AUSTIN, Texas—The University of Texas at Austin’s finest faculty have been selected to speak at the inaugural University Lecture Series, a community event designed to bring together members of the freshman class and to introduce them to the intellectual riches of the university.
The University Lecture Series, composed of four talks held Sept. 10 to Oct. 2, will give first-year students an opportunity to hear leading scholars, scientists and public figures who are well known nationally and internationally. The events are also open to the public.
Each talk will introduce a topic on which there has been some controversy. Immediately afterward, a faculty panel will discuss the lecture, with the aim of demonstrating how disagreement can serve to illuminate various sides of an issue and spark new ideas.
"The speakers are major stars in the academic heaven at UT, as are the panelists," said Paul Woodruff, dean of the Office of Undergraduate Studies. "Because the panel is made up of scholars from diverse fields, they will shine light on each subject from different angles."
The lecture series was designed in response to the report of the university’s Task Force on Curricular Reform, which recommended that all first-year students share a common intellectual experience. In addition to attending the lectures, students will then have an opportunity to discuss the issues in their classes.
The series starts Sept. 10 with social work scholar Darlene Grant and filmmaker Ellen Spiro presenting "Documenting Social Justice: Girl Scouts with Mothers Behind Bars." Grant and Spiro have won awards for their work with the children of women who are in prison.
Admiral Bobby Inman discusses national security issues during "International Challenges for the United States" on Sept. 12. Inman had a distinguished career in the U.S. Navy, during which he served as director of the National Security Agency and deputy director of the Central Intelligence Agency.
Historian David Oshinsky speaks on the history of capital punishment in the U.S. during "The Death Penalty in America: A Fading Practice?" on Sept. 19. Oshinsky won the Pulitzer Prize for his book on the campaign to wipe out polio, the most feared childhood disease of the 1950s.
Physicist Steven Weinberg addresses priorities for public spending in research during "What is Science Worth?" on Oct. 2. Weinberg won the Nobel Prize in 1979 for his work on what is called the weak force in particle physics.
Each lecture will be held from 6:00 to 7:30 p.m. in the Frank Erwin Center. Admission is free.
All students, faculty, staff, alumni and guests are invited, but the lectures and panel discussions will be aimed at the level of entering first-year students. Discussion guides for each lecture will be available online.
The series is sponsored by the offices of the president and of the dean of undergraduate studies with assistance from the Bernard and Audre Rapoport Endowment for Undergraduate Studies.
For more information contact: Lara Harlan, 512-475-7374.