You Can’t Step into the Same River Twice:
Reimagining Liberal Arts in the
Friday, October 5, 2007
Reisinger Concert Hall
W. Ian Lipkin '74, M.D., Professor of Epidemiology, Neurology and Pathology, Columbia University; Principal Investigator and Scientific Director, Northeast Biodefense Center | Read Dr. Lipkin's remarks»
Remarks from the symposium (MP3 audio | 5.4MB | 7:52)
About the Panelists
Nancy Cantor is the 11th Chancellor and President of Syracuse University, as well as Distinguished Professor of Psychology and Women's Studies in the College of Arts and Sciences.
A native New Yorker, Dr. Cantor came to Syracuse from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where she was chancellor. She has held a variety of administrative positions encompassing all aspects of a research university—from chair of the department of psychology at Princeton to dean of the graduate school and then provost and executive vice president for academic affairs at the University of Michigan. She received her A.B. in 1974 from Sarah Lawrence College and her Ph.D. in psychology in 1978 from Stanford University.
Dr. Cantor is recognized for her scholarly contributions to the understanding of how individuals perceive and think about their social worlds, pursue personal goals, and how they regulate their behavior to adapt to life's most challenging social environments. She is co-author or co-editor of three books and author or co-author of numerous book chapters and scientific journal articles.
She has been an advocate for racial justice and for diversity in higher education, and she has written and lectured widely on these subjects. At the University of Michigan she was closely involved in the university's defense of affirmative action in the cases Grutter and Gratz, decided by the Supreme Court in 2003. Cantor has also lectured and written extensively on liberal education and the creative campus.
Dr. Cantor is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and is a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences. She has also received the Distinguished Scientific Award for an Early Career Contribution to Psychology from the American Psychological Association, and the Woman of Achievement Award from the Anti-Defamation League.
She is the past chair of the board of directors of the American Association for Higher Education and former chair of the board of the American Council on Education. She serves on the board of the American Institutes for Research and the advisory board of Future of Minority Studies, Paul Taylor Dance Foundation Board of Directors, and as an honorary trustee of the American Psychological Foundation. She has served on the board of trustees of Sarah Lawrence and the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, as a member of the National Advisory Board of the National Survey of Student Engagement and on various advisory boards and study sections of the National Science Foundation and the National Research Council, and a Congressional Commission on Military Training and Gender-Related Issues.
She is married to Steven R. Brechin, an environmental sociologist and a professor in the Maxwell School and the College of Arts and Sciences. They have two children, Maddy and Archie.
Remarks from the symposium (MP3 audio | 6.7MB | 9:39)
The fifth president of Hampshire College, Dr. Ralph J. Hexter regards his role as the culmination of a career dedicated to higher education and the liberal arts, both as professor of classics and comparative literature and as college and university administrator. After earning degrees at Harvard, Oxford (Corpus Christi College), and Yale, he taught for a decade in Yale’s Classics Department before moving to the University of Colorado at Boulder, where, as professor of classics and comparative literature, his primary administrative assignment was to direct the graduate program in comparative literature. In 1995, he joined the faculty of the University of California, Berkeley, again as professor of classics and comparative literature, with unexpected rapidity taking up posts as chair of comparative literature, dean of arts and humanities, and executive dean of the College of Letters and Science—for four years the last two concurrently. Author of several books and many articles, primarily on ancient and medieval literature, President Hexter continues to teach, lecture, and publish on the reception of classical literature and culture from the Middle Ages to modern times.
As Dr. Hexter has said, what drew him to Hampshire College is its distinctive excellence as an innovative institution that challenges highly-motivated students to "become the entrepreneurs of their own education." "It is a rare privilege," he notes, "to be able to talk to many of the actual founders and first students of a college and learn first-hand how they created a living institution out of a vision and a blueprint." He has challenged the entire Hampshire College community to join him in a process of "revisioning" intended to sharpen and better communicate to audiences the college’s unique mission and vision in the world today, a process he launched with a white paper, "Making of the College 2.0," he circulated midway through his first year on campus.
In his view, "when one thinks that Hampshire College admitted its first students in 1970, its tremendous strengths and remarkable track record are nothing short of phenomenal." Its place as a member of Five Colleges, Inc., is certainly a signal advantage, but even more important are its unique pedagogy, to which a remarkable faculty is dedicated; bright, articulate, passionate, and creative students; and a universe of brilliant and successful alumni who are engaged in a breathtaking range of endeavors.
Dr. Hexter, his partner of 27 years, Manfred Kollmeier, and their several animals live in the Hampshire College president’s residence in Amherst, Mass. They also maintain a home in San Francisco. Dr. Hexter serves on the board of trustees of the Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley and the Christian Gauss Award Committee for Phi Beta Kappa, and has recently been appointed or elected to the board of advisors of the Center for Free Inquiry at Hanover College, the Professional Matters Committee of the American Philological Association, Phi Beta Kappa’s Council Nominating Committee and the National Conference for Community and Justice.
