Conflict and Civility in Political Discourse: Where Is the Line?

Sheraton Iowa City Hotel
Wednesday, November 9th, 2011 8:30 AM to Thursday, November 10th, 2011 5:30 PM

Are you so turned off by the current state of our political discourse that you've just tuned out? If so, you are not alone. To many the US appears hopelessly stuck in a hyperpartison, no holds barred, over the top race towards self-destruction.

But is this really the case? Did things used to be better? Can anything be done to stop the insanity?

This symposium was designed to contribute to the national dialogue by promoting civil discourse in the public sphere, with special emphasis on the political climate and voter sensibilities. Our goal was to approach the topic of civil discourse from an innovative, interdisciplinary and multi-partisan perspective.

The 2-day event included academic, political, and media perspectives, along with film screenings and art exhibits about the role of civil discourse in the development of policy. Discussions included historical perspectives on civil discourse in the US; rhetorical and artistic perspectives; the role of social media; the views of state and federal politicians; and the implications of the Citizens United Supreme Court case on political dialogue.

Events were free and open to the public. 

Tuesday, November 8th, 2011
Session Details Speakers
7:30 PM Film and Discussion
  1. Jon Winet
  2. Corey Creekmur
Wednesday, November 9th, 2011
Session Details Speakers
8:30 AM Welcome
  1. Sally Mason
  2. Peter Damiano
  3. Scott Raecker
9:00 AM Panel 1: Historical perspectives: The more things change...
  1. John Fortier
  2. John Avlon
  1. Phillip Round (Moderator)
10:45 AM Panel 2: Social media and political discourse
  1. Jon Lauck
  2. Julie Ajinkya
  3. John Deeth
  1. Bob Boynton (Moderator)
1:30 PM Panel 3: Rhetorical perspectives / Cultural interpretations
  1. Robert Ivie
  2. Gerald Wetlaufer
  3. André Brock
  1. Jeff Bennett (Moderator)
3:15 PM Afternoon Keynote: Have We Lost a Culture of Democratic Argument?
  1. Jean Bethke Elshtain
7:30 PM Evening keynote: Politics: A Game to Win or a Challenge to Lead?
  1. Honorable James Leach
Thursday, November 10th, 2011
Session Details Speakers
8:30 AM Morning Welcome and perspectives on discourse
  1. David Loebsack
9:00 AM Morning Keynote: Wisconsin Politics 2011 and the Impact on Discourse
  1. Michael Gousha
10:00 AM Campaign Finance, Citizens United and the impact on discourse
  1. Randall P. Bezanson
  2. Frederick Boehmke
  3. David Orentlicher
  1. Donna Hoffman (Moderator)
11:15 AM Women and Political Discourse
  1. Maggie Tinsman
  2. Senator Pam Jochum
  3. Zenzele Isoke
  1. Tracy Osborn (Moderator)
1:30 PM The Iowa Caucuses: an example of civil discourse in action
  1. Bill Keettel
  2. Sue Dvorsky
  3. Caroline J. Tolbert
  1. Dean Borg (Moderator)
3:00 PM Media coverage and the impact on civil discourse
  1. Jeff Charis-Carlson
  2. Lyle Muller
  3. Kathie Obradovich
  4. Adam B. Sullivan
  5. Ed Tibbetts
  1. Dianne Bystrom, PhD (Moderator)
  • Julie Ajinkya

    Center for American Progress

    Julie Ajinkya is a Policy Analyst for Progress 2050 at the Center for American Progress. Her work focuses on race/ethnic, gender, and immigration politics, and she pays particular attention to the changing demographics of multicultural societies such as the United States and Western Europe. Prior to joining American Progress, she was a research fellow and policy analyst at Gender Action, where she focused on the gendered impacts of International Financial Institution investments in the developing world. She was also a New Voices Fellow from 2003 to 2005 at the Institute for Policy Studies, where she coordinated the national outreach for the institute’s Foreign Policy in Focus project. Dr. Ajinkya earned her MA and PhD in government from Cornell University, where her doctoral dissertation examined the political behavior of children of Muslim immigrants and their campaigns for gender-justice activism in Europe and North America. She also earned a BA in political science from Amherst College.


