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University of Iowa News Release


May 13, 2009

UI faculty to visit Western Iowa May 20-22

The professors will become the students when a group of University of Iowa faculty members embarks on a three-day learning tour of Western Iowa this month. The fourth annual Faculty Engagement Corps will visit Jefferson, Denison, Council Bluffs and Red Oak May 20-22, where UI faculty will meet with business and civic leaders, visit schools, tour a hospital, and get a first-hand look at Iowa's "fragile giants," the Loess Hills.

The trip allows faculty members to develop a clearer understanding of the cultural, historical, economic and educational underpinnings of the state, and introduces faculty to the communities from which their students come and in which the state taxpayers live.

"Often when our faculty and administrators visit Iowa communities, we are making presentations about an area of our expertise or sharing information about the University's mission, goals and achievements," said UI Provost Wallace Loh. "This trip is different. It's a learning mission for our faculty -- an opportunity to find out how we can contribute to these communities' efforts and to learn from what they are already doing so well."

The group will start in Jefferson on Wednesday, May 20, where they'll tour the Jerry Peckumn Farm to learn about sustainable agriculture and wetlands protection. From there, the bus heads to Denison and a meeting with business and civic leaders who will share the successes and challenges of their growing community.

The tour's second day focuses on education with visits to Denison High School and Iowa Western Community College in Council Bluffs. In between, the group will picnic in the Loess Hills State Forest. The day ends with an alumni gathering at Tish's Restaurant in Council Bluffs. A reception begins at 6:30 p.m., followed by Liz Christiansen, director of the UI Office of Sustainability, speaking on "Sustainable Iowa: Is it Easy Being Green After All?" Her presentation highlights the university's work in energy conservation and renewable energy sources, recycling, transportation and "green" buildings.

The trip wraps up with a visit to Montgomery County Memorial Hospital and a walking tour of historic Red Oak on Friday, May 22.

The Engagement Corps began in 2006 as part of the university's Year of Public Engagement and currently is supported by the Office of the Provost, the Faculty Senate and the Office of University Relations.

"I am so gratified at the gracious and generous way the hosting communities have opened their doors to us," said Loh. "I truly believe the University faculty are the net beneficiaries of this important exchange of ideas."

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

MEDIA CONTACT: Mary Geraghty Kenyon, 319-384-0011,