UI Presidential Search: Dean of UI College of Education Daniel L. Clay named finalist

Clay, the only internal candidate named a finalist, will visit campus on Thursday and Friday, April 22 – 23.


Contributed photo of Daniel Clay, dean of the University of Iowa College of Education.

Rylee Wilson and Katie Ann McCarver

Daniel L. Clay, dean of the University of Iowa College of Education, will visit campus on Thursday as the last of four finalists for the University of Iowa presidency.

Clay oversees the UI College of Education, which has 1,196 students, and is ranked No. 48 in the most recent U.S. News and World Report rankings of Best Education Schools.

Clay is the only internal candidate to be named a finalist in the search.

According to his CV, Clay has worked as dean of the UI College of Education since 2016. He was previously the dean of the College of Education at the University of Missouri from 2010 to 2016, and a professor in the UI’s College of Education from 1997 to 2006.

Clay holds a Master of Business Administration, a doctorate in counseling psychology, and a master’s in educational and counseling psychology from the University of Missouri. He received his bachelor’s degree in psychology from the College of Saint Scholastica in Duluth, Minnesota.

At the College of Education, Clay developed seven new graduate degree and certificate programs, and implemented new interdisciplinary and dual degrees for undergraduate students. According to his CV, Clay increased undergraduate enrollment at the college by 34 percent, and graduate enrollment by 10 percent.

Clay established the College of Education’s Anti-Racism Collaborative, and developed a pipeline program to increase the diversity of the undergraduate student body.

The UI College of Education Office of the Dean website states that Clay has provided “strong leadership in guiding the strategic planning process, fund-raising, new faculty and staff hires, and renovation plans” as dean.

As dean of the College of Education, Clay has also increased annual gross tuition revenue by over $2.6 million since fiscal 2018, according to his CV.

On his CV, Clay described himself as having “extensive experience as a business founder/co-founder and investor.”

Clay is on the board of directors for IntelliSee, a UI-based startup company that develops AI to detect risks. At the University of Missouri, he founded Mizzou Academy, a K-12 online learning school.

Clay is one of four finalists narrowed down from an initial pool of 80 candidates, to replace current UI President Bruce Harreld, who announced his retirement in October 2020. The state Board of Regents will make its final decision regarding the next top Hawkeye by April 30, after all four finalists have visited campus.

All four finalists have prior academic administrative experience, a departure from the 2015 search that led to the selection of Harreld, a former business executive at IBM and Kraft foods whose prior academic experience included being an adjunct professor at Harvard Business School. That search ended with sanctions placed on the UI by the American Association of University Professors for violations of shared governance search standards. Those sanctions were since lifted, and shared governance leaders told the DI earlier this year that Harreld made strides in mending relationships after the contentious hiring process. In campus feedback this winter, students, faculty, and staff emphasized they wanted a head Hawk with previous academic administrative experience.

First finalist for the presidency Hari Osofsky, dean of Penn State Law and Penn State School of International Affairs visited campus and hosted a forum on April 12; second finalist Barbara Wilson, executive vice president and vice president for academic affairs for the University of Illinois System, visited April 15; and third finalist Wendy Hensel, provost and senior vice president for academic affairs at Georgia State University, visited Monday.

The regents named UI Graduate College Dean John Keller, co-chair of the presidential search committee, as interim president, a position he will serve in until the arrival of the new president in late summer or early fall.

Clay will participate in a public forum at 3:30 on Thursday, where he will answer questions submitted by in-person and online attendees. The deadline to submit feedback for all four of the candidates is April 26 at 5 p.m.

The regents will meet at the UI April 29-30 to interview the finalists. The next UI president will be selected April 30.