CONTACT: LINDA KETTNER
100 Old Public Library
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0030; fax (319) 384-0024
Release: July 19, 1999
Skorton sets first public forum to discuss future of
International Writing Program
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The first public forum to discuss
the future of the International Writing Program (IWP) will be Thursday, July
29 at 7 p.m. in Room W10 (Buchanan Auditorium) of the Papajohn Business Building,
UI Vice President for Research David Skorton has announced.
The forum will be co-hosted by Skorton and Provost
Jon Whitmore. Members of the eight-person faculty and staff IWP task force
chaired by Professor Steven Ungar will be in attendance. The task force has
been charged to review the program's fiscal and operational history, to consider
the previous program review and other relevant materials, and to recommend
future direction for the program.
"At the forum we look forward to hearing from people
from both on and off campus who are interested in the destiny of the IWP,"
said Skorton. "This will be an opportunity for all points of view to be heard."
Skorton, who recently assumed oversight for the IWP,
said he is addressing a number of issues facing the program in the upcoming
academic year, but is not in a position to make any major, long-term decisions
regarding the IWP until the task force submits its final report early in October
to President Mary Sue Coleman and Whitmore.
"Meanwhile, I believe it's crucial that we maintain
open minds about all possibilities for the continued operation of the IWP,"
he said. "We want to do the right thing."
In other developments, Skorton said that he has appointed
Professor Sandra Barkan, assistant dean of the Graduate College, to directly
administer the IWP during the 1999-2000 academic year. Her responsibilities
will include planning and day-to-day oversight of the activities in which
the international writers will participate during the fall semester. During
this transitional period, former IWP program associate Rowena Torrevillas
will be assigned to work with Barkan under Skorton's supervision. A graduate
assistant, staff members in the Office of the Vice President for Research,
and possibly others also will be involved in staffing the program during this
Finally, Skorton announced that he has named a faculty,
staff and student group for ongoing advice about IWP operations over the course
of this year. They are Jae-on Kim, professor of sociology and director of
the Center for Asian and Pacific Studies, who will chair the group; Virginia
Dominguez, professor of anthropology; Hualing Nieh Engle, previous director
and co-founder of the IWP; James McPherson, professor of English and faculty
member in the Writers' Workshop; Adalaide Morris, professor of English; Victoria
Rovine, curator at the UI Museum of Art; Jay Semel, director of the Obermann
Center for Advanced Studies; graduate student Steven Sharra who was a previous
participant in the IWP; and Downing Thomas, professor and chair of the department
of French and Italian.