Published comments and links to news stories are made available on this blog as a service by the AAUP - UI chapter to provide context and enrich the discussion of core issues, including academic freedom, shared governance, professional values, and standards for higher education. Opinions expressed herein do not necessarily represent the views of the AAUP UI chapter or AAUP - National. Visitors may view and/or subscribe to official statements, press releases, and announcements on the chapter's main homepage (


November 17, 2015

Discussion of 2015 University of Iowa Presidential Search

Discussion of 2015 University of Iowa Presidential Search:

The Ethics of the University of Iowa Selection Process Moderator: Peter Welch Panelists: Katherine Tachau, Leon Tabak, Sara Riley

As seen on "Ethical Perspectives on the News 2015 11-15"

November 14, 2015

Frank Pasquale on The End of College : Creating the Future of Learning and the University of Everywhere

The University of Nowhere: The False Promise of “Disruption”

FOR TWO DECADES, Harvard Business School professor Clayton Christensen has advanced a sweeping account of “disruption” as an explanation for business history, and as the key to its future. According to disruption theory, nimble competitors replace established firms by developing rival products. Initially cheap and of poor quality, these rival products end up dominating markets. From Amazon to Zillow, disrupters reign.

Christensen’s theory of disruptive innovation electrified the consultant class, and its influence soon extended far beyond business. Thought leaders aimed to disrupt government. Christensen co-authored books telling hospital and university leaders to shake up their operations. His public statements now suggest that virtually every facet of human existence can be improved by implementing disruptive principles. Why, he asks, buy a single painting for your apartment, when digital gallerists can email your flatscreen “a fresh piece of art” every three weeks? Disruption has become a theory of everything, set to catapult Christensen to guru status as scholar, consultant, and sage.

And yet the last couple of years have not been kind to him. Historian Jill Lepore’s devastating New Yorker profile portrayed Christensen as an academic lightweight, who downplays evidence that large, stable companies can sustain their business models. Business researchers Andrew A. King and Baljir Baatartogtokh have strengthened Lepore’s case. As Lee Vinsel observes, they found “only 9 of 77 cases that Christensen used as examples of disruptive innovation actually fit the criteria of his own theory.” Given these embarrassments, it may be time to consign “disruption” to the dustbin of stale management theory buzzwords.

But Christensen’s zombie ideas are too politically convenient to disappear — and particularly so in the education sector. Tax-cutting, budget-slashing politicos are always eager to hear that education could be much, much cheaper. The Clayton Christensen Institute had a starring role at a recent Senate Hearing attacking traditional accreditation standards. In Silicon Valley and Wall Street, talk of “disrupting education” mobilizes investors and excites startups. Kevin Carey’s The End of College is the latest book to seize the imagination of disrupters. It touts massive changes for post-secondary education.

How massive? For Carey, a great deal of instruction should be commoditized, with free or near-free content as accessible as YouTube videos of massive open online courses (MOOCs). Most research universities shouldn’t just shrink. They should “reform” themselves to the point of unrecognizability, or dissolve into the internet ether. We should not mourn them, says Carey, but “shatter” them outright; they are, he believes, “grotesquely expensive and shamefully indifferent to undergraduate learning.”

Carey hopes that online courses combined with tiny, impromptu “learning communities” will end college as we know it, replacing it with a “University of Everywhere.” His utopian vision, however, is premised on inconsistent values and aims. The likelier result of his policies is a University of Nowhere by way of shifty firms marketing ad hoc vocational education of questionable value or relevance.

The Two Faces of Kevin Carey
full review ...

October 27, 2015

AAUP Response to Harreld and Faculty Council

by Vanessa Miller, The Gazette

The University of Iowa chapter of the American Association of University Professors on Monday criticized recent statements from President-Elect J. Bruce Harreld, who vowed to honor the campus’ core values, and the UI Faculty Council, which expressed appreciation for Harreld’s support.

“Given the circumstances of Mr. Harreld’s hiring, we are unable to credit his recent statement to the campus to the extent the Faculty Council has done,” according to the AAUP statement, made public Monday. “Compromised academic values cannot be revalidated by a mere declaration of support.”

And, referencing the Board of Regents search process that AAUP officials call “fundamentally flawed,” Monday’s statement argues the Faculty Council has no authority to legitimize “the outcome of an autocratic process that disregarded the principles of academic integrity.”

Harreld was chosen Sept. 3 to start as the 21st UI president Nov. 2. The former IBM and Boston Market Company executive, who has no academic administrative experience, was among four finalists introduced to campus in late August and early September.

news story...

October 22, 2015

Regent Subhash Suhai addresses concerns over hiring process for University of Iowa president

Hear Regent Subhash Suhai address concerns over hiring process for University of Iowa president:

Iowa regent says he's ‘angry' about University of Iowa presidential search process

IOWA CITY — One day after hundreds of University of Iowa faculty, staff, students and community members packed the Board of Regents meeting waving signs and shouting “resign” at board members, Regent Subhash Sahai said certain aspects of the presidential search process made him “angry” and “mad.”
Sahai, who made his comments during the second day of a two-day board meeting on the UI campus, said he wanted to address the protesters and the concerns that have been raised around the board’s appointment of J. Bruce Harreld as the university’s 21st president.
Sahai stood by the selection but also said he didn’t know about previously-undisclosed meetings Harreld had with five other regents before the application deadline and was “sad about this revelation.”
His exact words to board staff were, “I am pissed,” he said Thursday.
“I am being strong in these words because I love this place,” Sahai said.

 news story...

