News Briefs

  • CLAS faculty members receive 2024 Discovery and Innovation Awards

    April 12, 2024


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  • CLAS computer science assistant professor receives prestigious NSF CAREER award

    April 12, 2024


    By Charlotte Brookins 

    Peng Jiang, assistant professor in the Department of Computer Science, has been awarded a CAREER award by the National Science Foundation.  

    Peng Jiang
    Peng Jiang

    The award, which supports faculty with the potential to serve as mentors and leaders in their fields, includes a grant of $548,944. The funds will support Jiang’s current research project, entitled “Compiler and Runtime Support for Sampled Sparse Computations on Heterogeneous Systems.” 

    Jiang says the goal of this project is to simplify the implementation process of sample-based algorithms, improve the performance of big data applications, and enhance the capacity to solve large-scale real-world problems. He also hopes to use the success of the project to provide more research opportunities for undergraduate students, especially those from underrepresented groups. 

    “Sampling-based algorithms are gaining popularity in data applications because they help reduce computation costs,” says Jiang, introducing his research project. “However, their efficiency on hardware is limited due to random memory access and computation patterns. This research aims to address this issue by developing compiler and runtime tools.” 

    Jiang, who joined the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences in 2019, says his project is unique from others because it includes a high-level programming interface that allows users to specify data management and preprocessing for different types of sampled computation. It also features techniques that exploit both hardware and randomized algorithm features to improve overall performance.  

    Jiang cites his past research experience as the inspiration for the project. 

    “I’ve been working on compiler and runtime systems over the past 10 years,” Jiang explains. “This project aims to build on that work to develop the next generation of system software for sampling-based algorithms on heterogeneous hardware.” 

    Expressing his gratitude for the support he has received throughout this process, Jiang reflects on the valuable research environment provided for him and other faculty members at the University of Iowa. 

    “The university’s computer science department provides a collegial and collaborative environment where I can discuss my research ideas with colleagues,” says Jiang. “I have received valuable feedback from other faculty members on my research projects and grant proposals.” 

    Jiang says he is especially appreciative of the support he has received from fellow computer science professor Octav Chipara, whose research specializes in wireless networking, embedded systems, and more. 

    “I also appreciate the CLAS Grant Support Office for their assistance with proposal preparation,” Jiang adds. “I am so excited that my work is being recognized and that the research community shares my vision for future trajectories.” 

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  • Three CLAS faculty involved in search committee for next vice president for research

    April 12, 2024


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  • CLAS art history professor named fellow in medieval studies academy

    April 12, 2024


    By Charlotte Brookins 

    Robert Bork, professor and director of graduate studies in the School of Art and Art History is one of only seven fellows named to the Medieval Academy of America’s 2024 Fellowship Class.  

    Robert Bork
    Robert Bork

    The Medieval Academy of America (MAA) was first established in 1925 and works to propagate a scholarly community with the goal of deepening and disseminating knowledge of medieval history in a way that is equitable, accessible, and inclusive. The fellowship class is nominated on an annual basis, with up to 150 fellows at one time. 

    “I feel deeply honored to join this group, which includes only a few art historians,” says Bork. 

    As described on its website, the purpose of the MAA’s fellowship program is to honor long-term academic achievements in the field of medieval studies. Fellows work as a group to use their raised profile as medievalists to ensure the continued vitality of their field.  

    Bork, who has been with the University of Iowa College of Liberal Arts and Sciences for just over 25 years, says his time at the university has contributed to his development as a scholar and professor in many ways. 

    “Most concretely, the university has supported my work with internal grants such as the Faculty Scholar program, the Arts and Humanities Initiative, and grants for conference and research travel,” Bork explains, referring to the AHI-funded trip in which Bork and a small group of students and staff traveled to France. On this trip, the group used laser scanners to create precise 3D models of Gothic cathedrals important to Bork’s current research.  

