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University of Iowa News Release


July 27, 2007

Fethke Announces President's 2007 Awards For Outreach, Public Engagement

Several University of Iowa faculty members, staff members, students and organizations are this year's recipients of the UI President's Award for State Outreach and Public Engagement, UI Interim President Gary Fethke announced today.

The annual award honors those who demonstrate exemplary outreach to the State of Iowa and the public in general. The $1,000 awards are given in four categories: faculty, staff, student and group/organization.

The 2007 recipients are Jon Winet, associate professor in the School of Art and Art History in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS); Michael Flaum, associate professor of psychiatry and executive director of the Iowa Consortium for Community Health Services, Training and Research; Judy Polumbaum, professor in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication in CLAS; David Hensley, clinical professor and executive director of the John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center in the Tippie College of Business; Chet Rzonca, associate provost and dean of the Division of Continuing Education; Joan Rinner, faculty and staff services specialist, Human Resources Organizational Effectiveness; Charles Swanson, executive director, and Judith Hurtig, artistic director, of Hancher Auditorium; Yolanda Villalvazo, MD/MPH student in the Carver College of Medicine and College of Public Health; the Arts Share Program, a component of the Division of Performing Arts in CLAS; and the Mujeres Latinas Project of the Iowa Women's Archives, University Libraries.

"Giving back and providing valuable service to our community, state, nation and world are central to our mission and important responsibilities to Iowa's citizens who have invested their resources and their trust in the University of Iowa for 160 years," Fethke said. "These awardees represent the remarkable outreach that the UI community performs, and I commend them on the talent and generosity with which they have engaged themselves with the public."

Winet (a faculty award recipient) leads the Internet television initiative ICSC TV Online! through Iowa City Senior Center Television. By expanding ICSC TV to the Internet, this project promotes the opportunity for seniors to participate and express themselves socially, politically and creatively. ICSC TV Online! was developed in tandem with "Intermedia Artists in Community," a seminar Winet leads that places School of Art and Art History students in semester-long internships in Iowa City nonprofits. ICSC TV Online! presented their project at the joint annual conference of the National Council on the Aging and the American Society on Aging in Chicago, where it was enthusiastically received and recognized as a groundbreaking program.

Flaum (a faculty award recipient) has improved mental health services for Iowa's citizens by extending the UI's clinical, research, and teaching missions to some of the state's most vulnerable citizens. The Iowa Consortium for Community Mental Health Services (ICCMH) has been funded continuously by the Iowa Department of Health and Human Services, and Flaum's leadership has bridged the gap between the science of effective treatments for serious mental illness and the delivery of mental health services in Iowa. Initiatives include researching and implementing functional assessment instruments, reducing unnecessary hospitalization and institutionalization, and developing a proposal to provide post-graduate specialty training in psychiatry to Physician Assistants and Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioners to address the psychiatric workforce shortage in Iowa.

Polumbaum (a faculty award recipient) has spearheaded significant exchange initiatives with China over the past year. She initiated a partnership with the China Daily, which allowed for a senior editor from that newspaper to teach a course for the UI International Studies program and a UI student to have a paid internship with the paper in China. This year, Polumbaum obtained support for "The Iowa Olympic Ambassadors Project," offering journalistic, linguistic, and cultural opportunities for 26 UI students who will serve as media volunteers in Beijing with the 2008 Summer Olympics and Paralympics. These opportunities are available thanks to a Memorandum of Understanding recently signed by the UI and a partner school in Beijing, Tsinghua University. The UI is the first university outside of China to sign such an agreement.

Hensley and Rzonca (faculty award recipients) have been instrumental in bringing entrepreneurial education and economic development opportunities to western Iowa. In 2006, new agreements between the UI and Western Iowa Tech Community College (WITCC), and the UI and Iowa Western Community College (IWCC) allowed students from those institutions to more easily continue their students at UI, in some cases without leaving Sioux City or Council Bluffs. The agreements also help western Iowa more easily access business and economic development resources offered by the university. This year, similar agreements were formalized in Spencer with Iowa Lakes Community College. Hensley also coordinates the Okoboji Entrepreneurial Institute, which provides opportunities for students from five Iowa colleges and universities to learn about entrepreneurship and economic development opportunities in northwest Iowa at the Lakeside Laboratory.

Rinner (a staff award recipient), who does counseling and organizational consulting through UI Human Resources, has been instrumental in bringing the Alternatives to Violence Project to eastern Iowa prisons, and she has participated in the program on a volunteer basis. The AVP teaches nonviolent conflict resolution to Iowa prison inmates. AVP is an international, nonprofit, educational initiative committed to reducing interpersonal violence through experiential conflict management workshops in prisons, schools and communities. Rinner serves as a volunteer facilitator, counselor and program recruiter, and she has helped develop new workshop material for use by AVP across the state.

Swanson and Hurtig (staff award recipients) were recognized for their work in organizing Hancher Auditorium's 35th anniversary celebration through the Joffrey Ballet "River to River" tour, a gift to the people of Iowa. Free outdoor performances by the Joffrey Ballet were held in Council Bluffs, Des Moines, Cedar Rapids, Iowa City, and Muscatine. Movement workshops for all ages were conducted at each of the sites on the days of the performances, and the performance program featured several works, including two that represent the fruitful three-decade relationship between Hancher and Joffrey: Laura Dean's "Sometimes It Snows in April" from the Joffrey/Prince collaboration "Billboards" (which was co-produced by Hancher, where the world premiere performances were staged in 1993) and selections from Robert Joffrey's acclaimed production of Tchaikovsky's "The Nutcracker" (which premiered at Hancher in 1987).

Villalvazo (a student award recipient) elected to participate in the Medical Education Community Orientation (MECO) summer program, working with the Migrant Health Program run by Proteus, after joining the UI's Mobile Clinic and taking the Community Health Outreach elective course in her first year of medical school. She immediately initiated collaboration between Proteus and the Mobile Clinic that resulted in a joint clinic held at the Williamsburg Migrant Worker Camp. As the liaison between these organizations, she established a good working relationship that optimized their respective resources for serving this patient population, and she educated her fellow Mobile Clinic students on the issues affecting migrant farm workers so the services received at the joint clinic were delivered in a culturally sensitive manner. Villalvazo also developed a Women's Health educational workshop targeting breast and cervical cancer. When Proteus budget cuts eliminated exam services, she arranged for the Emma Goldman Clinic to become the provider.

Arts Share (a group/organization recipient), under the direction of Leslie Finer, is the public face of the UI's long tradition of sharing creative resources from the Departments of Dance and Theatre Arts, the School of Music, the School of Art and Art History and the Writers' Workshop. One of Arts Share's main goals is to bring the arts into underserved areas across the state. Schools and communities can access a variety of arts learning opportunities, including interactive performances, workshops, readings, residencies and master classes. The organization has visited 69 of the state's 99 counties and continues to grow. Almost 100 UI faculty and graduate students have participated in Arts Share programs.

The Mujeres Latinas Project (a group/organization recipient) has achieved notable success in documenting the largely unknown stories of Latina women in Iowa through oral histories and other collections. The Iowa Women's Archives established the project, under the oversight of IWA Curator Kären Mason, to collect and preserve information that documents the lives of Latinas and their families and their contributions to Iowa history. Between 2005 and 2007, the project has conducted 91 oral history interviews throughout Iowa and has collected letters, photographs, family records, organizational records, and newspaper articles that have been organized, cataloged, preserved, and made available to students, scholars and the public.

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

MEDIA CONTACT: Thomas K. Dean, special assistant to the president, 319-335-1995,