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Regents approve admin interims, no plan for permanence in place

Courtesy+of+Iowa+Board+of+Regents
Courtesy of Iowa Board of Regents

Editor’s note: The story has been edited to reflect Bratsch-Prince’s salary change after her appointment to interim VP for DEI.

During its January meeting, the Iowa Board of Regents confirmed appointments for university officials, then moved to a closed session to conduct performance evaluations of institutional heads and the regents executive director. 

The Board of Regents approved two positions on an interim basis. Angie Hunt, media relations in the university department of strategic relations and communications, stated there are no plans for a search or decision to fill the positions permanently at this time. 

Dawn Bratsch-Prince was approved by the regents as the interim vice president for diversity, equity and inclusion. Bratsch-Prince filled the role in October after Sharon Perry Fantini, who previously served in the position, left the university.

Before the appointment, Bratsch-Prince served as associate provost for faculty. She maintains that position, and earns an additional $2,500 per month for her additional interim role leading the the office of DEI. 

After joining Iowa State in January 2022, Perry Fantini left just over a month before the Board of Regents released and approved a diversity, equity and inclusion recommendation report, which called for restructuring university-wide DEI offices and eliminating positions not “necessary for compliance, accreditation or student and employee support services.”

In the spring of 2023, the Board of Regents started the study to create the recommendation report, which started a pause in DEI initiatives.

Shawn Norman, who previously served as the senior vice president for operations and finance, left the university in December. The terms of his departure were public, though the reasoning behind the departure was not made public. 

In his departure agreement, the university agreed to pay Norman a $124,000 separation payment to be paid during the first two weeks of January. 

Following the departure, Heather Paris was appointed to serve as interim senior vice president for operations and finance and will be paid a salary of $372,000. Paris previously served as the associate vice president for finance services. The board also approved Paris’ appointment as interim vice president for operations and finance as well as university secretary. 

Bonnie Whalen was confirmed as university treasurer, and also serves as the associate vice president for institutional financial strategy. 

In other news

The University of Northern Iowa appointed, and the regents approved, former Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby as interim athletic director. Bowlsby oversaw the conference Iowa State athletics called home for 10 years, before retiring in 2022. 

The move comes after UNI’s former athletic director David Harris was hired to serve in the same role at Tulane University. 

The board spent the remainder of the day in closed session to evaluate institutional heads and to discuss strategy with its counsel regarding ongoing or upcoming litigation.

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