    “The university has also supported my applications for external grants such as those from the Humboldt Foundation, the National Gallery of Art, and the American Council of Learned Societies, which have been crucial to my book projects,” he adds. 

    Bork has appeared in numerous publications detailing his research in medieval studies. 

    Bork majored in physics before embarking on his career in architectural history, and he notes that much of his research utilizes his multifaceted background, something that is supported by the university and college’s strength in a variety of programs. 

    “I would urge students to take advantage of this breadth by taking a wide range of classes during their years here,” says Bork. “At the same time, I encourage students to share their diverse interests with their faculty mentors, since undergraduate research can open up valuable and unexpected opportunities, as I have seen in my own career.” 

    Bork will be formally inducted as an MAA Fellow during the organization’s annual meeting in March. 

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  • CLAS announces 2024 faculty promotion and tenure awards

    April 12, 2024


    The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences has announced eight faculty members will receive the college’s esteemed Dean’s Scholar, Collegiate Scholar, Distinguished Associate Professor of Instruction, and Distinguished Professor of Instruction awards. 

    Eight faculty members who received a faculty promotion or tenure award


    CLAS Dean’s Scholar Award 

    The Dean's Scholar Award recognizes faculty candidates for promotion who excel in both teaching and scholarship or creative work. The two-year award carries a one-time financial award. The following faculty were selected among those promoted to associate professor with tenure:   

    Casey DeRoo, Department of Physics and Astronomy 
    DeRoo’s research areas include astronomy, astrophysics, and space physics. He is interested in researching high energy astrophysics and astronomical instrumentation. DeRoo also prioritizes professional development opportunities for graduate students. 

    Donika Kelly, Department of English 
    Kelly is an award-winning poet whose work has been published in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, The Paris Review, and more. Kelly’s research interests include contemporary American poetry, African American poetry and poetics, and ecopoetics. 

    Bennett Sims, Department of English 
    Sims is an accomplished author and graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. His novel, “A Questionable Shape,” received the Bard Fiction Prize and was a finalist for The Believer Book Award.  


    CLAS Collegiate Scholar Award  

    The Collegiate Scholar Award was inaugurated in 2008 to recognize mid-career faculty for exceptional achievement. The award carries a financial award to support the recipient's teaching and research initiatives. The following faculty were selected among those promoted to full professor:   

    Matt Hill, Department of Anthropology 
    Hill’s work focuses on landscape-scale processes of human-environment interactions expressed in long-term behavioral changes across various environmental settings. He is currently involved in three different research projects and is leading an archaeological field school for students this summer. 

    Ryan Kinser, Department of Mathematics 
    Kinser’s research areas include algebra, as well as representation and number theory. Kinser, who is also DEO of the department, is interested in researching representation theory of algebras, geometric methods in representation theory, and more. 

    Damani Phillips, School of Music 
    Phillips, who serves as head of jazz studies, is an accomplished performer, scholar, teacher, and composer. He has taught and performed throughout the United States, Europe, Asia, and South America. 


    CLAS Distinguished Associate Professor of Instruction   

    The Distinguished Associate Professor of Instruction Award recognizes candidates who excel in teaching, institutional and professional service, and their record of publications at the time of advancement. The two-year award carries a one-time financial award. 

    Kirsten Kumpf Baele, Department of German, was selected among those promoted to associate professor of instruction.   
    Kumpf Baele is committed to combining learning goals and community service projects in ways that enrich student growth and the common good. She continuously pushes her students and herself as educator. Kumpf Baele is also the director of the Anne Frank Initiative. 


    CLAS Distinguished Professor of Instruction   

    The Distinguished Professor of Instruction Award recognizes candidates who excel in teaching, institutional and professional service, and their record of publications at time of advancement. The two-year award carries a one-time financial award, which may be used for research and teaching initiatives. 

