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University of Iowa News Release


March 12, 2009

College of Liberal Arts and Sciences names Dean's Scholars, Collegiate Scholar

Four College of Liberal Arts and Sciences faculty members are being honored for excellence in teaching and scholarship or creative work. The 2009-11 Dean's Scholars are Rebekah Kowal of the Department of Dance, David Peate of the Department of Geoscience, and Ahmed Souaiaia of the Department of Religious Studies. Political Scientist Caroline Tolbert is the new Collegiate Scholar.

Linda Maxson, dean of the college, presents the Dean's Scholar award to newly tenured faculty to recognize achievements early in their careers. She presents the Collegiate Scholar award to mid-career faculty recently promoted to full professorship. Awards are made on the advice of the college's committee on faculty promotion and tenure.

"I am delighted to recognize these outstanding faculty members," Maxson said. "Each has been prolific in contributing wide-ranging research and creative work to academia. They represent the scholarly achievement that continually renews our curriculum and offers exciting academic opportunities for our students."

The scholars receive discretionary funds to support their teaching and research. 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 Collegiate Scholar award is funded by an unrestricted gift to the college.

Tolbert teaches American politics and research methods and is co-director of the UI Hawkeye Poll. A highly productive scholar with research interests in political participation, reform, technology and equality, she has published five books, most recently "Democracy in the States: Experiments in Election Reform" (2008) and "Digital Citizenship: The Internet, Society and Participation" (2007). Her new manuscript asks "Why Iowa?" in an examination of our state's role in the presidential nomination process. Tolbert earned a doctorate at the University of Colorado in 1996. After serving on the faculty of Kent State University, she joined the UI Political Science department in 2006.

Kowal teaches dance history and theory. Her scholarship broadens to consider embodied practices such as sit-ins and considers the role of socio-cultural politics, as in her forthcoming book, "How to Do Things with Dance: Performing Change in Postwar America." Before joining the UI Dance faculty in 2001, Kowal danced professionally, earned a doctorate in American Studies from New York University, and was a Mellon postdoctoral fellow at Haverford College.

Peate teaches introductory geoscience and courses specializing in igneous geochemistry. The National Science Foundation has funded his research on the compositions of volcanic rock to address the origins and movements of magma. He earned a doctorate at The Open University in the United Kingdom. Before joining the UI geoscience faculty in 2004, he held postdoctoral fellowships at numerous institutions and was a senior researcher at the Danish Lithosphere Centre.

Souaiaia has developed courses in Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies and teaches Arabic. In his book, "Contesting Justice: Women, Islam, Law, and Society" (2008), he deconstructs the basis for the status of women in Muslim society through analyses of legal texts and religious traditions. Souaiaia was a lecturer at the University of Washington, where he earned a doctorate prior to his appointment to the UI religious studies faculty in 2004.

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

MEDIA CONTACTS: Barb Yerkes, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, 319-335-2627,; Nicole Riehl, University News Services, 319-384-0070 (office), 319-430-6576 (cell),