Accidental Activists

By Colleen Flaherty

Hans Joerg Tiede is a professor of computer science at Illinois Wesleyan University, but he’s also an historian -- at least of the American Association of University Professors. Tiede, a member of the AAUP’s Committee A on Academic Freedom and Tenure, has been telling the organization’s story at various events this year as it celebrates its centennial. He’s also penned its creation story in a new book out from Johns Hopkins University Press called University Reform: The Founding of the American Association of University Professors. The book chronicles the circumstances, events and personalities that led to the formation of the AAUP in 1915, and also takes on certain myths about its creation -- primarily the idea that it has always been an organization primarily dedicated to defending professors’ rights.

Tiede, who will begin a staff stint with the AAUP’s national office of tenure, academic freedom and governance in January, answered questions about the book and about how he thinks AAUP might evolve in the next 100 years to stay relevant.

Q: The AAUP today is synonymous with academic freedom. But you argue that the AAUP originally formed to advance the professionalization of the professoriate, similar to the role of the American Bar Association for lawyers. What exactly does that mean, and how did university governance structures in 1915 differ from what they look like today on many campuses, with faculty senates?

A: In 1915, trustees and regents regularly exercised much more direct control over day-to-day operations of the university than they do now. They often viewed professors as their employees, or “hired men,” to use a term of derision the founders of the AAUP employed, and treated them accordingly. The founders of the AAUP wanted to establish a role for the faculty in institutional governance that would make them the equals of the trustees rather than their subordinates. Academic freedom was an important part of changing the role of professors, since it directly related to their professional autonomy, but it was only one part in the overarching goal of the AAUP. A term that AAUP co-founder Arthur Lovejoy [a professor of philosophy at Johns Hopkins University] employed to describe his vision of the university was that of a “self-governing republic of scholars.” While he saw a role for trustees in oversight, he did not believe that they should have final authority over academic matters.

The rhetoric the founders of the AAUP employed to criticize the existing form of university governance mirrored the form in which Progressive Era reformers criticized the existing form of political order in the United States, which they thought should be modified to account for changes in modern society. The lay governing board was seen as an outdated, colonial-era invention, which are terms that were used by some political reformers to describe the U.S. Constitution. The AAUP was very much a product of Progressive Era thought, which is the reason for my choice of the title of the book: University Reform. The founders of the AAUP saw the association as a movement for a reform of the university that would bring greater power to the faculty.

Q: When did academic freedom emerge as a focus for the AAUP? And can you talk a little bit about the Edward Ross case?

full interview ...

Hundreds confront regents over new University of Iowa president

Petition: “Bruce Harreld is not fit to run the University of Iowa”

by Vanessa Miller, The Gazette

 About 500 protestors marched into the Board of Regents meeting on the University of Iowa campus Wednesday, holding signs and demanding that each member be dismissed, along with the president they hired to lead the institution – J. Bruce Harreld.

“Hey hey, ho ho, the Board of Regents has got to go,” the crowd chanted after initially filing silently into the meeting in the Iowa Memorial Union.

After surrounding the board, UI student representatives told the nine regents their demands and handed over the group’s petition, which has amassed more than 1,000 signatures.

“Bruce Harreld is not fit to run the University of Iowa and should be immediately dismissed from the presidency,” according to the petition, which also requests a new “more democratic method” of electing a president that takes into account faculty, student, and community member opinions.

After the students spoke, the crowd erupted in loud applause and then protesters began shouting, “resign, resign.” The board sat mostly quiet during the protest, although Board of Regents President Bruce Rastetter halted the board’s discussion about its system-wide efficiency review to acknowledge the protestors and accept their petition.

After the meeting, Rastetter told reporters he has no plans to resign and doesn’t know of any other regents planning to step down. He also stressed that Harreld will start as the UI’s 21st president Nov. 2, and he believes the search process that landed Harreld was fair.

Rastetter said he has received “tons of positive reactions” to Harreld’s meetings with UI constituents.

“The board is moving forward,” he said.

After the protest, its organizer UI student Brad Pector, 21, said he feels the rally served its purpose.

“I wanted to disrupt a little bit and let them see how many people want them gone,” said Pector, an art and English major who started the online petition to oust Harreld and created a new coalition called “Iowans Defending Our Universities.”

Pector said he’s hopeful the turnout will sway the board and to expect more protests and rallies if it doesn’t.

“We’ll keep pressing the Iowa Board of Regents if they choose to do nothing,” he said.

read full article ...

October 19, 2015

"Iowans Defending Our Universities" planning to protest regents meeting in Iowa City

Concerned with the selection of a new University of Iowa president, a newly organized group is planning a protest before Wednesday's meeting of the Iowa Board of Regents in Iowa City.

Iowans Defending Our Universities is calling for a "Rally to Defend Our Universities" at 3 p.m. Wednesday outside the Iowa Memorial Union on the UI campus. The Board of Regents — which oversees Iowa's three public universities — is scheduled to begin its meeting at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday at the IMU's Main Lounge.

Speakers at the event will include a mix of students, faculty and community members, said Brad Pector, a senior art major at UI who helping to organize the protest. After the speeches, the protesters plan to peacefully enter the meeting for the open session.

