Tuesday, September 18, 2012

I am delighted to join you today to welcome our talented new faculty to the University of Iowa and to celebrate the successful launch in the past year of “Public Humanities in a Digital World.”

I am very excited about this initiative for a number of reasons. The innovations that are possible through interdisciplinary clusters in general are exhilarating. We are enthusiastic about the cluster hire initiatives that we have put forward across the university, which have brought many very talented people and many forward-thinking ideas to our academic community.

Specifically, the digital public humanities cluster brings a special kind of excitement to the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences in particular. It adds significantly to the legacy of originality and excellence that the arts and humanities at Iowa are known for. In addition to keeping up with the way our academic work is conducted in the twenty-first century, this initiative will also open doors to new understandings of what the humanities mean in our lives as individuals and in our collective experience in society.

I am especially pleased and proud that this cluster is emphasizing the public humanities. Engagement with our communities, our state, and our greater society has never been more important. Civic life is enhanced greatly by an informed, inspired, and imaginative culture, and the humanities are essential to building these components of our society. I can’t wait to see you continue to develop creative ways for our academic community to help make that happen.

Our intentions for this cluster have clearly been fulfilled with the interdisciplinary and international character of this first remarkable cohort of faculty. The talent and the varied backgrounds that characterize what you bring to us here at Iowa are impressive, and we are honored to have you join us as part of this very special university community.

Congratulations and thanks to everyone involved in assembling such a remarkable faculty cohort—from the digital public humanities cluster steering committee and staff to everyone involved with the search committees. And thank you again to our new faculty for choosing to share your talents with us and with our greater society through us. Best wishes for great success in all that you do.