Obermann Fellowships

Digital Bridges Obermann Fellows

Picture of Tammy Nyden

2018: Tammy Nyden

Associate Professor of Philosophy, Grinnell College

Tammy Nyden is an associate professor of Philosophy at Grinnell College and co-founder and President of Mothers on the Frontline, a non-profit that uses storytelling for caregiver healing and children’s mental health advocacy. As an Obermann Fellow, she is currently creating a new kind of course and workbook: Digital Storytelling for Social Justice. In preparation for this course, she is creating an archive of first-person digital stories on the School-to-Prison Pipeline.

2018: Samuel A. Rebelsky

Professor of Computer Science, Grinnell College

Samuel A. Rebelsky is a professor of computer science at Grinnell College. “SamR,” as his students call him, has been at Grinnell since 1997. (He therefore considers himself part of the Grinnell class of 2001.) Read more about SamR at his website. Rebelsky’s project for the Obermann Fellowship is to design a new, workshop-style introductory course in computer science that will help prepare both majors and nonmajors to work on Digital Humanities projects.

Picture of Mirzam Perez

2017: Mirzam Pérez

Associate Professor of Spanish, Grinnell College

Mirzam Pérez’s work focuses on Theater/Performance, Transatlantic Studies, Visual Culture, and Early Modern Spanish Literature. She is the author of The Comedia of Virginity: Mary and the Politics of Seventeenth-Century Spanish Theater (2012) and is currently working on a project tentatively titled “The Politics of Feast and Space: Academic Festival Books and the Rise of Institutional Power in Early Modern Spain and Spanish America.” During her residency at the Obermann Center, she will be exploring digital tools that encourage students learning new languages.

Picture of Matthew Kluber

2016: Matthew Kluber

Professor of Art and Art History, Grinnell College

The Fall 2016 Obermann Fellowship was awarded to Matthew Kluber, who works in print media, digital media, drawing and hybrid media at Grinnell College. Kluber held a one-semester residency at the Obermann Center for Advanced Studies. Matthew created a digital image database of artwork created by Grinnell College students that will be integrated into Digital Grinnell.


Application Instructions (archival purposes only)

Fellowships in the Digital Liberal Arts at the Obermann Center for Advanced Studies

Digital Bridges offers semester-long fellowships for Grinnell College faculty at the University of Iowa’s Obermann Center during the academic year. Four fellowships over the course of the four-year grant are funded through the generosity of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation as part of Digital Bridges for Humanistic Inquiry: A Grinnell College/University of Iowa Partnership.

The Obermann Center for Advanced Studies (OCAS) serves the research mission of the University of Iowa. The Center is a convening space dedicated to debate and discovery. The Center’s Fellowships support imaginative collaborations and multi-disciplinary exploration. Its programming engages the larger public in the ambitious, illuminating, and transformative work of the artists and scholars affiliated with the Center. Obermann Center Fellows-in-Residence fully devote themselves to projects within an interdisciplinary community. The program supports artists, researchers, and scholars during periods when focus and feedback are crucial. The program is rooted in their mission: to support the work of individual scholars, while also providing Fellows with the opportunity to enrich an individual, discipline-specific project through interdisciplinary exchanges with a lively intellectual community of Fellows.

The Fellowships supported by the Digital Bridges grant will place special emphasis on the digital liberal arts, undergraduate pedagogy, and collaborative work linking Grinnell College and the University of Iowa. Applicants for these Fellowships should describe their proposed projects with reference to resources they would find valuable at the UI, which might include scholars, library or museum collections, and expertise in the Library or ITS. The Obermann Center’s support of these Fellows can include inviting scholars from the UI to meet with the Fellow informally to open pathways to possible collaboration.

The Obermann Center provides each Fellow an office, a stipend ($1,000), and staff support. During the residency period, Fellows meet every two weeks to share their work-in-progress with one another. Fellows from both the spring and fall semesters are warmly invited to attend events and gatherings hosted by the Obermann Center throughout the year.

Faculty accepting these Fellowships will normally be expected to continue with advising and modest service activities. A written report on the leave should be presented to Karla Hall (hallkarla@grinnell.edu) by February 1 (for fall semester leaves) or June 15 (for spring semester leaves). Please note that Mellon funds are intended to support work in the humanities or humanistic social sciences.

Priorities and Application Process for Digital Bridges Obermann Fellowships:

Proposals should be written for an educated reader who may not have expertise in the applicant’s field; please avoid the use of technical terms and jargon. Proposals will be evaluated primarily for their potential contributions to undergraduate pedagogy in the digital liberal arts, especially as those contributions stem from and contribute to the partnership between Grinnell College and the University of Iowa.

Please send an electronic copy of your proposal to Karla Hall (hallkarla@grinnell.edu) by September 1st, copying your department chair. The proposal should comprise the following four sections:

  1. Project Description: This narrative (not to exceed two single-spaced pages) should carefully consider the questions listed below. To enable reviewers to assess the quality, significance, and feasibility of the proposal, a simple statement of need or intent does not constitute evidence that the project merits support. The following questions are intended as a guide rather than a prescriptive form:
  • What are the specific goals of the proposed leave and how will the activities proposed address those goals? What are the basic ideas, problems, works, or questions that will be explored? How will the proposed activity strengthen the applicant’s pedagogical practice and activity in the digital liberal arts?
  • What is the rationale for conducting the project at the Obermann Center? What resources at the University of Iowa will the applicant draw upon to undertake the proposed project?
  • What is the proposed schedule or plan for the project (including a description of any part that has already been completed)?
  • What is distinct about the proposed study? What contribution is the proposed project likely to make?
  • What are the likely outcomes resulting from the project?
  1. Context Statement (not to exceed one single-spaced page): This statement reviews the relationship of the proposed project to the applicant’s overall program of scholarship and teaching. It places the proposal in the context of past accomplishments and describes how this work contributes to the applicant’s long-range goals as a teacher and scholar.
  2. Curriculum Vitae: Attach a current curriculum vitae (not to exceed five pages).
  3. Appendix on Departmental and Institutional Planning (one-half single-spaced page): Prepared in consultation with the applicant’s department chair–and, if appropriate, concentration chair–this section of the proposal briefly outlines which courses ordinarily taught by the applicant would be absent from the curriculum during the study leave period and evaluates the necessity of replacing them. This section also briefly describes the College activities and faculty service (e.g., advising, committee work) that the applicant will engage in during the semester of leave. While neither the level of campus activity nor the necessity of replacements will be used as criteria for judging the merit of individual proposals, the Dean and President may have to consider such factors before approving a recommendation by the Digital Bridges Advisory Group. In each case, the Dean and President need to ensure that granting these leaves will not compromise the quality or functioning of the academic program.

We encourage faculty who may be interested in submitting proposals for an Obermann Center Fellowship in the Digital Liberal Arts to contact Susan Ferrari (ferraris@grinnell.edu) and Laura Nelson Lof (nelsonlo@grinnell.edu) in the Grants Office to discuss their plans.