2019–2021 Postdoctoral Scholar

Application period closed.

Position Description

The Obermann Center for Advanced Studies at the University of Iowa welcomes applications for a full-time, twelve-month Postdoctoral Scholar. The two-year residency will begin on August 12, 2019 and is a twelve-month appointment each of the two years. The position is funded through the generosity of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and is part of a four-year initiative to create a new humanities degree, Humanities for the Public Good: An Integrative, Collaborative, Practice-Based Humanities PhD (HPG).

The purpose of the grant is to create a degree in the Graduate College in collaboration with humanities departments that choose to participate. The goal is to prepare students for diverse careers, specifically in the non-profit sector, public policy, government, libraries, cultural administration, technology, publishing, and institutional education and research. The program will explore benefits of campus-community partnerships, team-taught courses, and funded summer internships and externships. The Postdoctoral Scholar will be the lead project manager, working in close collaboration with faculty, staff, and graduate student members of the HPG Advisory Committee and with the Obermann Center for Advanced Studies under the supervision of the director of the Obermann Center and P.I. on the grant, Teresa Mangum. This position offers an opportunity to develop topnotch skills as an academic leader and administrator while also continuing to grow as a scholar and researcher.

Teaching (20%)

Depending on the interests of the Postdoctoral Scholar, teaching opportunities will be available. We welcome the opportunity to negotiate whether teaching will take the form of a formal course or a series of workshops, for example, focused on skills needed for diverse careers. In the first year, we will be studying experiments with graduate education in the humanities across the country; developing new courses that integrate humanities scholarship and experiential learning; consulting with employers in diverse workplaces to design internships and build new kinds of assignments into humanities courses that help connect humanities education with employers’ needs. The Postdoctoral Scholar will be deeply involved in designing new courses and assignments and will be welcome to pilot or co-pilot some of the workshops and courses that result.

Project Management/Administration (50%)

The HPG initiative will include summer institutes; skills-based workshops; faculty, staff, and student development opportunities; and the creation of  new undergraduate courses—all in collaboration with an advisory committee and advice from alumni and employers from the nonprofit sector, public policy arenas, academic administration, publishing, and more. We seek a Postdoctoral Scholar with experience in project management who can co-direct the advisory committee, help design institutes and workshops during the two years of residency, conduct research and interviews with stakeholders, and help to assess and document our activities. The Postdoctoral Scholar will also advise faculty and graduate students as they develop new courses and assignments, experimenting with team teaching, publicly engaged scholarship, and new forms of experiential, digital, and multi-media forms of communicating research and discoveries.

Research (30%)

The Postdoctoral Scholar will have time to pursue their own research and are also encouraged to explore opportunities to develop research projects and publish, alone or with colleagues, about the discoveries that emerge from this grant. The Postdoctoral Scholar will have office space, a computer, and staff support at the Obermann Center and will be invited to participate in the biweekly Obermann Fellows’ work-in-progress seminar and in other scholarly activities at the Center. We will also provide research support so that the Postdoctoral Scholar can attend conferences, visit archives, and continue their research agenda.

Obermann Center director, Professor Teresa Mangum, will work closely with the Postdoctoral Scholar as a colleague and mentor.


This two-year Postdoctoral Scholar position is a full-time, twelve-month salaried appointment. The annual salary is $50,760 plus benefits (described on the University of Iowa Graduate College Office of Postdoctoral Scholars website https://www.grad.uiowa.edu/postdocs). The grant includes limited funding for travel to conferences and other research costs for professional activities that both assist the candidate and further the objectives of the grant.

Minimum Requirements

  • A Ph.D. from a related field in hand before August 12, 2019 but no more than five years from receiving the Ph.D.
  • Genuine interest in exploring and creating opportunities for diverse careers rooted in the study of the humanities.
  • Demonstrated interest in intellectual leadership through experience in activities such as project management, administration, and career exploration.
  • At least two years of teaching experience in an academic setting as a teaching assistant or an instructor (undergraduate and/or graduate teaching).
  • Ability to work independently and collaboratively in a team environment.
  • Excellent interpersonal and communication skills.

Preferred Qualifications

  • Experience in project management and/or in organizing workshops, events, or conferences.
  • Employment experience in administration in/or outside of higher education.
  • Expertise in publicly engaged scholarship and teaching.
  • Experience in the use and application of one or more DH technologies (e.g., visualization, text-mining, text-encoding, GIS, network analysis, database design, dynamic digital editions, presentation and content management tools) for creating and transmitting scholarship and/or in teaching.
  • Experience with social media and with communication platforms such as Drupal or WordPress.


Applications must be submitted online at https://jobs.uiowa.edu/postdoc/view/3092

Please include—

  • A letter of application of no more than three pages that discusses—
    • Why you are interested in this specific opportunity and in the larger project of designing a humanities Ph.D. for students who seek future employment in a range of workplaces.
    • Areas of research and teaching.
    • Experiences that prepare you to be a highly effective project manager and member of a team.
    • The platforms and tools with which you have experience and the level of your experience.
    • Brief discussion of classes or workshops you might be interested in teaching at the graduate level that would serve this specific grant.
  • A complete curriculum vitae.
  • A sample of your writing (a published article, dissertation chapter, or online publication).
  • The names and contact information for three references who can address your qualifications for the Postdoctoral Scholar position. Please do not request that letters be sent unless you are requested to do so.

The application deadline is March 8, 2019, and we will contact candidates for online interviews promptly thereafter.

Please direct questions or inquiries to Teresa Mangum (teresa-mangum@uiowa.edu).