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Iowa Insights podcast: weight management, suicide prevention, work-sharing

Iowa Insights logoIn the December 2009 edition of the Iowa Insights podcast, leisure studies professor Ben Hunnicutt explains how work-sharing arrangements have been used to preserve jobs during past recessions in the United States and abroad.

Also in this edition, counseling psychology professor John Westefeld discusses suicide prevention, and dietician Denise Albert of University of Iowa Health Care provides tips for weight management during the holidays.

Iowa Insights is a monthly audio magazine featuring interviews with some of the world's leading thinkers, researchers, and teachers. The podcast is produced by the UI Office of University Relations.

For more information, visit


Graduate College recognizes professors for exceptional mentorship

The University of Iowa Graduate College is recognizing four professors for excellence in mentoring graduate students: Ed Folsom, Jeff Murray, Frederick Domann, and Constance Berman.

The Graduate College Outstanding Faculty Mentor Award in humanities and fine arts was awarded to Folsom, professor of English in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS). Murray won the outstanding mentor award in biological and life sciences. He is affiliated with the Graduate College's interdisciplinary programs of genetics and molecular and cellular biology, and is a professor in the UI Carver College of Medicine, as well as colleges of dentistry, liberal arts and sciences, and public health. The awards carry a $2,500 prize.

Special Recognition Awards for Mentoring went to Berman, professor of history in CLAS, and Domann, professor of radiation oncology in the Carver College of Medicine and free radical and radiation biology program in the Graduate College. This award includes a $500 prize.

The professors were nominated by their students and colleagues. An awards ceremony, which had been scheduled for 4:30 p.m., Tuesday, Dec. 8, in the fourth-floor assembly room of the Levitt Center for University Advancement, has been postponed until January 2009 due to impending weather.


UI tubas team with Toys for Tots for Dec. 11 outdoor concert

The University of Iowa Tuba-Euphonium Ensemble, under the direction of School of Music faculty member John Manning as Santa, will team up with Toys for Tots in the annual "Holiday Tubas" performance at 12:30 p.m., Friday, Dec. 11, on the steps of the Old Capitol.

The music will be the usual mix of seasonal favorites, and in addition to enjoying the unique sound of the tuba ensemble, audience members can contribute toys that will be distributed to needy children. Toys for Tots will gratefully accept all new, upwrapped toys appropriate for children up to 15 years of age.

The free event will take place regardless of weather. The concert has often been played amid snow flurries, and in some years frigid temperatures have forced the group to perform in tag-team fashion, with members periodically retreating indoors to unfreeze their valves.

To heighten the festive spirit of the event, ensemble members customarily decorate their instruments, and some wear costumes of their own. Members of the community who play tuba, sousaphone, baritone horn, or euphonium are invited to participate. Potential players should contact Manning at for information and copies of the music.


Remembering Hiroshima and Nagasaki exhibit on display in UI Main Library

The current exhibit in the University of Iowa Main Library North Exhibition Hall, Material Witness: Remembering Hiroshima and Nagasaki, features a Hiroshima-Nagasaki poster collection donated to UI Libraries by the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum. The exhibit—on display through Feb. 28—covers the history of the atomic bombings in Japan up to present day peace activism.

The Hiroshima Peace Foundation organized a U.S. poster exhibition tour from September 2007 through December 2008 to convey the reality of the damage and horror of those events, as well as to extend the foundation's efforts to abolish nuclear weapons and promote peace.

The exhibition was organized by Chiaki Sakai, Japanese studies librarian; Marianne Mason, federal documents librarian; and Duncan Stewart, cataloging librarian.

To arrange a group tour of the exhibit, contact Kristi Bontrager, or 319-335-5960. For more information, see


Tennis event to benefit Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation Dec. 12

University of Iowa Recreational Services is hosting On Court for a Cause, a tennis event benefiting the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF), from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 12, at the Hawkeye Tennis and Recreation Complex, 2820 Prairie Meadow Drive in Iowa City.

The event will feature court games and drills along with a raffle (prizes include a book autographed by Billie Jean King), pizza, and Powerade. All levels of players ages 5 and above are invited. The event fee is $10 per person or $25 per family. Raffle Tickets are $1 each. All proceeds will go to benefit the JDRF Walk for a Cure and Team Even, a local walking team.

Registration is required. To register, call 319-384-1215 or e-mail Michele Conlon at


UI Risk Management seeking post-flood photos of building contents

University of Iowa faculty, staff and students who took photographs of the
contents inside impacted campus buildings immediately after last year's
floods are encouraged to contact the UI Office of Risk Management.

Risk Management enlisted the help of dozens of UI employees after the flood
to take detailed photos of building interiors and content for insurance
purposes and as a result gathered thousands of images. However, the office
is seeking to supplement its collection with any additional photos taken of
content as part of or independent of that effort.

People who have photos they think may be helpful should contact Frank Nania
at 319-384-1849 or, or Jacquie Albrecht at
319-384-2589 or


W-2 forms will be available on Employee Self Service web site

Once again, the University of Iowa W-2 forms will be available on the HR Employee Self Service web site ( The IRS allows for electronic delivery of W-2 forms if permission is given. To do this, select “Stop Paper Mailings” under the general section on the Personal tab on the HR Self Service site.  

The 2009 W-2 forms will be available mid- to late-January 2010, and by electing electronic delivery you will have access to your form approximately one week before the forms are mailed. For more information, refer to the Payroll Office web site,


UI Health Care offering new services for UI employees

Each year during the November enrollment period, UI employees select a health plan for the coming year. As you consider your options, this year there are more reasons than ever to choose UI Health Care providers and services.