Remarks from the symposium (MP3 audio | 6.8MB | 9:53)
W. Ian Lipkin '74, M.D., Professor of Epidemiology, Neurology and Pathology, Columbia University; Principal Investigator and Scientific Director, Northeast Biodefense Center
Dr. W. Ian Lipkin is a vital part of one of the most important global efforts of our age: controlling the development and spread of infectious diseases. A professor and laboratory director at Columbia University, where he teaches and leads research efforts, Dr. Lipkin has shared his time and expertise with organizations across the globe, addressing the afflictions of both man and beast, which can no longer be counted on to be mutually exclusive. Most recently, as a result of his work advising the Chinese government on dealing with severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), he has been asked to teach at and help run the first infectious disease research center in China.
Some of Dr. Lipkin's most significant accomplishments heed the simplest research element of all: time. For example, his team developed a test to greatly speed up diagnosis of West Nile Virus, now a fact of life on the East Coast; at Columbia, his lab created a single test to diagnose numerous diseases at once. As scientific director of the Northeast Biodefense Center, Dr. Lipkin is leading research into the dreaded alliance of infectious diseases and terrorism, a nexus that must never be allowed to take shape. On still another front, he is researching links between viral infections and autism, partly through a patented process he helped develop.
Scientists studying emerging infectious diseases are advancing the cause of knowledge and capability in an area where humanity's dominion, once assumed to be ever strengthening, has met powerful resistance. HIV. Ebola. SARS. Bird flu. West Nile Virus. If medical and scientific research hungered for fresh challenges, they are here. As Dr. Lipkin noted in his 2000 Commencement address at Sarah Lawrence, "Research is most exciting when the facts don't quite fit." Great tests inspire those with vision, strength, and ability to step forward. This is where he is working with distinction, in the vanguard of efforts to understand some of the most inaccessible and dangerous corners of our world.
Dr. Lipkin has taken the principles of the liberal education to the farthest reaches of scientific and medical research—as an open-minded, inquisitive, and accomplished student of the sciences, and of life. In this he embodies not only the Sarah Lawrence ideal, but also the learned and ambitious individual on whose work some portion of our collective future may rest.
Remarks from the symposium (MP3 audio | 5.4MB | 7:52)
Scholar, teacher, author, administrator, and race-relations expert Dr. Beverly Daniel Tatum is the ninth president of Spelman College. Prior to her appointment in 2002, she spent 13 years at Mount Holyoke College, serving in various roles during her tenure there—as professor of psychology, department chair, dean of the College, and acting president.
Dr. Tatum is a clinical psychologist whose areas of research interest include black families in white communities, racial identity in teens, and the role of race in the classroom. For more than 20 years, Dr. Tatum taught her signature course on the psychology of racism. She has also toured extensively, leading workshops on racial identity development and its impact in the classroom.
In her critically acclaimed 1997 book, "Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?" and Other Conversations about Race, she applies her expertise on race to argue that straight talk about racial identity is essential to the nation. Using real-life examples and the latest research, she not only dispels race as taboo, but also gives readers a new lens for understanding the emergence of racial identity as a developmental process experienced by everyone. Her latest book, Can We Talk about Race? and Other Conversations in an Era of School Resegregation, released in 2007, explores the social and educational implications of the growing racial isolation in our public schools. She is also the author of Assimilation Blues: Black Families in a White Community (1987). In addition, she has published numerous articles, including her classic 1992 Harvard Educational Review piece, "Talking about Race, Learning about Racism: An Application of Racial Identity Development Theory in the Classroom."
Dr. Tatum is the recipient of numerous honorary degrees, including those from Agnes Scott College, Bates College, Bowdoin College, Bridgewater State College, Mount Holyoke College, Salem State University, Westfield State College, Washington and Lee University, Westfield State College, and Wheelock College. In 2005, she was awarded the prestigious Brock International Prize in Education for the innovative leadership she has provided in the field of education.
Dr. Tatum was raised in Bridgewater, Mass. She earned a B.A. in psychology from Wesleyan University in Middletown, Conn., and an M.A. and Ph.D. in clinical psychology from the University of Michigan. She also holds an M.A. degree in religious studies from Hartford Seminary.
Prior to joining the Mount Holyoke faculty in 1989, Dr. Tatum was an associate professor and assistant professor of psychology at Westfield State College in Westfield, Mass., and a lecturer in Black Studies at the University of California at Santa Barbara.
She is married to Dr. Travis Tatum, professor emeritus of education at Westfield State College, and is the mother of two sons.
Remarks from the symposium (MP3 audio | 7.3MB | 10:40)
A 1970 graduate of Sarah Lawrence and a member of the history faculty for more than 20 years, Pauline Watts began serving this year as Dean of the College.
Dr. Watts earned a Ph.D. in history at the University of Michigan, where she later taught, and then was on the faculty at Pomona College. She returned to Sarah Lawrence in 1985 to teach European history, including ancient, medieval, and early modern history, as well as her primary academic interest—the Italian Renaissance. The author and editor of books and articles on medieval and Renaissance intellectual and religious history, Dr. Watts has also been granted fellowships from the American Academy in Rome and Villa I Tatti, the Harvard University Center for Italian Renaissance Studies, the John Carter Brown Library, and the American Council of Learned Societies.
Introductory remarks (MP3 audio | 3.1MB | 4:27)