11/8/23 — Be on Point with PowerPoint

VIDEO | Slide presentation (PDF)

Do you struggle with how to create an engaging PowerPoint presentation? Are you concerned that your PowerPoint puts people to sleep? What’s the right balance of text and images? What color schemes work best? At this Obermann Get It Done workshop, graphic designer and scholar Jeremy Swanston (Associate Professor and DGS, Graphic Design, School of Art and Art History) discussed how to create effective PowerPoints for all kinds of audiences and talks.

10/4/23 — Get Concrete about Abstracts


The conference abstract is a surprisingly difficult academic genre. How do you explain your project and entice your reader with only a couple hundred words? In this Get It Done lunchtime workshop, Hyaeweol Choi (Professor, Religious Studies & Gender, Women’s and Sexuality Studies) and E. Cram (Professor, Communication Studies & Gender, Women’s and Sexuality Studies) discussed how to write a compelling conference abstract that grabs the attention of conference selection committees. Both Choi and Cram have served on multiple selection committees, and they shared their expertise on what makes an exceptional abstract.

9/19/23 — Creating Engaging Event Communications Plans

Obermann's Guide to Publicizing Events (PDF)

Are you planning academic events—symposiums, conferences, or public lectures—and don’t know where to start with your communications strategy? Where are the best places to publicize your event around the UI campus and Iowa City? What tools should you use? In this session, Lauren Cox (Assistant Director, Obermann Center for Advanced Studies) and Jenna Hammerich (Communications Specialist, Obermann Center for Advanced Studies) discussed strategic communications for academic events, calendaring, and free publicity tools.

4/27/23 — Finding Funding: Wise and Witty Ways to Search 

VIDEO | Slide presentation (PDF)

Do you have a great idea for a project but need some funding to accomplish it? Learn about how committing an hour of your week can pay off! In this session, Mary Blackwood, Senior Sponsored Research Specialist at the UI Division of Sponsored Programs, spoke about how to set yourself up for grant-seeking success, how to manage roadblocks on the journey, and why anyone—from experienced faculty to newbie grad student—can increase their chances of getting a grant award by finding the right sponsor. This session helped attendees develop creative searching strategies to identify lesser-known sources of funding like family foundations that are especially suited to very specific or small to moderate sized projects.

3/4/22 — Starting & Sustaining a Writing Group

Those of us who write either by compulsion or necessity often yearn for a group of co-creators who will keep us company and hold us accountable. Writing groups seem like the answer to the often lonely work of crafting words. In this informal lunchtime session, Naomi Greyser provided ideas for how to mindfully start a group and then sustain it—which can be trickier than it seems.

Naomi is the head writing coach at the National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity. She is a faculty member in Gender, Women's, and Sexuality Studies; English; American Studies; and executive director of POROI. Her current book project, Writing Through Writer’s Block, "unwinds the paradox of productivity, mapping unjust distributions of block and flow across the raced, classed, and gendered terrain of the settler academy."

11/15/21 — Working with a Literary Agent

Increasingly, academic authors are seeking ways to publish books that will have appeal beyond their disciplinary audience. Whether it’s a matter of landing a book contract with a non-academic press or finding avenues toward broader readership, such as through magazines and podcasts, having a literary agent can be very helpful. In this workshop, we talked with two UI faculty members who have worked with literary agents about the relationship. We heard about why they chose to work with an agent; how having an agent has affected their writing decisions; what agents think about scholarly writing; and more. Featuring Meenakshi Gigi Durham (UI Ombuds, GWSS, and Journalism & Mass Communication) and Carrie Schuettpelz (School of Planning and Public Affairs).

4/28/21 — Grant Writing with Mary Blackwood

You have a great project in mind, but you need funding to implement it. Maybe you’ve even identified an opportunity for grant funding, but how do you write a grant that will get funded? What do the grant reviewers look for in a proposal? How do you give yourself an edge in the application process? In this workshop, Mary Blackwood, Senior Sponsored Research Specialist at the UI Division of Sponsored Programs, shared her advice and answered questions on the topic of grant writing.

2/3/21 — I Spy: How to Read a Grant Application

VIDEOSlide presentation (PDF)
The first step to secure a grant is to learn to be a careful close reader of calls for proposals. What key terms and concepts should you seek? How does the grant language match the funder’s mission? How can you actively demonstrate that your project will help funders achieve their goals? In this workshop, Kristi Fitzpatrick—Director of the Grant Support Office in the UI College of Liberal Arts & Sciences and one of the campus’s sharpest readers and writers of grants—shared her advice.

