faculty members also weighed in on the candidates.

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