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Release: Feb. 15, 2002

Obermann Center/Spelman Rockefeller Symposium Set For Feb. 28

Nationally renowned ethnographer Joseph Tobin, Ph.D., will be the featured speaker during the University of Iowa's inaugural Obermann Center/Spelman Rockefeller Symposium Thursday and Friday, Feb. 28 and March 1.

The symposium will focus on issues of methodology, interpretation and qualitative research, with Tobin leading the discussions. The event will be of particular interest to anyone wishing to explore how ethnography can deal with cultural continuity and historic change, particularly faulty and students in the fields of education, anthropology, Asian area studies and the humanities.

Tobin, the Basha Professor of Early Childhood Development at Arizona State University, is widely recognized as one of the foremost ethnographers in the fields of education and human development. He has done pioneering work in the use of video ethnography.

On Thursday a presentation and reception will take place from 4 to 6 p.m. in the Lindquist Center’s Jones Commons, and the event is open to the public. Tobin will discuss "Examining Schooling Across Cultures."

On Friday, Tobin will be available for informal conversation in Jones Commons from 10 to 11:30 a.m. This, too, is open to the public.

On Friday afternoon, Tobin will conduct a workshop at the Obermann Center for Advanced Studies, an event open to graduate students and faculty in the College of Education’s Language, Literacy and Culture Program.

The symposium is supported by the UI Laura Spelman Rockefeller Fund, and sponsors include the Obermann Center, the UI College of Education and the Iowa chapters of Phi Delta Kappa and Pi Lambda Theta.

For additional information, contact Gail Boldt, assistant professor in the College of Education's Division of Curriculum and Instruction, at (319) 335-5565, or via email at, or Cynthia Lewis, associate professor in the College of Education's Division of Curriculum and Instruction, at (319) 335-5437, or via email at

Founded in 1872, the University of Iowa College of Education was the nation's first permanent college-level department of education. Since then the College has gained an international reputation of excellence in fields as diverse as rehabilitation counseling, testing and measurement, and language and literacy. It is home to the Iowa Testing Programs, developer of the widely used Iowa Tests of Basic Skills; to the Connie Belin & Jacqueline N. Blank International Center for Gifted Education and Talent Development; and to such top-ranked programs as Rehabilitation Counseling, Counseling Psychology, Educational Psychology, Elementary Teacher Education, Secondary Teacher Education, and English Education and Literacy.