Downing Thomas

Professor of French, Department of French and Italian

Downing A. Thomas professor of French in the UI’s French and Italian Department in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. He led campus internationalization as associate provost and dean of International Programs from July 2008 through 2019. He also served as associate dean of International Programs and director of the UI Center for Human Rights during 2007-08.

Thomas received his doctorate in French literature from New York University in 1991 and joined the UI faculty that year.

He has served on the International Studies Committee established by the Board of Regents, State of Iowa, and as a UI International Programs representative to the Internationalization Laboratory of the American Council on Education; chaired the IP Strategic Planning Committee in 2006; and served terms on both the UI Faculty Senate and Faculty Council.

In 2005, the French government honored him as Chevalier, or Knight, in the Order of Academic Palms. In February 2007, Thomas was elected to a one-year term as president of the Association of Departments of Foreign Languages, an organization including 1,000 schools in the United States and Canada. In addition to his current leadership positions, he served as chairman of the Department of French and Italian from 1999 to 2007.

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Research areas
  • International Education
  • Campus internationalization
  • Eighteenth-Century French Literature
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