Advisory Board

The Department of Religious Studies is committed to wide-spread public engagement, not only because we hope to educate surrounding communities about religious diversity, but also because it is through such engagement that we educate ourselves about changes in Iowans’ ways of thinking about religion. Our Advisory Board provides an important vehicle for such engagement—with members from the business community, legal community, religious organizations, the media, and more. The board is an indispensable resource for helping the department to gain perspective on how best to meet the needs of our constituencies.

  • Anna Blaedel
    Executive Director, University of Iowa Wesley Foundation

  • Adam Blind
    Director of Development, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

  • Mark Ginsberg
    Owner, M.C. Ginsberg Jewelers and Objects of Art

    "Evolution, like birth can at times be a messy proposition.  I have had the good fortune to be involved as a board member with the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Iowa for the past 4 years and have seen the leadership question coax and compel thoughtful response to growth and relevance.  While there is no absolute model of leadership that is without flaws I'm encouraged and excited by the intersection of disparate disciplines that religious studies straddles; from the Old Testament to the interpretation of body image.  This is an exciting time to be involved in religious studies at the University of Iowa. The opportunities available for any individual to study how religion interacts with and influences all our lives, from physics to art and beyond, is an invaluable part of your undergraduate or graduate education. The course curriculum offered not only continues to search out difficult topics, but also a degree that encompasses philosophy, ethics, morals and self-evaluation, and is integral to understanding ALL the degrees offered on this campus and an effective tool in learning how to think horizontally and not just vertically."

  • Rabbi Esther Hugenholtz
    Rabbi, Agudas Achim Congregation

  • Salma Igram

    Vice President/CFO, Cedar Graphics, Cedar Rapids, Iowa

  • Joan Kjaer Kirkman
    Director, Communications & Relations, International Programs, University of Iowa

    “The search for meaning is universal, transcending every kind of boundary….nationality, culture, language….and is central to the belief systems we call religions.  The study of religion and religious traditions opens our eyes to the compelling and multi-layered world around us. I had a double major when I studied at the UI—religion and anthropology.  These majors did more than appeal to my interests and passions.  They prepared me for a rich career in communications and a lifetime of discovery.”

  • Jeff Liebermann
    Assistant Vice President Development, Main Campus

  • Rev. Bill Lovin
    Minister, The Congregational Church, United Church of Christ

  • Jeffrey Portman
    Rabbi Emeritus, Agudas Achim Congregation