CEDAR FALLS, Iowa --- Many challenges lie ahead for the University of Northern Iowa, but the school’s newly named 10th president is confident he is prepared to lead the school into its next chapter.
William Ruud, 60, who has been president of Shippensburg University in Shippensburg, Pa., since 2007, said Thursday he is looking forward to working with others to make the University of Northern Iowa a “greater, better place to be.”
To do that, Ruud will have to win over a campus community that has faced cuts to academic programs, the closure of a laboratory school, declining enrollment and is still awaiting word on an American Association of University Professors censure.
Ruud said the road to repair begins with many conversations.
“I want to listen,” Ruud said. “I had a supply sergeant in the United States Army that once told me ‘You got two eyes, you got two ears and one mouth. Use them proportionately.’”
Ruud will officially begin work at UNI on June 1, but said those conversations will likely get started much sooner.
The Iowa Board of Regents unanimously elected Ruud after nearly three hours of closed deliberations. His three-year contract includes a starting salary of $340,000 and a $50,000 annual deferred compensation plan. Retiring President Ben Allen’s salary is $339,456.
Regents President Pro Tem Bruce Rastetter said the board faced a tough challenge because both candidates were already tried and true leaders at their respective schools. The board also interviewed Michael Wartell, 66, the former chancellor of Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne.
Rastetter said ultimately it was Ruud’s specific experiences, his enthusiasm and his vision for the university that led them to their final decision. “His interest that UNI is the comprehensive university in Iowa and that we should embrace that, that’s one of the first time we’ve really thought of it that way and we should,” Rastetter said.
He also touted Ruud’s ability to grow enrollment, raise money for the school and his work with the six unions on the Shippensburg campus.
Shippensburg saw record enrollment under Ruud’s leadership, though the school also faced a steep decline this year. Ruud said they are working diligently to rectify the backslide. When the school’s dean of admissions left, Ruud decided to replace the position with an associate vice president for enrollment management who can help coordinate the efforts of the registrar, admissions and financial aid offices.
Ruud, who also comes from a school dominated by in-state students, said UNI should celebrate its Iowa students.
“At the same time I think we can’t be blinded by the fact that we have a lot of talent in our border states and around the United States,” he said. Shippensburg has a tuition advantage program that attracts students from neighboring states.
Ruud said though he is leaving one university family behind he is looking forward to building that same rapport with a new Cedar Valley family.
“Judy (his wife) and I hope we can come and spend a good long time developing and building and growing the University of Northern Iowa as a great institution of higher education,” he said.
WEST DES MOINES, Iowa --- The Iowa Board of Regents has named William Ruud the 10th president of the University of Northern Iowa.
Ruud, 60, is president of Shippensburg University in Shippensburg, Penn. He was one of two finalists interviewed today by the Iowa Board of Regents. He will replace President Ben Allen who said in August he will retire no later than July 1.
Ruud was unanimously elected by the board after nearly three hours of closed session. He was offered a three–year contract with a starting salary of $340,000. Allen’s current salary is $339,456.
Ruud told the regents this morning that he expects the transition from Shippensburg to UNI to be smooth for everyone involved, in part because the campuses are very similar.
Shippensburg has six unions and boasts a student population that is predominantly from the state.
“UNI is a bit bigger. I think UNI is very strong. I have the experience working within a system where I can not only be competitive but I can be collaborative,” he said. “I think it is very, very important that the three universities under the Regents system work in a collaborative competition environment.”
Though both schools have budget and enrollment concerns, the next UNI president will have the unique challenge of mending a campus that has seen the closing of about one-fifth of its academic programs, the closure of the laboratory school. Faculty morale, some have said, is also at an all time low.
The school is also facing a possible censure from the American Association of University Professors. The organization said the need for such cuts was unfounded and that the administration violated governance, academic freedom and tenure procedures in the process.
During a campus visit last month, Ruud said he spent the first 120 days at Shippensburg learning as much as he could about the state and the campus. He expects to do the same at UNI.
“That was the core for the last six years of our success at Ship,” he said.