  • John Avlon

    Newsweek and the Daily Beast

    John Avlon is senior columnist for Newsweek and The Daily Beast as well as a CNN contributor. He is the author of Independent Nation: How Centrists Can Change American Politics and Wingnuts: How the Lunatic Fringe is Hijacking America as well as co-editor of the anthology Deadline Artists: America’s Greatest Newspaper Columns. Previously, he was a columnist and associate editor for the New York Sun and chief speechwriter for New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani. Avlon has appeared on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, PBS, and C-Span. He has spoken at the Kennedy School of Government, the Citadel, the State Department’s visiting journalist program, and civic organizations around the nation. Columnist Kathleen Parker wrote, “Americans who are fed up with the Ann Coulter/Michael Moore school of debate and are looking for someone to articulate a commonsense, middle path, may have found their voice in John Avlon.”

  • Jean Bethke Elshtain

    Laura Spelman Rockefeller Professor of Social and Political Ethics, Chicago Divinity School

    Jean Bethke Elshtain is the Laura Spelman Rockefeller Professor at the University of Chicago. She is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and has served on the boards of the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, and the National Humanities Center. She is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and of nine honorary degrees. In 2002 Elshtain received the Frank J. Goodnow award, the highest award for distinguished service to the profession given by the American Political Science Association. In 2006 President George W. Bush appointed her to the Council of the National Endowment of the Humanities. She has delivered the Gifford Lectures at the University of Edinburgh, joining a group that includes William James, Hannah Arendt, Karl Barth, and Reinhold Niebuhr. In 2008 Elshtain received a second presidential appointment to the President’s Council on Bioethics. She has published more than five hundred essays and has authored or edited more than twenty books, including Democracy on Trial (1995), Just War against Terror: The Burden of American Power in a Violent World (2003), Jane Addams and the Dream of American Democracy (2002), Augustine and the Limits of Politics (1996), Sovereignty: God, State, Self, and The Meaning of Marriage (2008). She holds an A.B. from Colorado State University and an M.A. and a Ph.D. from Brandeis University.

  • Randall P. Bezanson

    College of Law, University of Iowa

    Randall Bezanson served as clerk to Judge Robb of the United States Court of Appeals and to Justice Harry A. Blackmun of the U.S. Supreme Court. He was a faculty member of the Iowa Law School from 1974-1988, and a vice president of The University of Iowa from 1979-84. In 1988 Professor Bezanson was named Dean of the Washington & Lee University School of Law in Virginia. He returned to the UI in 1996 and was named the David H. Vernon Professor of Law. Professor Bezanson's teaching centers on constitutional law, freedom of speech and press, and mass communication law. He is co-author of Libel Law and the Press: Myth and Reality, which received the National Distinguished Service Award for Research in Journalism. He is also author or co-author ofReforming Libel LawSpeech Stories: How Free Can Speech Be?; and the forthcoming Is There Such A Thing as Too Much Free Speech? Professor Bezanson holds a BS from Northwestern and a JD from the University of Iowa.

  • Frederick Boehmke

    Political Science Department, University of Iowa

    Fred Boehmke is an Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Iowa and a member of the new Iowa Social Science Research Center. From 2005-2007 he was the Robert Wood Johnson Scholar in Health Policy Research at the University of Michigan. Professor Boehmke's research focuses on the many consequences—intended and unintended—of direct democracy on interest groups. He is the author of The Indirect Effect of Direct Legislation: How Institutions Shape Interest Group Systems. In general, he likes to develop and test empirical and formal models of political phenomena.

  • André Brock

    School of Library and Information Science, University of Iowa

    André Brock is an assistant professor at the University of Iowa holding a joint appointment in the School of Library and Information Science and the Project on the Rhetoric of Inquiry. His research studies identity formation on the Internet and in other digital technologies. In recent work, he has examined racialized critiques of an open source web browser; representations of race and gender in videogames; and African American usage of Twitter.

