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News in Brief






UI community encouraged to volunteer on Day of Service

The University of Iowa Civic Engagement Program encourages faculty, staff, students, and community members to make Martin Luther King Jr. Day a "day on, not a day off."

This year's Day of Service is Monday, Jan. 19, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., when local volunteers will join many others across the country who "keep the dream alive" through engagement in service activities on the MLK Holiday.

Individuals may honor the life and work of King by participating in several organized opportunities at prearranged service sites in and around Iowa City. Volunteers will meet at the North Room of the Iowa Memorial Union (IMU) at 9 a.m., Monday, Jan. 19, and the Civic Engagement Program will provide transportation to and from the service sites, as needed. Parking in the IMU Ramp will be free that day.

Additionally, the University has announced its activities for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Human Rights Week, starting with a Community Opening Celebration at 6:30 p.m., Monday, Jan. 19, in the IMU Second Floor Ballroom. Visit for a full schedule of events.


Reconnect with old friends at Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration of Staff by Staff

The University of Iowa Staff Council invites the campus community to enjoy the Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration of Staff by Staff from 4 to 6 p.m., Wednesday, Jan. 14, at Old Brick on the corner of Clinton and Market streets.

UI provost Wallace Loh will make opening remarks, and UI staff members will give musical performances—including an African drum group. Refreshments will be provided.


University sponsors Jan. 15 program on collaboration during the flood crisis

The University of Iowa will present a public program, "Lessons from the Flood—Collaborating in a Crisis," at 7 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 15, in meeting room A at the Iowa City Public Library. A public reception will follow at the Englert Theatre.
Featured speaker Michael Lombardo, Iowa City city manager, will discuss his experience working across the community and the campus to address problems left by the flood.
Barbara Eckstein, professor of English and associate provost, will share her perspective on pollution in the Iowa River in her talk, "Before the Flood: An Endangered River Runs Through Us: Three Iowa River Journeys."
Gregg Oden, professor of psychology and computer science, will present "After the Flood: Co-Chairing the UI Flood Mitigation Task Force."
The event is sponsored by the Obermann Center for Advanced Studies and the Graduate College. Co-sponsors are the UI Center for Teaching, UI Civic Engagement Program, the City of Iowa City, the Women's Resource and Action Center, and the Associate Provost for Diversity.
For more information, call 319-335-4034 or visit


Staff members encouraged to apply for committees

The UI Staff Council encourages staff members to apply for staff member openings on University charter and noncharter committees. The deadline is Friday, Feb. 13. Committees with openings for staff members include:

  • Campus Planning (1 opening)
  • Faculty-Staff Parking Appeals (2 openings)
  • Family Issues (1 opening)
  • Funded Retirement and Insurance Committee (1 opening)
  • Hancher Auditorium (1 opening)
  • Human Rights (1 opening)
  • Information Technology (1 opening)
  • Lectures (1 opening)
  • Parking and Transportation (1 opening)
  • Recreational Services (1 opening)
  • Research Council (2 openings)
  • University Libraries (1 opening)
  • University Safety and Security (1 opening)

Terms will begin in September 2009. Learn more about all of the committees and apply at

Contact the Staff Council office at 319-335-3600 or with any questions.


Honorary degree nominations sought

The University of Iowa Honorary Degree Selection Committee is seeking nominations for Honorary Degree awards to be conferred in 2010.

Degrees are conferred during UI commencement ceremonies upon individuals who have demonstrated extraordinary and sustained achievements in such areas as research, scholarship, education, artistic creation, social activism, human rights, humanitarian outreach, or other endeavors consistent with the values of the University.

Nominations may come from colleges or from individual faculty members and are selected by an eight-member faculty committee. The Iowa Board of Regents approves the committee's recommendations.

Nominations should be made in a two-page statement or letter, outlining the nominee's achievement, and forwarded to Evalyn Van Allen-Shalash, Office of the Provost, 111 Jessup Hall, or via e-mail attachment to, or via this web site: The deadline for nominations is Friday, March 27, 2009. For more details on nominations, visit


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 use the printable registration form.
  • To visit Learning and Development's home page, go to



Rare disease provides clues about enzyme role in arrhythmias

A University of Iowa study provides insight into a calcium-sensing enzyme already known to play a role in irregular heartbeats and other critical functions. The researchers showed that the enzyme, calmodulin kinase II (CaM kinase II), contributes to arrhythmia in an extremely rare disease called Timothy syndrome and that inhibiting the enzyme prevents irregular heartbeats.

The findings, which involved a new cellular model, could help with developing treatments for irregular heartbeat in people with this syndrome as well as in the general population. There also could be implications for understanding other conditions such as autism. The study results were published online Nov. 10 by the journal Circulation.

Timothy syndrome has been reported in only about 20 people worldwide. In addition to causing an irregular heartbeat, Timothy syndrome can cause a malformed heart, autism, and other nervous system problems. Timothy syndrome is a type of long QT syndrome, which can cause sudden death in people with normal-appearing hearts.

Read the full University News Services release at


Sex difference on spatial skill test linked to brain structure

Men consistently outperform women on spatial tasks, including mental rotation, which is the ability to identify how a 3-D object would appear if rotated in space. Now, a University of Iowa study shows a connection between this sex-linked ability and the structure of the parietal lobe, the brain region that controls this type of skill.

The parietal lobe was already known to differ between men and women, with women's parietal lobes having proportionally thicker cortexes or "gray matter." But this difference was never linked back to actual performance differences on the mental rotation test.

