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University of Iowa News Release


July 10, 2008

Thomas named interim UI associate provost, dean of International Programs

Downing Thomas will serve as interim associate provost and dean of International Programs at the University of Iowa, effective immediately. He fills the position vacated by William Reisinger, who returned to the faculty of the Department of Political Science in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences earlier this month.

The associate provost and dean works with the provost, other members of the central administration, deans, faculty and staff to enhance international activities at the UI. In recognition of the interdisciplinary nature of international academic programs and the several international degree programs supervised, the associate provost also serves as dean of International Programs. Thomas will oversee the UI Office of Study Abroad, the UI Office of International Students and Scholars, and the interdisciplinary centers, programs and study groups organized within International Programs.

"Downing has earned great respect within International Programs and throughout the UI community," said Interim Executive Vice President and Provost Lola Lopes. "International Programs will be in great hands during this time of transition."

A search to fill the permanent position will occur sometime after Provost Wallace Loh arrives on campus.

Thomas joined the faculty of the UI Department of French and Italian in 1991. He chaired the department from 1999 to 2002 and again from 2003 to 2007. He was appointed associate dean of International Programs in March 2007 and has also served as director of the UI Center for Human Rights since July 2007.

"It's been rewarding to play a leadership role within International Programs over the past year, and I'm honored to take on this additional responsibility," Thomas said.

Thomas holds a doctorate and a Master of Arts in French literature from New York University, and a Bachelor of Arts with a major in French and minor in music from Washington University in St. Louis. His scholarship has focused on early-modern French studies from 1600 to 1800, especially in the areas of music and opera, theories of language and aesthetics.

In 2005, the French government named Thomas a Knight in its Order of Academic Palms (l'Ordre des Palmes académiques) for promoting the French language and francophone culture through his teaching, research and writing.

University of Iowa International Programs enables UI students, faculty, staff and the public to learn from and about the world. Its offices, degree programs and events provide opportunities for intercultural experiences on campus and abroad, heighten intellectual and cultural diversity, and give all university constituents access to international knowledge. For more information, visit or call 319-353-2700. International Programs is part of the UI Office of the Provost.

STORY SOURCE: University Relations, 101 Jessup Hall, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-1000

MEDIA CONTACT: Steve Parrott, University Spokesperson, 319-335-0552,