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University of Iowa News Release


Sept. 23, 2011

At A Glance

UI tops a recent list of 'Incredible Colleges for Students with Special Needs'

Citing the University of Iowa College of Education's Realizing Educational and Career Hopes (REACH) Program, noted that the UI offers students with disabilities a chance to build career skills, perform better academically and live as independent adults.

BestCollegesOnline recognized the UI on its list of "Incredible Colleges for Students with Special Needs," which appeared as a Sept. 21 blog post and included 20 colleges and universities nationwide.

REACH is a two-year certificate program within the UI College of Education for students with intellectual and learning disabilities. REACH students live in the dorms and attend courses on campus geared at helping them become empowered, engaged members of their communities. is a website and blog aimed at helping students select colleges and prepare for the job market.

Schools on the list were selected as standouts among those that offer "comprehensive or specialized programs for students who may have special needs." The UI is the first institution on the list.

The blog post noted that while it may make things more challenging, a disability shouldn't stand in the way of getting a college degree.

For a complete list, visit

To learn more about REACH, visit


Zhupanska receives national young faculty award

Olesya Zhupanska, assistant professor in the UI College of Engineering Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, is one of only 39 researchers -- selected from a nationwide field of 407 applicants -- to receive a 2011 Young Faculty Award (YFA) from the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).

Under the terms of the award, Zhupanska will receive about $300,000 to pursue basic research in the field of structural materials. Her project is titled "Investigation of Multi-Field Interactions in Composites: Towards Achieving Multi-Functionality." Zhupanska, who joined the UI faculty in 2007, has research interests that include mechanics of multifunctional composites and nanocomposites.

The objective of the DARPA YFA program is to identify and engage rising research stars in junior faculty positions at U.S. academic institutions and expose them to Department of Defense needs as well as DARPA's program development process.


Oct. 2 Prairie Lights reading will feature writers from India, Singapore

A free reading at 4 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 2 will feature two writers in residence in the University of Iowa International Writing Program (IWP), Usha K. R. from India and Jeremy Tiang from Singapore. They will be joined by Derek Gromadzki, a Master of Fine Arts student in the UI Translation Workshop, a doctoral student in comparative literature, and an assistant editor of the eXchanges translation journal.

Usha K.R. is the author of four novels, and her essays and short stories have been featured in many magazines, newspapers, collections and anthologies. She occasionally reviews books for the Deccan Herald and is the managing editor of IIMB Management Review in Bangalore. She participates in the IWP through the support of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State.

Tiang has acted in nearly 30 stage, television and film productions, and is an award-winning short-story writer. His plays have been staged in London and Singapore, and he has led theater and creative writing workshops, translated plays from the Chinese, and contributed film, theatre and book reviews to The Quarterly Literary Review Singapore, the Straits Times, The Arts Magazine and the Flying Inkpot. Tiang's participation in the IWP was made possible by a grant from the Singapore National Arts Council.



UI LEAP offers course on using Internet search engines

The University of Iowa Lifetime Enrichment Adult Program is offering a four-part course titled "Using Internet Search Engines." Classes will run from 5 to 7 p.m. each Tuesday in October (Oct. 4, 11, 18 and 25), in Room 2523 of the University Capitol Centre. Each class will focus on a different topic of search engine use: news, entertainment, research, and communication and socializing.

Participants may register for specific classes within the series or sign up for all four sessions.

As the Internet increasingly rivals traditional printed media outlets as a source of information, search engines have become instrumental in obtaining that information. These classes are intended to make students comfortable with using Google and other search engines to access the wealth of information and resources that are available online.

The cost per class is $10 for members and $15 for non-members. Members can register for all four classes for $35.

To learn more or register, visit or contact Laura Scheetz at 319-384-4221 or


Tubist Pierce performs as a guest of the UI School of Music Oct. 5

Tubist Benjamin Pierce, a guest of the University of Iowa School of Music, will present a free recital at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 5, in the University Capitol Centre Recital Hall.

Pierce's program will feature the Sonata in G minor by 18th-century English composer Henry Eccles; "Parallels" by contemporary Hungarian pianist/composer Áron Romhányi; "Insects" a work written this year by Russian composer Elena Lebedeva, and two arrangements by Pierce -- the Romanze, op. 2, by Carl Nielsen, and Three Spanish Dances by Pablo de Sarasate.

Pierce is a faculty member at the University of Arkansas, where he directs the tuba/euphonium ensemble, and he is the editor of the Journal of the International Tuba Euphonium Association. The winner of numerous international competitions, he is a member of the Brass Band of Battle Creek, and has performed as a soloist and ensemble member with orchestras in Asia, North America and Europe.

For additional information, visit


McGurl accepts the 2011 Capote Award in Oct. 6 UI event

Mark McGurl, whose "The Program Era" was the 2011 Truman Capote Award for Literary Criticism in Memory of Newton Arvin, will accept the $30,000 award -- the world's richest annual award in literary criticism -- in a free public event at 4 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 6, in the Senate Chamber of the Old Capitol on the University of Iowa campus. McGurl will present a talk on a literary topic of his choosing, and a public reception will follow.

The Capote Award is administered for the Capote Estate by the Iowa Writers' Workshop, and the workshop also awards Truman Capote Scholarships to UI creative-writing students.

In "The Program Era: Postwar Fiction and the Rise of Creative Writing," published by the Harvard University Press, McGurl argues that "the rise of the creative-writing program stands as the most important event in postwar American literary history." The book was chosen by an international panel of prominent critics and writers, each of whom nominated two books. After reading all the nominated books, each critic ranked the nominees.

Read more about the book and the award at McGurl is now a faculty member at Stanford University.


Photos for At A Glance items, if available, may be found at

Campus events are searchable on the UI Master Calendar:

Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend all UI-sponsored events. If you are a person with a disability who requires an accommodation to participate in a program, please contact the sponsoring department in advance.