    Lori Adams, Department of Biology, was selected among those promoted to professor of instruction. 
    Adams is interested in enhancing undergraduate biology education through research experience opportunities, mentoring, and the practice of scientific teaching. Adams teaches courses in communicating research, student development, and more. 

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  • CLAS associate professor receives prestigious rhetoric award

    April 10, 2024


    By Emily Delgado  

    E Cram, associate professor in the Department of Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies and the Department of Communication Studies, received the prestigious Karl Wallace Memorial Award from the National Communications Association.  

    E Cram
    E Cram

    The Karl Wallace Memorial Award is given to scholars who have contributed to the study of rhetoric and public discourse. The award includes a grant for the recipient to continue their research project.  

    "This recognition of my research and career thus far, I hope, will provide a model to others in the field who work to center marginalized histories and their ecological niches,” Cram said.  

    The award funds will allow Cram to continue their research on the Johnson County Historic Poor Farm. The Johnson County Historic Poor Farm was once used to care for and house individuals with disabilities and the poor. Now, the site is revitalized through GROW: Johnson County and the Global Food Project, and open to the public as a learning space for the people of Johnson County and Iowa.  

    Cram’s research project is split into two stages. The first is their podcast, “Disability Ecologies of Care and Memory at the Johnson County Historic Poor Farm,” and the second is compiling research and embarking on a book project. Cram’s research focuses on the intersectionality of disability history, preservation, and food systems communication.  

    The podcast has allowed Cram to share their research on the Johnson County Historic Poor Farm restoration. Cram has spent the last two years in this community talking to members of the Johnson County Board of Supervisors, food systems workers, and disability advocates.

    Cram’s interviews highlight how the former poor farm was designated for historic preservation, how its restoration was planned and designed, how disability advocates influenced the planning process, and how the site memorializes the people who lived there. At the same time, Cram has been compiling the work into a story board for their book.  

    Cram hopes the research and experience of making a podcast will better their teaching at Iowa. 

    “My hope is that in the future my teaching will benefit from the experience of making a podcast. I have encountered a different way to tell stories of place-based histories and how they shape contemporary communities’ concerns,” Cram said.  

    Cram is grateful for the support from their departments, college, and colleagues at the University of Iowa.   

    “My hope is that national recognition of work like this underscores the excitement for truly interdisciplinary environmental humanities research,” Cram said.  

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  • US News & World Report ranks Iowa audiology, speech-language pathology among the top in the nation

    April 09, 2024


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  • Harness the power of mindfulness during your student experience

    April 08, 2024


    In the whirlwind of academic pressures, social commitments, and personal growth, college life can sometimes feel like a balancing act on a tightrope. It's easy to lose touch with the present moment, allowing stress and anxiety to take control. However, there's a powerful tool that can help you navigate the challenges of university life with greater ease and resilience: mindfulness.

    Mindfulness is the practice of intentionally focusing on the present moment, without judgment. It involves tuning into your thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and the environment around you, fostering a deeper sense of awareness and acceptance. While mindfulness has roots in ancient Eastern traditions, its benefits have been extensively studied and validated by modern science, making it a valuable skill for individuals of all ages, including college students.

    By practicing mindfulness, you can cultivate a greater sense of clarity and focus, enabling you to tackle your academic work with enhanced efficiency and effectiveness. Research has shown that mindfulness meditation can improve attention span, working memory, and cognitive flexibility, all of which are crucial skills for success in college and beyond. By reducing stress and anxiety, mindfulness can enhance overall well-being and mental health, creating a more positive and fulfilling college experience.

    In addition to its cognitive benefits, mindfulness can also foster deeper connections with others and promote a greater sense of empathy and compassion. In a fast-paced and competitive environment like college, it's easy to become self-absorbed and disconnected from those around us. However, by cultivating mindfulness, you can develop a greater appreciation for the people in your life and the experiences you share together. This can lead to more meaningful relationships, increased social support, and a greater sense of belonging.

