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U.S. News & World Report ranks Iowa 24th among public universities

The University of Iowa is the 24th best public national university in the country, according to the latest rankings published by U.S. News & World Report. The ranking places the University in a tie with Purdue University and the University of Connecticut.

The University’s placement in the 2008 edition of the magazine’s influential “Top 50 Public National Universities” compares to a ranking of 25th in 2007, 21st in 2006, 19th in 2005, 19th in 2004, 20th in 2003, 24th in 2002, 20th in 2001, 21st in 2000, and 26th in 1999.

“Our faculty, staff, students, and friends should take pride in this achievement, especially given the tremendous competitive pressure we face from the many excellent public universities in this country,” UI President Sally Mason says. “We should feel good not only about this year’s ranking, but about the fact that our performance in the various measures on which the rankings are based has consistently earned us the honor of being in the top 25 public universities in the nation. I’m thrilled to have been selected to lead such an outstanding academic institution, and I look forward to doing all that I can to ensure that our reputation for excellence is maintained.”


Six UI professors win regents awards for faculty excellence

Six University of Iowa faculty members have won the 2007 Regents Award for Faculty Excellence. Given by the Board of Regents, State of Iowa, the award honors faculty members for work representing a significant contribution to excellence in public education. Each honoree will receive $1,000.

This year’s UI recipients:

  • Randall Bezanson, David H. Vernon Professor of Law and former UI vice president for finance
  • Beverly L. Davidson, Roy J. Carver Biomedical Research Chair in the UI Department of Internal Medicine
  • James B. Gloer, professor of chemistry in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
  • Adalaide “Dee” Morris, John C. Gerber Professor of English in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
  • Ernest Pascarella, Mary Louise Petersen Professor of Higher Education in the College of Education
  • Alec Scranton, professor of chemical and biochemical engineering and associate dean for academic programs in the College of Engineering

To learn more about the six UI recipients, read the University News Services release at


Fourteen staff members receive UI Excellence Awards
Fourteen staff members at The University of Iowa are recipients of one of three annual staff awards for excellence presented by UI Staff Council.
Recipients of the David J. Skorton Staff Excellence Award for Public Service:

  • Jodi Linley, assistant director, Iowa Biosciences Advantage Program
  • Barbara Spence, administrative specialist II, Department of Microbiology

Recipients of the Board of Regents Staff Excellence Award:

  • John Achrazoglou, director, Education Technology Center, College of Education
  • Rebecca Anthony, director, Educational Placement Office, College of Education
  • Elaine Haddy, associate director of human resources/information management
  • Chris Kula, business manager, UI Central Mail Services and University Copy Centers
  • Patricia W. Mason-Browne, assistant director of academic programs and
    services, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
  • Marinea Mehrhoff, supervisor of radiochemistry/chemist III, University Hygienic Lab

Recipients of the University of Iowa Outstanding Staff Award:

  • Janet Crow, dental registrar, College of Dentistry
  • Diana Harris, project and communications manager, College of Engineering
  • Patricia Kosier, human resources manager, University Hygienic Laboratory
  • Jerry Slezak, parking cashier attendant, Parking and Transportation
  • Katherine Walden, assistant to the chair, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Kristy Walker, director of clinical applications, Health Care Information System

For more information about award criteria and recognition events, read the University News Services release at


University implements Hawk Alert emergency notification system

University of Iowa administrators will soon be able to send emergency voice and text messages to students, faculty, and staff within minutes, thanks to a new emergency notification system, called “Hawk Alert.”

University administrators are urging all students, staff, and faculty to add or update their cell and other phone numbers in the University’s database as soon as possible.

The first phase of the Hawk Alert system, implemented earlier this month, includes voice calls and e-mail. By Nov. 1, the second phase will add text messages for those with text messaging services.

University Relations director Steven Parrott says personal cell phone numbers provided specifically for the emergency system will not be used for other purposes, nor will they be listed in any public directories. Detailed instructions on how to provide emergency numbers are available at


Saturday can be scholarly

Whether you spend five days a week in class or it has been 25 years since your last college lecture, you can enjoy the Saturday Scholars programs from the University of Iowa College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

These free lecture and discussion sessions are open to the public, and will offer the chance to dip into these topics on upcoming Saturdays:

  • Sept. 15: “Music Therapy: Improving Quality of Life,” Mary Adamek, School of Music, Division of Performing Arts
  • Sept. 29: “Nanotechnology: Solving Big Problems With Small Science,” Sarah Larsen, Department of Chemistry
  • Oct. 6: “Freedom of Expression: For a Price,” Kembrew McLeod, Department of Communication Studies
  • Oct. 20: “Ethical Activism in the Poetry of Adrienne Rich and Mary Oliver,” Linda Bolton, Department of English
  • Nov. 3: “Animated Culture: Contemporary Experimental Art Practices,” Jon Winet, School of Art and Art History

All presentations will begin at 10 a.m. in room 40 of Schaeffer Hall. Each session will last about an hour, including a 20- to 30-minute presentation followed by a question-and-answer session. Refreshments will be served.

