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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.

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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.” 

full story ...

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.

full article...

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.
full story ...

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.

full story ...

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?

full story...

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.

full story ...

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.”

full story ...

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.

more ...

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.
read blog post on NYT...