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University of Iowa News Release


Jan. 7, 2008

Jan. 17 event focuses on fostering community-university collaboration

Bridging universities with community needs through innovative forms of teaching and scholarship is the focus of a free public presentation at 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 17, in Meeting Room A of the Iowa City Public Library. The event features University of Iowa alumnus Franklin D. Gilliam Jr., associate vice chancellor for community partnerships and professor of political science at the University of California at Los Angeles. Gilliam directs UCLA's engagement with the broader Los Angeles community.

Gilliam's lecture, "Civic Engagement and the Research University: Challenges and Opportunities," is sponsored by the UI Obermann Center for Advanced Studies and the UI Graduate College as part of the Graduate Institute for Public Engagement.
Public universities and colleges were accused in the 1980s of being isolated, and their outreach programs were criticized for being outdated. Many argued that research universities had much knowledge to share but were disconnected and unable to relate to their communities. Today, colleges and universities are changing the way they educate students and conduct research, using engaged scholarship to address local problems.

"We must approach civic partnerships with mutual respect, as we have as much to learn as we have to offer," Gilliam said. "Effective partnerships are built on shared responsibility, commitment and goals; it must be a two-way street."
Following Gilliam's talk will be a panel discussion with Iowa City Mayor Regenia Bailey, UI Interim Executive Vice-President and Provost Lola Lopes, African-American Historical Museum and Cultural Center of Iowa Executive Director Tom Moore, and Cedar Rapids Gazette Senior Editor Lyle Muller.

After earning a bachelor's degree from Drake University, Gilliam went on for a master's and doctorate in political science from the UI. He has served as a consultant for the Kellogg Foundation and taught with former Vice President Al Gore at Columbia University, Fisk University and Middle Tennessee State University. Gilliam is a Senior Fellow with FrameWorks Institute, Washington, D.C., and has authored books and articles on politics and strategic communication.

"We're thrilled to bring Frank Gilliam back to Iowa for this special public program," said David Redlawsk, co-director for the Obermann Graduate Institute and associate professor of political science in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. "His work has demonstrated that the ivory tower cannot remain isolated from the community in which it sits. Likewise, the community cannot see the university as a distant, disconnected presence."

The program is co-sponsored by the UI Center for Teaching, UI Civic Engagement Program, the City of Iowa City, Carver Trust, the Women's Resource and Action Center, the Associate Provost for Diversity, and the Iowa City Noon Rotary.

The Obermann Center for Advanced Studies provides an environment and resources for reflection and writing and for the exchange of ideas. Scholars from a broad range of disciplines and institutions interact with one another and with the public to create and communicate new knowledge and to establish a vibrant intellectual community. It is located at N103 Oakdale Hall. For more information, call 319-335-4034 or visit

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

MEDIA CONTACTS: Diana Baculis, UI Obermann Center for Advanced Studies, 319-335-4360,; Nicole Riehl, University News Services, 319-384-0070,