Op Ed Project workshop

How can your artistic work, scholarship, or research make you an expert on issues in the news right now? A roomful of University of Iowa faculty members will soon have answers. The Op Ed Project was formed by a group of journalists who were concerned that few women, people of color, and members of other underrepresented groups were being heard in the press. Together, they designed “Write to Change the World” workshops. Faculty members are among the many individuals and groups that have participated in the last decade, including some of our own faculty.

On November 6-7 (Friday and Saturday), the Obermann Center for Advanced Studies, the Office of Strategic Communication, the Office of Diversity, and the Office of the Vice President for Research and Economic Development are hosting a two-day workshop led by the Op Ed Project. Congratulations to this impressive group of University of Iowa faculty participants!


Co-Sponsors and Planning Committee Members

Associate Vice President, Georgina Dodge and the Chief Diversity Office

Senior Director Jeneane Beck, Lois Gray, and the Office of Strategic Communications

Assistant Vice President Ann Ricketts and the Office of the Vice President for Research and Economic Development

Associate Dean Joe Kearney, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Director Teresa Mangum, Obermann Center for Advanced Studies


Soon after our workshop at the University of Iowa, participants began publishing their work in major venues. Here are a few examples, with warm congratulations to the authors and thanks to the Op Ed Project.

Keisha N. Blain, Department of History, CLAS, published "Black Women's Votes Matter" in Huffington Post

Elizabeth (Lisa) Heineman, Department of History, CLAS, published "Syrian Refugees and the Holocaust: a discussion to enliven your Thanksgiving celebration" in Tikkun

Sherry K. Watt, Education Policy and Leadership Studies, College of Education, "Treating Racism Like We Treat Cancer" in On Being and "Brave Spaces: A Necessary Feature" in the Iowa City Press Citizen.

Jessica Welburn, Sociology, CLAS published an editorial with Louise Seamster, "How a Racist System Has Poisoned the Water in Flint, MI" in The Root.

Wenfang Tang, Department of Political Science, CLAS, published "How brash Chinese air passengers are taking the power struggle with America to new heights" in the South China Morning Post International Edition

Op Ed Workshop Leaders

MARY C. CURTIS is an award-winning multimedia journalist based in Charlotte, N.C., who has co-led the Public Voices Fellowship at Yale and Ford Foundation. Her work centers on politics, culture and race. She has contributed to The New York Times, The Washington Post, TheRoot.com, NPR, Women's Media Center, and she is a political commentator for WCCB Charlotte. Curtis has worked at The New York Times, the Charlotte Observer, the Baltimore Sun, Associated Press and as national correspondent for AOL's PoliticsDaily.com. She was a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University and a Kiplinger Fellow, in social media, at Ohio State. Her honors include Clarion Awards from the Association for Women in Communications, three first-place awards from the National Association of Black Journalists, and the Thomas Wolfe Award for an examination of Confederate heritage groups.

LAUREN SANDLER has written on issues of gender, culture, religion, and equality for many publications including The Atlantic, Slate, The New York Times, The Nation, BusinessWeek, and Time, where she has published two cover stories to date. She is the bestselling author of One and Only: The Freedom of Having anOnly Child, and the Joy of Being One, and of Righteous: Dispatchesfrom the Evangelical Youth Movement. Sandler is a former producer at NPR, the former Life Editor of Salon, and has taught courses in writing social commentary at NYU's graduate journalism program. She lives in Brooklyn.