  • UI Choice plan: Beginning in January 2010, copays for office visits to any UI Health Care provider will be only $5, while copays to non-UI providers will now be $20 per office visit.
  • UI Choice or CHIP II health plans: Copay is waived entirely when visiting any UI QuickCare clinic.
  • Easier access: More available appointment times and new clinic locations will reduce wait times and facilitate better access. UI Health Care locations in Lone Tree and Southeast Iowa City now offer extended hours, and UI QuickCare–East will open soon near Sycamore Mall with expanded morning, evening, and weekend hours. Beginning this month, UI QuickCare–Old Capitol Town Center will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday, as well as Saturdays and Sundays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • UI Health Care–River Crossing, expected to open in February 2010, will be conveniently located just off Highway 218 near Riverside to serve nearby communities.
  • As always, all UI health plans—and most area health plans—include University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics and UI physicians as preferred or participating providers.

Learn more at or call UI Health Access at 319-384-8442 or 800-777-8442.


Benefits Office offering recommendations for supplementing retirement savings

The temporary reduction in retirement contributions in effect through your July 1, 2011 paycheck creates a situation where those who are eligible may want to consider supplementing their retirement savings at least temporarily.

You can find the University Benefits Office recommendations in the article "Minimizing the impact of today's economy on your retirement savings" in the "News and Events" section of the University Benefits Office web site:


WRAC seeks applications for Margaret P. Benson Memorial Scholarship

The Women's Resource and Action Center (WRAC) at The University of Iowa invites applications for the Margaret P. Benson Memorial Scholarship program for the 2010–11 academic year. The application deadline is Feb. 12.

Created by a designated bequest to the University of Iowa Foundation, the Margaret P. Benson Memorial Scholarship recognizes qualified female applicants who demonstrate financial need and are committed to women's issues, diversity, and social activism. One or two awards are available each year. Awards generally range from $1,000 to $2,000 per academic year to be applied toward tuition, fees, living expenses, or books. The scholarship is presented at the UI Annual Celebration of Excellence and Achievement Among Women, which will be April 7, 2010.

The Margaret P. Benson Memorial Scholarship is administered and selected by individuals affiliated with WRAC. The center is a diverse community dedicated to fostering women's individual empowerment and systemic solutions to all forms of oppression.

Information about eligibility and application procedures is available at or call Linda Kroon, WRAC interim director, at 319-335-1486.


See which 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:

  • 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



Study of Army hospitals shows increased but not unwise end-of-year spending

An award-winning study of spending patterns at U.S. Army hospitals by a University of Iowa accounting professor confirms suspicions that managers spend down their budgets at the end of the fiscal year to avoid a surplus, but also finds that the spending is not wasteful.

The study, coauthored by Ramji Balakrishnan, accounting professor in the Tippie College of Business, looked at spending patterns at 31 Army hospitals from 1998 to 2002, including Walter Reed Army Hospital. It found spending spiked considerably in August and September, the last two months of the federal fiscal year, as managers spent down their budgets so they would not be left with a surplus.

However, the researchers found that the money was being spent mostly on pharmaceuticals and health care equipment, things the managers would have to buy eventually, anyway. In fact, the spending pattern showed a significant dip in October and November, as the hospitals used the supplies they stocked up in August and September. Or, as Balakrishnan puts it, "They eat off what they've stored."

Read the full University News Services release at


Study sheds light on brain's fear processing center

Breathing carbon dioxide can trigger panic attacks, but the biological reason for this effect has not been understood. A new study by University of Iowa researchers shows that carbon dioxide increases brain acidity, which in turn activates a brain protein that plays an important role in fear and anxiety behavior.

The study, published in the Nov. 25 issue of the journal Cell, offers new possibilities for understanding the biological basis of panic and anxiety disorders in general and may suggest new approaches for treating these conditions.

The researchers focused on a brain protein known as acid-sensing ion channel 1a (ASIC1a). This protein is abundant in the amygdala, the region deep in the brain that processes fear signals and directs fear behavior. The UI team previously found that blocking or removing ASIC1a reduces innate fear and alters fear memory in mice.

In addition to helping explain why breathing carbon dioxide can trigger panic attacks, the study also suggests a new role for the amygdala as a sensor that can detect certain fear signals for itself.

Read the full University News Services release at


Hawkeye Poll: U.N., not U.S., should tackle key global issues

As the United States maintains involvement in a wide range of international issues, a University of Iowa Hawkeye Poll released Nov. 30 shows most Americans would rather see the United Nations at the helm.

A striking majority of respondents said the United Nations is better suited than the United States to handle three major international matters: peacekeeping (73 percent), aid to developing nations (72 percent), and human rights (59 percent).

"The public is generally supportive of the U.N., but it's possible the costs of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, along with a focus on domestic priorities, may have pushed some people away from more unilateral policies," says Nicholas Martini, a doctoral candidate in political science and member of the Hawkeye polling team. "Some individuals may also be responding to Obama's more multilateral approach to foreign politics."

The poll was conducted by the Hawkeye Poll Cooperative, comprised of UI faculty and graduate students in political science, with the cooperation and facilities of the UI Social Science Research Center.

Read the full University News Services release at



Recent deaths

  • Jack White, 95, retired assistant director, evaluation and examination service, Nov. 1 in Wichita Falls, Texas. (obit)
  • Nicola D’Angelo, 78, professor emeritus, Nov. 4 in Iowa City. (obit)
  • Eugene Getchell, 71, retired senior systems specialist, Nov. 5 in Smyrna, Del. (obit)
  • Jacob Sines, 82, professor, Nov. 15 in Iowa City. (obit)
  • Dorothy Leslie, 91, retired area manager, residence services, Nov. 27 in Stoughton, Wis. (obit)
Office of University Relations. Copyright The University of Iowa 2006. All rights reserved.