The University Record, September 16, 1998

Catharine Stimpson to lead off lecture series on American values

By Jane R. Elgass

The free, public "Fall 1998 Lecture Series on American Values" of the Horace H. Rackham School of Graduate Studies debuts at 4 p.m. Sept. 22 in Rackham Auditorium with a presentation by Catharine Stimpson, dean of the Graduate Schools of Arts and Science, New York University.

Stimpson will explore how we might recognize and reward genuine excellence in scholarship and research, teaching and mentoring, and the ethics of thought under the title "The Octopus and Excellence: Some Comments on Graduate Education." Her lecture will highlight the awards ceremony honoring recipients of the 1998 D'Arms Faculty Awards for Distinguished Graduate Mentoring in the Humanities and the Outstanding Graduate Student Instructor Awards.

Stimpson is former director of the Fellows Program of the John D. and Catharine T. MacArthur Foundation. She currently is president of the Modern Language Association and a chair of the National Council for Research on Women and the New York State Humanities Council. She also was the first director of the Women's Center of Barnard College and the Institute for Research on Women at Rutgers.

The series is "an extension of the 'Events at Rackham Series' that was developed to showcase the enormous wealth of talent that exists within the University and beyond," notes Graduate School Dean Earl Lewis. "The series offers a medium for addressing matters of scholarly but popular interest in ways that articulate, reaffirm and, at times, debate the values of the University.

"When we talk about American values, we talk about its core values," Lewis continues. "No idea stands out more than our commitment to freedom on which this republic was built. But, as we know, freedom has always been a contested idea, only realized through human effort and action.

"The mid-19th century marked this society's commitment to building extraordinary institutions of public higher education such as the University of Michigan," Lewis says. "Since the 1970s, however, the willingness of the public to finance higher education has been on the decline. At the same time, more and more members of this public have embraced and celebrated winning collegiate sports teams. What we hope to do this fall is to call into question one more time-what are American values?"

Stimpson's appearance also is sponsored by the Institute for Research on Women and Gender, Center for the Education of Women and Women's Studies Program.

Other presentations in the series:


"Discussion with Provost Nancy Cantor,"

4 p.m. Sept. 28, Rackham Auditorium. After a year of tackling some of the thorniest issues in higher education, Cantor will share what she sees as some of the major challenges facing

U-M faculty, staff and students.


"Steering Cultural Change: Keeping Michigan Athletics the Leaders and Best," 4 p.m. Oct. 8, Rackham Amphitheater. Tom Goss, the Donald R. Shepherd Director of Intercollegiate Athletics, will share his vision for U-M athletics in the 21st century, outline his strategies to integrate athletics into the total University community, and detail the department's commitment to keeping education its number one priority.


"The Story of American Freedom," 4 p.m. Oct. 21, Rackham Auditorium. Eric Foner, the DeWitt Clinton Professor of History, Columbia University, and one of the country's most acclaimed and prolific historians, will examine how national crises such as the Civil War, World War II and the 1960s produced sweeping changes in the meaning of freedom, as well as how freedom's boundaries, which define who is entitled to enjoy its blessings, have themselves been contested throughout our history.

For more information on the series, call Ann Kolkman, 647-2640.

You can always drop us a line: