The University of Iowa


The University of Iowa's Theme Semester is a collaboration that brings diverse perspectives to bear on a topic of importance to Iowa and the world. Grounded in the education mission of the university, the Theme Semester provides opportunities for teaching, engagement, and learning both on campus and throughout the state of Iowa. The events and activities surrounding each theme are meant to help the university forge new partnerships, promote publicly engaged scholarship, and contribute to communities statewide.


The Theme Semester aims to create an introspective Iowa that is driven to objectively discuss and deliberate topics of importance to Iowa communities. Through new discoveries and partnerships, we aim to shed light on community, national, and international issues as we collectively work towards identifying solutions.


Each Theme Semester strives to accomplish the following four goals:

  • Promote attention to the theme as a vital field of study across all 11 colleges, spanning a number of different disciplines.
  • Build partnerships among individuals and groups working toward similar goals.
  • Engage Iowans in the semester-long conversation of how the topic reflects in the work being done in communities across the state.
  • Secure ongoing support for the most promising initiatives that emerge from the semester so as to retain the momentum for generations of Iowans to come.