News & Events

University of Iowa Dean Seeking Opinions

By Phil Rooney, Staff Writer

Curt Hunter may be the new dean of the Tippie College of Business at the University of Iowa, but he doesn't claim to have all the answers.

Since assuming his duties in July, Hunter, 58, has been touring the state, meeting with supporters and stakeholders in an effort to see if the business college is doing, as he put it, "the right things."

Tuesday and Wednesday found Hunter in Council Bluffs and Omaha. Today will take him to Sioux City and a business leadership roundtable discussion.

"We've got wonderful support across the state," he said.

Hunter said he's been receiving positive feedback about the abilities of Tippie students and has been told what they learned in the classroom has helped them perform well on the job, and internships often have led to employment offers.

What may be needed, he has learned, are improved communications skills and correcting a tendency to shy away from stepping up to take a leadership role.

"It's very difficult to teach it in a classroom," Hunter said. "Iowans are a little modest."

Few changes are likely in the way students learn at Tippie, he said. The school is almost universally well regarded in terms of its academic offerings and as a good value for a quality education.

He sees the University of Iowa's small size among Big 10 institutions and more intimate classroom settings as a major positive for the university and the business school.

There likely will be expanded efforts to teach students entrepreneurial skills, improve communications skills - with the help of the Iowa Writer's Workshop - and possibly educate in the area of foreign languages.

Accreditation limits the changes that could be made, Hunter said, and he believes in allowing students to pursue a large number of electives to create their own experience. He knows nothing is broken at the school.

"It's more doing better at what we do well," he said.

With the university increasingly counting on private support for its programs, Hunter will be jumping right into the fundraising aspect of his position.

"We can't be successful without that support," he said.

A Georgia native, Hunter said he knew a lot about Iowa and the Midwest from his days as a student at Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill., where he earned his master's and doctorate after getting his bachelor's degree at Hampton University.

He has held faculty positions at Chicago State University, the University of Georgia, Atlanta University and Emory University. Hunter came to Iowa City from the University of Connecticut where he was dean and a distinguished professor of finance.

Married with three children, his career includes stops with the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago and Atlanta; but Hunter said he was anxious to return to the Midwest.

"The Midwestern culture is a good one," he said. "I love the Midwest."

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