UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Dean’s Office restructuring

The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences dean shared plans with faculty about creating new associate-dean positions in the school.


Katie Goodale

The College of Liberal Arts and Science Dean Steve Goddard addresses faculty members during a liberal-arts faculty meeting at the Old Capitol Center on Wednesday.

Rachel Steil, News Reporter

The University of Iowa College of Liberal Arts and Sciences dean shared plans with faculty on Wednesday to restructure the school’s Dean’s Office.

There will now be six associate-dean positions, Dean Steve Goddard told the college’s Faculty Assembly during the meeting. According to the college’s website, the Dean’s Office will add new associate deans in Strategic Initiatives; Arts and Humanities; and Natural, Mathematic, and Social Sciences. 

Additionally, the following positions will be dissolved by the end of the year: executive associate dean/dean for faculty, held by Raúl Curto; associate dean for outreach and engagement, held by Gigi Durham; and assistant dean, held by Dian Gottlob. 

“The new structure will enable us to be more responsive,” Goddard said. 

Goddard said this restructuring is expected to free up time at the college level so more time can be spent focusing on long-term plans. He shared his goal of decentralizing decision-making power from the college level to the department level.

Decisions regarding the budget were initially made at the college level after budget cuts, Goddard said, to insulate the liberal-arts departments as much as possible. This worked for some time, he said, but now it’s time for change. 

“Centralization was causing an overload in the college,” Goddard said. “[Decentralization] will set each department into motion, where they have their own goals and achieve those goals.”

He also addressed the new budget model in development for the liberal-arts school, saying he expects a decline in the number of incoming in-state students. 

Recent incoming class sizes have shrunk, until this fall with first-year enrollment spiking. The UI reported Sept. 12 that the class of 2023 has 4,986 undergraduate students — 108 more than the class of 2022.

“We are intentionally decreasing the number of students we have on campus,” Goddard said.  

Goddard said this decrease will affect the revenue the UI receives from tuition. To account for this loss, he said, the UI needs to focus on becoming a destination university for successful students across the country. 

“We are asking departments to think [about their areas of strength],” Goddard said.

The UI adopted a new budget model starting in fiscal 2019, which UI President Bruce Harreld has said shifts control to the colleges. The liberal-arts school website explains that the departments receive annual budget allocations for salary and general expense from the college, so department heads manage their department’s budgets.

The news of the restructuring comes after liberal-arts faculty were concerned in 2018 as the UI undertook its 2020 initiative to examine the university’s structure and envision its future. Some faculty thought the initiative would pave the way for the UI to break up the liberal-arts school, but the 2020 initiative report released last year concluded that there were several barriers to brainstorming “big ideas” for the university’s long-term future.

In addition to sharing the news of the restructuring, Goddard also discussed his vision for the future of diversity, equity, and inclusion in the liberal-arts school. 

“We have a diversity committee, and that’s great,” Goddard said. “But it isn’t enough.” 

Goddard said in order to reach diversity, equity, and inclusion goals, the whole college needs to be involved. He said that assigning that task to a group would not allow others to involve themselves with the issues, but this take concerned some Faculty Assembly members. 

In April, the UI announced the 2019-21 Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Action plan in order to provide support toward all identities of the campus community.

Following TaJuan Wilson’s resignation from his seven-week stint as associate vice president of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in August, some UI community members have  emphasized the need for the UI to remain committed to advancing this plan.

“I am worried about taking a leadership position on diversity, equity, and inclusion from the college,” said Mary Ann Rasmussen, an associate professor of instruction in the liberal-arts school. 

Other Faculty Assembly members present at Wednesday’s meeting agreed, calling for broader involvement.

“It is important for everyone to be involved [in diversity, equity, and inclusion],” said Morten Schlütter, the director for the Center for Asian and Pacific Studies. “But there still should be somebody whose main concern is diversity, equity, and inclusion.”