  • Jeff Charis-Carlson

    Iowa City Press Citizen

    Since 2006, Jeff Charis-Carlson has served as the Opinion page editor for the Iowa City Press-Citizen. In that time, he has worked to facilitate civil conversation about controversial topics in one of the most highly educated and overly opinionated communities in the nation. Drawing upon his graduate studies in American literature, he has championed Iowa City as a UNESCO-designated City of Literature and has worked to reintroduce poetry as a regular opinion feature. In 2010, Mr. Charis-Carlson was awarded first place in editorial writing (division 2) by the Iowa Associated Press Managing Editors, and he shared the Iowa APME's 2008 overall “sweepstakes award” for the Press-Citizen's coverage of government openness at the University of Iowa.

  • Corey Creekmur

    English, and Cinema and Comparative Literature, University of Iowa

    Corey Creekmur's teaching and research focus on international popular cinema (especially American and South Asian), cross-cultural film genres, and the way in which such films interact with other media (such as music) as well as discourses of race, gender, and sexuality. He also teaches courses, derived from the theoretical foundations of cultural studies and psychoanalysis, on the affective relation between film stars and fans. His work on American literature deals with popular genres as well, including detective fiction and the superhero comic book. In addition to his main appointments in the Departments of English and Cinema & Comparative Literature, he is affiliated with International Programs, Sexuality Studies, and the South Asian Studies Program. He also directs the Institute for Cinema and Culture. He received a PhD from the University of Illinois.

  • Peter Damiano

    Director, Public Policy Center

    Peter Damiano is the Director of the Public Policy Center (PPC) and Professor, Department of Preventive and Community Dentistry at the University of Iowa. He started the health policy research program at the PPC in 1990 and has been Director of the Center since July 2007. He is a health services researcher who investigates issues relating to access to care, quality, cost and outcomes of care. Dr. Damiano has authored over 100 peer-reviewed journal articles and research monographs and has been the principal investigator on over 50 research studies funded by federal, state and Foundation sources. He is a former staff intern in the US Senate, a Robert Wood Johnson Dental Health Services Research Scholar and HRSA Primary Care Policy Fellow. He is a graduate of the University of Iowa College of Dentistry (DDS) and UCLA School of Public Health (MPH).

  • John Deeth

    Local Iowa City blogger

    John Deeth is a Des Moines Register guest blogger who has been featured in publications ranging from the Drudge Report to the Huffington Post. His past affiliations include WSUI radio (NPR) and Iowa Independent. Mr. Deeth and his trademark raspberry beret were a frequent presence on the 2007 Iowa caucus scene. He is a political activist in Johnson County and the Democratic Party, and ran for the Iowa legislature in 1996. The John Deeth Blog, recently listed as one of the top state-level political blogs by the Washington Post, has been published since Dec. 31, 2002. Mr. Deeth’s writing interests include electoral politics in general and Iowa politics in particular, popular music and culture, and technology.

  • Sue Dvorsky

    Chair, Iowa Democratic Party

    Sue Dvorsky has led the Iowa Democratic Party as chairwoman since June 2010. Under her watch the IDP has continued to be a strong advocate for Democratic principles across the state, and has contributed to electoral victories from the local to federal level. Ms. Dvorsky was one of the first Iowans to be involved with the 2007-2008 campaign for then Senator Barack Obama, serving as Johnson County co-chair for their caucus campaign. While she has always been active in Democratic causes and campaigns, she has also left a lasting impact on countless students as a teacher in Iowa City public schools, where she spent 30 years as a special education teacher. In 2012 Ms. Dvorsky and the IDP are focused on running a successful First in the Nation Caucus, and expanding Democratic control at all levels of government.

  • John Fortier

    Bipartisan Policy Center

    John Fortier is political scientist at the Bipartisan Policy Center, a DC-based think tank that promotes bipartisanship. He is the author of Absentee and Early Voting: Trends, Promises and Perils, author and editor of After the People Vote: A Guide to the Electoral College, and author and co-editor of Second Term Blues: How George W. Bush Has Governed. Previously, Dr. Fortier was a research fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, where he also served as the principal contributor to the AEI-Brookings Election Reform Project, the executive director of the Continuity of Government Commission, and the project manager of the Transition to Governing Project. He was also a regular contributor to AEI’s Election Watch series, and is a regular columnist for The Hill and Politico. Dr. Fortier is a frequent commentator on elections and government institutions and has appeared on ABC’s Nightline, CNN, Fox News, and PBS’s News Hour, among others. He has a PhD in political science from Boston College and a BA from Georgetown University.

