Tippie dean search: University of Texas at San Antonio business-school dean talks research, diversity, student success

In the final public forum for the university’s search for a new dean of the Tippie College of Business, candidate Gerard Sanders discussed the five priorities he would implement in the school if made dean — research, student success, connections, diversity, and programming.


Wm. Gerard Sanders Dean College of the College of Business Administration and Bodenstedt Chair at the University of Texas at San Antonio, speaks during a Zoom meeting on Monday May 4, 2020.

Lauren White, News Reporter

The final public forum in the University of Iowa’s search for a new dean of the Tippie College of Business occurred Monday, where candidate Gerard Sanders discussed five strategic priorities he plans to implement in the school, if selected.

Sanders, dean of the University of Texas at San Antonio College of Business, said he developed five strategic priorities for the position — research excellence, student success, making connections, exclusive excellence, and programming.

“There are all kinds of reasons why we want to and need to be a diverse college, in both students and staff,” Sanders said. “One of the simplest reasons is because we want to offer equal opportunities.”

The forum was hosted via Zoom, and was the third of four planned public forums in the dean search after the UI announced prior to its scheduled April 28 forum that the third finalist for the position had dropped out of the race.

Research excellence involves consistently showcasing the business-college research and maintaining its reputation in research. Student success focuses on recruiting the best Hawkeyes possible, Sanders said.

The connectional aspect of his priorities focuses on fundraising, engaging alumni, and building partnerships. Sanders said he hopes to connect with and strengthen relationships with many different groups in the UI community.

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“One role of a dean, and a significant role at that, is being the facilitator of connections between the college and important stakeholders,” Sanders said.

In regard to exclusive excellence, Sanders stressed the need for Diversity, Inclusion, Equity, and belonging. Sanders said he understands the importance of a diverse, welcoming campus, and that every student has a different university experience.

Audience members asked Sanders what makes his diversity initiative different from the current DEI plan that exists, and Sanders responded by saying that his goal is to make diversity a more holistic view throughout retention, recruitment, and graduation rates.

“The fastest growing populations are among the underserved minority segments of society,” he said. “So, our ability to be a welcoming and supporting home for students of many backgrounds is paramount.”

Programming involves foresight, alignment, and strategy, Sanders said. His goal for Tippie is to look ahead at what students will need for the world they graduate into and balancing that with workforce demands.

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Sander’s approach to leadership is dependent upon teamwork, providing resources, and listening to collective thoughts and ideas, he said.

“I fundamentally believe that part of my job is to give you the resources you need to do your job and stay out of your way,” Sanders said. “I believe we are much smarter collectively than we are individually.”

Additional priorities of Sanders as dean would include meeting with faculty, other college deans, key alumni, and principal donors who are important to the university. Sanders said he would also want to highlight Tippie’s perceived value in the broader market. Sanders hopes to chart and improve upon recruitment and retention plans for both faculty and students.

“Recruiting sufficient numbers of students is necessary but it is not sufficient,” Sanders said. “We must get to the point where we eliminate the persistence gaps and the achievement gaps.”

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