Iowa City Press-Citizen: Soft-spoken UI Leader Has Spirit of An Adventurer

Monday, May 17, 2010

By B. A. Morelli
Iowa City Press-Citizen

Dove takes over as UI Faculty Senate president

More than 30 years ago, Dove, 59, who recently became the president of the University of Iowa Faculty Senate, wasn't sure of the best direction for his life. Dove had a good job working for a utilities company in his home state of Virginia, but he wanted something more.

So, he quit, joined the Peace Corps, and spent 2½ years teaching college-age engineering students at a Catholic university in Valparaiso, Chile. To cap it off, he spent six months on the back end traveling by land in his return to the United States.

"I went there as an adventure, but also as an attempt to apply my engineering to improve things for people," said Dove, who lives in rural Johnson County outside Swisher. "I liked my job, but I recognized I could do more with my career."

The experience in Chile helped set Dove on track for a career that has included teaching and developing medical breakthroughs by using mathematical modeling to solve physiological problems.

Dove put himself through school at Virginia Tech for bachelor's and master's degrees in electrical engineering. That was prior to the trip to Chili.

Upon returning, Dove enrolled at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, where he completed a Ph.D in biomedical engineering and stuck around for a post doctoral position.

After school, Dove said he wanted to teach as well as give back to society through his research, and it was a clear direction to become a university professor, he said.

UI was one of multiple options to start his university career, but the reputation of the biomedical engineering program at UI and the community atmosphere made Iowa the natural choice, he said.

It proved a smart decision, said Dove, who has been at UI now for 22 years.

David Wilder, an associate professor of biomedical engineering, has known Dove since he joined UI in summer 1994.

"He is a very skilled, thoughtful and considerate man. He is an excellent teacher and always seems to have good advice. He's got quite a variety of experiences," said Wilder, who has heard of Dove's tales from earlier in his life.

"He is very circumspect. He tries to consider all of the constraints involved in a particular challenge, and he tries to look at it from all perspectives," Wilder said.

For these reasons, Wilder believes Dove will make a good leader of the Faculty Senate, which is called to represent the voice of more than 1,600 faculty at UI.

David Drake, a UI professor of microbiology and last year's Faculty Senate president recruited Dove to run for the position. Drake describes Dove as a soft-spoken man with a strong reputation and good leadership skills.

"He is an outstanding university citizen and very strong in his field," Drake said. "He is a very thoughtful person. You can see he is thinking and listening. He doesn't say much at first, but then you see him raise a finger on his hand and he will make his view known."

Dove can trace back some of the skills he brings to the table today to the adventures of his earlier life that sent him down the path he is on, he said.

"Part of being a good teacher is being able to empathize and spending time with different cultures teaches you to do that," Dove said.