U of Iowa Skips Executive Searches as President Retires

The University of Iowa has recently opted out of hiring searches for filling major positions including provost, vice president for student life and the leader of its diversity efforts, citing reasons including its president’s upcoming retirement.

The university’s retiring president, Bruce Harreld, referenced a “period of university transition” when he asked to skip a required provost search, The Gazette reported. He asked to appoint the university’s interim provost, Kevin Kregel, to the position permanently, writing in January documents that Kregel was clearly qualified. He also wrote that an internal search during the pandemic would pit leaders against one another at a time when they needed to collaborate and that the strongest internal candidates were needed to fill their established roles to maintain stability.

Kregel was named executive vice president and provost in February.

University policy mandates searches for a number of positions, including faculty, professional and scientific staff positions that last at least a year and are considered at least half-time. But waivers are allowed for several reasons, including hiring individuals with unique qualifications. University officials said uniquely qualified internal candidates allowed them to skip the searches for provost, vice president for student life and diversity head, according to The Gazette.

In the case of a search for the university’s associate vice president and executive officer for diversity, equity and inclusion, a request to hire without a search cited a search that started in the spring of 2020 but closed in October of the same year, when several candidates withdrew on the news of Harreld announcing his retirement.

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