  • Michael Gousha

    Distinguished Fellow in Law and Public Policy, Marquette University Law School

    Mike Gousha serves as a Distinguished Fellow in Law and Public Policy at Marquette University Law School in Milwaukee. One of Wisconsin’s most respected journalists, he leads important public policy discussions, using forums, conferences and debates to address key issues. Professor Gousha is the host of the Law School’s popular On the Issues conversation series, and in 2010, moderated a nationally recognized series of debates at Marquette, featuring the candidates for Governor and U.S. Senate. In addition, he continues to work as a contributing anchor and reporter for WISN-TV in Milwaukee. He is the host of the weekly Sunday morning program, Up Front with Mike Gousha, which airs throughout Wisconsin. He also offers political analysis and does long form reporting for the ABC affiliate. Professor Gousha has earned numerous national and local awards during his journalism career, including two Emmy awards. He is a member of the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame and has received the Associated Press' prestigious Carol Brewer award for outstanding, long-term contributions to broadcast journalism in Wisconsin. The Milwaukee Press Club named him a Knight of the Golden Quill, the club's highest honor. Prior to joining Marquette and WISN, Professor Gousha spent 25 years as lead anchor and political reporter at WTMJ in Milwaukee, the NBC affiliate. He holds a degree in journalism from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

  • Zenzele Isoke

    Gender, Women and Sexuality Studies, University of Minnesota

    Zenzele Isoke is Assistant Professor of Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies at the University of Minnesota. She studies black women’s community politics and activisms in urban spaces. She teaches courses in feminist theory and methods, women in politics and public policy, women and popular culture, and feminist geography. Her first book, Urban Black Women and the Politics of Resistance, will be released by Palgrave-MacMillian Press in 2012. Using intersectionality as a central analytic tool and the stories that contemporary activists tell about politics as her primary evidence, her book examines both the practical and discursive roles that black women activists play in hip hop politics, black LGBTQ politics, and other contemporary social movements in Newark, New Jersey. She is the author of two articles forthcoming in Transforming Anthropology: A Journal of Black Anthropology and Gender, Place, and Culture, and has recently begun a research project called “Unheard Voices at the Bottom of Empire: Afro-Arab women and hip hop culture in Dubai, UAE.” 

  • Robert Ivie

    American Studies & Communication and Culture, Indiana University

    Robert Ivie is Professor of American Studies and Communication & Culture at Indiana University, Bloomington. He also holds the title of Honorary Professor in Rhetoric at the University of Copenhagen. His work examines issues of civic communication and public culture through the lens of rhetorical theory. He is especially concerned with questions of democracy and war. His two most recent books are Democracy and America’s War on Terror, and Dissent from War. He has served as editor of Western Journal of Communication, Quarterly Journal of Speech, and Communication and Critical/Cultural Studies. He is a member of the editorial boards of Presidential Studies Quarterly, Javnost—The Public, and Rhetoric & Public Affairs. Professor Ivie teaches undergraduate courses on political communication, war propaganda, democratic dissent, and peacebuilding communication, and graduate courses on rhetorical theory, rhetorical critique, democratic discourse, and war rhetoric. 

  • Senator Pam Jochum

    Senator, Dubuque, Iowa

    Senator Pam Jochum was elected to the Iowa Senate in 2008, after serving in the Iowa House of Representatives since 1993. She represents the people of Senate District 14, which covers the City of Dubuque. Senator Jochum is the chair of the Administration & Regulation Budget Subcommittee and vice-chair of the Labor & Business Relations Committee. She also serves on the Judiciary, State Government, Ways & Means, Human Resources, and Appropriations committees. Her prior political experience includes serving as floor whip at the Democratic National Convention in 1984, serving as chair of the Dubuque County Democratic Central Committee in 1982. She received her AA and BA from Loras College.

