Iowa State has begun the search for a new vice president for research following Sarah Nusser’s announcement that she will be completing her five-year term in the position.
A search committee of 18 members from departments across Iowa State's colleges was created to facilitate the search. Dan Grooms, Dr. Stephen G. Juelsgaard Dean of Veterinary Medicine, and Shauna Hallmark, director for the Institute of Transportation, are co-chairs of the committee.
Following an initial committee meeting, an advertisement for the position was created to inform potential candidates of Iowa State’s research department and job requirements.
Requirements for the position listed in the advertisement included eligibility for appointment at the rank of tenured professor; commensurate leadership and experience; a commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion; and excellent communication skills.
“Diversity is the right thing to do,” Hallmark said. “Studies have shown that the more diverse team you have, the more productive you are, so we want someone who understands diversity.”
A professional search firm, listed on the job posting as Buffin/Baker, has also been hired to help in the search for candidates.
Grooms said the committee is searching for someone who has a background of successfully conducting research and securing funding and grants, specifically with research teams across disciplines.
The committee wants someone who has a background in research but doesn't necessarily have to come from academia.
“Ultimately, they’re going to oversee all research that goes on here within the university,” Grooms said. “They’re going to set the strategies for both maintaining as well as increasing the amount of research and the amount of funding that comes here.”
The Office of the Vice President for Research website lists that $469,082,592 worth of gifts, grants and contracts were received in the 2019 fiscal year.
Hallmark said it is also important for the vice president for research to be able to effectively communicate with a client, industry representatives or faculty members.
“They’re the ones that go talk to a client or maybe a donor,” Hallmark said. “They need to be personable to get people to work together and keep things moving.”
Grooms said he hopes to have a group of applicants from diverse disciplines, genders, locations and ethnicities established by January 2020.
“We’ll have two rounds of interviews,” Grooms said. “The first round where we’ll look at maybe 10 or 12 people, and then out of that group we’ll pick three to five folks to bring to campus.”
Once the final candidates arrive on campus, there will be at least one open forum for the public to attend, Hallmark said.
Grooms said since both undergraduate and graduate students are involved in research at Iowa State, they should have an opportunity to meet with final candidates for the position.
After the pros and cons of each applicant have been analyzed, a recommendation will be made to the provost marshall, who will make the final decision in the hiring process.
Grooms said the next search committee meeting is not scheduled but will be in December or soon after the new year to prepare for assessing candidates. The goal is to look at the first pool of candidates by Feb. 1, then bring final candidates in by March.
“The goal is to have somebody selected and here by this summer,” Grooms said. “Hopefully by July 1.”
Hallmark said she wants students to feel engaged in the process and to get to know the potential candidates, and Grooms said he encourages students and faculty to provide input for what the committee should be searching for in candidates by emailing anyone on the committee.
“I think it also says to the candidate that Iowa State’s a very engaged community when students get involved and demonstrate that they’re interested,” Hallmark said.