The University of Iowa

New CLAS dean hopes to internationalize the College

June 4th, 2012

By Alex Sheets, The Daily Iowan


Chaden Djalali will take over as University of Iowa's dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences in August — and he already has global plans.

One of Djalali's main goals is to promote the college's international reputation.

"I am fully committed to help increase international-exchange opportunities for students and faculty," Djalali told The Daily Iowan in an email. "The ever-increasing connectedness of human beings manifests itself everywhere and has profound political, financial, and environmental implications for all of us."

Djalali will take over the position effective Aug. 15, UI officials announced May 11. Djalali's salary will be $325,000.

According to a UI press release, Djalali earned his doctorate from Institut de Physique Nucléaire in Paris. He is the current head of the Physics Department at the University of South Carolina.

Current liberal-arts Dean Linda Maxson will step down from the position she held for 15 years June 30 to rejoin the UI biology faculty.

The liberal-arts college has three associate deans who work regularly with the dean, and Maxson said Djalali should appreciate their skills.

"[Djalali should] learn to trust, and work with, and value [his] staff," she said. "The staff in the departments and college offices are really the people who have the collective memory and who have been with us for years."

Executive Associate Dean Raul Curto will act as the interim dean starting July 1 until Djalali's term.

In addition to reaching out globally, Djalali plans on collaborating with the other deans at the UI to improve the success of students.

UI Provost P. Barry Butler said doing so is key to Djalali's success at the university.

"Having a broader perspective on things is very important," he said.

Butler made the recommendation to hire Djalali to the Board of Regents for approval.

A few of Djalali's major plans for the position include promoting the college and encouraging internal fundraising.

He said he wants to publicize the college's accomplishments throughout the UI community.

"Communicating these achievements is vital to maintain the interest of alumni and friends of [liberal arts] and encourage their involvement with the college," he said.

He said he would like to see participation in fundraising for the college from every department.

"Most of the faculty is already involved full time with teaching, scholarly and creative activities, as well as service to [liberal arts] and the UI," he said. "… It would be great to have at least one person in each unit who is interested in working closely with the Dean's Office and the public relations and development officers. These efforts should be recognized as substantial service done by the faculty or staff member."

Ralf Gothe, a professor at the University of South Carolina, worked with Djalali for 10 years in the Physics Department. He said the UI made the right choice in choosing Djalali.

"He wholeheartedly strives to achieve the best for his institution, and, consequently, his profession has always been and will always be not just work for him but part of his life," Gothe told the DI in an email.