The University Record, October 29, 1996

Symposium will give a 'snapshot' view of goals for grad school

By Jane Elgass


Mary Frances Berry will be among the featured speakers at a free, public symposium Nov. 8 honoring Nancy Cantor, the new dean of the Horace H. Rackham School of Graduate Studies and vice provost for academic affairs-graduate studies.

Titled "Graduate Education: New Faces, New Ideas, New Realities," the symposium is sponsored by the Office of the Provost with portions co-sponsored by the Center for Afroamerican and African Studies and the Center for the Education of Women.

The symposium is designed to give a snapshot view of the primary goals Cantor has identified for the Graduate School, and the title reflects her goal "to scrutinize graduate education at the U-M from the perspective of these three intersecting themes in light of the Provost's Office and Universitywide goals to engage in and respond to national debate on the 'best practices' in regard to higher education."

The program showcases some of the "new ideas" and research emerging from scholars involved in interdisciplinary work, with the speakers representing some of the ways traditional boundaries are being challenged.

The symposium also reflects Cantor's belief that "new ideas will flow best to the University if we continue to bring in 'new faces,' preparing a widely diverse pool of individuals for the wider world," as well as sustaining a recruitment advantage because individuals "want to be part of a rich environment and rich community."

In a session that begins at 2:30 p.m., Berry will discuss "The Stories People Tell: The Rape of the Pig Farmer's Daughter and Other Justice Tales." She is the Geraldine R. Segal Professor of American Thought at the University of Pennsylvania, where she teaches history and law.

In 1980, she was appointed by President Carter as a commissioner on the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. She was fired by President Reagan for criticizing his policies, and in 1993 was appointed chair of the Commission by President Clinton.

Berry also was assistant secretary for education in the Department of Health Education and Welfare during the Carter administration, coordinating and generally supervising nearly $13 billion in federal education programs.

She is the author of six books, including Long Memory: The Black Experience in America, co-authored with John Blassingame.

Following a welcome at 9 a.m. by J. Bernard Machen, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs, Robin G. D. Kelley will discuss "All Aboard the Enlightenment Train!: The New Left-wing Assault on Multiculturalism." Speaking on the program with Kelley will be graduate student Jeffrey Rangel.

Kelley is professor of history and Africana studies at New York University. His first book, Hammer and Hoe: Alabama Communists During the Great Depression, won several awards. In addition to authoring other books, he is general editor with Earl Lewis of the 11-volume Young Oxford History of African Americans, of which he wrote the final volume, Into the Fire: African Americans Since 1970.

In the session that begins at 10:45 a.m., "Contributions of Biophysics to Biomedicine" will be discussed by Franklyn G. Prendergast, the Edmond and Marion Guggenheim Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the Mayo Medical School and interim director of the Mayo Comprehensive Cancer Center. This session also will feature graduate student Eric Dirnbach.

Gregory H. Wakefield will present "The Silicon Muse: Creative Music Technology and the MusEn Project." He is an associate professor of electrical engineering and computer science at the U-M, with research interests that include psychoacoustics, auditory prosthetics, signal analysis and synthesis, music processing, speech processing and sound quality engineering. He is co-director of MusEn, a joint research project between the College of Engineering and School of Music that promotes ongoing dialogue among the artists and practitioners of music and of engineering.

Following the presentations, Cantor will offer a response at 3:45 p.m.

For more information, contact Glenda Haskell, assistant to the Graduate School dean, 647-7548, or via e-mail to