Prior to his retirement in 2012, Derek Willard was Special Assistant to the President for Governmental Relations and Associate Vice President for Research at the University of Iowa. In this capacity he was the University’s primary contact with the executive and legislative branches of the federal government in support of its academic, research and service missions. Prior to this he had been Associate Vice President for Research, with responsibility for research administration, federal relations and development of academic and research programs through federal agencies and major private foundations.
Derek was a faculty member in the Department of Preventive and Community Dentistry where he was Director of Behavioral Sciences and had taught in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences program in Literature, Science and the Arts before assuming his responsibilities in the central administration. Prior to coming to the University of Iowa, he was a faculty member at the United States Air Force Academy where he taught English and humanities.
As an emeritus faculty member, he continues research interests focused upon communication theory, legal and ethical foundations of communication systems, communication in health care systems and settings, and larger questions concerning the relationship of individuals and institutions and the importance of the arts and humanities. He is a graduate of the University of Rhode Island (BA), the University of Pennsylvania (MAC), and the University of Iowa with a PhD in Mass Communication.