Screen readers: Two navigational links to follow.Skip to site navigation.Skip to page content.
The University of Iowa News Services
The University of Iowa News Services Home News Releases UI in the News Subscribe to UI News Contact Us

University of Iowa News Release


July 8, 2010

NOTE: Click on photo or here for high resolution (300 dpi) image.

Obermann Center names Mangum director, announces new temporary location

Teresa Mangum, associate professor of English in the University of Iowa College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, has been named the new director of the UI Obermann Center for Advanced Studies, effective July 1. Mangum succeeds Jay Semel, who retired this month after directing the center for nearly 30 years.

“I want to extend heartfelt thanks on behalf of the UI to Jay Semel for his many years of dedicated service, and I am delighted to welcome another strong leader, Teresa Mangum, to this role,” said Jordan Cohen, interim vice president for research and economic development.

“The Obermann Center has for decades represented the university’s dedication to the humanities and interdisciplinary collaboration. We remain committed to those values, and we are excited about the center’s future and its imminent campus location, which should provide increased access for graduate students and retired faculty.”

The Obermann Center is one of several units moving from Oakdale Hall, which is to be razed over the next fiscal year. Beginning in September 2010, the center’s temporary home will be a Tudor-style house at 111 Church St.

“As the center moves to campus, we will preserve traditions that promote faculty research and collaboration and seek new ways to play a role in the lively intellectual community that makes the university and Iowa City so special,” Mangum said. “I am already working with university officials to locate a permanent home for the center near campus. Meanwhile, our temporary location is nicely situated across from the president’s residence and near the Writers’ Workshop and the International Writing Program. I envision the new center as a crossroads where artists, scholars and researchers gather to create and share discoveries with the campus and the larger community.”

Once renovation dates for the Church Street location are finalized, scholars will be invited to apply to work at the center. More information on Obermann Center grants and appointments is available at

Named in honor of UI professor emeritus C. Esco Obermann and his wife, Avalon, the center provides an environment and resources for reflection, writing and the exchange of ideas. Scholars from a variety of disciplines and institutions form research communities at the center, where they work individually and together on projects, seek feedback and engage in intellectual exchanges.

Mangum is a longtime and active supporter and beneficiary of the Obermann Center. She served a one-year term as associate director, founded and co-directed the Obermann Graduate Institute on Engagement and the Academy, organized a summer seminar on age studies, co-directed a Cmiel Research Semester on human-animal relations, and hosted the Obermann humanities symposium, “Platforms for Public Scholars.” Mangum researches Victorian literature and culture, and she is the author of “Married, Middlebrow, and Militant: Sarah Grand and the New Woman Novel,” and many articles on animals, aging and novels in 19th century Britain.

Mangum is president of the Interdisciplinary Nineteenth-Century Studies, a member of the founding board of the National Academy of Engaged Scholars, and associate director of an international consortium, The Dickens Project. In addition to receiving the UI President and Provost Award for Teaching Excellence and the UI Brody Award for Service to the university and state of Iowa, Mangum was recently awarded the British Women Writers Association Biennial Award for Contributions to the Study of British Women Writers.

“I’m honored to have been appointed director of the Obermann Center, and I’m grateful to Dean Linda Maxson of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and the Department of English for supporting me in this endeavor,” Mangum said.

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

MEDIA CONTACT: Nicole Riehl, 319-384-0070,