End of semester, end of term

Well, we are almost there. Its finals week for an entire academic year with COVID-19. Its been a year that has challenged us all to different degrees.

I know some of you have really struggled with motivation in the online environment and perhaps even lost family and friends to the virus. To those of you, I am so sorry for your loss.

Yet others were more inconvenienced than struck with tragedy. Whatever your situation, I hope that you can reflect on this year and feel a sense of accomplishment. You’ve made it through a global pandemic with all of its downstream challenges. I wish I could congratulate you face-to-face with a handshake and free snacks. Especially in a pandemic, we all could use free snacks.

While many of you know, I also want to let you know that this year marks an ending for me just as it does for those of you graduating. After 7 years in my position (including 2 full “terms” plus another year to help with COVID planning), I am stepping down and returning to a teaching and research role. The Tippie College of Business, aided by a committee of faculty and staff with input from student leaders, is searching for my replacement as I write this. We hope an appointment will be made by the end of this month. The program and the office is in great hands, whoever the replacement turns out to be, because of the remarkable staff, students, and faculty leaders we have here.

It has been an honor serving as your Associate Dean, and working with student leadership in particular. I mentioned this to the Tippie Senators, and I will repeat it again here — many of our best ideas for how to improve Tippie come from YOU. Your energy and insight are catalysts for change in our college and, frankly, in our broader communities as well. I encourage you to keep using your voice to propose solutions to challenges that we face, big and small. You may not always be met with agreement but you will learn in the process and you can be confident that you are doing the right thing by speaking up.

In that vein, I’d welcome any parting suggestions or feedback you have, positive or negative. Email is usually best, but if you’d like to chat, email and we can set up a time (kenneth-g-brown@uiowa.edu). I admire each of you for your persistence, as imperfect as it may have been at times. Perfect should never be our goal; we should strive to be true to ourselves and make progress making ourselves and our world a little better every day.

Finally, I’m grateful for the opportunity to learn with you. I have learned so much working this in role. I remain committed to Tippie, University of Iowa, and the state of Iowa and will use my voice to continue to make a stronger, more supportive, and more inclusive community. 

Best wishes to you as you finish finals and head into the summer months and toward whatever next challenge awaits you. I wish you health, happiness, and peace of mind that you are in the right place, doing the right things taking steps toward a better tomorrow. 

– Ken Brown



Dean’s Welcome for Spring 2020

It definitely doesn’t feel like “Spring 2020” to me this morning! Even so, I welcome the technical label because it signals a fresh start and an opportunity for us to come together (again) and learn!

This past weekend we honored the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King’s legacy. The University held service events yesterday, and there are a number of other events going on this week, including a lecture by Anita Hill on ending sexual harassment.

Stanford MLK Institute Landing Page

Most of us in the US grew up listening to Dr. King’s famous “I have a dream<" speech. Even so, it feels new and powerful every time I hear it. More recently, in my teaching, I've been referencing his "Letter from a Birmingham Jail." You can read the typed original here (and listen to the audio with the prior link), both from archives at Stanford University.

We are living in times with a lot of disagreement and fear, as well as excitement and joy. These emotions are not unique in our country’s history by any means, but it can be scary. A key theme of King’s is worth remembering as you settle into this semester’s classes amid the roar of political drama — impeachment, caucuses, and US-Iran tensions.

King preached love. In fact, he was quoted as saying, “Love is the only way.” So as you settle in and get to work, when you hit a moment of frustration, I urge you to slow down and connect to those around you. Find ways to help others, and let them help you. There is a great deal of love in this community and I hope you will find ways to be part of it. If you want any guidance on how and where to connect, let me or your advisor know. We love being part of this community, and helping others.

And my final words of advice as we kick off the semester — stay warm, stay hydrated, and get to class! Go Hawks!


Welcome to Fall 2019, and in particular, Welcome to the Tippie Class of 2023!

Welcome to Fall 2019, and in particular, Welcome to the Tippie Class of 2023! Today marks the start of classes with our biggest and best first year class ever. With over 500 new students joining as “direct admits,” Tippie will now have over 3000 enrolled students. Our goal is not to be big, but to be a great place to study and work. Together we create a great learning community, and we are glad you are here to be part of it.

New students have just been through days of orientation and heard lots of great tips. I’d like to add one more — reach out and ask questions of current students, whether they are your peer mentors, learning coaches, or just students in your class. You’ve joined a caring and inclusive community, and fellow Tippie students have a lot to offer from the mundane tip (where are the PBB bathrooms?) to the more complex advice (how could a first year student find a good on-campus job or internship?). We have many professional staff, including your advisor, who are excited to answer these questions, but connections with other students should be a routine part of your day-to-day learning. If you are unsure what to say, just introduce yourself and start asking questions like “where are you from?” or “what are you studying?”

Have a great first week of classes. On behalf of the faculty and staff, we are glad you are here and ready to get started!