James Chaffee: Assistant Dean for Information Technology and Facilities, Tippie College of Business at the University of Iowa

My NativeAdVantage:


Jim currently has over 20 years of progressive higher education experience, specifically in the areas of Information Technology implementation, innovation, and management and over 15 years teaching experience at the higher education level in the areas of Computer Science, Information Systems, and Education. He is currently the Assistant Dean for Information Technology and Facilities in the Tippie College of Business at the University of Iowa. His previous positions was as the Assistant Vice President of Information Technology/Chief Information Officer at Illinois College in Jacksonville, Illinois and Manager of Educational Computing Operations at Allegheny College in Meadville, Pennsylvania.  He holds an M.A. in Educational Technology from the University of Illinois at Springfield and a B.S. Ed. from California University of Pennsylvania.

Jim has a wide range of college teaching experience, from introductory courses to graduate level.  He has taught courses in programming (C++, Pascal, VBA, and Assembly Language), networking, operating systems, UNIX, Educational Technology, Computing Essentials, Computer Analysis, Exploring Technology, and “Video Games as Learning Tools”.  

He also has a strong technical background including the full range of responsibilities for analysis of software/hardware and training needs, installation of hardware and software, knowledge of LANs, UNIX, Linux, Macintosh, Windows and DOS, academic support for numerous software programs, and extensive interaction with colleagues and the public. His experience includes extensive "hands-on" knowledge of many aspects of network administration, microcomputer software and hardware; including the installation of computers on a LAN and repair of many hardware problems.

What do you do best?

I’m a problem solver. I look at problems from different perspectives and try to find a solution that fits the need at the time. I definitely see things differently than most people and I use that to discover innovative solutions.

What makes you the best?

I’m definitely not the best but I’m certainly not afraid to fail. Too often fear of failure gets in the way and causes people to pause. My philosophy is to jump in and see what happens. I also care about people’s needs and I want to make sure they have the resources they need to do their jobs or their coursework.

How will you stay the best?

I will continue to take chances, failing and learning from that failure.

What are your aspirations?

Personal: To travel more and to provide for my family.

Business: To make the work environment I manage a great place for people to work and learn in.

What fascinates you?

People’s attitude toward technology.  It is so pervasive that people are losing sight of how complicated technology is. We have a phone in our pocket that allows us to run applications, surf the Internet, see weather radar, take pictures, listen to music, and of course make phone calls.  How cool is that?

Also, using main stream video games as learning tools.  The real life learning that can be achieved by playing video games is fascinating. Just from World of Warcraft alone you can learn team dynamics, leadership, finance, and creative thinking.

Favorite Motto:

See a need, fill a need.

Favorite People:

My wife first of all. She keeps me grounded. I am also intrigued and impressed by people who overcome adversity. Michael J. Fox is a great example. I also like Albert Einstein for his perseverance.

Favorite Places:

Disneyworld, home, in the classroom.

Current Passions:


Most challenging moment?

I can’t think of one specific moment. Life itself is challenging but I have been very lucky in life that I haven’t had to deal with the challenges that others have.