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Release: Dec. 6, 2001

Maxson names four Dean's Scholars

IOWA CITY, Iowa – Four associate professors in the University of Iowa College of Liberal Arts and Sciences have been recognized as Dean's Scholars, an award that honors mid-career faculty members who excel both in teaching and in scholarship or creative work. The 2001-03 Dean's Scholars are Carin Green (classics), Elizabeth Heineman (history), Judith Liskin-Gasparro (Spanish and Portuguese), and Lisa Oakes (psychology).

Dean's Scholars receive a $5,000 discretionary fund for each of two years, which they may use for "any appropriate professional reason," including equipment, travel, supplies, or other support for teaching and research initiatives. A committee reviews application materials submitted by interested tenured associate professors and forwards recommendations to Linda Maxson, dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, for final approval.

Dean's Scholar awards are made possible through the UI Alumni Association's endowment of the Dean's Chair in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. The endowment, managed by the University of Iowa Foundation, provides funds for the dean to use for special projects within the college.

"Faculty members selected as Dean's Scholars represent some of the best teachers and mid-career scholars in the college," Maxson said. "I'm pleased to be able to present these awards to recognize excellence and support the professional growth of our faculty members. I'm grateful to the Alumni Association for making these awards possible with its endowment of the Dean's Chair."

Green will use the award to support travel to three European museums where she will examine collections of artifacts from the Italian sanctuaries of Diana. This work is intended to support her new theory about healing in the ancient world, described in her forthcoming book, "Grove and Goddess: the Italic Cult of Diana." Green said the book, which is a comprehensive study of one of the most powerful and widely worshipped deities in ancient Italy, radically challenges long-standing assumptions about religion and healing in the ancient world.

Heineman's award will support a portion of her research on sexual consumer culture in postwar Germany. She will travel to Germany in the summers of 2002 and 2003 to consult public and industry archives and libraries and to conduct oral histories with individuals associated with the industry. In the aftermath of the Nazi regime, which dreamed of creating a "master race" through controlled reproduction, the intersections of sexuality with health care, social reform, and dreams of a better life became hotly disputed. The founder of Germany's largest erotica firm, Beate Uhse, personified this transition. A Luftwaffe pilot under the Nazis, she fought in the early postwar years to make contraceptives and sex education more available -- and she eventually became Europe's largest pornographer. Heineman has also won a National Endowment for the Humanities fellowship to support this research.

Liskin-Gasparro will use the resources the award provides to extend her research and teaching programs in a new direction – interlanguage pragmatics. Pragmatics is the branch of linguistics that studies how people comprehend and produce communication with both literal and underlying meanings. Interlanguage pragmatics studies how people develop this type of competence in a second language. Together with research colleagues in Spain or Latin America Liskin-Gasparro plans to develop a database of speech acts by U.S. study-abroad students, which could be used for future research on the development of linguistic and pragmatic competence by students learning Spanish. Liskin-Gasparro also plans to use a portion of her award to support graduate student research.

Oakes will use the award to extend her research on how infants learn to classify objects into specific categories. The ability to form categories is critically important for infants' understanding of the hundreds of new objects and events they encounter daily, and learning how infants learn to form categories is a key to understanding human development. Oakes will investigate how infants use nonobvious properties – such as "rattles when shaken" – to form categories; how attention to such properties is related to the development of other abilities, such as skillfully picking up and manipulating objects; and how language and categorization are related in infancy. The award will help fund a research assistant position and support the day-to-day costs of research with infants.