The group launched a resource and information website:

October 15, 2015

AAUP Committee Endorses October 15 Graduate Employee Day of Action

The AAUP Committee on Graduate and Professional Students issued a statement in support of a graduate employee solidarity day of action that will take place on Thursday, October 15, 2015 at universities throughout the country. The AAUP stands firmly behind graduate employees as they stand up in defense of their right to form unions and bargain collectively with their employees. For more information about the day of action and the #WeAreWorkers social media campaign, visit Read the full statement of the AAUP Committee on Graduate and Professional Students below or download a .pdf file of the statement.

October 13, 2015

Statement of Solidarity with #WeAreWorkers

On Thursday, October 15, 2015 graduate employees at universities throughout the country are standing up in defense of their right to form unions and bargain collectively with their employers. The American Association of University Professors (AAUP) Committee on Graduate and Professional Students stands firmly beside these graduate workers and endorses their solidarity day of action to declare in one voice that We Are Workers.

As an institution, the AAUP maintains a commitment to collective bargaining in the academy. The right to organize and form unions is crucial for fair working conditions and belongs to all who perform labor on our campuses. The AAUP promotes this right for graduate workers, at private and public universities, as evidenced in the AAUP Statement on Graduate Students (2000) and the Resolution on Graduate Employee Organizing Rights (2004).

Graduate workers occupy a unique and necessary role in universities. They provide an inexpensive source of essential teaching and research labor. Unfortunately, the right of graduate workers to collectively bargain with their university free from intimidation has been under attack, even as universities rely increasingly upon grad and adjunct labor to perform essential functions in their institutions. The AAUP firmly supports graduate employees in asserting their right to organize without suffering retaliation from faculty or administrators.

The Committee on Graduate and Professional Students reaffirms the message conveyed in the AAUP Resolution on Graduate Employee Organizing Rights (2004) that the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) decision in the Brown University UAW case (2004) was wrongly decided by a partisan Board and must be overturned. Graduate workers have organized a vibrant movement throughout the academy in their fight for recognition despite the challenging contemporary legal framework in which they find themselves. The Committee commends the growing number of graduate workers, adjunct instructors, and contract faculty across the country who are organizing for better working conditions.

On this #WeAreWorkers day of action, graduate workers are reclaiming their rights and standing up for principles long championed by the AAUP and the Committee on Graduate and Professional Students. We stand in solidarity with this action, with this movement, and with these graduate workers fighting for justice.

AAUP - National original statement

October 13, 2015

UI faculty members unhappy with Harreld get Nebraska boost

LINCOLN, Neb. — Faculty members unhappy with the Iowa Board of Regents' choice for president of the University of Iowa have gotten support from teachers in neighboring Nebraska.

Last month the board selected former IBM executive Bruce Harreld to replace retired UI President Sally Mason. The choice of Harreld has drawn criticism from students, faculty and other staffers who say Harreld is unqualified and benefited from special treatment during the selection process. The UI Faculty Senate has issued a vote of no confidence in the regents' leadership.

The Lincoln Journal Star reports that the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Faculty Senate last week approved a resolution of support for its Iowa counterpart, calling on the Iowa Board of Regents "to adhere to the principles of shared university governance and to ethical behavior and transparency."


SEC supports vote of no-confidence in University of Iowa Board of Regents

The University of Iowa faculty senate’s vote of no confidence in its Board of Regents is gaining Big Ten support, and the Senate Executive Committee wants to join in.

The committee unanimously agreed Monday to send a resolution to the Academic Senate stating that the senate should support a vote of no confidence in the University of Iowa’s faculty senate.

The University of Iowa’s faculty senate issued a vote of no confidence in Iowa’s Board of Regents on Sept. 8 for hiring President Bruce Harreld against their faculty search committee’s recommendation. Senate 09.08.15_1.pdf

The faculty search committee’s discontent with Harreld stemmed from his lack of academic administrative experience. Harreld previously worked at IBM for 13 years and taught at Harvard Business School for six years and Northwestern University for one year.


October 9, 2015

AAUP: Miami U making a big mistake

Putting three elected faculty on the search committee and swearing them to secrecy – they will be asked to sign a nondisclosure agreement – does not represent an open process in which the input of all members of the university community is considered. It does not suggest that the board takes shared governance seriously. Faculty should be widely consulted and have input in all important decisions at the institution. They do the work that is central to the university’s core mission – instruction and research – and they know a lot about the qualifications and commitments a president should have.

The board’s decision does not reflect the norm in Ohio. Presidential searches conducted in the recent past at Bowling Green, Toledo and Akron have been open processes in which finalists were brought to campus and required to meet with faculty and students. There are no special circumstances that justify the Miami board’s secretive process. Transparency and honesty, especially at a public institution of higher education, should be of the utmost importance.

Shared Governance at Risk at the University of Wisconsin-Madison

We are now beginning to see the effects of the recently passed budget bill in Wisconsin that eliminated the protections of tenure and shared governance from state statute for the University of Wisconsin. The bill specifically called for deleting a provision in law “specifying that the faculty of each institution be vested with responsibility for the immediate governance of such institution.” Despite claims by Chancellor Rebecca Blank at the University of Wisconsin-Madison that the budget bill would not change shared governance, the Chancellor just presented a proposal to the Board of Regents to waive the non-resident admissions cap for UW-Madison without consulting the Faculty Senate.


On January 16th, Tom Ross, the president of the University of North Carolina, and John Fennebresque, the chair of its board of governors, held a press conference to announce that the board had asked for and received Ross’s resignation. With Ross sitting beside him, Fennebresque insisted, in effect, that he had been fired for no reason. Ross had been successful in every way, he told reporters: “exemplary” in his handling of recent athletic scandals, and a model of “work ethic” and “perfect integrity.” “There was no precipitating event,” Fennebresque, who looked by turns mournful and defensive during the twenty-minute exchange, said. “He’s been wonderful.”

