2020–2021 Graduate Research Assistant

The application period has closed, and this position has been filled.

Position Description

Percentage appointment: 50%, 20 hours/week from August 2020 to May 2021 plus hourly appointment July and August 2020
Formal title:  Project Management and Research Assistant

The Obermann Center seeks a graduate student to support the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation grant, Humanities for the Public Good (HPG), under the supervision of the Director of the Obermann Center, who is the Principal Investigator on the project.  The ideal candidate be an outstanding scholar-teacher who is interested in conducting and sharing research on the larger ecosystem of the humanities and diverse careers for humanities scholars and learning the skills necessary to be a successful project director as well as scholar. The graduate assistant will work closely with the HPG Advisory Committee to learn about innovative programs across the country and to interview our own Ph.D. alumni to learn about their careers. We also seek a graduate assistant with strong skills in communication and in digital tools for documenting and sharing our discoveries in creative multi-media formats. The director and staff of the Obermann Center will provide mentoring, and the graduate assistant will work closely with a postdoctoral fellow. This is a 50% appointment that will run from August 2020 through May 2021, with summer hourly work in July and August 2020. 

Duties include but are not limited to:

  • Working successfully with a team of faculty, staff, and students.
  • Helping to organize campus events—including planning, choosing sites, working with guests, promoting the event, and helping to host. (Note: these events require availability on occasional evenings and weekends.)
  • Overseeing social media, including Twitter and Facebook, for the project.
  • Assisting with arrangements and hosting for visiting scholars.
  • Designing posters and digital flyers for public announcements about Humanities for the Public Good events and opportunities.
  • Producing videos, news pieces, and other ways of reporting on the grant.
  • Maintaining digital photography and publicity archive.
  • Co-planning bi-weekly advisory committee meetings.
  • Conducting research with and for the advisory committee in collaboration with the Postdoctoral Fellow.
  • Keeping agendas and notes and following through with tasks.
  • Acting as liaison with faculty, staff, and students supported by the grant.
  • Helping to document the work of past and current funded groups.
  • Maintaining the HPG WordPress site.


Minimum Requirements

  • Exemplary writing, research, and communications skills, including writing for non-academic audiences.
  • Ability to conduct rigorous research and synthesize
  • Ability to initiate, track, and maintain a project—helping participants stay on a timeline and meeting deadlines.
  • Ability to balance work on multiple projects.
  • Attention to current trends in social media and communications technology and familiarity with posting to multiple social media platforms.
  • Confidence in event coordination.
  • Ability both to work independently and to collaborate well with others.
  • Creativity and eagerness to learn and experiment with new technologies and methods.
  • High degree of comfort with WordPress.

Preferred Qualifications

  • Experience in documenting events with photos and videos.
  • Comfort and experience with some of the following programs:
    • Adobe Suite products, including Illustrator and Photoshop
    • Film editing in iMovie
    • Doodle
    • Tweetdeck
    • Drupal
    • Constant Contact
  • Excellent proofreading skills
  • Familiarity with email marketing campaigns


To apply, log in to Hireahawk/Handshake with your HawkID and password and search for “Graduate Student Research Assistant.” Click the apply button and follow the instructions. You will be asked to include the following:

  • Cover sheet
  • Current CV
  • A letter stating interest in the position and describing experience in organizing projects and using digital tools (no more than 2 pages). The letter should also clarify where you are in your studies and your anticipated date of graduation.
  • Two letters of recommendation. At least one must be from a faculty advisor (or director of graduate studies) in your home department clarifying that you are in good standing and making strong progress in the graduate program.

Review of applications begins February 11, 2020. 

Please direct questions or inquiries to Erin Hackathorn (obermann-center@uiowa.edu).