Additional information is available at


Robert F. Kennedy Jr. to lecture on natural resources

A public lecture by environmental activist Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is the centerpiece of a month of environmentally focused programming on the University of Iowa campus and in the Iowa City community.

Kennedy will speak at 7:30 p.m., Wednesday, Sept. 12, in the Main Ballroom of the Iowa Memorial Union on the UI campus. He will discuss the role that natural resources play in our work, health, and identity as Americans.

Kennedy serves as senior attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council, chief prosecuting attorney for the Hudson Riverkeepers, and president of Waterkeeper Alliance. He is also a clinical professor and supervising attorney at Pace University School of Law’s Environmental Litigation Clinic. Earlier in his career, he served as assistant district attorney in New York City. He is the author of The New York Times’ best-seller Crimes Against Nature, published in 2004.

For more information and a schedule of related events, read the University News Services release at


U.S. and World Affairs series offers Iowans precaucus Chautauqua

Iowans can share in a 12-week overview of U.S. foreign policy with a rich mix of local and outside talent, thanks to a University of Iowa course that David Schoenbaum, UI professor of history, has opened to the community as a civic Chautauqua.

Scheduled with an eye to the presidential caucuses, all of the sessions will be free and open to the public from 11 to 11:50 a.m. and from noon to 1:20 p.m. Mondays at the Englert Theatre in downtown Iowa City. The first session was held Aug. 27; future classes will be held Mondays through Nov. 26.

Upcoming sessions include:

  • Sept. 10: Andrew Nagorski from Newsweek and Christoph von Marschall from Der Tagesspiegel, Berlin, will discuss “See Ourselves as Others See Us.”
  • Sept. 17: Robert Hunter of the RAND Corporation and former U.S. ambassador to NATO, will discuss theory and practice in U.S. foreign policy.
  • Sept. 24: Wendy Sherman of Albright Associates and former counselor to the U.S. State Department, will discuss theory and practice in U.S. foreign policy.

Full course materials are accessible on ICON (, the University’s online course management system.

For more information and a full series schedule, read the University News Services release at


New developmental and learning sciences center to hold Sept. 28 workshop

The Iowa Center for Developmental and Learning Sciences (ICDLS), a recently formed University organization devoted to research, education, and outreach, will be hosting its first workshop of the 2007–08 academic year, “The Role of Analogy in Thought and Learning,” from 8 a.m. to noon on Friday, Sept. 28, in room 401 of John Pappajohn Business Building.

The workshop, cohosted by the University of Iowa Departments of Speech Pathology and Audiology and Psychology, will feature Ed Wasserman, UI professor of psychology in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, as well as faculty from Northwestern University and Franklin and Marshall College.

The ICDLS brings together UI researchers from psychology, speech pathology, computer science, and engineering who seek to understand processes that underlie development and learning, from neurons to neighborhoods.

For more information about the ICDLS and upcoming events, visit


Nanoscience-nanotechnology center hosting symposium series

The Nanoscience and Nanotechnology Institute at UI (NNI@UI) will be hosting a Fall 2007 Symposium Series titled “Bridging the River through Nanoscience and Nanotechnology.”

The seminars, all of which will focus on biomedical applications of nanoscience and nanotechnology, will be held on the following dates:

  • Thursday, Sept. 27, 1–5 p.m., 2117 Medical Education and Research Facility (numerous speakers and a panel discussion moderated by NNI@UI director Vicki Grassian, professor of chemistry in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences)
  • Friday, Oct. 12, 3:30–4:30 p.m., 3505 Seamans Center for the Engineering Arts and Sciences (speaker: Peter Vikesland, Virginia Tech University)
  • Friday, Nov. 2, 3:30–4:30 p.m., 104 Iowa Advanced Technology Laboratories (speaker: Mark Banaszak Holl, University of Michigan)

NNI@UI is an interdisciplinary research center supported by the Office of the Vice President for Research and the Colleges of Engineering and Liberal Arts and Sciences. Through NNI@UI, experts from the Colleges of Medicine, Liberal Arts and Sciences, Engineering, Pharmacy, and Public Health work together to conduct research in nanoscience and nanotechnology.


See what Learning and Development courses are right for you

UI Learning and Development, a unit of Organizational Effectiveness, provides professional development services to faculty and staff. There are many learning opportunities that will support your professional development and growth. Look for classroom instruction on leadership issues for managers, frontline supervisors, human resource professionals, and office professionals.

Check out the following links:

  • To see the latest online newsletter, with listings of current courses and seminars, visit
  • For registration information, log in at the UI Human Resources Self Service site at and click the “My Training” link to register for any available session. This tool will let you see the status and location of a class, get e-mail confirmations, withdraw from a class, check your course registration history, and even do online evaluations. Courses with a fee (Special Events, 7 Habits, Reframing Your Work) will still use the printable registration form.
  • To visit Learning and Development's home page, go to



Patient-centered approach can backfire, UI research shows

New research at The University of Iowa suggests that the “patient-centered” approach toward health care—educating patients about their conditions, encouraging questions and collaboration, and involving patients in treatment decisions—doesn’t work for everybody.