In response to a series of questions, Fennebresque insisted that the decision was not about politics, at least not “to the best of my knowledge.” Few observers believed that there was not some political motivation. Ross, a former judge, once headed the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation, a major funder of progressive causes in North Carolina. Since Republicans, many of them affiliated with the Tea Party movement, took over the North Carolina General Assembly in 2010, the board of governors has become a Republican redoubt. Ross, in an answer to one question, did allude to the elephant in the room, observing, “There’s been a dramatic change in the state’s leadership, in policymakers.”

For several years, there have been indications that the state’s new leaders want to change the mission of public higher education in North Carolina. In 2013, the Republican governor, Pat McCrory, told William Bennett, a conservative talk-show host and former Secretary of Education, that the state shouldn’t “subsidize” courses in gender studies or Swahili (that is, offer them at public universities). The following year, he laid out his agenda in a speech at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Using the language of business schools, he urged his audience to “reform and adapt the U.N.C. brand to the ever-changing competitive environment of the twenty-first century” and to “[hone] in on skills and subjects employers need.” McCrory also had a warning for faculty members whose subjects could be understood as political: “Our universities should not be used to indoctrinate our students to become liberals or conservatives, but should teach a diversity of opinions which will allow our future leaders to decide for themselves.”

News Story...

October 8, 2015

Parents: Your Children Need Professors With Tenure

"Tenure doesn't guarantee that college teachers will be courageous. But it protects those who are."
By Cary Nelson

If you follow the news these days, you know that tenure is getting a bad rap. Fox News in particular will tell you that tenure shields radicals who are trying to indoctrinate your children to overthrow the government. In truth, it's hard to find any faculty member sending that message. No matter. It's a good scare tactic. But even the responsible press prefers editorials and op-ed essays claiming that tenure protects deadwood, preserves an aging professoriate, and costs too much money. Although each of those claims can be proved wrong, they have gained traction anyway.

The most recent federal statistics on the age of the faculty were released in 2004. They tell us that, at four-year colleges, the percentage of full-time faculty members aged 55 or older was 28 percent. How many were 65 or older? Only 7 percent. It doesn't appear that most faculty members are great-grandparents.

As for costs, universities typically spend only one-third of their budgets on faculty salaries. Despite more than 10 years of education after high school, most people standing in front of a college classroom earn less than $60,000 a year, considering that contingent faculty members, who are not eligible for tenure, make up two-thirds of the faculty work force. Most earn well less than $35,000. And most graduate students paid as teachers earn less than $20,000 a year.

October 7, 2015

National professor association to investigate UI presidential search

Vanessa Miller, The Gazette

IOWA CITY — The American Association of University Professors is sending two representatives from its national headquarters in Washington D.C. to Iowa City to launch an inquiry into the search that landed J. Bruce Harreld as the next University of Iowa president.

The inquiry could lead to a full-blown investigation around whether the state Board of Regents breached the association’s values related to shared governance and the selection of administrators.

“Their main interest is the search for the new president,” said Jordan E. Kurland, associate general secretary for the AAUP’s department of academic freedom, tenure, and governance. “They are not investigating the qualifications of Mr. Harreld for the job. He doesn’t have traditional qualifications, but that is not our purpose here.”

Although the AAUP is not a regulatory body, they can censure universities or governing bodies — harming their reputation nationally and potentially making it more difficult to recruit faculty and students. Kurland said an AAUP censure comes across as a national warning.


October 6, 2015

Hark, the Harreld angles come

Beau Elliot

In this life, you gotta know the angles first.

My junior-high geometry teacher said that. Or maybe it was my bookie. (Except I don’t have a bookie. Explains why I don’t gamble. Except when I sit down in a poker game with Phil grinning at me, all teeth like a shark, across the table. The University of Iowa has its Phil, I have mine; it’s a giving proposition either way.)

Ah, yes, angles. Some are acute, some are obtuse, just like real life. Just like picking a new president for the UI, which, apparently, is nothing like real life. But then, Carly Fiorina is nothing like real life, and she’s running for president. True life is elsewhere, Rimbaud wrote, and we humans keep proving it.

As many observers, including Ditchwalk, whoever that is, have pointed out, What businessman can’t remember that he never registered his company in Colorado? That his company was registered in Massachusetts? (“Was” is the word here; it appears his company is no longer registered in Massachusetts, either. Of course, appearances can be deceiving. So many angles in this life. No wonder it’s elsewhere.)

That businessman would be J. Bruce Harreld, who will soon become the president of this august institution. (Which will be a November institution when he takes office.)

If we were going to take a sailing jaunt from LA to Honolulu, I wouldn’t want Harreld to be the navigator. We would wind up in Anchorage, Alaska.

October 4, 2015

Editorial: Regents' hiring of UI president was flawed

The Register's Editorial

Bruce Harreld has a steep hill to climb in winning the trust and confidence of the University of Iowa faculty, staff and students. Unfortunately, the state Board of Regents has made the climb even steeper with a deeply flawed search process.

Board members have defended their handling of the presidential selection process, but only aggravate the wounds. Board President Bruce Rastetter issued a public statement suggesting faculty critics are just opposed to change, and Gov. Terry Branstad weighed in telling them to, in effect, get a grip.

But consider this from their perspective.

