Fall 2023 Graduate Research Assistant

Percentage appointment: 50% August–December 2023, along with an hourly appointment for summer 2023
Application deadline: February 15, 5:00 p.m.

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 as we harvest the knowledge from the work we have done in the past four years, launch new humanities labs, move forward with plans for a certificate and possible future MA, and share our work with others through a fall national gathering and a final public report. Ideally, applicants will have 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. This is a 50% graduate research assistant appointment that will run from August 2023 through December 2023, and will also include biweekly hourly work during summer 2023.

The Obermann Center for Advanced Studies is dedicated to advancing the research mission of the University of Iowa by encouraging innovation, cross-disciplinary exchange of ideas, imaginative collaborations, and engagement with our local and global communities. We serve UI faculty, visiting scholars, UI graduate students, and the greater community.

Duties include but are not limited to:

  • Working successfully with a team of faculty, staff, and students.
  • Assisting with campus events—including helping to plan, choose sites, work with guests, promote the event, and host. (Note: These events require availability on occasional evenings and weekends.)
  • Overseeing social media, including Twitter and Facebook, for the project.
  • Assisting in the design of 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.
  • Keeping agendas and notes and following through with tasks.
  • Helping to document the work of past and current funded groups.
  • Maintaining the HPG WordPress site.
  • Preparing an occasional e-newsletter.

Qualifications required:

  • Good standing in a PhD program in the humanities or an adjacent field (such as Communication Studies, Journalism, and other departments which highly value qualitative research).
  • Exemplary writing, research, and communications skills, including writing for non-academic audiences.
  • Ability to conduct research and synthesize information.
  • Ability to move a project forward—helping participants stay on a timeline and meeting deadlines. 
  • Ability to balance work on several sub-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 to both work independently and to collaborate well with others.
  • Creativity and eagerness to learn and experiment with new technologies and methods.
  • Comfort with WordPress.

Qualifications preferred:

  • 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
    • Trello
    • Doodle
    • Tweetdeck
    • Drupal
    • Constant Contact
  • Excellent proofreading skills.
  • Familiarity with email marketing campaigns.


To apply, log in to Hire a Hawk/Handshake with your Hawk ID 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. This document is attached the advertisement. Please fill out and secure the signature of the director of graduate studies or the chair of the home department.
  • 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 the student is in their studies and the anticipated date of graduation.
  • Two letters of recommendation. At least one must be from a faculty advisor (or director of graduate studies) in the student’s home department clarifying that the student is in good standing and making strong progress in the graduate program. Please have letters sent to obermann-center@uiowa.edu.       

Application deadline: February 15, 5:00 p.m.

Please direct questions or inquiries to Erin Hackathorn (erin-hackathorn@uiowa.edu).