  • Bill Keettel

    Johnson Country Republican

  • Jon Lauck

    Senior advisor to Senator John Thune

    Jon Lauck serves as Counsel and Senior Advisor to U.S. Senator John Thune. He is the author of American Agriculture and the Problem of Monopoly, Daschle v. Thune: Anatomy of a High Plains Senate Race, and Prairie Republic: The Political Culture of Dakota Territory and the co-author and co-editor of The Plains Political Tradition: Essays on South Dakota Political Culture. He recently wrote about the importance of the Iowa Caucuses for the Fortnightly Review. Dr. Lauck is a historian, and was previously a professor at South Dakota State University.

  • Honorable James Leach

    Chairman, National Endowment for the Humanities

    James A. Leach is Chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Prior to being nominated by President Obama for the post, Leach was a Professor at the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University and Interim Director of the Institute of Politics and Lecturer at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.


    Leach’s brief stint in academia was preceded by 30 years of service as a representative in Congress where he chaired the Banking and Financial Services Committee, the Subcommittee on Asian and Pacific Affairs, and the Congressional-Executive Commission on China. Leach attended Princeton, the School of Advanced International Studies of Johns Hopkins, and the London School of Economics.


    He holds eleven honorary degrees, has received decorations from two foreign governments, and is the recipient of the Wayne Morse Integrity in Politics Award, the Adlai Stevenson Award from the United Nations Association, the Edger Wayburn Award from the Sierra Club, the Norman Borlaug Public Service Award, and a Woodrow Wilson Award from both Princeton and Johns Hopkins.


    Leach served on the board of several public companies and a series of non-profit organizations, including the Century Foundation, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, the Social Sciences Research Council, Pro Publica and Common Cause which he chaired. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Council on Foreign Relations, and formerly served as a trustee of Princeton University. 

  • David Loebsack

    U.S. House of Representatives

    Congressman Dave Loebsack is currently serving his third term in the United States House of Representatives. He represents Iowa’s Second Congressional District. Since being elected in 2006, Congressman Loebsack has been a relentless advocate for Iowans. As a member of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, he is committed to job creation, growing our middle class by ensuring that our children receive a first-class education, making higher education available to all, and providing training for Iowa workers.

    He is also the co-chair of the bipartisan Rural Education Caucus. Congressman Loebsack’s priority on the House Armed Services Committee is to ensure that our troops have the training and equipment necessary to safely complete their missions, that our military families receive the support they deserve, and that our nation’s veterans are given the same dignity and honor with which they served our country. He has worked tirelessly to improve training facilities and guarantee benefits for Iowa National Guard. He was awarded the Enlisted Association of the National Guard’s G.V. “Sonny” Montgomery Eagle Award in 2011 for his work to increase education benefits for National Guard Soldiers and Airmen.

    He serves on the Center Aisle Caucus, the Congressional Rural Caucus, the Congressional Caucus for Women’s Issues, the Congressional Military Families Caucus, the House Manufacturing Caucus, and the Congressional Missing and Exploited Children’s Caucus, and several others. He continues to serve as Professor Emeritus at Cornell College in Mount Vernon, Iowa, where he taught political science for 24 years.

  • Sally Mason

    President, University of Iowa

    Sally Mason became the 20th President of The University of Iowa on August 1, 2007. She holds a full professorship with tenure in the Department of Biology in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

    At Iowa, President Mason began a sustainable university initiative, making sustainability a central priority of all aspects of the University enterprise—its operations, its academic mission, and its greater responsibilities to society. An unexpected priority for President Mason was the historic flooding of the UI campus and the greater community in 2008, and her leadership helped bring the campus community together to preserve as much of the University’s resources as possible and rebuild essential facilities in time to open the campus for a full complement of fall semester courses. Currently, she is overseeing campus rebuilding, especially the renewal of an arts campus for the 21st century.

