UI Faculty Senate urges shared governance inclusion in leadership appointments

At Tuesday’s meeting, the University of Iowa Faculty Senate voted to adopt a resolution for more inclusion in future searches for UI campus leaders.


Ayrton Breckenridge

University of Iowa Faculty Senate President, Joseph Yockey, speaks during the University of Iowa Faculty Senate meeting over Zoom on Tuesday, March 23.

Sabine Martin, News Reporter

A string of internal appointments among University of Iowa administration has prompted UI Faculty Senate to call for more shared governance involvement in future leadership appointments.

On Tuesday, Faculty Senate adopted a resolution encouraging that shared governance bodies have more of a say in the appointment process for academic campus leaders.

The UI has appointed three UI campus leaders from interim positions to permanent roles without official searches in the last three months.

In January 2020, Liz Tovar assumed the role of executive officer for diversity, equity, and inclusion. Following Tovar, the appointment of UI Provost Kevin Kregel and the Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Sara Sanders were announced in February and March.

UI Faculty Senate President Joseph Yockey told the Faculty Senate that he believes it is important to stress the concerns that he has heard about shared governance participation are prompted by the process of the recently finalized UI leadership positions.

“No one has raised any concerns with us about the qualifications of the leaders in question and what they have accomplished so far,” Yockey said.

As previously reported by The Daily Iowan, the UI has implemented searches in the past to fill administrator positions. In fall 2020, a search committee for the Tippie College of Business dean appointed Amy Kristof-Brown, who had served in the interim position since March.

Yockey told the Faculty Senate that from his understanding, the three UI administrator appointments were “isolated events driven by the unique exigent departures in the midst of the pandemic.”

Later this week, a search committee will be announced for an internal search for the Dean of the UI Graduate College, Yockey told the Faculty Senate. The position opened after the current dean, John Keller, stepped down in early March.

UI President Bruce Harreld and Provost Kevin Kregel told the Faculty Senate officers that there are no plans to make leadership appointments without a search the new normal, Yockey told the Faculty Senate.

During the meeting, Faculty Senate member Lindell Joseph said this motion is an opportunity to increase the awareness of shared governance participation within the UI.

“[The UI] needs to begin to rethink how independent they are in terms of taking action and whether you are truly going to engage in shared governance,” Joseph said.

Faculty Senate member, Jonathan Carlson added that shared governance processes have been disregarded or marginalized at the UI.

“It really very much concerns me…shared governance should have faculty at the beginning of discussions, in the middle of discussions, when options are being considered, and at the end,” Carlson said. “That’s not because we’re entitled, it’s because decisions are better when you have that kind of input.”

With the UI presidential search projected to select the next UI president on April 30, Faculty Senate member Loren Glass said he encourages everyone to reiterate their concerns of the lack of shared governance for the search.

“I think that this can get more pointedly addressed in that process if we speak out,” Glass said. “We want a future leader who recognizes the definitions of faculty governance and shared governance.”