The regents skipped over several highly qualified candidates with sterling academic credentials and education administration chops in favor of a former corporate executive who has never held a full-time university faculty position and who concedes he will need on-the-job training.

The UI faculty’s low regard for Harreld’s candidacy was inflamed by the fact that he was invited by Board of Regents President Bruce Rastetter to apply for the job and privately encouraged by Governor Branstad. Then there was the failure of the regents and the search firm to perform due diligence to catch a troubling misstatement on Harreld’s resume.
read editorial on DR...

Time for UI faculty to unionize, oppose Harreld

by Shelton Stromquist * 

The Iowa Board of Regents, its president Bruce Rastetter and acting University of Iowa President and chair of the search committee Jean Robillard, have corrupted the process by which the selection of the university’s next president was conducted. We now have a growing body of evidence, cited in reports in the Press-Citizen, The Des Moines Register, the Chronicle of Higher Education and other respected media, that the presidential search was a charade in which the least qualified candidate among the finalists was pre-selected.

Bruce Harreld was appointed in spite of having falsified his resume, an act that would have led to his dismissal in almost any other employment circumstance.

October 3, 2015

Regents need remedial lesson on shared governance

by Frank Durham

In the Press-Citizen story of Sept. 26, "Regents defend early meeting with Harreld," Regent Katie Mulholland is quoted as saying, "In my role as a regent, we honor the shared governance of the faculty and staff. But shared governance is really different from shared decision-making."

No. In fact, it is not.

Shared governance is shared decision-making. Mulholland displays her ignorance of how the University of Iowa works. Or more nearly she is showing the meaning of the new normal she and her colleagues are pushing with Bruce Harreld's selection as president of the University of Iowa.

October 2, 2015

What's unacceptable about the status quo at UI?

Bruce Rastetter over the past few weeks has repeatedly said, "The status quo is unacceptable" at the University of Iowa.

But what does that mean?

The Board of Regents president, answering questions about the recent hiring of businessman Bruce Harreld as UI president, has explained that he doesn't have "a long laundry list" in mind.

Rastetter, instead, points to how Harreld has a long career focused on making large organizations – from Kraft Foods to the Boston Market restaurant chain to IBM – better. Those skills, he said, will be needed to lead UI through a time of unprecedented change in funding sources, educational competition and advances in distance learning technology.

But Rastetter's critics have been left seeking a more detailed list of what exactly is so unacceptable at UI that it would lead the regents to ignore campus input and hire a relatively unknown businessman to fix the problems.

"Please either provide a very strong, evidence-based rationale for your decision (which you have utterly failed to do as of yet) or, perhaps more appropriately, withdraw your offer to Harreld and select someone who has the faith and support of the majority of the faculty and students," UI neuroscience Ph.D. candidate Annie Tye wrote in a Sept. 5 email to the regents.

When pushed for specifics in interviews with state and national media, Rastetter has pointed to four "status quo" issues facing UI that he thinks could better be addressed by a former IBM vice president.

Full comment...

September 30, 2015

Big University of Iowa donors back new president, say support will not falter

IOWA CITY — Shortly after being chosen as the next University of Iowa president, J. Bruce Harreld called Roy J. Carver Jr. to introduce himself to one of the school’s most generous philanthropists.

Carver, chairman of the Carver Charitable Trust that was created through the will of his father and that has given more than $100 million to the UI — said he had a “nice chat” with Harreld.

“He seemed like a nice gentlemen and very thoughtful,” Carver said. “I think he was trying to solidify some support for his selection.”

Harreld’s lack of academic leadership experience has made him a controversial choice for president among UI faculty, staff and students. But he won support from several donors including Carver, whose family’s generosity has been recognized in buildings and programs on campus, including Carver Hawkeye Arena, the Carver College of Medicine and the Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver Biomedical Research Building.
full story...

Harreld selection: A tale of two searches

Thanks to the Freedom of Information Act and the diligent reporting of many dedicated members of the press, it is now abundantly clear that the Iowa Board of Regents did not conduct a single search for a new president of the University of Iowa, but two searches: one for "show" and one for "go."

The "show" search solicited nominations from people both inside and outside the university community. Those nominees submitted their credentials to Parker Executive Search, which authenticated the credentials, passed along the completed dossiers to the official search and screen committee, and contacted references.

The "go" search was the sub rosa creation of Bruce Rastetter, President of the Board of Regents. He initiated personal contacts with a handpicked group of potential candidates.

He arranged private on-campus and off-campus meetings for some of these potential candidates with members of the Board of Regents, including some who were serving on the official search committee, and three search committee members (the Interim President of The University of Iowa, the President of the Faculty Senate, and the Dean of the Tippie College of Business). He also arranged for one of the four finalists, Bruce Harreld, to receive a personal phone call from Gov. Terry Branstad.

The "show" search treasured up three outstanding academic administrators with laudable records of leadership at prestigious colleges and universities. Each one gave excellent public statements carefully articulating their vision for the University of Iowa. Students, staff and faculty found all three of these candidates to be highly qualified.

The "go" search yielded a corporately-retired and self-employed business strategist with no academic administrative experience. His public presentation was embarrassingly devoid of vision and revealed him to be entirely unfamiliar with the University of Iowa and with the academic culture of a public research university, despite having previously visited our campus. Students, staff and faculty uniformly deemed this candidate to be unqualified.

The Regents nevertheless chose Harreld, leaving little doubt that the decision had been preordained.

full comment...

