Goddard holds forum as third dean candidate for College of Liberal Arts & Sciences position

Steve Goddard from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln became the third of four candidates for the UI CLAS dean position to be introduced to faculty and staff.


Wyatt Dlouhy

Steve Goddard speaks during a forum as one of four candidates for the University of Iowa’s Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Voxman Concert Hall on Tuesday, October 23, 2018. Previously, Goddard has served as the Interim Vice Chancellor for Research and Economic Development for the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Chris Borro, News Reporter

The search for the new College of Liberal Arts and Sciences dean continued on Tuesday with a forum presenting the third of four candidates, Steve Goddard.

Goddard is the John E. Olsson Professor of Computer Science & Engineering at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. His 90-minute introductory forum was held at the Pappajohn Business Building in front of an audience of around 100 faculty, staff, and students.

David Ryfe, co-chair of the dean search committee and director of the University of Iowa’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication, introduced Goddard to the audience.

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Goddard discussed his academic accomplishments during the forum, including his positions at various chancellorships at UNL. Afterwards, he answered a question drafted by the committee about the forces impacting public universities and the CLAS in particular, during which he discussed the economic, political and cultural influences on higher education.

One question he posed to the audience was, “What things can we do with our curriculum that make it more efficient to deliver and more appealing for students to enroll in it?”

He suggested better preparing students for future careers and collaborating with the deans of the other UI colleges as answers.

“People are questioning now whether the cost of college is worth it; what’s the value? Whenever we have a downturn in the economic cycle, these questions come up. People question where their taxpayer money is going … and how important it is,” Goddard said.

He said parents can be concerned about their children’s job prospects after college, but valuable skills like critical thinking, teamwork, problem solving, and communication are all taught in the CLAS.

 “Everything we’re doing should be focused on excellence and impact,” Goddard said.

He encouraged the attendees to continue supporting civil discourse during conversations between diverse viewpoints.

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“We can model that and engage [with] our students to make sure they engage with that behavior. We want to give our students opportunities to practice this discourse,” he said.

Goddard said working with diverse groups of people is helpful for CLAS students, because looking at a project from different viewpoints will make it more successful in the end.

“I like the phrase, ‘We all like to be in our comfort zone.’ I want to move out of the comfort zone and into our impact zone,” he said.

After his speech, Ryfe collected questions from the audience to ask Goddard. These included queries regarding the importance of liberal arts for non-liberal arts majors, supporting STEM hires with fewer available resources, budgetary models at UNL, his experience with interdisciplinary research and teaching, and goals for his first year as dean.

Former dean Chaden Djalali left the UI at the end of the 2017-18 school year to accept a position for executive vice president and provost at Ohio University. The final candidate will be interviewed on Thursday.

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