  • Lyle Muller

    Cedar Rapids Gazette

    Lyle Muller became editor of The Gazette in Eastern Iowa in February 2009. From 1987-2009, he held several positions in the multimedia company, SourceMedia Group in Iowa, including Johnson County Bureau Chief, Iowa City Editor, Investigations and Special Projects Editor and Senior Editor. He covered health and science and higher education for The Gazette for 13 years, and was a National Association of Science Writers fellow in 1992 before moving into editing positions in 1999. Before becoming a newspaper reporter in 1980 at The Daily Iowan he was a broadcast news reporter for seven years. He is a member of the Iowa Newspaper Foundation Board of Directors, Iowa Newspaper Association Government Relations Committee and Iowa High School Press Association Board of Directors, and is the expanded media coordinator for Iowa’s Sixth Judicial District. A native Iowan, he has a BA in communication studies from the University of Iowa.

  • Kathie Obradovich

    Des Moines Register

    Kathie Obradovich has been covering Iowa government and politics for more than two decades. She joined the Des Moines Register as political editor in 2003, just a few months before the 2004 Iowa caucuses. The Register's caucus coverage won national awards that year, and again in 2008. She's also been the lead editor for the award-winning Iowa Poll. In June 2009, she took over from David Yepsen as the Register's political columnist. She makes frequent appearances on national media programs and also has developed a following for campaign coverage on Twitter. She's an Iowa native and makes use of that perspective in her columns. 

  • David Orentlicher

    Center for Law and Health at Indiana University School of Law - Indianapolis

    David Orentlicher, MD, JD, is a professor and co-director of the Center for Law and Health at Indiana University School of Law in Indianapolis. During the 2010-2011 academic year, he was a visiting professor of law at University of Iowa College of Law. A graduate of Harvard Law School and Harvard Medical School, he previously served as director of the Division of Medical Ethics at the American Medical Association. He also was on the adjunct faculty of the University of Chicago Law School and Northwestern University Medical School.

    In addition to his work in health care law, Professor Orentlicher teaches and writes on controversies in constitutional law, including affirmative action, separation of powers and partisan conflict. His current research includes a forthcoming book on the presidency. Professor Orentlicher served in the Indiana House of Representatives from 2002-2008. In 2007, he was named “Best Politician” by NUVO, Indianapolis’ alternative newspaper.

  • Scott Raecker

    Executive Director, Character Counts In Iowa

    Scott Raecker is Executive Director of Character Counts In Iowa (CCII), a grant-funded institute at Drake University. CCII’s mission is to recognize, enhance and sustain the positive qualities of Iowans in order to promote civility through character development. From pre-school to the corporate boardroom, CCII works to create a positive environment of civility and principled decision making in our daily lives. Mr. Raecker is also a member of the Iowa House of Representatives, where he chairs the Appropriations Committee and previously chaired the Ethics Committee. He is involved in numerous civic volunteer efforts, serving as a board member of the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation, Drake University School of Education National Advisory Board, Josephson Institute of Ethics Board of Governors, Shining City Foundation, and board member and former chair of the Midwest Council of Governments Legislative Leadership Institute. He received a BA in Political Science and Religious Studies from Grinnell College, and is a certified character development specialist and corporate ethics trainer through the Josephson Institute of Ethics.

  • Adam B. Sullivan

    The Daily Iowan

    Adam Sullivan has been covering local and state politics in Iowa for five years. He was the editor-in-chief at the Daily Iowan from May 2011 to March 2012, overseeing a staff of more than 100 student-journalists. Mr. Sullivan has previously worked as a general assignment reporter at The Gazette and KCRG in Cedar Rapids. Before that, he was a political reporter at the Iowa Independent, the state’s biggest online news organization. His coverage interests include the state legislature and open government issues. He currently is a reporter for the Iowa City Press-Citizen as an education reporter.

  • Ed Tibbetts

    Quad City Times

    Ed Tibbetts has covered eastern Iowa since 1984, and has been at the Quad-City Times since 1989. Most of that time has been spent as the newspaper's political reporter. Mr. Tibbetts has covered political figures ranging from aldermen to presidents, the latter mostly by writing about Iowa's first-in-the-nation presidential caucuses. He has covered every caucus since 1996. He also writes about demographic trends in Iowa and the Quad-Cities in his blog.