Branstad tells UI faculty to 'calm down' over Harreld hire

Gov. Terry Branstad advised faculty members at the University of Iowa Tuesday to “calm down” and give incoming President Bruce Harreld a chance to prove himself as the school’s 21st leader.
The Republican governor called it “outlandish” that dozens of UI faculty members representing the institution’s largest college recently called for the “immediate resignation and/or dismissal of the existing State of Iowa Board of Regents” for hiring Harreld as the new president.

“For them to advocate for me to do something illegal is inappropriate and they should know better,” Branstad told reporters in response to a faculty vote of no confidence in the university’s nine-member oversight board and a demand that he appoint new regents who will be “broadly representative” and uphold core values — a move he says he has no authority to do.

Full story....

September 29, 2015

Editorial: Come clean on Iowa president search

We said recently that the Iowa Regents did incoming University of Iowa President Bruce Harreld no favors during the search process.
Now, there's another revelation, and if the Regents don't act quickly to clear the air surrounding Harreld's appointment, his entire tenure could be hampered.

Total transparency is required. Instead, what the university community and the rest of Iowa is getting is one disclosure after another, with each giving the appearance that the Regents favored Harreld, a former IBM executive with no background in academic leadership.

The latest news: Harreld met with Regents Katie Mulholland, Milt Dakovich, Mary Andringa and Larry McKibben on July 30 in Ames, a meeting arranged by Regents President Bruce Rastetter and held at Rastetter's office. It also occurred before the application process for the position closed the next day.

Rastetter wasn't able to attend that meeting, but in a previous disclosure the Regents leader did have a meeting with Harreld on July 8 in Iowa City. That occurred when Harreld was invited to lecture at University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, an offer that wasn't afforded to the three other job finalists.

Gov. Terry Branstad and Iowa State University President Steven Leath also talked to or met with Harreld during that period.

full story ...

September 28, 2015

You don’t turn universities around. You build on their traditions

In hiring Bruce Harreld as president of the University of Iowa, the governor and the Board of Regents have told us they think the university is not on the right track.  But they haven’t told us what track they want.  We do know they don’t believe in the tradition of the university or in the freedoms of shared governance.  The problem is, it’s impossible to build a great university without these elements.

Thanks to the opportunities given to me as an in-state alum of the University of Iowa, I have gone on to be a professor at the University of Southern California, a historian, writer and journalist on the topics of politics, education and finance. I received diplomas in France and England, and have worked at universities such as Princeton and Rutgers.  Part of my job at USC is to help improve the university’s standing through both academic and administrative work.  And my experience tells me that the Harreld choice is a mistake that has damaged the UI’s reputation and brand.

Not only do I see conflicts of interest and possible legal issues with Harreld’s appointment; I was startled that no one asked Harreld specific questions about what it means to “turn around” a university.  Because there is one thing I have learned during my academic career: You don’t turn serious universities around. You build on their traditions.

full article...

September 27, 2015

Harreld hiring devalues higher education

Tyler Priest

Funny thing about the letters and op-eds published recently around the state applauding the Board of Regents’ appointment of business “turnaround specialist” Bruce Harreld as University of Iowa president. They all denounce the UI faculty’s vote of no confidence in the Board of Regents over the rigged search as an act of pampered faculty wedded to an unacceptable “status quo.” But in every single case, these missives omit the fact that the UI student government and graduate union also passed votes of no confidence in the Regents, and that the UI Staff Council voiced strong “disappointment” in the search process. Faculty are not the only ones upset. This is not mainly about them. It is about defending public higher education in this state, which students, staff, and, indeed all Iowans, have as much at stake in as faculty. We will not be so easily divided and conquered.

Gifted professor’s ‘life of the mind’ was also life of near destitution

A philosophy professor who died earlier this year was making so little money at age 61 he lived in a room in a dilapidated boardinghouse. The story of Dave Heller is focusing attention on the plight of the temp college teacher.

When visitors walked into the dilapidated boardinghouse where Dave Heller lived, the smell alone could transport them back to their college days.

“It smelled like grad student,” jokes Charlie Fischer, a friend. “Like years of boiled noodles and rice.”

Except Heller was 61 years old and a philosophy instructor at Seattle University. Yet he lived in a room in a tenant group house in Seattle’s U District, with nothing but a bed, a fridge and his library of 3,000 books.

When he died earlier this year from an untreated thyroid condition, Heller was making only $18,000 a year teaching philosophy on a part-time, adjunct basis, his friends say. That’s about one-third the median income for a single person in Seattle, and barely above the federal poverty line.

September 26, 2015

Regents: Nothing wrong with early Harreld meetings

Several members of the Iowa Board of Regents say their July meetings with former IBM executive Bruce Harreld in no way prejudiced their consideration of the other finalists for the University of Iowa presidency.

Regent Larry McKibben, who has overseen the regents’ process, said Friday that he did more talking than Harreld did during their meeting July 30 in Ames. McKibben was one of four regents, including two who served on the UI Presidential Search and Screen Committee, who met with Harreld that day.

Although Regents President Bruce Rastetter did not attend the July 30 meetings with the other regents, he arranged them through the Ames office of his company, Summit Agricultural Group. In a written statement released Thursday, Rastetter said Harreld was one of six candidates he actively recruited into the applicant pool.

“I could tell that I was invited because I was the chair of the TIER program,” said McKibben, who has overseen the regents’ Transparent, Inclusive Efficiency Review across Iowa’s three public universities. “My conversation with (Harreld) was a deep dive into why we started TIER and how it was progressing.”

