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University of Iowa News Release


Dec. 19, 2006

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Regents Tap Dentistry Dean Johnsen To Head Presidential Search Panel

David Johnsen, dean of the University of Iowa College of Dentistry, was named to head a committee to identify candidates to become the UI's 20th president. Johnsen's appointment came during a telephonic meeting of the Board of Regents, State of Iowa, late Monday afternoon, Dec. 18. His nomination received unanimous support from the nine-member board.

The Regents are initiating a second search for a UI president because the first search ended when they voted Nov. 17 to reject four finalists identified by the original search committee.

"David Johnsen is the perfect choice to lead the search for a new president," said Gary Fethke, interim UI president. "He has the respect and goodwill of the UI community because of his distinguished record in leading our highly ranked College of Dentistry. Just as important, he has the respect and goodwill of Iowans around the state, which is the result of his tireless efforts to reach out beyond the UI and Johnson County and to provide service across our entire state."

"I am honored to accept this responsibility and will do my best to help us move ahead expeditiously to find the best president for our wonderful university," Johnsen said. "I will work with the Board of Regents to engage the entire university community in this effort."

Board of Regents President Michael Gartner said that the Regents would consult with Johnsen about additional members of the committee before making those appointments themselves. In addition, the Regents will discuss the process for the search in the coming days, Gartner said during the telephonic meeting.

Recommendations from the UI community regarding search committee members and the search process are welcome. 

Johnsen has been dean of the UI College of Dentistry since 1995. He received his D.D.S. degree from the University of Michigan in 1970 and his M.S. in pediatric dentistry from the UI in 1973. He became board certified in pediatric dentistry in 1978.

Johnsen was on the faculty of West Virginia University from 1974-80 and received the Outstanding Teacher Award in 1976. He was on the faculty at Case University from 1980-95, where he served as department chair, intermittently as director of the residency program, and as interim dean in 1993. While at Case Western, he was elected chair of the Faculty Senate in 1994.

His professional service has included the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry Board of Directors, 1988-91; Child Health Advocate (legislative), 1992-95, with the Distinguished Service Award in 1996. He received the Achievement Award from the Ohio Dental Association in 1992. He served on the American Dental Education Association Council of Deans Board from 1998-2001 and as ADEA president from 2002-2003.

For information on the position description for the UI presidency, visit the UI's Presidential Search Website at

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

MEDIA CONTACT: Steve Parrott,, phone 319-335-0552, cell 319-530-6972