New UIU administrators feeling right at home

Provost Dr. Joan Poor and Chief Financial Officer Murtuza Siddiqui stand outside Alexander-Dickman Hall at Fayette Campus.

Upper Iowa University has welcomed two new administrators to the Peacock family in 2017. Murtuza Siddiqui joined the UIU staff as the University’s chief financial officer in January and Dr. P. Joan Poor began her duties as UIU’s provost in April.

Siddiqui most recently served as the CFO/vice president for administrative affairs at Metropolitan State University in Minneapolis/St. Paul for the past eight years. In his CFO role there, he provided oversight to all areas related to financial management, budgeting, human resources, facilities, capital planning, campus services and information technology.  Prior to serving in that CFO position, Siddiqui was the controller and associate vice president of financial management at Metropolitan State University.

“I was looking for an opportunity to work somewhere that presented a good match to my career background and experience,” said Siddiqui, while explaining what piqued his interest in the UIU position. “Before arriving here I observed that UIU’s academic offerings were especially diversified. A different mix of students attend the Fayette Campus compared to those attending our centers. Likewise, the majority of online students are at a different point in their lives compared to those attending the traditional classroom setting. From a CFO perspective you realize the various revenue streams that are available due to this diversity.”

In addition to his extensive experience in higher education, Siddiqui has a background in public administration, auditing and finance. He began his career serving over 10 years as principal accountant/internal auditor with Metropolitan Council, a public, regional planning and coordinating agency in the Twin Cities metropolitan region. Siddiqui also served as the CFO of Minnesota Technology, Inc., and the CFO director for the city of Arden Hills.

Siddiqui earned his bachelor’s degree in business from the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management and his Master of Business Administration from Metropolitan State. He also completed some doctoral-level coursework with University of St. Mary’s in Minneapolis.

“Due to my familiarity with similar institutions of this size and diversity, I felt coming to UIU provided a logical progression for me,” he added. “At this point in my career, I wanted to explore working in a private, not-for-profit higher educational setting. I see a lot of growth and potential in the entire University and look forward to it reaching new heights.”

Since his arrival at Fayette Campus, Siddiqui has been most impressed with the people who make up the UIU family.

“The overall environment here is one of respect,” Siddiqui said. “The faculty, staff and students are extremely respectful and cordial to those around them. I have not experienced this amount of genuine friendliness elsewhere. Like those around us, my staff is very dedicated, cooperative, helpful and committed to excellence. The willingness of people to help each other is incredible. The entire community has made me feel as if this is my campus, my city. Seeing so many friendly people with smiling faces is among the highlights of each and every day.”

Murtuza and his wife, Seema, have three adult children. In their spare time, the couple enjoys traveling.

Dr. P. Joan Poor most recently served as strategic planning consultant with Higher Education Resource Services (HERS). Since 2012, she has led two universities as a provost: Truman State University from 2012-14 and most recently at Aurora University from 2014-16. While at Aurora, Poor led Academic Affairs during a $6 million unanticipated budgetary shortfall in the state of Illinois. Her leadership, in tandem with that of faculty members, was credited for establishing tremendous improvements to academic programs, program assessment of student learning outcomes, a Faculty Handbook review, shared governance structure and a more equitable tenure and promotion process.

“I was interested in serving as a chief academic officer at a progressive institution with faculty members who are dedicated to ensuring excellence in teaching, and I have found that at Upper Iowa,” said Poor. “The entire UIU family has made my husband and I feel so welcome here.”

Having served as an institutional liaison for accreditation since 2012 and a Higher Learning Commission consultant/evaluator since 2010, Poor has outstanding experience and expertise with accreditation and the Higher Learning Commission. In addition to her accreditation knowledge, she also has experience in strategic planning, program reviews, budgeting, grants and capital campaigns within a multiple-modality structure.

Poor has a doctorate of psychology in natural resources/environmental economics from the Department of Agricultural Economics at University of Nebraska. While attending University of Manitoba, Canada, she earned both her master’s degree of natural resource management and sustainable agriculture, water conservation, and a bachelors’ degree in agricultural economics and farm management.

Poor has mentored over 20 Senior Thesis/Honors (undergraduate) St. Mary’s Projects at St. Mary’s College of Maryland, three of which were awarded Geneva Boone Best St. Mary’s Project Awards, and contributed to several peer reviewed publications and published articles. She has delivered over 35 presentations to professionals at conferences and workshops, and to local government officials and community organizations.

Joan and her husband, Darrel, enjoy spending time at their cabin home in Minnesota with their two adult daughters.

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