McKibben said he spoke with Harreld for about 20 or 25 minutes, sharing that time with Regent Mary Andringa, who chairs the regents' committee on UI Hospitals and Clinics. The conversation mainly involved Harreld asking questions that McKibben and Andringa answered in detail.
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September 25, 2015

University of Iowa Liberal arts college faculty rebukes new president

Several University of Iowa faculty, staff, and student groups recently have issued votes of no confidence or letters of disappointment in the Board of Regents for the process it followed in hiring businessman J. Bruce Harreld to become the next University of Iowa president.

But on Wednesday the Faculty Assembly for the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences — the largest on campus — become the first group to come out against Harreld himself.

“We spoke with our constituencies and decided we needed to make a unique and strong statement,” said UI language and literature professor Russ Ganim, who serves as president of the college’s Faculty Assembly. “Our concerns deal with professional ethics.” 

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September 24, 2015

Dumb to hire Harreld as consultant; great as president?

Brian Campbell’s obsequious paean to the private sector (“Harreld not qualified to lead; qualified to change,” Sept. 14) is as laughable as it is incorrect. Campbell lauds incoming University of Iowa President Bruce Harreld as an example of the modern super-hero businessman, who having been forged and tested in the “real world” of corporate America, knows rewards are performance based, bad decisions lead to immediate firing and problems are solved by taking action rather than thinking about things.

Totally lost on Campbell is the fact that it was corporate America that invented and perfected the golden parachute, whereby executives who run their companies into ruin leave with a multi-million dollar severance package that makes former President Sally Mason’s pension look like pocket change.

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September 23, 2015

Press release on Presidential Search

Dated 07 Sept 2015: View Document
The University of Iowa chapter of The American Association of University Professors (AAUP) joins the Campaign to Organize Graduate Students (COGS) and other members of our campus community in deploring the actions of the Iowa Board of Regents in appointing Mr. Bruce Harreld to be the next president of the University of Iowa.
In retrospect, it is clear that the assurances of fairness and transparency in the hiring process given to us by the Regents, the chair of the search committee, the search firm, and the Faculty Senate leadership were untrue. It is our hope and belief that those assurances made by the search committee and faculty leaders were the result of representations made to them by the Regents.
Only a pre-conceived determination by the Regents to appoint Mr. Harreld regardless of campus reactions to him can explain his hiring.  Had the Regents, the ultimate decision makers, been the least bit concerned with the reactions of faculty, staff, and students to Mr. Harreld's campus visit, the combination of his performance at the open forum, the problems with his resume, and the conclusion of the overwhelming majority of those responding to the survey that he is unqualified to lead the university would have produced a different decision. We sincerely regret our inability to believe that the Regents are prepared to act in the best interests of the university.
And we extend our heartfelt apologies to President Krislov, Provost Bernstein, and Provost Steinmetz for the treatment they received from The University of Iowa.

September 19, 2015

Regents, Rastetter responsible for UI president fiasco

The Board of Regents and the governor have made a mockery of what should have been an open and fair process of selecting the next UI president. By appointing Bruce Harreld they have chosen a person unqualified to have been among the finalists in the first place. In so doing they have embarrassed the university and insulted those involved in the selection process, including the other very distinguished and highly qualified candidates, the search committee and the members of the university community who in good faith participated in the open forums and meetings with the candidates.

The other finalists came to campus in the full expectation that they would be given fair consideration. They prepared well, and each evidenced the leadership qualities that suggested the benefit substantial experience in high-level university administration would bring to the university. Ultimately, the citizens of the state of Iowa, who take legitimate pride in their state university, will bear the burden of this flawed and misguided search.
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September 17, 2015

University of Iowa professor sues over presidential search

A University of Iowa professor emeritus has filed a lawsuit against the UI presidential search committee, accusing it of violating open meeting laws and asking the court to void its actions.

The lawsuit, filed Aug. 14 in Johnson County District Court, is the second filed by UI dentistry professor emeritus Harold Hammond in connection with a UI presidential search. Hammond in 2007 filed a similar lawsuit against the Board of Regents, the presidential search committee and others that resulted in a settlement costing the defendants nearly $66,000.

According to Hammond’s recent lawsuit, the UI’s 21-member presidential search and screen committee violated Iowa law by holding both public and closed meetings at 7:30 a.m., Aug. 11, and 7:15 a.m., Aug. 12, in Rosemont, Ill. Those meetings constituted violations by being “at a location outside the state of Iowa and otherwise at times and locations not reasonably accessible or convenient to the public,” according to the lawsuit.

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September 11, 2015

$2.4M renovation for new U of Iowa president's home, office

IOWA CITY, Iowa —The University of Iowa is planning to spend up to $2.4 million renovating the home and office where the school's controversial new president will live and work... more ...

September 10, 2015

Faculty Posts for Nonacademic Presidents

So far, Bruce Harreld, the newly named president of the University of Iowa, has made one decision that faculty members have applauded. Harreld, whose selection was opposed by faculty leaders and many other academics, said he would not seek the position as tenured professor that the Iowa Board of Regents offered as a possibility.
Harreld's contract said that "subject to the recommendation of the faculty," he would be granted tenure as a professor in Iowa's College of Business, and that this position would be available to him when he left the presidency, at a salary equal to the highest-paid tenured business professor at the university.
Such contract provisions are common for college and university presidents. But it's also common that many presidents earned tenure at some point in an academic career that turned into an administrative career. But what about candidates like Harreld, who was named president despite never having held a full-time position in academe or demonstrating much knowledge of how colleges and universities work? (Board members said they liked his extensive business experience.) Should these nontraditional presidents receive the same tenure offers as part of their contracts when they never earned tenure?

