Obermann Center logo and tagline
Mid-October 2020 

Events hosted by our friends at the Center for Teaching (register at the Center's website):
Workshops hosted by our friends at the Office of Community Engagement:

News & Achievements 
Celebrating the work of current & past Obermann scholars and friends 
  • Emily Wieder (HPG Summer Intern; French & Italian) won the Obermann Humanities 3MT competition and moves on to the campus-wide finals. The runner-up was Timothy Sommers (Philosophy).
  • Leslie Schwalm (Fellow-in-Residence, 2014-15) received the 2019-2020 Graduate College Outstanding Faculty Mentor Award: Humanities and Fine Arts.
  • UI History Professor Emerita Linda Kerber (Obermann alumnus) has been invited to give the prestigious Charles Homer Haskins Prize lecture for the American Council of Learned Societies on Wednesday, Oct. 28, at 2:00 CST. Registration required.
Read, Watch, Listen
  • Katina Rogers, author of the new book Putting the Humanities to Work (Duke University Press, 2019), followed up on the webinar conversation she had with us by responding to attendees' questions in a blog post
  • Chuck Connerly (Fellow-in-Residence, 2015) was on Talk of Iowa discussing his new bookGreen, Fair and Prosperous: Paths to Sustainable Iowa (University of Iowa Press, 2020).
  • Hundreds of viewers from around the world joined last month's Pandemic, State & Society two-part webinar. You can access both discussions via the series' website
Illustration of mother with infant
Interdisciplinary Research Grants for Summer 2021
Including special additional funds for research on the well-being of children and mothers

Applications for the Obermann Interdisciplinary Research Grant program (IDRG) are due on Oct. 28. One of our longest running programs, IDRG supports the work of pairs or trios of scholars and artists at any stage of a project, from initial research and data collection to writing grants and articles. Participants work together for either two or four weeks during the summer. (Note that we currently expect this summer's program to be virtual, though IDRG teams usually work at the Obermann Center.) In addition to the main funds for this program, there is also funding specially earmarked for projects focused on the well-being of children and mothers.

Previous awardees have translated books that went on to publication, created a film opera about the refugee crisis in Europe that was staged at Hancher, and completed articles related to a multi-disciplinary project intended to capture the voices of Latinx high schoolers
Poster with colorful sticky notes
Liberating Structures User Group Launches 10/22
Learn new tools, practice with peers

In late summer, we virtually brought our friends and facilitation gurus Anna Jackson and Fisher Qua to the UI for a series of workshops on Liberating Structures. A repertoire of clear, easy-to-learn, and powerful practices, LS has proven to be very adaptable for online learning. Attendees of these workshops have told us that the practices they acquired this summer have made an enormous difference in their teaching this fall--creating more inclusive and horizontal learning environments.

We are now launching a UI Liberating Structures User Group that is free and open to anyone, including staff, students, and community members. Organized by Ashley Cheyemi-McNeil, Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow, this is an informal opportunity to connect with others who want to try out various LS techniques and learn together. Sign up to be part of this group and learn more about LS from an in-depth interview with Anna and Fisher about LS's history and its many uses.
Photo of Peggy Schwab
Obermann Laura Spelman Rockefeller Community Scholar Named
College of Education student helps new K12 local collaboration 

Peggy Schwab, a second-year master's candidate in the UI College of Education's School Counseling program and Iowa LEND (Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disorders and Related Disabilities) is the 2020-21 Obermann Spelman Rockefeller Community Scholar. For this academic year, Schwab will work with Neighborhood NESTS, a new community collaborative initiative. Nurturing Every Student Together Safely, or NESTS, was created this summer as a way to address gaps in the Iowa City Community School District's Return to Learn Plan. 

In this theory-to-practice position, Schwab will establish best practices for creating new NESTS, develop a handbook, identify community liaisons, and assist with community buy-in efforts. The objective of the community scholar position--an Obermann pilot program--is for the student to bring her skills as a researcher to the community program and, in turn, to learn about community-centered needs and practices, paving the way to important research. 
Mother working from messy room
UI Parents: Have you applied for paid leave?
You may be eligible for up to 12 weeks of paid leave to take care of a child who is doing online schooling 

If you're like us, it was refreshing to see research scientist Gretchen Goldman show what it's like to work from home when she Tweeted what was really happening while she was being interviewed by CNN. With no pants on and toys everywhere, the image sums up how difficult working parents' current situation is as they try to get their jobs done in the midst of home schooling and non-stop childcare. 

The University has expanded paid leave available for specified reasons related to COVID-19. If any of the situations below apply to you, please contact your HR rep, and s/he will help to determine if these paid leave options are applicable to your situation:
  • You are unable to work your usual number of hours due to your child's school or child care closure as a result of COVID-19.

  • You have tested positive for COVID-19.
  • You have been advised by a health care provider not to work due to concerns related to COVID-19.
  • You are experiencing symptoms related to COVID-19 and are seeking medical guidance.
  • You are providing care for a family member in one any of the above examples. 
Note that unless Congress passes an extension, paid EFMLA leave must be used through 12/31/20, as it is specifically related to COVID-19 and separate from regular FMLA leave. To find your HR rep, log in to Employee Self-Service and click My Self-Service, then My HR Rep/Workflow Admin/Dept Admin.  
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Leading Humanists Provide Ideas to Department Chairs
How to advocate for humanities departments to senior administrators

The UI is a member of the National Humanities Alliance, the organization that advocates for the humanities at national, state-wide, and local levels. Recently, the NHA produced a video that offers excellent strategies for department chairs and others who need to make a case for resources to administrators: Between Two Bookshelves: How to Advocate for Humanities Departments to Senior Administrators

The speakers are outstanding: Joy Connolly, former dean at NYU and Provost at CUNY and now president of ACLS; Paula Krebs, a former dean at Bridgewater U and now Executive Director of the Modern Language Association; and Ben Vinson, Provost of Case Western University and a former dean at Johns Hopkins U and George Washington U. Though focused on the humanities, their advice is broadly applicable.

Between Two Bookshelves: How to Advocate for Humanities Departments to Senior Administrators
CHCI logo
CHCI Launches "The Public Humanities Tomorrow"
Register now for 10/16 discussion with humanities scholars working with immigrants, refugees, prisoners

The Obermann Center is a member of the Consortium of Humanities Centers and Institutes (CHCI). If you're interested in public scholarship and publicly engaged practice, don't miss the upcoming series of monthly panels, "The Public Humanities Tomorrow," beginning Friday, Oct. 16 from 3:30-5:00 CST. 

The first virtual event, organized in partnership with the Whiting Foundation, focuses on projects engaged with immigrants, refugees, and prisoners. The panel features Molly Todd (Montana State University), Xiumei Pu (Westminster College), and Geffrey Davis (U of Arkansas), and is chaired by Jennifer Ho (U of Colorado). These gatherings are designed to share humanities projects by scholars who are visionaries and change-makers, with a focus on practical lessons we might share as a community committed to collaborations that connect campuses and communities through research and teaching. 

The meeting is open to the public, including all staff, faculty, and students at the University of Iowa, thanks to our affiliation with CHCI. Please register in advance.