Iowa State executive vice president and provost asks ISU President Leath to search for her replacement

Aimee Burch and Katherine Klingseis And

ISU Executive Vice President and Provost Elizabeth Hoffman announced that she asked ISU President Steven Leath last week to begin a search for a replacement for her position.

She said in an email Monday morning that she will stay in her current position until Dec. 31, unless she accepts “another position or a new executive vice president and provost is able to start earlier.”

“As I convey this decision to you, I want to thank everyone at Iowa State for five wonderful years as executive vice president and provost and, before that, for four wonderful years as dean of liberal arts and sciences,” Hoffman said in the statement.

Hoffman, who goes by Betsy, became the dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and a professor of economics at Iowa State in 1993. She left Iowa State in 1997 to become the provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

In 2000, Hoffman became the president of the University of Colorado System. While at the University of Colorado, Hoffman had to deal with several controversies: a football recruiting scandal in which a district attorney said the university used sex and drugs to attract recruits, an alcohol-related death of an 18-year-old fraternity pledge and a free-speech controversy relating to a professor likening the World Trade Center victims to Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann.

Hoffman resigned as the president of the University of Colorado in 2005. According to a USA Today article, Hoffman resigned from her position in order to “defuse controversies over a football recruiting scandal and a professor who compared Sept. 11 victims to a Nazi war criminal.”

In 2007, Hoffman returned to Iowa State and became the executive vice president and provost.

Hoffman said in her statement that she has “been exploring other opportunities, including being a public finalist for the presidency of the University of New Mexico.”

In December, it was announced that Hoffman was one of five finalists in New Mexico’s presidential search.

“I don’t see myself leaving Iowa State at all,” Hoffman said in an interview with the Iowa State Daily after the announcement was made. “I love Iowa State. I will always be a Cyclone. I just thought of this as an interesting, new opportunity.”

According to an Iowa State Daily article from Jan. 4, Monica Sasse, assistant to the executive vice president and provost, sent a statement via email to the Iowa State Daily that same day stating that Hoffman had informed the University of New Mexico Board of Regents shortly before Christmas of her decision to withdraw her candidacy for the president position.

Hoffman said in Monday’s statement that she has asked Leath to look for a replacement as she explores other opportunities.

“Please work with President Leath to recruit an outstanding new executive vice president and provost. I will continue to serve all of you and Iowa State as long as I am here,” Hoffman said in her statement. “I will always remain a Cyclone.”

John McCarroll spoke on behalf of Leath. He said Leath and Hoffman discussed the matter and Leath supports her decision.

“They feel this will be mutually beneficial, both for the university and Provost Hoffman,” McCarroll said. “President Leath has great respect for Provost Hoffman and her accomplishments and wishes her well in whatever she will pursue.”

In regard to finding Hoffman’s replacement, McCarroll said he was not aware of a timetable at present. He did say that he expects the process to move quickly.

Hoffman refused to comment further.