UI presidential search: Dean of Penn State Law Hari Osofsky named finalist

Osofsky will visit campus April 12-13 to meet with campus leaders, including a public forum at 3:30 p.m. April 12. Osofsky is the first of four finalists for the position.


Contributed photo of Hari Osofsky, dean of the Penn State College of Law and School of International Affairs.

Caleb McCullough and Sarah Watson

Hari Osofsky, dean of Penn State Law and the Penn State School of International Affairs, will attend campus on Monday as the first of four finalists for the University of Iowa presidency. 

She leads a roughly 380-student law school, which ranked No. 60 in the most recent US News and World Report rankings of graduate and professional programs. 

In addition to holding dean positions, Osofsky is a professor of law, international affairs, and geography at Penn State. According to Penn State Law’s website, Osofsky’s scholarship includes writings on climate change and energy law. One article Osofsky wrote on governance and the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill was selected for Land Use and Environment Law Review’s annual compilation of top land and environmental law articles. Another article, “Energy Partisanship” published in Emory Law Journal was awarded the 2018 Morrison Prize, which recognizes the most impactful sustainability legal academic article in North America that year.

RELATED: Four finalists for University of Iowa presidency set to visit campus this month

Osofsky received both a bachelor’s degree and a J.D. from Yale University, and a doctorate in geography from the University of Oregon. She has worked in faculty and leadership positions at University of Minnesota Law School, Washington and Lee University School of Law, the University of Oregon school of Law, and Whittier Law School.

Current UI President Bruce Harreld announced his retirement in October 2020, setting in motion the search for the next head Hawkeye. The four finalists — narrowed from an initial pool of about 80 — will visit campus over a period of the next two weeks. The state Board of Regents — which governs the three public universities in Iowa — is set to make a decision on April 30. 

In March, Harreld announced that he would be leaving the office on May 16, earlier than initially planned. The Board of Regents named outgoing Graduate College Dean John Keller, co-chair of the presidential search committee, as the interim president. Keller will take over from Harreld’s last day until the next president takes the helm, likely sometime in late summer or early fall.

The UI will hold a public forum with Osofsky at 3:30 on Monday, where she will answer submitted questions from the 40 in-person attendees and online viewers. Questions can be submitted online and the state Board of Regents will live stream the forum on YouTube. 

Each other candidate to be the next leader of the institution will be announced at 8 a.m. the day before the first of a two-day visit. The next candidate will be announced Wednesday at 8 a.m.

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