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University of Iowa News Release


Jan. 23, 2007

Graduate Students Present Public Engagement Projects Jan. 26

Members of the University of Iowa Obermann Graduate Institute on Engagement and the Academy will present their projects during an open house from noon to 3 p.m. Friday, Jan. 26, at the Iowa City Public Library. The event is open to the public and intended as a drop-in format.

The Obermann Graduate Fellows, 15 students competitively selected from across UI departments and colleges, participated in a weeklong institute this month exploring how to combine public service with academic research and teaching. In addition to reading deeply in the areas of engaged scholarship and teaching, the fellows met with more than 30 scholars and community leaders, made visits to local non-profit organizations, and attended a workshop with Sylvia Gale, a University of Texas-based leader in the area of publicly engaged graduate education.

The fellows' projects reflect a desire to share their academic interests with a wider audience. Some of the proposed projects that will be displayed at the open house Friday include a rhetoric class in which undergraduates would provide service in local social service agencies while learning more about a controversial contemporary subject; a nonfiction film course in which students would work with small business and nonprofits to develop films that could be used by the organizations for public relations or training; and a program that would provide in-depth academic sabbaticals to K-12 educators.

The Obermann Graduate Fellows are: Jill Baker, intermedia; Michael Balliro, social work; Anne Haydock and Jennifer Proctor, cinema and comparative literature; Kate Henderson and Joanne Nystrom Janssen, English; Robin Johnson, journalism and mass communication; Kate Karacay, international studies; Nancy Menning, religious studies; Tomomi Naka, anthropology; Valerie Nyberg, language, literacy and culture; Patrick Rossmann, student development; Jill Smith, community development and nonprofit organization; Elizabeth Sutton, art history; and Ryan Wells, educational policy and leadership studies.

The institute was co-directed by Teresa Mangum, associate professor of English, and David Redlawsk, associate professor of political science, both in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, with program coordination by Jennifer New of the Obermann Center. It was sponsored by the UI Graduate College as well as the Obermann Center for Advanced Studies. The mission of the Obermann Center is to provide an environment and resources conducive to reflection and writing and to the exchange of ideas. Scholars from a broad range of disciplines and institutions interact with one another and with the public to create and disseminate new knowledge and to establish a diverse and vibrant intellectual community.

For additional information and programming details, see To learn more about any of the events listed above, contact Jennifer New at, or 335-4360.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

CONTACTS: Media: Mary Geraghty Kenyon, 319-384-0011,; Program: Jennifer New, 319-335-4360,