Thomas Dean

Courage & Renewal Facilitator
Speaks English

Dr. Thomas Dean is a Circle of Trust® facilitator-in-preparation and loves to work with others to discover, understand, and express the “wild soul” in all of us: how our authenticity and life purpose are intertwined with our relationships with the natural world. Thomas is senior presidential writer/editor at the University of Iowa, where he also teaches interdisciplinary humanities and writing courses. He has taught in numerous community programs, including the Iowa Summer Writing Festival; has facilitated retreats and workshops; and is a trained Land Ethic Leader through the Aldo Leopold Foundation, bringing programs on Leopold and the land ethic to libraries and nature centers across Iowa. His books include Under a Midland Sky and Tallgrass Conversations: In Search of the Prairie Spirit (co-authored with Cindy Crosby), both from Ice Cube Press, and he has published numerous essays in national and regional academic and general audience publications. He also edited The Grace of Grass and Water, a collection of essays on the late Minnesota author Paul Gruchow, also from Ice Cube Press. Thomas has served on a number of boards of cultural and civic organizations, including the Iowa City Public Library (for which he served two terms as president), Humanities Iowa, FilmScene (Iowa City), and the State Historical Society of Iowa, Inc. He earned bachelor’s degrees in English and music history and literature from Northern Illinois University and a PhD in English from the University of Iowa. Before returning to Iowa, he taught at Cardinal Stritch College (Milwaukee, Wisconsin); Michigan State University; and Moorhead State University (Moorhead, Minnesota). Thomas and his wife, Susan Prepejchal, have two grown children, and they are adoptive parents of two senior dogs as well as permanent foster parents of a cockatiel.

Favorite quote

"True wildness is a love of nature, a delight in silence, a voice free to say spontaneous things, and an exuberant curiosity in the face of the unknown.”

Robert Bly

Book Recommendation

Belonging: Remembering Ourselves Home

Toko-pa Turner

Where I'm Finding Inspiration

I find inspiration in wildness and the natural word--its wonders and our interdependence with microorganisms, soils, waters, rocks, trees, our animal and plant kin, the biosphere of Gaia, all the way up to the anima mundi. I find inspiration in community--in sharing the commons, in working and imagining collaboratively for the good of all, in celebrating the beautiful diversity of humanity and human experience. I find inspiration in stories--the stories we share of our individual lives, the stories that spring from vibrant imaginations, the stories that are passed down through time from culture to culture. I find inspiration in music--in passion and ideas expressed in harmonies (or dissonances), rhythms, melodies, and timbres.

What I Do For Fun, Rest, and Renewal

I spend time with family, whether it's enjoying a movie, spending time in nature, or sharing a meal or good conversation. I spend time with words, reading and writing about the areas of life, writ both small and large, that fascinate and compel me. I spend time with images, receiving them as the world offers them to my camera and then refining them to reflect my sense of what is both outside and within me.

Organizations I've Worked With

The University of Iowa
Iowa City Public Library
State Historical Society of Iowa, Inc.
Humanities Iowa
Prairiewoods Franciscan Spirituality Center
Terramuse Wellness Sanctuary
Our Lady of the Prairie Retreat
The Aldo Leopold Foundation
Leopold Landscape Alliance
Leopold Heritage Group
Bur Oak Land Trust
Center for Prairie Studies (Grinnell College)
Porchlight Literary Arts Center
Midwest Writing Center
Iowa Youth Writing Project
Iowa Summer Writing Festival
Iowa City Senior Center
Friendship Community Project