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University of Iowa News Release

June 30, 2005

Nelson Named Director Of UI Honors Program

John Nelson, a University of Iowa professor of political science and a founder of the UI's Project on Rhetoric of Inquiry (POROI), has been named director of the UI Honors Program, which offers special academic, cultural and social opportunities to outstanding undergraduate students. Nelson succeeds Alice Fulton, a UI professor of biochemistry who was appointed to the position in 1998.

"I am delighted that we've found such a talented and enthusiastic individual to take over this very important directorship," said Michael Hogan, UI Provost. "John Nelson is a top-notch scholar with a demonstrated commitment to undergraduate education, and I know the Honors Program will continue to grow under his leadership."

Nelson has been at the UI since 1975, when he was hired as an instructor in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Department of Political Science. He was named full professor in 1987 and chaired the department from 1998 to 2001. In 1980, Nelson helped create POROI, led it for some two decades, and now edits POROI's interdisciplinary journal for rhetorical analysis and invention in art, culture, inquiry and politics.

Nelson directed the Iowa and Grinnell Bridging Project for International and Interdisciplinary Studies until 2004. For 10 years, he edited book series for the university presses at Chicago Wisconsin. And for 16 years, he has led the American Political Science Association's Annual Workshop on Myth, Rhetoric and Symbolism.

Nelson says that the Honors Program "has celebrated work by the university's best students and supported their efforts to win external recognition." The new Blank Honors Center provides a "fine setting," he says, "for developing honors curricula to enhance the intellectual community among students." He adds that the UI "is working to put its Honors Program on the national map for recruiting top students, giving them excellent educations, and enriching resources for Iowa undergraduates across the board."

Nelson's salary will be $94,493.

Nelson holds a Ph.D. in political science with emphases on political theory and philosophy of science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His bachelor's degree in philosophy and political science is from the University of Kentucky. He has been elected to several offices, presiding over the UI Faculty Senate in 1989-90, and he has attracted dozens of competitive grants for projects in teaching and research.

Open to qualified undergraduate students, the Honors Program offers academic and social events such as classes, seminars, speakers, assistance in applying for scholarships and research grants and a broad range of co-curricular opportunities.

In early 2004, the Honors Program and the UI's Connie Belin & Jacqueline N. Blank International Center for Gifted Education and Talent Development moved into the new Blank Honors Center on the T. Anne Cleary Walkway, making the UI the first school in the nation to offer under one roof programs, services and support for academically gifted and talented students all the way from kindergarten through college.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

MEDIA CONTACT: Media: Stephen Pradarelli, 319-384-0007,