Tippie dean search: University of Iowa business college holds its first forum after relaunching search with candidate Paolo Volpin

Virtual attendants heard from Paolo Volpin, the Interim Dean of Cass Business School at City, University of London.

This article was originally published on The Daily Iowan’s website.

The Tippie College of Business held the first of three virtual forums to find a dean on Thursday morning. 

Nearly 150 attendants heard from candidate Paolo Volpin, who emphasized how he would use business school’s role in helping the institution as a whole operate during a global pandemic, financial strain, and a reckoning on racial justice. He currently leads Cass Business School at City, University of London, as interim dean after working his way up in leadership as deputy dean, then vice dean. 

Volpin is the first finalist to virtually visit to campus after the University of Iowa relaunched an external search in June to “recruit a new and diverse pool of strong candidates.”  The UI paused the search in the spring after hosting open virtual forums with three candidates in late April and early May. The three finalists needed to reapply for the position since the relaunch. Volpin is not one of those three candidates, and the remaining finalists will be announced ahead of forums later this week. The UI is using search firm WittKiefer, and the search committee is made up of UI staff, students, faculty, and alumni.

The college began searching for its next dean after Sarah Gardial announced in October, 2019 she would be leaving the position vacant for the first time since 2012. Amy Kristof-Brown has been serving as the interim dean until someone can fill the position.  Gardial ended her tenure at the helm of the Tippie College of Business in March to lead Belmont University’s business school in Tennessee. 

In his introduction, Volpin said he was passionate about research and education. He said clarity on organizational goals, alignment among university leaders and trust to allow for collective leadership were key to managing a complex organization similar to the Tippie College of Business. He said the educational environment requires setting examples from the top of leadership, sharing best practices and communicating with students. 

“Deans lead, I like to lead by example, but they really need to build it up and make sure that it becomes potentially as big as the entire community,” he said. “So successful places are where people are sharing the same values, and working towards the same mission, and they’re proud of being part of that institution.”

He acknowledged the trying times educators are operating in as the world grapples with racial injustice, environmental issues and the pandemic. Volpin said business schools have a role to play in addressing these problems. Conducting research that impacts societal change, building community among the college, alumni and the local community, and curriculum change were some ways Volpin said business schools could help. 

“We need to really educate responsible business leaders, business leaders that think about the implication that their actions have on society,” he said. “It’s inevitable, it really means that the curriculum needs to change. So we need to have courses that we didn’t [need] before.”

Volpin said addressing ethics in big data analysis and how to manage diverse teams were some examples of issues the curriculum needs to address. 

In the UK, Volpin said schools often have a list of diversity, equity and inclusion practices, which leads to “a lot of box ticking.” His approach to DEI involves a bottom up analysis, where a survey of staff and students informs the strategy the school implements. In this model, colleges must communicate commitment to the strategy and monitor the process through metrics and surveys.

He also said students need to learn how to fail, problem solve, and employ critical thinking skills to be prepared for a changing job market. 

“Jobs are not static anymore. We need to teach skills that make our students resilient to the changes that will happen down the line,” he said.

In the last 20 minutes, students and faculty had the chance to ask Volpin questions. One viewer asked how he would adjust the skill set he acquired in London to Iowa City. In response, Volpin said he wants Tippie to recruit more international students and faculty by incorporating international experiences into the curriculum.

Women who explanted their breast implants warn others of possible complications

While women are encouraged to monitor their health during Breast Cancer Awareness month, there is another movement of women raising concern about breast implants that can cause other types of cancer in breast tissue.

This article was originally published in the 10/28/20 print edition of The Daily Iowan and on the DI website.

Tara Armstrong knew she was at risk for breast cancer. Her father died of the disease. Her sister was diagnosed before she turned 35. Her maternal aunt and paternal grandmother also had breast cancer. A genetic test determined she had a BRCA 1 mutation, which can increase the risk of females developing breast and ovarian cancers, according to the National Cancer Institute.

After receiving the results of her test, Armstrong decided to complete a prophylactic double mastectomy with immediate implant-based breast reconstruction. What she didn’t know was that her efforts to prevent her development of breast cancer put her at risk for developing a different cancer.

“About two weeks into that life, I started to have complications and [that] resulted in several other surgeries,” Armstrong said. “This was supposed to be a one and done thing for the breast reconstruction and that is not what happened. I went through ultimately three sets of implants.”

Continue reading “Women who explanted their breast implants warn others of possible complications”

Iowa City teacher named elementary Art Educator of the Year

Buffy Quintero, recognized by the Art Educators of Iowa, said it’s a strange time to receive the honor, since teaching is a challenge this year.

This article was originally published on The Daily Iowan’s website.

The Iowa City Community School District had plenty of work to do when preparing to move classes to online and hybrid formats. When courses require physical materials to complete the work, that can pose an extra challenge to educators.

Buffy Quintero, a teacher in the district, was named elementary Art Educator of the Year by Art Educators of Iowa in recognition for her work over the summer in developing the online elementary art curriculum.

“I think [for] everyone who worked on the online curriculum, it was kind of a feeling of being a little bit on uneasy ground a little, because it was the first time as a district that we were doing this,” Quintero said.

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Criteria and process for applying for P3 grants to be released later this semester

Any UI campus community member can apply for a P3 grant with a project that supports the UI strategic plan, and the criteria for applying will be released later this semester.

This article was originally published on The Daily Iowan‘s website.

Applications for campus grants from the University of Iowa’s public-private partnership — expected to garner the UI $15 million every year to fund strategic initiatives — will be available for campus to apply for later this semester. That timeframe was delayed because of the pandemic, according to a Thursday release from the UI.

