Graduate College Dean Search: College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Associate Dean Christine Getz sets forth strategies for success while minding financial constraints

Getz explained plans to foster graduate student success and solidify diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives on a constrained budget.


Jerod Ringwald

Associate Dean for Graduate Education and Outreach and Engagement Christine Getz presents during a college dean forum hosted by the University of Iowa over Zoom on Tuesday, May 4, 2021.

Grace Hamilton, News Reporter

During this week’s first of three Graduate College Dean search forums, candidate Chirstine Getz revealed her plans to foster a prosperous University of Iowa Graduate College environment by exploring innovative disciplinary developments, prioritizing student well-being, and laying out concrete diversity, equity, and inclusion action-steps.

Getz has served as a leader for the UI Graduate College programs in roles ranging from associate director of graduate studies at the School of Music to overseeing graduate education in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences since 2009. Now, Getz has her sights set on becoming the next Graduate College dean.

Getz’s candidacy for associate provost of graduate and professional education and dean of the graduate college was announced Monday. She participated in a forum via Zoom on Tuesday to discuss her vision for graduate and professional education at the UI.

She currently serves as the associate dean for graduate education and outreach and engagement within the liberal arts school.

In addition to leading outreach and engagement at the graduate liberal arts school, Getz is also a professor of musicology.

During Tuesday’s virtual forum, Getz said maintaining an interdisciplinary and innovative Graduate College involves adjusting curriculum with disciplinary developments and creating an atmosphere focused on graduate and postdoctoral student success.

Diversifying dissertation requirements by continuing to broaden their format scope could achieve this goal, she added.

“Dissertations are no longer necessarily taking that book form, but rather they are perhaps three publishable articles, an exhibit with a web-catalog, a recording project, a digital project, or a group of data sets that support community-engaged work,” Getz said. “… There are lots of different alternatives out there, and I think we have to think about what form of presenting our graduate student work best positions a graduate student for the next stage in their career.”

Getz said graduate student well-being and guidance are important components to students’ and the Graduate College’s at-large success. She added that she would work toward providing individualized mentoring for students, while also collaborating with the Graduate and Professional Student Senate and the UI Postdoctoral Association to expand mental health initiatives.

Getz currently chairs the Society for Seventeenth-Century Music’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee. Through this experience, Getz said she had the opportunity to develop and implement a DEI action plan.

“I do believe it’s very important for us to contribute to an inclusive and anti-racist campus climate and be able to communicate well with the different constituencies across campus,” Getz said.

Getz said DEI policies should first be approached by defining and enacting critical steps that the Graduate College administration can systematically execute.

“We need to know how we are going to arrange those in a systematic order and follow up on each one,” she said. “When serving as the head of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion committee in the Society for Seventeenth-Century Music, we actually had no action plan when I started. We sat down and developed a plan by first looking at short-term goals with little effort and then looked at long-term initiatives.”

While outlining her goals for the Graduate College, Getz addressed the economic restraints encumbering the university.

“We’re going to need to think about how we balance our allocation of resources,” Getz said. “This is going to require a partnership between the Graduate College and the Office of the Vice President of Research to provide some infrastructure and support for our faculty going after this funding, while also thinking of diverse ways we can fund our students.”

Getz also proposed forming a stronger partnership with the UI Center for Advancement to meet budgeting needs, by recognizing patterns of donor interest.

Despite financial limitations, Getz said she wanted to make sure the Graduate College can serve non-traditional students.

“Something we need to think about as we have more non-traditional students to serve, where people are seeking graduate credentials but want to continue working full time, is if we are providing accessible modes of delivery to the largest number of individuals in our target audience,” she said.

The internal search for a new Graduate College dean began after current dean John Keller announced in March that he would step down from the role at the end of July.

The state Board of Regents tapped Keller to serve as interim university president once Bruce Harreld departs on May 16, until Barbara Wilson’s term as the university’s new president begins July 15.

Dean of the Tippie College of Business Amy Kristof-Brown and Director of the Interdisciplinary Graduate Program in Immunology Kevin Legge co-chair the graduate dean search committee tasked with selecting Keller’s successor.

Members of the search committee will evaluate three candidates for the position of associate provost for graduate and professional education and dean of the Graduate College. The candidate’s name and curriculum vitae are released on the Graduate College’s website a day before the Zoom forum takes place.

The UI’s Office of Strategic Communication stated the appointment of the next associate provost and dean is anticipated by July 1.

Amanda Thein, the second candidate, is an associate dean for faculty and academic affairs at the UI College of Education and will participate in a Zoom forum on Wednesday at 9 a.m.

The search committee will release information about the final candidate on Wednesday morning, with the subsequent virtual forum scheduled for May 6 at 9 a.m.