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Release: May 2, 2001

Dettmer to lead new interdisciplinary division in UI College of Liberal Arts

IOWA CITY, Iowa — Helena Dettmer, a classics professor in the University of Iowa College of Liberal Arts, will lead the college's newly created Division of Interdisciplinary Programs beginning July 1. Dettmer was selected for the three-year term after playing a crucial role in organizing the new division during the last academic year, said Linda Maxson, dean of the College of Liberal Arts.

"I am delighted that this important new unit will continue to have the benefit of Helena’s leadership and vision," Maxson said. "I look forward to working with her to achieve the college’s and university’s ambitious goals for interdiciplinarity."

As director of the new division, Dettmer will oversee some of the college’s major interdisciplinary programs–environmental sciences, sexuality studies, aging studies, medieval studies, American Indian and native studies, and literature, science and the arts — as well as the B.A. program in interdepartmental studies.

"I am honored to have been selected as the director of the new Division of Interdisciplinary Programs," Dettmer said. "It has been an exciting and rewarding year serving as interim director and helping the division emerge and develop to include seven interdisciplinary programs. The progress that the emerging division made during its pilot year exceeded my expectations. The momentum clearly is in place."

Maxson said the new division will give interdisciplinary programs greater visibility among students who may be interested in their offerings, create better structured support for advising, and help faculty develop the programs’ curricula. The division structure also allows for shared infrastructure support that cannot be provided individually to small programs. An additional benefit will be having an administrator who can work with the traditional departments on behalf of faculty whose teaching and research interests are interdisciplinary, she said.

An experienced administrator, Dettmer has served as chairwoman of the classics department since 1993 and as interim chair of the department of French and Italian. She is currently an elected member of the College of Liberal Arts Executive Committee and in 1999-2000 was selected as one of the UI’s representatives to the CIC Academic Leadership Conference. She has served her discipline as president of the Classical Association of the Middle West and South (1996-97) and as a member of that group’s executive committee (1994-98).