11/9/20 — Working with Hancher in Spring 2021

At this virtual workshop, Hancher's programming and education staff—Paul Brohan, Micah Ariel James, and Chuy Renteria—gave a snapshot of events currently in the making, including a series with Step Afrika!, and brainstormed with participants ways to use these events in the classroom.

9/26/19 — How to Write Effective Letters of Recommendation

Slide presentation (PDF)
In this workshop, Obermann Center Director Teresa Mangum shared tips and advice on writing recommendation letters. 

3/1/19 — Facilitate a Better Gathering

How can you break out of the meeting mold of working diligently through an agenda? How can a class start to feel more like a community? How can we invite everyone to participate? Borrowing from their readings in books that focus on creating community change, such as Healing the Heart of Democracy by Parker Palmer and Emergent Strategy by Adrienne Maree Brown, several members of the Obermann Working Group Modes and Models of Facilitation demonstrated tools and methods for creating more inclusive and creative gatherings.

2/6/19 — How to Craft an MOU

Presentation (PDF) | Master of Public Health Preceptor Orientation | MOU template
When partnering with another institution, organization, business, or individual on a project, it is important that each party fully understands their responsibility to the project. A MOU, or partnership agreement, is a document between two parties that allows each group to outline their expectations of the project and its deliverables. This workshop was led by Vickie Miene, who requires that partners in the UI College of Public Health's Collaboratory program use MOUs. She explained their value to all parties involved and what to consider when creating one.

10/16/18 — Flow: Finding (and Keeping!) Joy in Academic Writing & Research

Slide presentation (PDF)
Most of us have experienced inspiration and a sense of discovery in our research, moments that remind us, this is why I do it. Flow, however, can feel all too rare, crowded out by meetings, never-ending email, or challenges we face when we sit down to write and think. Amidst these intensities, finding (and keeping!) joy in our research might seem like a luxury. Yet in addition to potentially making our days more pleasant, cultivating pleasure in our research can enhance its rigor, inventiveness, impact, and reach. This workshop laid out evidence-based practices that support faculty in writing and problem-solving with amplified focus, depth, and ease. Through an array of interactive prompts, strategies, and frameworks, Naomi Greyser guided participants in crafting individualized plans for approaching a current project (at any stage) with a fresh sense of curiosity, intellectual commitment, and even joy.

9/11/18 — Visioning and Calendars: Project Management Basics

Slide presentation (PDF)
You have an idea for a project or an event, but is it a good one? That is, is it good enough to be worth the time, expense, and effort that will go into it? Once you land on a project idea, how do you bring it to fruition? In this workshop, participants worked on project visioning, which can be helpful in fine tuning an existing project as well as identifying a new one. They also tried their hands at backwards calendaring and left with a roadmap for completing their projects. This workshop was led by Jennifer New, Associate Director of the Obermann Center for Advanced Studies. 

4/12/18 — Stepping Up to Assessment

Slide presentation (PDF)
We put off thinking about assessment of events and programs for all kinds of reasons. In this workshop, Wayne Jacobson, Director of Assessment in the UI Office of the Provost and Adjunct Faculty in the Department of Educational Policy and Leadership Studies, discussed common obstacles to assessment. Participants identified steps for getting started and considered whose interests are being served when we don’t take steps to assess the programs we offer.

1/31/18 — The Art of the Provocative Opinion Piece

Slide presentation (PDF)
In this workshop, OpEd Project alumni Teresa Mangum (GWSS) and Jessica Welburn (Sociology, African American Studies) gave an overview of how to use your research to offer unique insight into current events, how to structure an op-ed, how to fashion a compelling “hook,” and how to pitch your idea to an editor.

11/2/17 — Publish or Perish

Getting ready to shop around your book proposal? Not sure where to start or what to say? University of Iowa Press senior acquisitions editor Ranjit Arab offered advice on how to find the right publisher, start a conversation with an editor, pitch your project, and submit your materials to academic presses. 

10/3/17 — Publicizing Events

Slide presentation (PDF)
Are you bringing a visiting lecturer to campus year, planning a symposium, or organizing an exhibit? Whether your event is one-hour long or three days, you're probably hoping for an audience. Jennifer New, who heads up Obermann's communications team, shared strategies for publicizing events on campus and in the community. Participants learned about publicity calendars, how to use op-eds, and free ways to get the word out.