Colleagues: As our community absorbs the results of the election, I am awed by our calling as educators and scholars.  Many of our students are fearful of what the future holds while also struggling with the immediate effects of the rhetoric and painful events of the campaign.  We also have students who are excited about […]

Chris Newfield, a leading scholar in university studies, will be giving the McLeod lecture later this month.  Here’s a post I wrote for the humanities center in preparation for his visit.  Looking forward to hearing from Chris about all of these important issues.

On Friday, I had the privilege of giving the challenge address to the graduates of STARS – Students and Teachers as Research Scientists at UMSL.  The STARS program pairs promising high school students and their teachers with research labs to get research experience during the summer.  Kenneth Mares has been providing great leadership to the […]

Due to a happy change in the schedule of WashU commencement activities, I was able to attend my first doctoral hooding ceremony since moving to St. Louis.  The doctoral hooding is my favorite part of commencement, and it was an honor to be there and be part of the WashU faculty at our most treasured time. […]

I had the privilege of being part of the production of Elephant’s Graveyard, directed by the Performing Arts Department’s (PAD) Jeffery Matthews.  Jeffery gave the terrific talk at convocation that so beautifully captured the essence of WashU and the big challenges facing higher education today. Elephant’s Graveyard is a play with extensive symbolism about identity […]

A lot has already been written about The Force Awakens, but here’s both a personal reflection and a lesson about creative and other endeavors.  The lesson is that The Force Awakens is a perfect movie, but it’s not a great movie.  It’s a perfect movie because it achieves precisely what it was designed to achieve […]

Convocation and move-in day are the best day of the year at WashU.  Yes, commencement is wonderful, but nothing beats the sheer energy and promise of the arrival of the new first-year students. A great thing about being the provost is that it’s my job to introduce the faculty speaker at commencement.  This year, when […]