Iowa Goes Inside For A New Tippie Business Dean

Interim Tippie Dean Amy Kristof-Brown will become permanent dean

After a search for a new dean was interrupted and restarted due to the COVID pandemic, the University of Iowa is putting the future of its Tippie College of Business in the hands of a known insider.

Amy Kristof-Brown, a senior associate dean who has served as the interim dean at Tippie for the past eight months, won the job over two other finalists. She will lose her interim status to take full possession of the $450,000-a-year job on Dec. 1. The search firm WittKieffer helped to guide the search.

Kristof-Brown was among the three finalists for the job with Tom Steenburgh, senior associate dean for the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business, and Paolo Volpin, who leads Cass Business School at City at the University of London. The highly regarded Steenburgh, who had taught at Harvard Business School before joining Darden, heads the school’s MBA program.



UVA Darden’s Tom-Steenburgh was a finalist in the search

All three were part of the second round of finalists after the university decided in June to relaunch its search which was originally begun in January when Sarah Gardial announced that she would be leaving the Tippie deanship to become dean of the Massey College of Business in Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee, on March 1.

Under Gardial, Tippie shut down the school’s full-time MBA program to largely focus on its part-time MBA and specialized master’s degree offerings. She made the controversial decision in 2017 after Tippie’s full-time MBA program fell 19 spots in U.S. News‘ ranking to 64th from 45th while she was dean. Before Gardial’s departure, she launched an online MBA which enrolled its first class in August of 2019.

To succeed her, three finalists participated in virtual campus visits during late April and early May, but the search committee determined in-person visits would be preferable. The delay caused by the pandemic led to a decision to recruit a new pool of candidates. 

Since joining the Tippie faculty as an assistant professor in the Department of Management and Organizations in 1997, Kristof-Brown has served in numerous roles including director of the department’s graduate studies and department executive officer. She was named senior associate dean of the college in 2017.


Paolo Volpin, who leads Cass Business School at City at the University of London, was one of three finalists for the job

“Dean Kristof-Brown has demonstrated tremendous talent as interim leader of Tippie, and I know she will continue to move the college forward as its permanent leader,” says Kevin Kregel, interim executive vice president and provost, in a statement.  “I am delighted that she has agreed to serve the college and university in this way.”

Kristof-Brown earned a bachelor of science degree in psychology and business administration from the University of Richmond and a Ph.D. in organizational behavior and human resource management from the Maryland Business School at the University of Maryland.

Her research interests focus on the compatibility or fit between individuals and their work environments. She is co-editor of the book Organizational Fit: Key Issues and New Directions, and has published more than 20 articles in academic journals, as well as several book chapters.


As a mentor, she has served on 30 doctoral and master’s thesis committees. Professionally, she served as an associate editor of the Journal of Applied Psychology and of the Journal of Business and Psychology. She is a fellow of the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology and the American Psychological Association.

“Working through the challenges of 2020 with my colleagues in the Tippie College and at the University of Iowa has been truly inspiring. I am humbled and thankful that the University of Iowa community feels confident of the path that we are on, and my capability to serve as the next dean of the Tippie College of Business,” Kristof-Brown says in a statement. “I am excited to continue to develop our research reputation, build meaningful learning experiences for students, and engage deeply with our corporate and non-profit partners. I’m ready to lead Tippie to the next level as a destination business school for faculty, students, professionals, and life-long learners.”

WittKieffer was reportedly paid $154,485 to help a search committee with the search. The committee was co-chaired by Amy Colbert, professor and department executive officer of management and entrepreneurship in Tippie, and Alec Scranton, professor and former dean of the College of Engineering.


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