Benjamin J. Allen was named the ninth president of the University of Northern Iowa on April 28, 2006, and assumed his duties on June 5, 2006. He received his doctorate and master's degree in economics from the University of Illinois and his bachelor's of science degree in business economics from Indiana University.
President Allen was vice president for academic affairs and provost at Iowa State University and was responsible to the president in all aspects of the academic programs at Iowa State. He has the distinction of having been named the first University Distinguished Professor in Business at ISU.
Before joining the ISU faculty in 1979, he taught at Washington State University and was a Brookings Economic Policy Fellow in the Office of Transportation Regulatory Policy, U.S. Department of Transportation. He was the Visiting McKinley Professor of Economics and Public Utilities at the University of Illinois in 1986-87 and held the Oren Harris Chair in Transportation at the University of Arkansas during the 1990-91 academic year. In 1999 he was appointed chairperson of the committee for the study of Freight Capacity for the Next Century, Transportation Research Board, National Research Council, National Academy of Sciences.
In 2007, President Allen was appointed by two state college associations (the American Association of State Colleges and Universities and the National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges) to the Presidential Advisory Committee for the National Commission of University Accountability. In June 2010, President Allen received a Congressional appointment to serve on the National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity (NACIQI). This committee is required by law to advise the Secretary of Education with respect to establishment and enforcement of the standards of accrediting agencies or associations.
Under his leadership, the University of Northern Iowa has established priorities of increasing student achievement in undergraduate programs and providing statewide leadership in Pre-K through 12 education, including UNI's lead role in the Iowa Mathematics and Science Education Partnership with Iowa State University and the University of Iowa.
In July 2011, Gov. Branstad and Lt. Gov. Reynolds declared Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) a priority for our state. Governor Branstad has asked President Allen to serve as co-chair with Lieutenant Governor Reynolds of the STEM Advisory Council. President Allen also co-chairs the Iowa Business Council's Education Excellence in Iowa Roundtable, a non-partisan forum of business and education leaders focused on improving pre-K-16 academic achievement and establishing career development opportunities. He previously co-chaired the Institute for Tomorrow's Workforce, a non-profit educational foundation helping Iowa learners prepare for the global marketplace. A strong supporter of the local community, President Allen is a member of the executive committee of the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance. He and Pat Allen served as co-chairs of the 2010 Cedar Valley United Way Campaign.