    A man meditating on the steps of Old Capitol

    Here are four mindfulness practices you can try out today:


    Deep Breathing

    Simply inhale slowly through your nose, then exhale slowly out through your nose or mouth. If it helps, you can inhale and exhale for the same amount of time; maybe four seconds. For bonus relaxation, focus on sending your breath down into your belly and expanding it like a balloon.

    5 Senses Activity

    This practice encourages you to tune into your sensory experience and focus on the sensations happening in the present moment.

    Here's how you can do the Five Senses Activity:

    • Sight: Take a moment to look around you and notice five things you can see. Pay attention to the colors, shapes, and textures of your surroundings. Try to observe with curiosity, noticing even the smallest details.
    • Touch: Notice four things you can feel physically. It could be the texture of the ground beneath your feet, the warmth of sunlight on your skin, or the softness of fabric against your fingertips. Take a moment to fully experience the sensation of touch.
    • Hearing: Close your eyes if it helps you concentrate and identify three things you can hear. Allow yourself to fully immerse in the auditory experience.
    • Smell: Notice two distinct scents in your environment. It could be the smell of your coffee or perfume or the aroma of the air around you.
    • Taste: Finally focus on your sense of taste and identify one thing you can taste. It could be the lingering flavor of your last meal or the minty freshness of toothpaste. If you don't have anything to taste, you can simply focus on the sensations in your mouth, such as the feeling of your tongue against your teeth.

    Body Scan

    A body scan is a mindfulness practice that involves systematically directing attention to different parts of the body, starting from the toes and moving upward to the head. It helps increase awareness of physical sensations, relaxes the body, and promotes a sense of calm and presence.

    Here's how to do a basic body scan:

    • Sit or lie down in a comfortable position, with your spine straight and your body relaxed. Close your eyes if it helps you focus.
    • Begin by taking a few deep breaths, allowing your breath to flow naturally and rhythmically. Notice the sensation of the breath as it enters and leaves your body.
    • Direct your attention to your toes. Notice any sensations, such as warmth, tingling, or tension. Take a moment to fully experience the sensations in your toes before moving on.
    • Slowly shift your attention upward, focusing on each part of the body in sequence. Move from your toes to the soles of your feet, then to your ankles, calves, knees, thighs, and so on, gradually scanning upward through your body.
    • As you scan each part of the body, pay attention to any sensations you encounter. Notice areas of tension, discomfort, or relaxation. Try to observe these sensations without judgment, simply acknowledging them as they arise.
    • If you encounter areas of tension or discomfort, bring your awareness to your breath. As you inhale, imagine breathing into the tense or tight area, allowing it to soften and relax with each breath.
    • Continue scanning upward through your body, moving from the torso to the arms, hands, shoulders, neck, and finally to the top of your head.
    • Once you've completed the scan, take a moment to experience your body as a whole. Notice the sensations of relaxation and calm that may have emerged during the practice.
    • When you're ready, gently bring your awareness back to your surroundings. Wiggle your fingers and toes, stretch if it feels good, and gradually open your eyes.

    Gratitude

    Expressing gratitude is a powerful way to acknowledge and appreciate the positive aspects of your life, fostering feelings of happiness, contentment, and connection with others.

    Here's how you can practice expressing gratitude:

    • Mentally note three things you are grateful for.
    • Write down in a journal or in the notes or journal app on your phone what you are grateful for.
    • Call or text someone and tell them you are grateful for them.

    Mindfulness is a powerful tool that can help you navigate the challenges of college with greater ease and resilience. By cultivating a deeper sense of awareness and acceptance, you can enhance your academic performance, improve your mental health, and foster more meaningful connections with others. So, whether you're feeling overwhelmed by exams, stressed about deadlines, or simply seeking a moment of peace amidst the chaos, remember to take a deep breath and bring your attention back to the present moment. The power of mindfulness is always within reach.

    Student Wellness offers free mindfulness workshops and events to support you in developing your own mindfulness practice. See below for our upcoming programming.

