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Release: July 28, 2000

Thomas Dean is named special assistant to UI president

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- University of Iowa President Mary Sue Coleman has appointed Thomas K. Dean, an experienced writer and editor, as special assistant to the president. Dean will succeed Mary Lynn Grant, who is completing phased retirement this fall from her positions as presidential assistant and adjunct professor of English.

Dean will assist Coleman with speeches, reports, and other communications, coordinate special projects, and serve as liaison with other offices, such as University Relations and the UI Foundation, in connection with communications involving presidential and institution-wide messages.

"I'm delighted to welcome Tom Dean to my staff," Coleman said. "He brings a wealth of talent, experience and great ideas to the job. I know he will carry on the high standards that Mary Lynn Grant has set in assisting three presidents and two interim presidents since 1983. In my five and a half years as president, I have constantly relied on her skills and good judgment, and I am pleased that she has agreed to delay full-time work on her scholarly writings this fall to assist with Tom's transition."

Dean earned his Ph.D. in American literature from the UI in 1991 and then served on the faculties of Cardinal Stritch College, Michigan State University, and Moorhead State University. His recent scholarly focus has been on "place-based education," which is a relatively new field that uses local and regional perspectives in lessons on broader topics in order to help students connect the topics they study to their own town, state, or region.

He returned to the UI in fall 1999 to work as a program assistant in the Honors Program. In that role he assisted students in preparing applications for major national and international awards, such as the Rhodes Scholarship, and organized co-curricular social and educational activities for students in the Honors Program. He also has been an adjunct assistant professor in the UI Literature, Science, and the Arts Program.

Dean's scholarly articles and reviews, many of which center on writers of the Midwest, have appeared in such journals as American Literary Realism, Literature/Film Quarterly, and American Literature. He also runs internet discussion groups on literary, pedagogical, and environmental topics, edits two newsletters for scholarly societies, and is co-editor of Teaching American Literary Realism and Naturalism, to be published by the Modern Language Association.

His appointment begins Aug. 10.

EDITORS: Thomas Dean's photo is on the UI Honors Program Web page at