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Imagining America announces board developments, strategic directions

October 25, 2011

Jamie Haft
(315) 443-8765

A new chair, vice chair and three new members have been elected to the National Advisory Board of Imagining America: Artists and Scholars in Public Life (IA). The board is responsible for ensuring that IA realizes its potential to animate and strengthen the public and civic purposes of higher education. 

iaBruce Burgett, of the University of Washington Bothell, has been named new chair, and Kim Yasuda, of the University of California, Santa Barbara, has become vice chair. New board members are: Sonja Arsham Kuftinec, University of Minnesota; Teresa Mangum, University of Iowa; and John Saltmarsh, University of Massachusetts, Boston. 

“With the board’s growth, Imagining America is poised to enlarge its leadership role in the field of higher education-based democratic engagement,” says Burgett. “The board’s diverse and considerable talents enable us to advocate for Imagining America’s mission with an inclusive range of publics, and support and lead movement-building for the change our consortium envisions.”

Burgett is professor and director of interdisciplinary arts and sciences at the University of Washington Bothell, and director of the UW’s Graduate Certificate in Public Scholarship. As IA’s vice chair from 2008-2011, he was instrumental in developing IA’s Statement of Vision, Mission, Values and Goals. Burgett also co-chaired the 2010 IA national conference in Seattle.

Yasuda is professor of spatial studies in the Department of Art at University of California, Santa Barbara, and is co-director of the University of California Institute for Research in the Arts. A board member since 2009, Yasuda has supported the creation of new IA initiatives that represent and animate the work of IA as a national network. She is co-principal investigator of IA’s national campus-community research group, the Community Knowledge Collaboratory, which explores the use of mapping technologies as a pathway to social change.

Kuftinec, professor of theater at the University of Minnesota, has created and published widely on community-based theater, as well as theater as a technique of conflict transformation in the Balkans and Middle East. Her current research focuses on the Oregon Shakespeare Festival under the tenure of Artistic Director Bill Rauch, the co-founder of Cornerstone Theater in Los Angeles. Kuftinec co-chaired the 2011 IA national conference in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minn. 

Mangum, associate professor of English and director of the Obermann Center for Advanced Studies, University of Iowa, has published articles about the ways scholars in earlier historical periods can undertake engaged teaching and scholarship, including a forthcoming essay in the journal Pedagogy. She is a co-founder of the Obermann Graduate Institute on Engagement and the Academy, which prepares graduate students to be public artists and scholars. Mangum is a participant in IA’s national affinity group of public humanities centers and institutes, IA representative to the founding committee of the national Academy of Community Engagement, and will join the Board’s Strategic Planning Committee. 

Saltmarsh, co-director of the New England Resource Center for Higher Education (NERCHE) at the University of Massachusetts, Boston, is the author of numerous publications on democratic engagement, most recently “Higher Education and Democracy” and “To Serve a Larger Purpose: Engagement for Democracy and the Transformation of Higher Education.” He is critically involved in IA’s Tenure Team Initiative on Public Scholarship, as well as in the multi-organizational effort, Full Participation: Building the Architecture for Diversity and Public Engagement on Campus

“I am looking forward to working with these distinguished colleagues to continue to build a mission- and research-driven consortium,” says Burgett. “Board members understand that encouraging innovation and integration of knowledge and creativity to help identify and solve social and political problems through humanities, arts and design is a unique opportunity.” 

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