Tippie dean search | Interim Tippie Dean Amy Kristof-Brown emphasizes finding innovative programs for funding, learning

Virtual attendants heard from the current interim dean of the college about her goals to increase opportunities for students and further develop revenue-generating programs.


Raquele Decker

Tippie College of Business Building is seen on Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2020.

Grace Hamilton, News Reporter

Amy Kristof-Brown, a University of Iowa alum and currently the Interim Dean at the Tippie College of Business, spoke about the challenges facing higher education and how she would address them in the position of dean during a forum held on Tuesday.

This is the second of three forums the college is holding to find its new dean after previous dean Sarah Gardial announced her intended departure in October 2019, beginning her new position at Belmont University in March 2020.

Kristof-Brown moved into the position of interim dean of the Tippie College of Business shortly before the university held virtual forums for prospective candidates later in the spring. After the spring search did not produce any candidates, the college’s search later relaunched and three finalists were announced Oct. 22.

Kristof-Brown started at the University of Iowa in 1997 as the director of graduate studies and the department executive 0fficer for the Department of Management and Entrepreneurship. Then she served as senior associate dean before the UI named her interim dean in March 2020. She’s the only candidate who already works for the University of Iowa. She, and the other three candidates in the second round of finalists for the position, were not finalists during the spring search.

During the forum on Tuesday, Kristof-Brown addressed reduced state funding, the shrinking rate of students seeking four-year university experiences, and the disparities felt by first-generation students. 

All the while, she said, she sees promise in upholding the Tippie College of Business’ value proposition. 

“We have a product we are trying to sell to families, businesses, external funding agencies,” Kristof-Brown says. “It’s our intellectual property, it’s our pedagogy, it’s all the things that we do. We need to truly understand what the value of that is.” 

Kristof-Brown said she wishes to sustain the college’s funding with private and corporate funding, as well as further develop revenue-generating programs. Beyond investing in bold and innovative programs, she wants to continue ensuring life-long learning opportunities and transformative experiences for students during the pandemic, she said. 

Citing the college’s Mandela Washington Fellows internship opportunity, where students virtually collaborate with an entrepreneur in Africa, Kristof-Brown said she desires to further expand these possibilities for students. 

To further improve students’ learning experiences, Kristof-Brown said increasing support for tenured and tenure-track faculty is essential. 

Our faculty is the product that we deliver to our students what we deliver in terms of scholarship,” Kristof-Brown said. 

Concluding the forum, Kristof-Brown said increased engagement is important and believes that engagement would act as an accelerator to increase private support for research budgets’ summer funding, and offer improved accessibility to high-impact projects and internship opportunities. 

“I don’t want to ask people to do more,” Kristof-Brown said. “COVID-19 has asked people to do more, and I have been truly delighted with what this college has been able to produce compared to what I’m hearing from students of other colleges. I think our faculty and staff have stepped up tremendously.”

The UI named the third and final candidate for the position on Tuesday — Thomas J. Steenburgh, a senior associate dean at the Residential MBA Program within the Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia. He’ll visit the UI virtually Nov. 4-6. The search firm will hold a forum with students, faculty, and staff at 8:30 a.m. Nov. 5.

Campus heard from Paolo Volpin, the interim dean of Cass Business School at City, University of London, earlier this week.