Saturday, November 7, 2015 - 8:00am to Sunday, November 8, 2015 - 5:00pm
Participant , University of Iowa , School of Social Work
Amy Butler is an associate professor in the School of Social Work. Her current research focuses on the consequences of sexual assault on young women’s mental health, smoking behavior, and substance use and abuse. She teaches courses on social welfare policy—the history of social policy, political ideologies that shape social policy, and how social workers can influence social policy. Much of her previous research has focused on the impact of social welfare policies on women and children.
Anita Jung
Participant , University of Iowa , Art & Art History
Anita Jung is an art professor of reproducible media. She is interested in the creative waste materials generated through CNC machines. Her artwork has been curated into numerous exhibitions. She attended Arizona State University, where she received a BFA in painting and drawing; she received her MFA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the graphic arts. She maintains a robust studio practice and engages in community projects, fully utilizing being an artist in academia to engage the world around her.
Participant , University of Iowa , Occupational & Environmental Health
​Brandi Janssen is a clinical assistant professor in Occupational and Environmental Health and the director of Iowa’s Center for Agricultural Safety and Health (I-CASH). Trained as an anthropologist, her research examines the production and marketing strategies of local food producers and their relationships with conventional agricultural production. She has collaborated with area school districts, nonprofits, and community agencies to promote and enhance sustainable food systems locally.
Participant , University of Iowa , Communication Studies and Latina/o Studies
Darrel Wanzer-Serrano is an associate professor of Rhetoric and Public Advocacy in the Department of Communication Studies, and a founding member of the Latina/Latino Studies Minor Advisory Board. Focused on communication and culture, he studies the ways in which colonialism continues to structure social relations—particularly with regard to Latina/o/x contexts, and issues of race and ethnicity—even after specific colonial administrations have crumbled.
Participant , University of Iowa , Mechanical and Industrial Engineering
Udaykumar is Professor of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering. His research interests have been in the areas of moving boundary problems as they apply to materials processing, biofluid dynamics, and high speed multimaterial flows. He teaches courses on energy at University of Iowa and has taught courses on energy and sustainability at universities in Hong Kong. He is also involved in work in rural India and Africa on figuring out sustainable energy solutions in socioeconomically disadvantaged communities.
Headshot of Jacki Rand
Participant , University of Iowa , History
Jacki Thompson Rand is an associate professor in the History Department and co-directs the American Indian and Native Studies Programs. Her courses focus on federal Indian law and policy, museums and memory, and public history. Her current research focuses on violence against Native women in the context of a southeastern American Indian community. 
Participant , University of Iowa , Neuroscience
Jean Gordon teaches in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders. Her research focuses on spoken language production and how it changes with normal aging or with the onset of neurogenic language disorders such as aphasia. As a psycholinguist, she is interested in the mechanisms by which words are organized and produced in the normal brain, as well as the mechanisms of age-related change.
Headshot of Jessica Welburn Paige
Participant , University of Iowa , Sociology and African American Studies
Jessica Welburn Paige is an Assistant Professor of Sociology and African American Studies at the University of Iowa. Her research focuses on how African Americans think about inequality and social mobility in the post-Civil Rights Era, including their experiences with racism and discrimination and urban inequality. She is the co-author of Getting Respect: Responding to Stigma and Discrimination in the United States, Brazil and Israel (Princeton University Press 2016).
Participant , University of Iowa , History
Keisha N. Blain teaches in the Department of History. She specializes in 20th-century US history, African American history, the modern African Diaspora, and women’s and gender studies. Her research interests include black internationalism, radical politics, and global feminisms. Her forthcoming book, Contesting the Global Color Line: Black Women, Nationalist Politics, and Internationalism, uncovers the crucial role women played in building black nationalist and internationalist protest movements in the United States and other parts of the African Diaspora during the 20th century.
Participant , University of Iowa , Civil and Environmental Engineering
