Third Video in the Uncovering Hawkeye History Series: “Endless Innovation: An R1 Research Institution (1948-1997)”

Here’s the video recording of the third session in the Uncovering Hawkey History Series: Endless Innovation: An R1 Research institution (1948-1997).” Enjoy!

Educating Iowa: A University of Exploration (1847-1897) Uncovering Hawkeye History Part 1

I am thrilled to post this episode of the Uncovering Hawkeye History series out of order. It’s because Sena and I missed Part 1 but noticed that the YouTube video recording of it was posted. The volume is pretty soft, so crank it like you mean it. I plan to post something tomorrow about Part 3, The Next Chapter: Blazing New Trails.

The presenters gave stunning presentations and I’m delighted to let them tell their stories in the video below.

Sara Sanders, PhD, Dean of College of Arts and Sciences. She is all about making the most out of combining both the classical and the practical aspects of a college education.

Liz Crooks, Director of the Pentacrest Museum of Natural History. She loves museums, and told a great history about a character at the museum named Rusty the Giant Sloth (no relation to the third presenter, Dr. Rusty Barcelo). Rusty is made of Styrofoam and other materials. He is a giant sloth and the web page gives you a great idea about who he is. Remember, he’s made of artificial materials, so don’t expect too much. According to her LinkedIn profile, she is:

Experienced administrator with a demonstrated history of working in museums and higher education. Skilled in Nonprofit Organizations, Archival Research, Program Evaluation, Museum Education, and Historical Research. Strong professional skills with a Master’s Degree focused in Museum Studies from Western Illinois University.

Dr. Rusty Barceló held various positions at the University of Iowa from 1975 to 1996 including Assistant Provost and Assistant Dean with the Office of the Provost. Rusty has made a ton of other achievements in many other places in the country. Rusty is named for a scholarship to assist disadvantaged students at the University of Minnesota. Rusty was once the only Chicana student at The University of Iowa, and now is one of America’s most highly respected authorities on diversity and equity in higher education.

Next in The Series: The Next Chapter: Blazing New Trails (1998-2047)

The next and final presentation in The University of Iowa Hawkeye History series is entitled The Next Chapter: Blazing New Trails (1998-2047). I believe you can still register here.

It will be a Zoom presentation from 4:30-6:00 PM tomorrow, February 22, 2022. As in the previous presentations, the guide will be university archivist, David McCartney and will feature the following presenters:

Rod Lehnertz (02MBA), senior vice president for finance and operations

Lynette Marshall, UI Center for Advancement president and CEO

Peter Matthes (00BA, 14MBA), senior advisor to the president and vice president for external relations

Interesting highlights can be previewed below:

Milestones in University of Iowa History

Starting Over

Three Leading Professors on the future of The University of Iowa

Hope you can make it!

Next Episode of Uncovering Hawkeye History Today

Get ready for the next episode of The University of Iowa’s virtual event of Uncovering Hawkeye History this evening from 4:30-6:00 PM. The title for this one is “Endless Innovation: An R1 Research Institution (1948–1997).” According to the official announcement, “This event series is designed to highlight notable elements of UI’s 175-year history and includes readings you can do in advance, notable guest speakers during each class, and the opportunity to ask questions each week.” You can register here.

Today’s zoom class again features university archivist David McCarty and 3 of the UI’s most talented innovators:

Bruce Gantz: 68BS, 74MD, 80MS, 80R), otolaryngology professor, the world’s first doctor to perform a robot-assisted cochlear implant surgery

Kevin Washburn: N. William Hines dean, College of Law

Ed Wasserman: experiential psychology professor

Sena and I plan to join the event this evening. I’m looking forward to hearing from Ed Wasserman, who has been studying the origins of innovation for decades. He studies pigeons to find out what really goes on in the ability of humans to come up with new ideas. Wasserman thinks it may have more to do with simple processes like trial and error then eureka type flashes of genius. In other words, we’re a lot like pigeons.

For some reason, this reminds me of an essay by James Thurber, “There’s an Owl in My Room.” It’s published in a book entitled The Thurber Carnival. The essay is all about Thurber’s impatience with a poem about pigeons written by Gertrude Stein. He thought it made pigeons way too complicated. I realized that I had never read the poem, so I went hunting for it on the web. I found a lot of comments about how ridiculous many people think “pigeons on the grass” is:

“Pigeons on the grass, alas. Pigeons on the grass, alas. Short longer grass short longer, longer shorter yellow grass. Pigeons, large pigeons on the shorter longer yellow grass, alas, pigeons on the grass.”—Gertrude Stein.

I had no trouble finding a short excerpt of Thurber’s scathing essay about it on the web.

Thurber’s closing sentence is “No other thing in the world falls so far short being able to do what it cannot do as a pigeon does. Of being unable to do what it can do, too, as far as that goes.”

You can see why some people might be offended by being compared to pigeons. On the other hand, he has written a book about the origin of the notion of creative genius, As If by Design: How Creative Behaviors Really Evolve (2021, Cambridge University Press).

I read an article on the web claiming that, scientifically speaking, there’s no difference between doves and pigeons. Sena and I have observed pigeons/doves with missing toes. That might indicate the trial and error of attempts to make nests with string, which gets wound around their feet, leading to auto-amputation. Some call it stringfoot, although it might just be bad judgment (see my YouTube description).

I can imagine what he might think about Ancient Aliens theories about how humans might come up with innovative inventions. Aliens seem to be particularly prone to crashing their space ships on our planet, making it easier for us to reverse engineer the working parts left strewn all over the ground. There’s something ironical about that. How can they be smart enough to manipulate our DNA and leave us clues about how to create inventions that advance our civilization when they can’t even stop falling out of the sky? On the other hand, maybe we just stole their technology right out from under their very small noses and slapped patents on them. So much for genius.

I’m sure Wasserman thought of all that.

%d bloggers like this: