May 2020 

News & Achievements 
Celebrating the work of current & past Obermann scholars and friends 
  • Corinne Peek-Asa (OCAS Advisory Board) and Caroline Tolbert were named the inaugural awardees of the University of Iowa Distinguished Professorship program by the Office of the Provost.
  • Corinne Peek-Asa also received a Board of Regents Faculty Excellence Award.
  • Leslie Finer (HPG Advisory Board) received a Board of Regents Staff Excellence Award. 
  • Kurt Anstreicher (Summer Seminar, 1992; IDRG, 1992) received a Board of Regents Faculty Excellence Award.
  • Steven Levy (Fellow-in-Residence, 1997-98) received the Leadership in Research award from the Office of the Vice President for Research. 
  • Steven Ungar (OCAS Advisory Board, 2013-16; Fellow-in-Residence, 2013) received the Distinguished Achievement in Arts and Humanities Research Award from the OVPR and the Michael J. Brody Award for Faculty Excellence in Service.
  • Sarah Bond (Summer Seminar, 2016; IDRG, 2015) received the Faculty Communicating Ideas Award from the OVPR.
  • Teresa Mangum (Obermann Center Director and GWSS) was recently elected to the International Consortium of Humanities Centers and Institutes Advisory Board. She is also a member of the consortium's Public Humanities Network and was recently part of a panel: Community, Communications, and the Humanities During the Pandemic.
  • Shawn Datchuk (Obermann Conversation, 2018) and Ain Grooms (IDRG, 2019) were awarded the 2019-2020 Collegiate Teaching Award from the College of Education.
Media Inspiration
Recent digital inspiration that we love 
Healing the Academy
HuMetricsHSS introduces scholars and administrators to values-based metrics

In ways we couldn't have anticipated, a workshop collaboratively hosted earlier this year by the Obermann Center, the Vice President for Research, International Programs, and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences was valuable preparation for a campus engaging in strategic planning during a pandemic. Together, these campus offices invited a broadly representative group of 30 faculty, staff, and graduate students from three colleges, campus libraries, and museums to participate in the Humane Metrics Initiative for the Humanities and Social Sciences (HuMetricsHSS) workshop. The project is funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and led by a team of eight visionaries from the academic, commercial, and nonprofit sectors.  The daylong discussion  explored two key questions: What are our most closely held values at the UI? How do our policies and practices express those values?  Throughout the day, the workshop leaders' prompts  nudged the conversation from abstract principles to concrete practices.
Imagining Latinidades' Eventual Finale
With special goodbyes to two colleagues

Among the many inspiring events on campus this year, few have been more energizing and provocative than the Andrew W. Mellon Sawyer Seminar, Imagining Latinidades: Articulations of National Belonging The yearlong seminar was led by three University of Iowa faculty who hold joint appointments in the Latina/o Studies Program: Darrel Wanzer-Serrano (Communication Studies), Rene Rocha (Political Science), and Ariana Ruiz (Spanish and Portuguese). They were assisted by Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow Lisa Ortiz, who quickly became a valued colleague at the Obermann Center. 

On the seminar's website, you will find rich documentation of the co-directors' thoughtful symposia and rigorous seminar events, including a riveting podcast series. The Obermann Center looks forward to working with the group to plan their final daylong symposium, which has been delayed by the pandemic. This fall, Darrel will be leaving the UI for Texas A & M, and Ariana will head to the University of California, San Diego. We are heartbroken to lose such kind, generous, genius colleagues and dear friends, but we look forward to continuing our work together this summer and in the future online and during visits. Thank you from the bottom of our Obermann hearts for being such a vital part of our work and community. You'll be sorely missed by all of us at the Obermann Center.
Cinema Now, Workers' Rights, Kids Online, and K12 Disparities
Pandemic Insights series continues to explore the current moment

How are you reflecting on the current pandemic through the lens of your research and art-making practice? This is the central question that we are posing to Obermann-connected scholars, artists, and partners through our growing video series, Pandemic Insights. A cross-disciplinary approach is vital to perceiving the many ways that COVID-19 is impacting our world. How can we understand this period and the events we are all experiencing both intimately and globally through the work of our colleagues? We hope you'll enjoy our newest videos.

