The Office of the Vice President for Research and Economic Development hosted its second salon-style Ideas & Intersections dinner April 7, exploring the topic “Privacy in a Digital Age” from the perspective of faculty in three disciplines.

Launched this spring, Ideas & Intersections is intended to create an intellectual hub for the UI campus, bringing together a diverse range of scholars, artists, and activists for an evening of discourse and discovery. Three select faculty give brief presentations about a topic and then take questions from attendees. The events also provide time for informal interactions among attendees and presenters.

“These discussions exemplify the intellectual cauldron, the essential role, and the importance of a great public research university–the University of Iowa,” said UI Vice President for Research and Economic Development Dan Reed. “They’re also a wonderful example of the power of cross-campus collaboration, when faculty on both sides of the river come together and apply their complementary skills and insights.”

The speakers and their talks for the April 7 dinner were:

Eugene Spafford, Executive Director, CERIAS, and Professor of Computer Science, Purdue University
The Challenge of Cyber Security
The using of computing and networks has grown in, around and under almost every aspect of our lives.  Along with that have come attacks against that same computational infrastructure.  What does that drive?  What does it imply?  What are some future concerns?

Nicholas Johnson, former Commissioner, Federal Communications Commission; Adjunct, College of Law (cyberlaw)
Why You Can't Win, Break Even, or Get Out of the Game: Watching the Digital Demolition of Our Fourth Amendment Rights
In what ways, from whom, and why is our privacy under attack, and what can we – and the law – do to help? How has the Supreme Court demolished our Fourth Amendment rights, and what Congressional tweak might reclaim them?

Deb Linebarger, Associate Professor, College of Education
From Minecraft to Facebook: Crafting Digital Personas and (Mis)Managing Privacy Over the Life Course
Millennials are portrayed as a generation who doesn't understand the value of personal information, the implications of (over)sharing, and the persistence of information. But then do we? How and who shape our digital selves? How and who use that information?

The inaugural event, held Feb. 3, explored the topic “Epidemics: Countering (and Encountering) Exposure and featured Mariola Espinosa, Associate Professor of History, on “The Costs of Public Health: A Historical Perspective;” Rachel Young, Assistant Professor in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication, on “Communication About Epidemics: What Helps, What Harms”; and Philip Polgreen, Associate Professor, Internal Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases, on “Multidisciplinary Approaches to Investigating Infectious Disease Outbreaks.”

More dinners are planned for the fall.

Those interested in attending or who have ideas for future topics and speakers should contact Leslie Weatherhead at  

The UI Office of Research and Economic Development supports and advances research, scholarship, and creative activity on the campus. Through a broad variety of activities and services, it seeks to play an important role in the underpinning of these creative activities in the public and private sectors of Iowa and beyond. More at