Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Fifteen graduate students will participate in the Graduate Institute for Public Engagement, sponsored by the University of Iowa Obermann Center for Advanced Studies and the Graduate College. They will focus on how publicly engaged teaching, research and creative work can advance their careers while addressing community needs.

In its fifth year, the Obermann Graduate Institute provides theoretical and practical training for graduate students committed to combining their academic interests with civic engagement. The institute explores new ways to connect scholarship, the arts and higher education to local communities.

The fellows are: Raquel Baker, English; Monica Brasile, gender, women’s, and sexuality studies; Lisa Carlton, communication studies; Erica Damman, art and art history; Anna Flaming, history; David Gough, American studies; Stephanie Griest, English; Robert Gutsche Jr., journalism and mass communication; Adele Holoch, English; Karry Jannie, biology; Farai Marazi, anthropology; Scott McKenzie, law; Sarah Nebel, communication studies; Bradley Thomas, neurology; and Kathryn Wollan, Center for the Book.

Each fellow receives a $500 award. For details about the institute, visit

"Our goal is to develop leaders with the commitment and tools to deepen relationships between universities and communities," said Ken Brown, associate professor of management and organizations in the Henry B. Tippie College of Business, who is co-directing the institute with Rachel Williams, associate professor of art education with a joint appointment in the UI School of Art and Art History. "The Institute has been successful in the past, and we hope to continue the tradition with this next cohort of talented graduate students."

During the institute, scheduled for Jan. 11-17, students discuss readings, meet with scholars who have integrated public engagement with their teaching and research, and visit the new Shelter House. Fellows will also participate in a public program, "May You Walk in Beauty: Connecting Communities through Choral Singing at the Oakdale Prison" at 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 14 in the Iowa City Public Library. The keynote speaker will be Mary Cohen, assistant professor of music education, whose work with choirs in the prison has received nationwide recognition.  

Students will also develop public engagement projects of their own. The public is invited to learn about the projects from 3 to 5 p.m. Friday, Feb. 18, at the Iowa City Public Library.

The Obermann Center for Advanced Studies provides space, time and support to faculty members when their research requires intense periods of concentration or collaboration. Scholars from a broad range of disciplines and institutions interact with one another and with the public to create and communicate new knowledge. For more information on the Graduate Institute for Public Engagement, call 319-335-4034 or visit