Previous Award Recipients  
Internal Funding Initiatives 
Public Engagement Grant Program 2012

The Offices of the Provost and Vice President for Research are proud to present the recipients of the Public Engagement Grant (PEG) program for 2012-2013.  These competitive awards are designed to provide seed grants to UI researchers, scholars and artists for limited term projects that promote collaboration between the University of Iowa and community partners.


Charles ConnerlyCharles Connerly, Professor and Director, Urban and Regional Planning
Community Partner: Judy Cambridge, Co-founder, Coalition for a Greater Hills Community
Hills, Iowa, Strategic Plan Development
The purpose of this project is to employ two to three UI Urban and Regional Planning graduate students, under the supervision of Professor Charles Connerly, to assist the Coalition for a Greater Hills Community (of Hills, Iowa) to build upon the Coalition’s earlier work by organizing and implementing a community wide meeting focused on community goals and needs. Results from the meeting will then be taken by the students for preparation of a Hills, Iowa Strategic Plan that will guide both the Coalition and the community in identifying projects and resources that will benefit the community over a time horizon of five to ten years. The Coalition was founded in Summer 2012, with encouragement and assistance by Professor Connerly and one of his graduate students. Since that time, the Coalition has demonstrated a high level of capacity for identifying key issues, such as the closure of the community school, and developing strategies for facilitating public participation in efforts to both protect and advance the community. Most recently, the Coalition completed a community wide survey that will be used to inform the strategic planning process as well as serve as the basis for making grant applications, including a recent one to Keep Iowa Beautiful.
Elizabeth GuzmanElizabeth Guzman, Director, Spanish General Education Program
Community Partners: Nancy Gardner and Brenda Arthur-Miller, Principals, West Liberty Schools
Spanish in the Community
Our grant proposal requests funding for two service learning sections of Intermediate Spanish II, called Spanish in the Community. This class combines language learning and community service. Students volunteer with native Spanish speakers in schools in West Liberty and Iowa City. Projects include tutoring ESL students at West Liberty High School and leading Spanish conversation groups through West Liberty Elementary School’s dual language program. Grant funding would cover the cost of transportation to service learning sites in West Liberty and would contribute to the cost of background checks. This class benefits elementary and high school students who need academic and English language help. It also provides at-risk students in the community with university role models. The class benefits UI students’ academic and civic learning, as they combine their service work with a culturally-based curriculum that allows them to explore issues affecting Latinos in the US. The class has grown from 1 section with 10 students in fall 2007 to 2 sections with 31 students in spring 2012. UI students have volunteered with approximately 145 children and adolescents this year. Grant funding would guarantee this class’s ability to commit to the community it serves.
Karla McGregorKarla McGregor, Professor, Communication Sciences & Disorders
Community Partner: Diane Dingbaum, Associate Director, Neighborhood Centers of Johnson County
Promoting Language Acquisition in Youth
Promoting Language Acquisition in Youth (PLAY) is a proposed partnership between the student speech-language clinicians enrolled in 003-206 and the early childhood teachers at the Neighborhood Centers of Johnson County.  Each partner brings valuable skills to the other: the students bring expertise in language development and the teachers bring expertise in early childhood education. While learning from each other, these partners will address a vital community need: they will seek to facilitate language growth in the preschoolers who attend the Neighborhood Centers’ early childhood program for low-income families. Poverty is a major obstacle to optimal language development that has long-term academic and economic consequences. As the Neighborhood Centers’ target neighborhoods have become more impoverished and more diverse, promoting language development among the resident children has become increasingly difficult. To address this difficulty, we have designed PLAY, a servicelearning initiative that exploits play as a “classroom” and incorporates the agency of all learners, the student clinicians, the early childhood teachers, and the preschoolers themselves, as a guiding principle. PLAY stands to further all goals associated with the Provost’s initiative: It will address a community-identified need; deepen students’ learning; enhance community well being; and enrich the scholarship of the institution.
Chris MerrillChris Merrill, Director, International Writing Program
Community Partner: Dora Malech, Director, Iowa Youth Writing Program
Iowa: Face to Face
The International Writing Program (IWP) and the Iowa Youth Writing Project (IYWP) would like to utilize a Public Engagement Grant to reach Iowa’s underserved youth with targeted creative writing workshop sessions that will provide a catalyst to cultivate new and ongoing relationships between the UI and various youth-based communities across the state where literature and writing can provide an inimitable bridge. In all, four Saturday-sessions will identify particular underserved communities and local organizations in towns around the state, with a collaborative closing session and reception held in Iowa City, and in partnership with IP’s WorldCanvass. These sessions will connect state-wide youth populations to the UI’s unique literary resources, bridging communities, reaching diverse populations, and enfranchising at-risk youth whose voices are marginalized. In reaching out into underserved communities and inviting Iowa’s school-aged children to campus, and with the writing, tutoring, and publishing opportunities provided to Iowa’s youth, students at the University of Iowa, and the IWP’s array of well-established international writers, “Iowa: Face to Face” will not only serve as a model for future programming, but also as a recruiting tool to attract future students to the possibilities of higher education.
Elizabeth OakesElizabeth Oakes, Coordinator, University of Iowa String Quartet Residency Program
Community Partner: Sonja Zeithamel, Director, Preucil School of Music
Cavani String Quartet Residency
The University of Iowa String Quartet Residency Program, the Preucil School of Music and Mark Twain Elementary propose to bring the Cavani String Quartet to Iowa City for a weeklong residency. The aim of this residency is twofold ‐ educating University of Iowa School of Music students in the field of public engagement and exposing young children and aspiring instrumentalists to an exemplary chamber music experience. During the 2013 spring semester, School of Music faculty member Elizabeth Oakes would integrate an active study of approaches to public engagement and educational outreach into her existing String Chamber Music seminar (025:188:005). This course would culminate in a residency by the Cavani String Quartet ‐ internationally recognized experts in the fields of performance and community‐based work. During this residency, Cavani members would perform a public concert and give master classes and lectures about their work with community partners. The residency would culminate in an educational performance at Mark Twain Elementary and a two‐day chamber music workshop for Iowa students (ages 4‐18) hosted by the Preucil School of Music. Students from the String Chamber Music seminar would be encouraged to attend both external events to observe the Cavani’s research put into practice.