    • Silent Retreat – Sunday, April 21st from 1-4pm in IMU 335
    • Mindfulness Workshop – Tuesdays, June 4th – 25th from 7-8:15pm via zoom

    To learn more and register for these events, visit the student wellness website

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  • CLAS music professor named 2024 UI Distinguished Chair

    April 08, 2024


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  • Students: Are you looking for a summer internship?

    April 08, 2024


    Did you know that the University of Iowa Pomerantz Career Center has more than 4,500 paid summer internships currently posted on Handshake? 

    Don’t miss out. Now is a great time to polish up your resume and apply for opportunities! To browse postings in Handshake, click on jobs, then filters and select "internship" under job type and "paid" under compensation using the term summer. If you need help, stop by the career center for peer advising drop-in hours that are available Monday to Thursday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. 

    A student workshop for career-readiness


    Do you have an internship this summer or fall?

    It’s time to talk to your academic advisor about internship course registration. Don’t wait. Late registration fees for summer begin June 24. Learn more about your options and steps for registering. 

    If you’ve already landed a summer internship with a non-profit or government organization, you may be eligible for a Hawkeye Experience Grant, which allows students to apply for up to $4,000 to help defray the cost of a summer experience. Internships abroad, research, creative, and community engagement experiences may also be eligible. Applications are due on April 17. View a recorded info session to learn more. 


    Be a career-ready bystander 

    Prepare for your internship by completing harassment prevention training. Enroll now

    What is it?

    • Free training via ICON
    • 90 minutes total, in 4 sections
    • Convenient option to learn about dealing with sexual harassment in the workplace

    Why?

    • Make your workplace safe for you and your colleagues
    • Learn about resources for UI students
    • Be prepared for your career
    • Add to your resume 

    Career Center academic courses

    The Career Center offers a variety of 1, 2, and 3 s.h. courses to develop your career and leadership skills. Search course subjects “CCP” and “LS” on MyUI when creating your schedule for fall 2024. 

    Interested in building your leadership skills and knowledge? Be sure to check out the following Career Center course offerings for fall 2024:

     Did you know you can pursue a Certificate in Leadership Studies? Check it out!  

     Are you exploring majors and careers? Might as well get credit for it and learn how to make a plan that involves what’s best for you and your future! Both in-person and online options available. 

    • CCP:1300:0001 
      Major and Career Explorations
      Aug. 28 – Oct. 9, 2024
      2:30 – 4:20 p.m. on Wednesdays
      211 EPB
       
    • CCP:1300:0EXT
      Major and Career Explorations
      Aug. 26 – Oct. 11, 2024
      Arranged time, asynchronous online

    The center also has sections that start in the second half of the semester. Please search for CCP:1300 on MyUI for more information. 

    Third and fourth year undergraduate students who would like to enroll should email Lisa McKirgan at lisa-mckirgan@uiowa.edu to request special permission.

    A career-readiness workshop offered by the University of Iowa Career Center


    About the Pomerantz Career Center 

    The centers' team of career coaches and peer advisors are eager to assist as you explore and prepare for exciting career opportunities ahead, whether it's student employment, internships, post-grad jobs, or grad school. It's never too early to get started! To learn more about the services offered by the Pomerantz Career Center, visit careers.uiowa.edu/

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The University of Iowa College of Liberal Arts and Sciences offers about 70 majors across the humanities; fine, performing and literary arts; natural and mathematical sciences; social and behavioral sciences; and communication disciplines. About 15,000 undergraduate and nearly 2,000 graduate students study each year in the college’s 37 departments, led by faculty at the forefront of teaching and research in their disciplines. The college teaches all Iowa undergraduates through the college's general education program, CLAS CORE. About 80 percent of all Iowa undergraduates begin their academic journey in CLAS. The college confers about 60 percent of the university's bachelor's degrees each academic year.