Chris Harris (Cinematic Arts, CLAS) and Rebecca Fons (FilmScene) discuss what's happening to film production and programming during the pandemic and the role of cinema in dire times.

reflect on what they have heard from Iowa's workers during the pandemic and how workers' rights are imperiled.

Juan Pablo Hourcade (Computer Science, CLAS) and Ben Devane (Psychological & Quantitative Foundations, College of Ed) talk about how children are learning online--the considerable challenges as well as opportunities for improvement.

Ain Grooms (Educational Policy & Leadership Studies, College of Ed) and Laura Gray (Iowa City Community School District) share how the pandemic has made the disparities in our educational system ever more obvious. 

Forthcoming: Brandi Janssen and Carli Nichols on how agriculture is faring; Loyce Arthur, Paul Kalina, and Miriam Alarcon-Avila on the many uses of masks.

Please Join Us in Supporting Our Local Community

At this time, many in our community are feeling the effects of job loss or continuing to work in risky situations by tending to our medical needs, keeping our grocery stores open, and removing our garbage. We hope you'll join us in expressing gratitude by giving. The health and safety of many members of our campus community rely on the well-being of the entire community--especially during a pandemic.

Students, Teachers, Classrooms, and Schools Need Your Help

The Iowa City Community School District Foundation enhances the educational experiences of all students in the District by providing resources to enrich curriculum, programs, and student and staff experiences. Thanks to the ICCSD Foundation, our local children have experiences with visiting authors, musicians, and visual artists; attend the UI's School of the Wild; have access to maker spaces; and gain more equitable access to advanced placement courses. At the start of the COVID-19 crisis, the Foundation provided more than $1M to help the District provide much-needed laptops, reading and math software, and wi-fi connections for students. This was money well spent in the moment, but at the expense of the above-mentioned future programs.

Your contributions can help recoup those funds and support the work of the ICCSD Foundation, enabling them to continue providing rich experiences for all of our students into the school year.

Houses into Homes

Houses into Homes provides new and gently used beds, furniture, and household goods for families and individuals who are overcoming homelessness, domestic violence, and other crisis situations in the Iowa City area. 

COVID-19 has curtailed the organization's ability to deliver to the households they serve. Once the moratorium on evictions is lifted, they expect to see an increased need for furniture, especially beds.

Seeking Summer Writing Company?

Faculty and academic staff members: if your research involves summer writing projects, would you find an Obermann weekly virtual writing accountability group helpful? Or would virtual "Write-in-Sight" sessions with colleagues help you settle into a daily writing schedule? If so, please fill out  this survey. We'll be back in touch with details soon, if there's sufficient interest.
Meanwhile, our friends at the Writing Center will host  Write ON writing groups for faculty, staff, and graduate students ready to commit to three days a week beginning June 15. (The Writing Center also offers a  weekly tutoring program ,  online feedback , and  video-conference appointments .) Faculty and graduate students can also access the writing resources of the  National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity , thanks to the UI's NCFDD membership. In addition, the UI Center for Teaching can help you plan your fall classes (and thereby also help clear mental space for research). Their four-week  Cornerstones for Course Design begins Thursday, June 4. Registration is required for all of the above.
An Ounce of Solace
A digital care package from us, to you

The Humanities for the Public Good team has compiled a digital care package for UI graduate students in the arts and humanities. "An Ounce of Solace" is a collection of visual art, video, music, poetry, and scholarly ideas from UI graduate students that we hope you find nourishing.
Hooray for Torie Burns!

As the year ends, we offer deep gratitude to Victoria (Torie) Burns, our Mellon Humanities for the Public Good Graduate Assistant. Torie is an organizational wizard, a fine writer, and an imaginative communicator, who successfully defended her comprehensive exams earlier this semester.  She is also a wonderful colleague. 

All of us wish her the very best and send her our warmest  congratulations  for receiving a fall 2020 Graduate College Post-Comprehensive Research Fellowship!