The school is also working to grow its enrollment. The school saw record highs under Ruud’s leadership, but also faced a large drop this year. Ruud said the university is in the process of hiring an associate vice president for enrollment management to coordinate financial aid, admissions and the registrar’s office. Ruud said despite dwindling budgets and smaller high school graduating classes, the university is doing what it can to effectively compete with the other schools in the system.
Prior to being named president at Shippensburg, Ruud was the vice president for development and university relations at California State University, Stanislaus; vice president for institutional advancement and dean of the College of Business and Economics at Boise State University; and dean of the College of Business Administration at the University of Toledo.
He also served two years as the chief education policy advisor for the Governor of the State of Idaho.
Ruud earned his bachelor’s degree from the University Of North Dakota in public administration and hospital administration in 1974. His master’s degrees come from the University of Nebraska in management/organizational behavior and marketing in 1975.
In 1978, Ruud earned doctorates in organizational behavior/psychology; organization/management theory and policy; small group and organizational communication; and research methodology and statistics from the University of Nebraska.
A public reception for that person is tentatively scheduled for 4:30 p.m. at the Sheraton Hotel.
Related: B. Michael Schaul, chair of the Shippensburg University Council of Trustees, on Ruud being selected as UNI's next president:
5 p.m. - “When we selected President Ruud, we asked him for a 5-year commitment, which he did. Obviously it’s a loss — the trustees have worked very closely with the president. He’s been really open.”
“It’s disappointing (to lose him), but we’re happy he’ll be migrating to a larger university with more students and making more money.”
“Obviously when you lose somebody, there’s both good and bad.”
“He was fully forthcoming with” looking for another position. “It’s a very difficult issue to deal with.”
“The process (of hiring a president) is so considerably difficult and so overwhelming.”
“Bill has done a great job — which you can see in a physical appearance” from the new construction of the campus. “Bill Ruud also was a delegate. He delegated duties to his senior staff. It allowed them to be independent.”
Schaul said the trustees aren’t concerned about burdening a new president with two more phases of the construction project since many of the senior staff are well qualified and have the independence after working with Ruud to get projects completed.
Schaul said Ruud put the students first.
Ruud’s departure is coming up fast, but Schaul is hoping the university won’t be forced into hiring an interim president.
“It’s certainly not a direction we want to take.”
“My compliments to Northern Iowa. They found a great president. I think they’ll be happy with him. Maybe we can actually schedule some football games between us.”
Earlier: Wartell says he's ready to lead
10 a.m. - WEST DES MOINES, Iowa --- Michael Wartell told the Iowa Board of Regents today he is ready to lead the University of Northern Iowa.
Wartell, 66, is a chancellor emeritus at Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne. He was forced into retirement in July because of a Purdue University policy that requires administrators to retire after turning 65.
During an open session, Regent Bob Downer asked Wartell why he wanted to take on a new challenge when others were ready to begin winding down.
"The flip answer is that Ruth (his wife) is very scared if I have nothing to do I will bother her all the time," Wartell said. "But, the answer is I'm healthy. I feel as energetic as I ever did and I truly enjoy what I am doing. Building a university is really heady stuff and when you are able to do it well people really appreciate it."
Wartell, who served as chancellor of IPFW since 1994, believes he left that school, and all the others he's worked at, better than when he arrived.
At IPFW, Wartell increased enrollment, oversaw the construction of more than 30 new buildings and expanded programs, endowments and endowed professorships. The school is Indiana's fifth largest and the only comprehensive public university in northeastern Indiana.
Wartell currently serves as chair of the U.S. Army Education Advisory Committee. He has also served on the Defense Science Board and the Defense Intelligence Agency Science and Technology Advisory Board.
Wartell has also been a consultant to government agencies and defense contractors.
From 1989 to 1993, Wartell worked in the public sector as a department manager for Sandia Laboratories in Alburquerque, N.M. Wartell said he enjoyed the time in his hometown, but the move only worked to solidify his passion for education.
Wartell has also served as provost and vice president for academic affairs at Humboldt State University and dean of the College of Letters and Sciences and a professor of chemistry at James Madison University.