UI researchers found that a thicker cortex in the parietal lobe in women is associated with poorer mental rotation ability, and in a new structural discovery, that the surface area of the parietal lobe is increased in men, compared to women. Moreover, in men, the greater parietal lobe surface area is directly related to better performance on mental rotation tasks. The study results were published online Nov. 5 by the journal Brain and Cognition.

Read the full University News Services release at


Study shows need for standardizing nursing home social workers' credentials

Social workers play a vital role in improving the quality of nursing home residents' lives. But qualifications of nursing home social workers vary widely in part because of low federal standards and inconsistent state laws, the first national study on nursing home social workers reveals.

Only half of nursing home social workers have a degree in social work, and 20 percent do not have a four-year degree, a University of Iowa survey of 1,071 nursing home social service directors shows.

Despite their desire to learn, two-thirds of nursing home social workers report they do not belong to a professional organization that helps to keep them up to date on nursing home social work issues, and only 38 percent are licensed in social work.

For-profit nursing homes are 31 percent less likely to hire a degreed social worker.

The numbers are concerning, given the important responsibilities nursing home social workers have, said Mercedes Bern-Klug, the assistant professor of social work in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences who led the study.

Read the full University News Services release at



Shaw promoted to UI Foundation chief operating officer

University of Iowa Foundation President and CEO Lynette L. Marshall has announced that Tiffani K. Shaw, the foundation's senior vice president, treasurer, and chief financial officer, has been promoted to the newly created position of executive vice president and chief operating officer.

In her new position Shaw will retain her role as CFO and treasurer and will continue to oversee the foundation areas of finance, information technology, and operations. She will expand her responsibilities to include communications, human resources. and legal.

A graduate of the UI Tippie College of Business, where she received her accounting degree in 1992, Shaw joined the foundation in 1997 as assistant treasurer and controller and was promoted to CFO in 1999. She is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, the Iowa Society of Certified Public Accountants, National Advisory Board for the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education, and Big Ten/Big Twelve chief financial officers. Prior to joining the UI Foundation, Shaw was a Certified Public Accountant for the accounting firm McGladrey & Pullen, LLP.


UI Health Care hires new human resources associate vice president

Leaders of University of Iowa Health Care have announced the appointment of Chad Simmons as the enterprise's first associate vice president for human resources. Simmons will lead the integration of the human resource functions for all components of UI Health Care, including the UI Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine and UI Hospitals and Clinics. UI Health Care has approximately 10,000 fulltime employees.

Simmons graduated from Morehouse College and holds a Master of Business Administration from The University of Iowa. Simmons most recently served as the associate director of human resources for Kraft Foods in Northfield, Ill.


Fitch named UI associate dean of International Programs
Kristine Fitch, professor of communication studies in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, has been named associate dean of International Programs at The University of Iowa. She assumes the responsibilities previously held by Downing Thomas, who left the position in July 2008 to become interim associate provost and dean of International Programs.

As associate dean, Fitch will promote international scholarship and education across campus and in the community; supervise the academic centers, programs, and grants office within International Programs; seek enhanced support for faculty research and creative work; and oversee the International Programs curricula, including the international studies undergraduate major and the Master of Arts in international studies.


Leslie named head of UI Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology

Kimberly Leslie has been named head of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Carver College of Medicine and University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. The appointment will be effective April 1.

Leslie replaces Jennifer Niebyl, who is stepping down after serving as department head since 1988, when she joined the UI faculty. Niebyl will continue her appointment as professor of obstetrics and gynecology and as director of the department's residency program. She will also continue her patient care activities.

Leslie currently is professor of obstetrics and gynecology and chief of obstetrics at the University of New Mexico, where she also is director of maternal-fetal medicine. Leslie's patient care specialization includes maternal-fetal medicine, fetal echocardiography, cancer in pregnancy, cholestasis (an estrogen-induced disease) during pregnancy and operative obstetrics. Her research interests include molecular biology of estrogen and progesterone receptors, anti-estrogens in the female reproductive tract, endometrial cancer, interactions between epidermal growth factor and hormone receptors, and cholestasis.

Leslie earned a Bachelor of Science in psychology from Baylor University and a Bachelor of Science in biology and biochemistry from Texas Christian University. She holds a medical degree from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School. Leslie completed residencies at Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas, Texas, and Georgetown University Affiliated Hospitals, where she also completed a fellowship in maternal-fetal medicine.



  • Mario Santizo, 70, professor emeritus, Dec. 1 in San Antonio, Texas. (obit)
  • Eugene Anderson, 77, retired senior architect, Dec. 4 in Iowa City. (obit)
  • Kenneth Muller, 85, retired facilities mechanic III, Dec. 4 in Iowa City. (obit)
  • Jane Chalmers, 43, assistant professor, Dec. 6 in Iowa City. (obit)
  • Nancy Graf, 60, research assistant II, Dec. 7 in Winneshiek County, Iowa. (obit)
  • Walter Rouse, 93, retired supervisor service II, Dec. 8 in Iowa City. (obit)
  • James Price, 81, professor emeritus, Dec. 10 in Coralville. (obit)
  • Howard Bowman, 82, retired supervisor plant services, Dec. 11 in Austin, Texas. (obit—scroll down page)
  • Edward Troughton, 65, retired senior research assistant, Dec. 11 in Iowa City. (obit)
  • Bruce Beasley, 86, retired storekeeper III, Dec. 13 in Iowa City. (obit)
  • Margaret Scott, 75, retired dietary assistant, Dec. 20 in Kalona, Iowa. (obit)
  • Gloria Peters, 75, retired clerk III, Dec. 29 in Coralville. (obit)
  • James Pusack, 63, associate professor, Dec. 30. (obit)
  • George Yoder, 94, retired custodian, Jan. 4 in Iowa City. (obit—scroll down page)
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