First new hire of UI Transformational Faculty Hiring Program to start August 2023

The first hire of the university’s Transformational Faculty Hiring Program, Eric Hunter, an associate dean at Michigan State University, will start in fall 2023 as the chair of the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders at the UI.


Jenna Galligan

The Old Capitol is seen on Thursday, March 12, 2020.

Kufre Ituk, News Reporter

Eric Hunter, a current associate dean for research in the College of Communication Arts and Sciences at Michigan State University, will join the University of Iowa faculty in fall 2023 as the first Transformational Faculty Hiring Program hire.

As the first hire of the program, Hunter will work as the chair of the department of communication sciences and disorders and the Harriet B. and Harold S. Brady Chair in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the UI. He will start his position starting Aug. 16.

The  Transformational Faculty Hiring Program was launched in January 2022. The program is designated to provide funding to colleges at the university to attract new “outstanding” faculty.  Up to three new hires per year will be recruited for three years and begin in fiscal 2024.

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The program provides funding up to $1.5 million per new hire. Proposals for new hires are to be reviewed by a committee including the university’s president and provost.

“I am really excited about this program because it will bring to our campus faculty innovators who can hit the ground running with their established records,” UI President Barbara Wilson said in a January 2022 press release. “These individuals become magnets, fostering rich and unexpected collaborations across campus and helping us attract new talent to our university and state.”

Hunter, a former graduate student at the UI who received his doctorate in speech and hearing sciences, said in an interview with The Daily Iowan he already has many ideas for his new position at the university, including building connections between academic programs.

“What’s nice about audiology speech pathology is that it touches on so many different fields and disciplines across the campus: psychology, linguistics, neurosciences,” Hunter said. “The department sits at a nexus of many different fields. If you look at the graduate students that we [Iowa] get, a lot of them come from different kinds of programs.”

Hunter said he also hopes to use the university’s location as an advantage for the department’s development.

“The state of Iowa itself is a unique place where it has both larger cities, but then you have a lot of rural with a lot of farmland, so it creates a nice opportunity to try and say how do we support all aspects of that,” he said.

Overall, Hunter said he is excited to join the university’s faculty.

“I’m thrilled to be joining the university. It’s an honor to rejoin what I saw as a student and to now come in as an administrator and professor,” Hunter said. “I look forward to the opportunity of the combination of the history of the program and the future with all these talented students and the talented faculty that already are in the department.”