After the commercial close of the University of Iowa’s billion-dollar utility public-private partnership in December 2019 and the financial close in March 2020, the process and criteria to apply for P3 grants is being finalized by the UI Path Forward Steering Committee.

The UI Office of Strategic Communication announced on Thursday that the criteria and process for applying for the grants will be released later this semester. 

Grants last up to five years, and anyone at the UI can apply for a grant as long as the proposed project supports the UI strategic plan

Continue reading “Criteria and process for applying for P3 grants to be released later this semester”

ICCSD develops toolkit for teaching sensitive topics in a politically charged time

Laura Gray, the director of diversity and inclusion in the Iowa City Community School District, developed a resource for teachers to refer to when covering slavery or race relations in the classroom.

Originally published on The Daily Iowa website.

What is appropriate classroom conduct when teaching slavery? Under what circumstance is it appropriate to show content that uses the racial slurs? What if a lesson causes harm?

Laura Gray, the director of diversity and inclusion, has provided a resource for educators in the Iowa City Community School District with questions on teaching sensitive topics. On the padlet titled “Cultural Proficiency Check: Teaching on Slavery and Racially Charged Themes Toolkit,” Gray organized articles from outside resources and documents she made based on her own life experience and through a restorative justice lens.

Early this school year, a teacher in the districts’ online learning program gave students a writing assignment where they were asked to pretend they were a slave. According to reporting from the Iowa City Press-Citizen, the teacher was placed on administrative leave.

After this incident, Gray wanted to provide resources to the staff.

“I felt like it was in my area to put some tools in place for our staff. When they’re specifically teaching about slavery, or teaching slavery units, and/or teaching things that are about race or other sensitive topics,” she said. “They can use some of the suggestions not just for race, or for LGBTQ, for religion, and other areas that they think might come up that might potentially be triggering to our diverse population of students.”

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Billing company for Iowa school districts experienced data security incident

Timberline Billing Service’s network was accessed by an unknown actor between Feb. 12 and Mar. 4., and determined that files containing information on Iowa City Community School District students could have been accessed.

This story was originally published on The Daily Iowan website.

Timberline Billing Service, LLC, a company that provides Medicaid billing and reimbursement services to school districts in Iowa, is sending letters to students from several districts to notify them of “a privacy incident that may have involved some of their information”.

According to a press release from Iowa City Community School District’s Director of Community Relations Kristin Pedersen, on Sept. 2, Timberline notified the Iowa City district of the data security incident. 

Between Feb. 12, and March 4, an unknown actor accessed Timberline’s network, encrypted certain files, and removed certain information from the network. Some of the files Timberline determined could have been accessed in the breach contained information about Iowa City school students, the release said.“Because Timberline’s investigation was unable to determine what information was actually removed, Timberline reviewed all files that could have been accessed by the unknown actor,” Pedersen said in the release. “Timberline’s review determined that the files contained information for some current and former students of the District, including names, dates of birth, Medicaid identification number and related billing information. In very limited instances, a student’s Social Security number was also included in the files.”

Timberline is not aware of any misuse of this data, the press release said. The company is offering complimentary credit monitoring and identity protection services to affected students. It also established a call center for parents and students with questions about the incident.

Students take virtual classes from teachers across the district

Some Iowa City students enrolled in the PK-12 online learning program are taking virtual classes from teachers at a different school.

Originally published on The Daily Iowan website.

Online classes have not only exposed Iowa City Community School District students to a new learning format, but have also introduced students to new teachers and peers from across the district.

As students and teachers are no longer limited to interaction with only those inside their physical school, and because student schedules presented a new challenge to the district, students now have classes with teachers and students from different schools online.

Director of PK-12 online learning Gregg Shoultz said, when the district was organizing classes for online students, the main focus was to enroll students in the classes they wanted, regardless of whether the teacher they were assigned was from their school.

“We were able to do a pretty good job,” he said. “But we could not match them up with teachers.”

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UI professor’s dance challenge to Harreld goes viral

Originally published on The Daily Iowan’s website. This article also appeared in the 10/19/20 print edition.

Professor Kembrew McLeod wanted to make engaging lecture introduction videos in an effort to brighten his students’ day. It led to him filming a dance video that went viral on TikTok, challenging Harreld to a dance off.

Engaging with students through pre-recorded lectures is no easy task, but when University of Iowa Professor of Communications Kembrew McLeod challenged UI President Bruce Harreld to a dance off, he caught the attention of his students and 2.5 million TikTok users.

UI sophomore Chloe Weidl said she was sitting in her friend’s dorm room watching the week four lecture introduction for her music and social change class. The video began with McLeod dancing to “Planet Rock,” showing off a series of body rolls, a jump split, and a backspin.

Out of breath, he said to the camera that he had just been practicing some moves because he planned to challenge Harreld to a dance off.

“I warn you Bruce, if you’re watching this, you better check yourself before you wreck yourself, because I will certainly wreck you on the dance floor,” McLeod said in the video.

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School libraries go quiet amid COVID-19

Through the online catalogue, interest surveys, and book talks, teacher librarians in the Iowa City schools are distributing books to students enrolled in the hybrid and fully virtual format.

This article was originally published on The Daily Iowan website.

Ordinarily, libraries are a common space for anyone to wander through and browse their collection of books. When schools initially created COVID-19 guidelines, however, the elements that made libraries a convenient resource now posed a health and safety risk.

Iowa City schools’ Student Services Director Kate Callahan said she co-chairs the Iowa City Community School District Health and Safety committee, which created protocols for how the schools would function to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

“One of the CDC recommendations was to close common areas,” Callahan said. “And so, the library is one of those common areas. So, when we looked at that, we thought, ‘Well, we need the services of the library, so how do we still get services and resources to students?’”

Continue reading “School libraries go quiet amid COVID-19”