Keri Hornbuckle is the Donald E. Bently Professor of Engineering and Associate Dean for Academic Programs in the College of Engineering. Her primary appointment is in the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering, and she serves as on the faculty of the Interdisciplinary Graduate Program in Human Toxicology.
headshot of Kristy Nabhan-Warren
Participant , University of Iowa , Religious Studies
Dr. Nabhan-Warren is Associate Professor and Figge Chair of Catholic Studies at the UI. She is the author of The Virgin of El Barrio: Marian Apparitions, Catholic Evangelizing, and Mexican American Activism (NYU Press, 2005) and Cursillos in America: Catholics, Protestants and Fourth Day Spirituality (UNC Press, 2013). She is currently working on two manuscripts; Latin@ Religions and the Reconquista of América is a synthesis and critical examination of U.S.
Headshot of Leslie Schwalm
Participant , University of Iowa , History and Gender, Women's & Sexuality Studies
Leslie Schwalm is a historian and feminist scholar who teaches in the History and Gender Women’s, & Sexuality Studies departments. As a historian of women and American gender relations, her published work has focused on slavery, the Civil War, emancipation, and their aftermath. She also studies the relationship between the history of medicine and the histories of ideas about race in nineteenth-century America. 
color headshot of Loyce Arthur
Participant , University of Iowa , Theatre Arts
Associate Professor Loyce L. Arthur, Department of Theatre Arts, comes to Engagement through Theatre & Costume Design. Work includes an award-winning community engagement production of Black Nativity; a youth theatre program funded by a NEA Partnership grant; the Iowa City Community Engagement Carnival Project with a Caribbean-style Carnival parade; an UI, Summer of the Arts Organization, Iowa City Dream Center, and the City of Iowa City Arts Opportunities for At-risk Youth program funded by an NEA Our Town grant.
Participant , University of Iowa , School of Music
Wilson Kimber is Associate Professor of Musicology in the School of Music.
Participant , University of Iowa , Occupational and Environmental Health
Marizen Ramirez is an associate professor in Occupational and Environmental Health in the College of Public Health. Her many research interests include areas such as sports injuries, disaster epidemiology, youth violence, post-traumatic stress, and school-based injuries and violence. Ramirez and her colleagues created a curriculum to accompany a play about cyber-bullying called Out of Bounds. They plan to evaluate its effectiveness afterward.
Participant , University of Iowa , History
Mériam N. Belli teaches the history of the Middle East and North Africa in the Department of History. Her work examines social and cultural experiences, beliefs and practices, and their representations and reinventions. Her first book dealt with both the history and the historical representations of the 1950s–60s in Egypt. Her present project is a history of death in a transnational, transcultural Mediterranean context.
Participant , University of Iowa , Dance
Michael Sakamoto is an interdisciplinary artist active in dance, theater, media, and photography. His work has been presented in 14 countries, including at the Vancouver International Dance Festival, REDCAT, TACTFest Osaka, and Audio Art Festival-Krakow. As a scholar, Michael's research interests focus on cultural sustainability through performances of crisis in everyday life as well as the relationship among media, visual culture, and the body in the postwar period in Japan and the USA. Michael earned his MFA and PhD from the UCLA Department of World Arts and Cultures/Dance.
Participant , University of Iowa , Biomedical Engineering
Sarah Vigmostad is an associate professor in Biomedical Engineering. Her research focuses on the advancement of physiologic computational modeling so that clinically relevant questions can be asked and answered, thus improving disease diagnosis and treatment. Her recent research has led to patent filings in the fields of virtual surgery and cancer diagnostics.
photo of Sherry Kay Watt
Participant , University of Iowa , Educational Policy & Leadership Studies
Watt is an associate professor in the Higher Education and Student Affairs program. Sherry recently published her latest edited book, Designing Transformative Multicultural Initiatives: Theoretical Foundations, Practical Applications and Facilitator Considerations. Her area of research explores various reactions people have to difficult dialogues related to social issues. She applies her research by teaching learners how to develop the skills to engage across differences.
Participant , University of Iowa , Communication Sciences and Disorders
Zebrowski studies the problem of stuttering, from onset through treatment. During her residence at Obermann, she worked on the application of the Transtheoretical Model of behavior change (TTM) to develop relapse prevention strategies for adolescents who stutter. Building upon basic and applied research using the TTM to develop interventions for a wide range of clinical populations, the specific aim of her exploratory project was to develop and validate three new measurement scales for the key constructs of the TTM.