Eight semi-finalists selected by presidential search committee


Iowa State students transition from classes in front of Beardshear Hall

Danielle Gehr

After three hours and fifty minutes of deliberation, the Iowa State presidential search committee selected eight semi-finalists from the 64 candidates Tuesday. 

The search committee of 23 Iowa State faculty, staff, students and Iowa Board of Regents members went into a closed session around 1:00 p.m.

The session opened once again to the public when the committee voted, using numbers instead of names to maintain the anonymity of the candidates.

“The search committee was extremely well prepared. I think we all went through every application. They really studied the details, they compared the details…because of that we could have a very rich conversation and that was amazing,” said Luis Rico-Gutierrez, co-chair of the presidential search committee and dean of the College of Design. 

Rico-Gutierrez said the whole committee was satisfied with the chosen semi-finalists and by the end of the session, everyone was in agreement. 

“Everybody had a voice and actually the reason we went several times through [the candidates],” Rico-Gutierrez said. “If there was anybody that had a concern, one way or the other, including somebody or not including somebody in the conversation, we always told them, it’ll take one person or a small group of people to make sure that we keep discussing a candidate.”

Before the session, the committee watched a presentation on unintentional bias given by Sriram Sundararajan, an associate dean in the College of Engineering. 

Reginald Stewart, the vice president for diversity and inclusion, also participated in the presentation by elaborating on different topics that were covered. 

“[They] talked about how our brain, when pressed to make a decision, even if you’ve studied the cases for a long time, at the moment you are making a decision, tends to average many different things,” Rico-Gutierrez said. 

This leads people to choose something they feel comfortable with, which is often times someone who they can identify with whether it be by gender, race or another factor. 

“Because we went through this training, then we made sure when we went through the candidates that we will always try to look at all the attributes that we talked about in the position description,” Rico-Gutierrez said. 

Names will not be released until the finalists are chosen after the eight semi-finalists are interviewed on a neutral site Sept. 26 and 27. The finalists will be on campus Oct. 5, 6, 9 and 10 for open forums. 

“We really need participation in those open forums like we said before,” Rico-Gutierrez said. “We want to hear from everybody.”

The committee is also looking for new ways to receive feedback as they approach the final month before the Board of Regents choose Iowa State’s next president.