Sarah Gardial, vice provost of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, has been named the first woman dean of the University of Iowa’s Henry B. Tippie College of Business, effective July 1.
Gardial, 54, prevailed over four other finalists who publicly presented their visions for the future of the Tippie School and were ultimately graded by administrators, faculty and students on their leadership ability, interpersonal skills, overall vision, academic credentials and perceive strengths and weaknesses.
The other Tippie finalists were Charles Whiteman, a senior associate dean at Tippie since 2006; Stephen Mangum, senior associate dean of Ohio State’s Fisher College; Ken Kavajecv, associate dean for the master’s program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and Rajiv Grover, dean of the Fogelman College of Business at the University of Memphis.
Given the musical chair nature of deanships, in fact, several of Tippie’s finalists, including winner Gardial, had shown up elsewhere in dean searches. Before landing the $380,000-a-year job at Tippie, Gardial had been a finalist in the search for a dean at the University of Arkansas’ Walton College of Business, presenting there in January. Then, in February, she was one of five finalists in a dean search for the University of Tennessee’s College of Business Administration.
Ohio State’s Mangum, meantime, had also competed for the deanship in Arkansas with Gardial. The Walton College post was won by Eli Jones, dean of Louisiana State University’s business school.
Tippie’s Whiteman surfaced as a finalist in the recently completed dean search at the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Business. Wisconsin’s Kavajecv, meanwhile, had been a finalist last year for the deanship of the University of Colorado’s Leeds School of Business in Boulder.
Ultimately, Gardial won the best of the three jobs she sought. Iowa’s Tippie was ranked as the 45th best business school in the U.S. by Poets&Quants last year, up from a rank of 48th in 2010. Arkansas has a rank of 74th, while Tennessee is ranked 78th.
“The Tippie College of Business is a highly regarded school and I am very proud to have been selected to lead its next chapter,” said Gardial in a statement. “The college has outstanding faculty, researchers, and students and I look forward to working with them to develop a plan and a vision that builds on its tradition of excellence and achievement.”
Gardial joined the marketing faculty of the University of Tennessee’s College of Business Administration in 1986 and later served as assistant dean for the full-time MBA program and associate dean for academic programs. She has served as the university’s vice provost for faculty affairs since 2008, overseen faculty recruitment and development, and participated on the planning and implementation teams for the university’s strategic plan.
A native of Hot Springs, Ark., Gardial earned her undergraduate and MBA degrees from the University of Arkansas and her doctorate in 1986 from the University of Houston. She will succeed retiring dean William “Curt” Hunter, the first African-American dean of the Tippie College.
“I was very impressed with the clarity of Dr. Gardial’s vision for the Tippie College of Business, as well as by her dynamic and extraordinary enthusiasm for leadership,” said P. Barry Butler, UI executive vice president and provost, in a statement. “I am confident she will advance the college’s multi-dimensional mission of outstanding teaching and scholarship during her tenure as dean.”
Gardial says she was drawn to the Tippie College position not only because of the college’s tradition of excellence, but because of her commitment to public higher education.
“I’m a product of public institutions and I have a great fondness in my heart for them,” she said. “They provide the students who are our future leaders and perform the research that is needed to keep the country strong. My DNA is in public education.”
Gardial has received numerous awards for her teaching and scholarship while at Tennessee and is co-author of the book “Know your Customer: New Perspectives on Customer Value and Customer Satisfaction,” published in 1996 by Blackwell Publishing. Her academic research area is customer value and satisfaction. A frequent public speaker, she has served as a consultant to such companies as Procter and Gamble, Frito-Lay, and TRW. She is the current president of the MBA Roundtable Board of Directors and was past chair for the Graduate Management Admissions Council Annual Conference.
Gardial has a husband, Jeffrey, as well as daughters, Meredith, a recent graduate of Clemson University, and Julia, an undergraduate at the University of Alabama.