According to the UI study, recently published in the Annals of Behavioral Medicine, patients are most satisfied with care and most likely to follow treatment plans—like taking medication or making diet changes—if they see a doctor whose attitudes toward patient-physician roles are in line with their own.

But some patients, especially older patients, prefer a doctor with a more traditional “doctor-centered” or “paternalistic” style, someone who spends less time explaining a condition and seeks little patient input when it comes to treatment decisions. The study showed that when those patients are matched with patient-centered doctors who want them to take a highly active role, they’re less likely to follow treatment recommendations or feel satisfied with their care.

“There’s really a sizable subset of patients with whom the patient-centered approach is going to backfire,” says Alan Christensen, professor of psychology in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, who collaborated with three colleagues on the study. “There are patients who strongly believe it’s the physician’s job to make decisions.”

For more information, read the University News Services release at


UI involved in discovery of first gene associated with scoliosis

Two University of Iowa researchers were among a team of scientists who recently discovered the first gene associated with idiopathic scoliosis, the most common spinal deformity in children.

The gene was discovered through a collaborative study led by researchers at Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children in Dallas, Texas. The study involved Jose Morcuende, associate professor of orthopaedics and rehabilitation, and Val Sheffield, professor of pediatrics, both of the UI Carver College of Medicine. The results were published in American Journal of Human Genetics.

Idiopathic scoliosis causes abnormal curvature of the spine and affects about 3 percent of children ages 10–16. Although the condition has been recognized for centuries and is known to run in families, the causes of idiopathic scoliosis have remained a mystery.

For more information on the study, read the University News Services release at



Letendre named new College of Pharmacy dean

Donald E. Letendre, professor of pharmacy and dean of the College of Pharmacy at the University of Rhode Island, will become the new dean of the University of Iowa College of Pharmacy effective Sept. 25. He succeeds Jordan L. Cohen, who will step down from the deanship but remain on the college’s faculty.

During Letendre’s tenure as dean of the University of Rhode Island College of Pharmacy, he reorganized the college and worked with his colleagues to develop a new curriculum, implement Rhode Island’s only professional pharmacy degree program, and achieve successful accreditation of the new program.


Institute for Economic Research has new director

John Geweke, professor of economics and statistics, is the new director of the UI Institute for Economic Research, a research center in the Tippie College of Business that provides economic forecasts to state government leaders.

Geweke holds the Harlan McGregor Chair in economic theory at the university. He has taught at Iowa since 1999 with a teaching and research focus on theoretical and applied econometrics. His expertise is in Bayesian econometrics and statistics, time series analysis, and financial economics.

Geweke replaces Charles Whiteman, who stepped down after his term expired in July to focus on his work as senior associate dean of the Tippie College of Business.


Damiano named director of UI Public Policy Center

Peter Damiano was recently named director of the University of Iowa Public Policy Center following the retirement of David Forkenbrock, who founded the center in 1987 and served as its director since that time.

For the past 17 years, Damiano was director of the center’s Health Policy Research Program. He also has a joint appointment with the UI College of Dentistry, where he is a professor in the Department of Preventive and Community Dentistry and cares for patients in the Special Care Clinic.

Forkenbrock, a nationally recognized transportation researcher, was a prominent faculty member at the University for 30 years. He served the University in many capacities, including as chair of Urban and Regional Planning, chair of the Faculty Senate budget committee, and as head of a campus-wide effort to improve interdisciplinary research. He will continue at the University as a professor emeritus at the center and in the Departments of Urban and Regional Planning and Civil and Environmental Engineering.

The Public Policy Center is a freestanding unit in the Office of the Vice President for Research. The center conducts interdisciplinary academic research on public policy issues such as transportation, health care, human factors and vehicle safety, economic development, social equity, and environmental quality.



  • Monty Menhusen, 58, clinical professor of anesthesia, June 20 in Iowa City.
  • Helen Lenz, 88, retired custodian, Aug. 1 in Iowa City.
  • Harrison Kane, 82, professor emeritus of civil/environmental engineering, Aug. 3 in Iowa City. (obit)
  • Harold Goldsmith, 84, retired electrician, Aug. 8 in Washington, Iowa.
  • Dorothy Samuel, 93, retired supervisor of custodial services, Aug. 11 in Iowa City. (obit)
  • Archie McKinnon, 87, professor emeritus of education, Aug. 11 in Phoenix, Ariz.
  • John VanGilder, 72, professor emeritus of neurosurgery, Aug. 26 in Iowa City. (obit)
  • Irma Rakestraw, 99, retired secretary II, Aug. 27 in Annawan, Ill.
Office of University Relations. Copyright The University of Iowa 2006. All rights reserved.