Notes from Ken Brown, Associate Dean of Undergraduate Programs

Welcome to My Blog!

Ken Brown

Hello, my name is Ken Brown. I am the Associate Dean for the Undergraduate Program in the Henry B. Tippie College of Business at the University of Iowa. This blog will share my thoughts on work and life. Feel free to use the comment feature to send your thoughts, questions, and feedback. Happy reading and go Hawks!


Guess who visited Tippie today? Andre Wright, the founder of BLU Collar Fashion, a local clothing and fashion company with a powerful brand and a powerful message. Look for pictures later, but take a look at what a local entrepreneur is doing right here in town:

WE are Born Leaders United. http://www.blucollarfashion.com

Candy Grams!

Share the love with a Tippie prof, staffer, or adviser. Send a free candy gram via Tippie Senate. Just fill out this short online form. It’s free:

Happy Lunar New Year!

Over the last few days there have been celebrations all over the world for the Lunar New Year, including some special celebrations in New York City. In China, the Spring Festival marks a period of what some call the “greatest human migration” (chunyun in pinyin). Its a time to be travel to be with family and loved ones.

If you were in PBB today, then you may have seen the decorations or heard the music. Hopefully you had a chance to taste one of the dumplings from Kapok and break open a red pocket (hongbao). Most of all, I hope to those who stopped by felt a bit of that warm family feeling that we all crave from our holiday celebrations.

Thanks to Tippie Senate for putting everything together and everyone who came by. Special thanks to Xing Xi and Fang Yuan, who both graduated but still helped order and deliver food. Xing and I are pictured below in a fuzzy selfie.

Film screening: February 3 at 7pm

“Finding the Gold Within” is a documentary that follows six black men through their first years of college. It is a fascinating look into the life of young black men in the United States, and specficially into the challenges they face transitioning into college. The Tippie College is co-sponsoring this event with the Center for Diversity and Enrichment. All are welcome. For more details, follow the link below:

MLK, Jr Day

Welcome back students. I hope your break was outstanding and you are starting the semester strong. Most of the faculty and staff have been here working, getting ready for the new semester. Now here we go!

We all had off Monday for a celebration of the life and accomplishments of the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. Most of us have heard his famous “I have a dream” speech given in Washington DC in 1963, but his body of work is much broader than that one speech. And, to be blunt, some of his other speeches are more political and controversial than his most famous. We always benefit from knowing more about history, so read through this great CNN piece on MLK’s less famous speeches. You may find that you don’t agree with his politics, or you may find that he is even more of kindred soul than you thought, but whatever you decide, you will have a richer understanding of this important figure in US and world history.

American civil rights leader the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. is best known for his role in the African-American civil rights movement and nonviolent protests. His life's work has been honored with a national holiday, schools and public buildings named after him, and a memorial on the National Mall in Washington. Take a look back at the civil rights leader's defining years. Here, King speaks in Washington in 1968.

MLK Day is, fittingly, a national service day!

In honor of the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., many people across the country are providing service to their communities. While Tippie does not have a specific event, the University is coordinating a set of opportunities to staff tables at stores where you would collect items for Shelter House and the Crisis Center. Both are remarkable community organizations that serve the entire eastern Iowa region. More information follows:

Any student, faculty or staff member who would like to give back to the local community through the MLK National Day of Service.

The annual MLK Day of Service will take place on Monday, January 18th, 2016 between 9:00 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. You can sign up for a shift or volunteer the whole day!

The MLK Day of Service will take place at three different Hy-Vee Locations. Transportation is not provided:
Waterfront Hy-Vee 1720 Waterfront Drive, Iowa City
1st Avenue Hy-Vee 812 South 1st Avenue, Iowa City
North Dodge Hy-Vee 1201 North Dodge Street, Iowa City

How do I learn more?
Contact Rebecca Sievers at ( or via phone 319-335-3059.

How do I sign up?
Use the following link:

Climbing uphill

I’ve been thinking today about why my 30-minute workout, where I climbed uphill on a treadmill, had made this such a productive day. Why would climbing uphill non-stop without getting anywhere, which sounds pointless, leave me feeling energized and satisfied?

Part of the answer is physiological, I know. Exercise refreshes the body and mind and acts to improve mood and subjective well-being. I’ve heard it said that exercise is the most effective but least used anti-depressant! But there is also a psychological component to taking on a challenge, that is literally choosing an uphill climb. Setting aside all of the research, and just reflecting on my experience today, it has a lot of advantages.

My thoughts today have been about the other ways in which we might chose the uphill climb, not just physically but intellectually.

Short-term activities: Do math in our heads rather than use a calculator; start a conversation with someone in a language that is not our native language; have a face-to-face meeting instead of sending an email.

Long-term activities: Sign up for a foreign language class; choose a hard elective class, like an extra elective in math or statistics; read a book in an area that is not in your major or area of expertise.

Just like physical exercise, each of these little mental challenges would help make us think and feel better!

Happy New Year!

I hope that wherever you are, you take some time to appreciate the good things that happened in 2015 and to plan ahead so you can make great things happen in 2016. For me personally, this was a year filled with challenges that, like a roller-coaster, brought its ups and downs. Through the whole ride, I have learned so much, and enjoyed working with outstanding students, faculty, and staff. I look forward to more of the same in 2016.

Ken Brown has been teaching at the University of Iowa since 1998. Despite being born in Texas and growing up in Maryland, Ken is almost an Iowa native. His parents met here in graduate school back in the 1960's, and married soon thereafter. Without the fantastic programs here at the University to lure people from all over, Ken wouldn't be here today. Or be anywhere for that matter. View Ken's Tippie profile.