  • Maggie Tinsman

    Former State Senator and Co-chair of 50/50 in 2020

    Former State Senator Maggie Tinsman operates “Maggie Tinsman, LLC,” a consulting firm that specializes in early childhood education development, health and human services issues, and elected public service for women. She is co-founder of 50/50 in 2020, which works to recruit, train, and mentor women for elected positions in Iowa. During her 18-year tenure as Iowa State Senator, her many accomplishments included the introduction of legislation to make human trafficking a felony in Iowa. Honors include the Iowa Social Worker of the Year Award, Child Abuse Council Priorities Award, and Coalition of Family and Children Services Award. Senator Tinsman holds a BA in Sociology from the University of Colorado, and an MA in Social Work from the University of Iowa. She currently serves on the Boards of Iowa Public Health, Prevention of Disabilities Policy Council, Iowa Legal Aid Foundation, Iowa Initiative to Reduce Unintended Pregnancies, SAL Families and Community Services, among others. At the national level she served on the National Advisory Committee on Rural Health and Human Services.

  • Caroline J. Tolbert

    Department of Political Science, University of Iowa

    Caroline Tolbert is Professor of Political Science at the University of Iowa and the author of more than a half dozen books, as well as dozens of articles in scholarly journals. Her research explores political behavior, elections and representation widely defined.

    Tolbert is coauthor of Digital Citizenship: The Internet Society and Participation (Cambridge, MIT Press, 2008) and Virtual Inequality: Beyond the Digital Divide (Georgetown University Press, 2003). Digital Citizenship was ranked one of 20 best-selling titles in the social sciences by the American Library Association for 2008. In 2011 she published Why Iowa? How Caucuses and Sequential Elections Improve the Presidential Nominating Process (University of Chicago Press) with D. Redlawsk and T. Donovan). She is also coauthor of Educated by Initiative: The Effects of Direct Democracy on Citizens and Political Organizations in the American States (University of Michigan, 2004), co-editor of Democracy in the States: Experiments in Election Reform (Brookings Institution Press, 2008) and Citizens as Legislators: Direct Democracy in the United States (Ohio State University Press, 1998). Her latest book is Digital Cities: The Internet and Geography of Opportunity under contract with Oxford University Press (with K. Mossberger and W. Franko).

    Tolbert was the General Program Chair (with T. Lee, UC Berkeley) of the 2008 Midwest Political Science Association Meeting. Caroline Tolbert is the former Co-Director of The University of Iowa Hawkeye Poll (with D. Redlawsk, Rutgers University). In 2009 she was named a Collegiate Scholar by the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the University of Iowa for excellence in teaching and scholarship.

  • Gerald Wetlaufer

    College of Law, University of Iowa

    Professor Wetlaufer's teaching, research and writing deals with federal civil procedure, the systems of belief and forms of argument at work in contemporary American law, the rhetorics of negotiations, and the consequences and ethics of strategic behavior in the practice of law and the conduct of negotiations. He joined the law law faculty after thirteen years of private practice, and seven years as a partner, with the Washington, D.C. law firm of Wald, Harkrader & Ross where he specialized in antitrust law and economics and in complex civil litigation involving contested corporate take-over attempts and class actions seeking to desegregate the construction industries in the D.C. metropolitan area. He received his BA f rom Princeton and his JD from Yale Law School.

  • Jon Winet

    Associate Professor, Intermedia, University of Iowa

    Jon Winet is a New Media artist, researcher and educator, and serves as Area Head of the Intermedia Program. He joined the faculty of The University of Iowa School of Art & Art History in 2002. In 2006 he was appointed director of the Experimental Wing of The University of Iowa Virtual Writing University. He is also a member of the faculty of International Programs. He previously taught at the California College of Art, Maryland Institute College of Art, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and San Francisco Art Institute, among others. From 1984- 2004 he worked in the collaboration Margaret Crane|Jon Winet producing projects revolving around politics, art, language and image in the Information Age. Professor Winet serves on the advisory boards of the artist-centered organizations Southern Exposure, San Francisco, California; Outpost for Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; and Transformer, Washington, D.C.

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