News

Screenshot of a fantastical world produced in the video game Minecraft.

Book Ends with Chris Goetz

The Books Ends—Obermann/OVPR Book Completion Workshop has provided support for more than a dozen University of Iowa scholars to host working conversations about their manuscripts in process. Intended for faculty from disciplines in which publishing a monograph is required for tenure and promotion, the award brings two senior scholars to campus (or to our virtual campus) for a candid, constructive, half-day workshop on the faculty member’s book manuscript. Two senior faculty members from the UI are also invited to participate as an opportunity to learn about and support the work of a colleague. 
Abstract image that looks like handwriting in blue and black.

We want to better understand what you need to re-engage in your work.

In a January 19, 2022 Chronicle of Higher Ed opinion piece, “The Great Faculty Disengagement,” Kevin McClure and Alisa Hicklin Fryar observe that in response to the grief, losses, inequities, and violence caused and exposed by COVID, some people are resigning, but many more are disengaging. In their research, they found that “people need to feel safe, valued, and confident that they have the resources to do their jobs.” These are the essential “conditions for people to flourish.” In the absence of these conditions, we see “less creativity, less risk-taking,” fewer “big and bold projects,” and a diversion of passion, energy, and leadership to spaces where people can find meaning in their work.

We have put together the following survey as one method for gathering the ideas and reflections of members of our campus. We hope you’ll find a few moments to share your thoughts with us about the work of the Obermann Center—even as we continue to wrestle with health, environmental, and social justice crises. We promise to pay careful attention to your thoughts about what we as a Center are doing well, and what we can do better to support research on our campus more inclusively and equitably.
A press pass with a man's face, dated 1986.

HPG Intern Brings Brokaw Press Passes to Life

In 2016, journalist Tom Brokaw donated his papers to The University of Iowa Libraries Special Collections and Archives. The collection includes notes and drafts for several of Brokaw's books (including from his best-known work, The Greatest Generation), letters from heads of states and other media figures, photographs, awards, and appointment calendars.

Librarian Liz Riordan spent hours untangling the press passes that arrived in an old Pan-Am bag. Amongst the many boxes of papers was a worn blue Pan-Am bag that had a handwritten note on its side: “Trove of press passes.”
Daria Fisher Page headshot

Beyond Times New Roman: Daria Fisher Page makes the case for visual advocacy in law school

In the U.S., where the terms "lawyer" and "attorney" refer to a legal professional, it can be easy to forget that "advocate" is the term more widely recognized across cultures. The word comes from Roman law and the Latin "advocatus," “one called to aid (another); a pleader (on one’s behalf).” The training of advocates also goes back to the Roman Republic, when it was deemed useful to have people outside the priesthood trained in rhetoric and reasoning.

To this day, law students receive extensive training in oral and written advocacy. During three intensive years, they are taught how to make clear and concise arguments in both formats. But what about communication through images? Daria Fisher Page, a professor in the UI College of Law and a Fall 2021 Obermann Fellow-in-Residence, believes that today’s legal professionals also need training in visual advocacy.
Margaret Beck in the field

Searching for Red with Margaret Beck

An anthropological archaeologist, Margaret Beck is continually searching—sometimes physically, for artifacts or geological samples, but always intellectually—to understand how people once lived, how they prepared and served food, taught and learned craftwork, used local resources, moved within their landscapes, and spread their traditions. Currently, she’s studying red-painted archeological ceramics and iron-rich geological samples to discover how Native peoples created and applied the color red in the central United States. The answers aren't always easy to find centuries later.
Hannah Baysinger

Hannah Baysinger Discovers “Next”

Hannah Baysinger had forty-eight hours to leave Paraguay. She had been in the South American country as a Peace Corps volunteer for just six months when the pandemic forced her and other volunteers to leave at the end of March 2020. “I was on the last commercial flight out of Paraguay, and one of the last out of South America,” says Baysinger of the sudden departure she made from a place she intended to call home for two years.  
Three people sitting in a grassy area with trees behind them.

Planting Hope: The Anne Frank Tree Arrives in Iowa

On February 23, 1944, a 15-year-old girl gazed from an attic window at the topmost branches of a tree. The tree had become a sort of friend to her, a reminder of life beyond the small space to which she was confined and one of the few things she could see from the only window that was not blacked out. In her diary that day, she wrote, “I look up at the blue sky and the bare chestnut tree, on whose branches little raindrops shine, appearing like silver, and at the seagulls and other birds as they glide on the wind. As long as this exists…and I may live to see it, this sunshine, these cloudless skies, while this lasts, I cannot be unhappy.” Those words represent the hope that has made their author, Anne Frank, one of the major figures of World War II and a ubiquitous symbol of optimism in the face of unthinkable darkness.

On April 29, 2022, the thirteenth Anne Frank Tree will be planted on the northeast corner of the University of Iowa’s Pentacrest. Its arrival is due to the work of Frank scholar and UI German Department faculty member Dr. Kirsten Kumpf Baele. Her proposal to bring a tree to Iowa City was accepted a year and a half ago by the Anne Frank Center USA; however, the pandemic postponed the original planting ceremony, which is now slated for April 29, 2022.
Headshot of woman in maroon shirt with long hair and arms crossed.

Bethanny Sudibyo Wins 2021 Humanities 3MT

Bethanny Sudibyo (Spanish & Portuguese, CLAS) won the 2021 Obermann Humanities 3MT for her presentation “Imperial Imaginings: Representations of Religion, Race, and Gender in 19th-Century Spanish Philippine Novels.” Sudibyo's win earned her a place in the campus-wide 3MT finals, the winner of which will be announced on November 12.
Ana Merino, Corey Creekmur, and Rachel Williams

University of Iowa Awarded 2022-23 Mellon Sawyer Seminar

The University of Iowa Obermann Center for Advanced Studies in the Office of the Vice President for Research is pleased to announce the award of a grant totaling $225,000 from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to host a Mellon Sawyer Seminar on “Racial Reckoning and Social Justice Through Comics” at the University across the academic year 2022-23.
Graduate Engagement Corps logo

Goodbye, Gradate Institute. Hello, Graduate Engagement Corps!

The Obermann Graduate Institute on Engagement and the Academy was started fourteen years ago at a time when public engagement was not a well-known practice on university campuses. More than 200 University of Iowa graduate students have participated in this program, many of them going on to lead or participate in community engaged projects. We count the alumni of this program as friends, many of whom have shared with us the exciting work they are doing in other locales—including in Philadelphia, the Black Hills, and Boulder—and with other organizations, such as NPR, the National Park Service, and our own Center for Teaching. The Institute has also had 11 faculty co-directors who have shared their expertise from fields as disparate as dance and engineering, and with project expertise that ranges from working with incarcerated populations to directing a camp for deaf teens.