The University of Iowa

University of Iowa Distinguished Professorships

University of Iowa Distinguished Professorships

The University of Iowa Distinguished Professorships recognize and reward exceptional University of Iowa scholars of national and international distinction who are contributing to economic development and enhancing well-being within the state of Iowa and beyond through their research, teaching, and/or scholarship.  Selected faculty will have demonstrated outstanding achievements in their field and will hold the promise of future research, teaching, and/or scholarly innovations.  They will also have a record of interdisciplinary activities in their research, teaching and/or scholarly work.

Faculty selected for this recognition will receive one-time funding of $100,000 disbursed over the initial five years of the appointment.  This funding will be provided by the Office of the Provost and will be allocated annually in $20,000 increments to support the research, teaching, and/or scholarship activities of the awardee.  In addition, a one-time permanent increase of $6,000 in base salary will be provided.  The appointment is effective at the beginning of the academic year and the title of Distinguished University (Associate) Professor will be held by the awardee as long as they remain a faculty member at the University of Iowa in good standing.  All full-time tenured associate and full professors are eligible.  It is anticipated that up to three professorships will be awarded each year.

The recipients of the University of Iowa Distinguished Professorship will be recognized at a Distinguished Professorship Awards ceremony and dinner hosted by the president and the executive vice president and provost in the fall.  

At the conclusion of the initial five-year term, the awardee will submit a brief summary of how the University Distinguished Professorship supported continued excellence in their research, teaching, and/or scholarship.

Inaugural Distinguished University Professors, Spring 2020

Professor Corinne Peek-Asa and Professor Caroline Tolbert were named the inaugural awardees of the new UI Distinguished Professorship program by the University of Iowa Office of the Provost.

Corinne Peek-Asa
Corinne Peek-Asa, College of Public Health

Peek-Asa began teaching at the UI in 2001, serves as associate dean for research and professor in the College of Public Health, and is director of the Injury Prevention Research Center and the UI International Trauma and Violence Research Training Program. She often is described as the leading injury control researcher of her generation. Her work has inspired national legislation, and she helped develop injury and violence data collection systems in five countries. She created a workplace violence prevention program that was implemented in eight U.S. cities and she collaborated with the Cedar Rapids Community School District to create an innovative and unique arts-based bullying prevention toolkit for educators. She is a widely sought speaker and has served on national boards. On campus, she sits on the executive committee for the UI’s Public Policy Center, where she has developed and conducted research and led grant applications. She has developed courses for new undergraduate programs and service-learning programs with the Cedar Rapids Community School District. She has helped faculty in her college remain competitive as traditional sources of grant funding shrink, and her teaching and research have been recognized with local and national awards. In recognition of outstanding accomplishment for a lifetime record of service and achievement that provides a role model for women and girls, she received the UI May Brodbeck Distinguished Achievement Award. In February 2020, she was the UI’s 37th Presidential Lecturer.

Caroline Tolbert
Caroline Tolbert, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Tolbert began teaching at the UI in 2006 and is a professor of political science. She is an internationally known scholar in areas of opportunity and inequality; elections and representation; technology policy; local economic development; and politics and policy for states, counties, metros, and neighborhoods. Her research is foundational for understanding the internet’s influence on politics and inequality, and she has been ranked among the top 40 most cited female political scientists. Her books and articles have been published by highly ranked political science publishers and journals. She is the coauthor of Accessible Elections: How the States can Help Americans Vote, and Why Iowa? How Caucuses and Sequential Elections Improve the Presidential Nominating Process. With Karen Mossberger, she co-authored three books on the internet, economic opportunity, and political participation. She is the past president of the State Politics and Policy section of the American Political Science Association. Recently, she contributed to economic development in Iowa through grants to study and compile data on the effect of broadband access on economic outcomes. Her research has been funded by the National Science Foundation, Democracy Fund, MacArthur Foundation, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and others. On campus, she collaborates with the Department of Urban and Regional Planning on its graduate program in public affairs, and she creates courses on timely issues such as the role of social media in politics.