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September 9, 2015

The University of Iowa’s new president has no experience, no ideas, and flubbed his own résumé

As the Yes Men performed at the press conference, the Iowa Board of Regents was in the final stages of selecting the next UI president. In a very unusual arrangement, the regents chose not to renew previous president Sally Mason’s contract two years ago; since then, she had been working “at will” on a day-to-day basis. If some observers worried that this arrangement would render her a tool of the regents, those fears were confirmed when Mason endorsed an ill-conceived regents funding plan that would significantly cut UI’s budget, infuriating many on campus.

Now, Mason is out: Eight days after the Yes Men’s visit, the Iowa Board of Regents unanimously voted former IBM and Boston Market executive Bruce Harreld as UI’s next president, despite Harreld having no university administrative background. He did work as an adjunct senior lecturer at Harvard Business School, but that’s the extent of his college workplace experience.

On the résumé Harreld submitted to the regents, he listed his current job as the managing principal for the Colorado-based Executing Strategy, LLC. This company “confidentially (advises) several public, private and military organizations on leadership, organic growth and strategic renewal.” However, that business doesn’t exist. The Colorado secretary of state has no record of a company of that name.

On Sept. 1, during a public forum that was part of Harreld’s on-campus interview and visit, I asked Harreld to explain this discrepancy. He replied that Executing Strategy was a company name he previously used and that he accidentally listed it in his current work history.

“Shame on me,” Harreld said. “I too quickly pulled it from out of my head and put it on the résumé. There is no Colorado corporation. I live in Colorado. That’s my post office box.”


September 6, 2015

Harreld tenure offer raises academics' eyebrows

Bruce Harreld, the newly appointed president of the University of Iowa, is eligible for a tenured faculty position in the UI Tippie College of Business, according to contract details released Friday by the Iowa Board of Regents.

But UI officials said Friday he has no plans to seek tenure.

Harreld, whose experience is in corporate leadership and not university administration, said in a public forum Tuesday he would not demand a tenure position as a condition of his employment. No such tenure provisions were included in the initial contracts for Iowa State University President Steven Leath or University of Northern Iowa President William Ruud, although such status was granted to Leath later.

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September 3, 2015

Survey: Harreld viewed as least qualified UI finalist

IBM executive J. Bruce Harreld is viewed among many in the University of Iowa community as the least qualified finalist for UI president, according to the results of an online survey released Wednesday morning.

In a survey conducted by the UI chapter of the American Association of University Professors, only 1.8 percent of faculty and 2.6 percent of other respondents answered “yes” to the question of whether Harreld was qualified for the position. The other candidates — Oberlin President Marvin Krislov, Tulane University Provost Michael Bernstein and Ohio State University Provost Joseph Steinmetz — all had more than 90 percent of respondents view them as qualified, with Steinmetz being the highest.

Harreld — who also has been an executive with Kraft Foods and the restaurant chain Boston Chicken — earned an MBA from Harvard Business School, where he taught as a senior lecturer from 2008 to 2014. During his public forum Tuesday, he said that, although he had no experience in university administration, he does have experience helping organizations go for “good to great” and from “great to great.”

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September 2, 2015

Iowa Board of Regents reuested increase in general fund appropriateion to ISU and UNI, but not for the University of Iowa

The state Board of Regents is asking for a combined $15.8 million in new state allocations for Iowa State University and University of Northern Iowa in the next budget year — citing record enrollment at ISU and UNI’s focus on “educating Iowans who tend to stay in Iowa.”
But the board has requested no increase in general fund appropriations for the University of Iowa,
According to board documents made public Tuesday, the Regents asked for a 4.5 increase in general fund appropriations for ISU — or $8.2 million — and an 8.1 percent increase for UNI — or $7.7 million.
The board will consider approving its 2017 budget requests totaling $656.8 million in operating appropriations at its next meeting Sept. 9. That total includes $230.9 million in general fund appropriations for UI, $190.4 million in general appropriations for ISU, and $101.9 million for UNI.

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September 1, 2015

Coca-Cola Funds Scientists Who Shift Blame for Obesity Away From Bad Diets

By Anahad O’Connor

Coca-Cola, the world’s largest producer of sugary beverages, is backing a new “science-based” solution to the obesity crisis: To maintain a healthy weight, get more exercise and worry less about cutting calories.

The beverage giant has teamed up with influential scientists who are advancing this message in medical journals, at conferences and through social media. To help the scientists get the word out, Coke has provided financial and logistical support to a new nonprofit organization called the Global Energy Balance Network, which promotes the argument that weight-conscious Americans are overly fixated on how much they eat and drink while not paying enough attention to exercise.

“Most of the focus in the popular media and in the scientific press is, ‘Oh they’re eating too much, eating too much, eating too much’ — blaming fast food, blaming sugary drinks and so on,” the group’s vice president, Steven N. Blair, an exercise scientist, says in a recent video announcing the new organization. “And there’s really virtually no compelling evidence that that, in fact, is the cause.”

Health experts say this message is misleading and part of an effort by Coke to deflect criticism about the role sugary drinks have played in the spread of obesity and Type 2 diabetes. They contend that the company is using the new group to convince the public that physical activity can offset a bad diet despite evidence that exercise has only minimal impact on weight compared with what people consume.
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