Duke University Alumni Magazine


Lange: from long-range planning to faculty leadership
Photo: Chris Hildreth

olitical science professor Peter Lange, who led an effort to expand the university's international role and recently chaired the first major revision of the undergraduate curriculum in more than a decade, has been named provost. Lange, who chairs the political science department, was selected following a national search involving more than 150 candidates. He succeeds John Strohbehn, who will complete his five-year term as the university's chief academic officer June 30.

President Nannerl O. Keohane, in a letter informing the faculty of his appointment, noted that Lange has considerable knowledge of the provost's responsibilities from serving as vice provost for academic and international affairs, "where he provided skillful leadership in the earlier stages of Duke's current focus on internationalization. As vice provost, he played a critical role in the planning process that produced Shaping Our Future, the university's long-range plan that was adopted by the board of trustees in 1994. This year he chaired the committee that crafted the new Curriculum 2000 and brought it successfully to a favorable vote in the Arts and Sciences Council."

"As chief academic officer of the university," says Lange, "the provost must provide the strategic and intellectual leadership necessary to attain our goal of becoming one of America's truly preeminent universities. This will require innovative thinking, the highest standards, clearly articulated academic priorities, and a firm commitment that all that we do in the university must be directed toward building the best faculty, attracting the finest students, and attaining outstanding achievements in research and teaching. In doing so, the university will best be able to serve society."

Lange, an expert on Western European politics and the political economies of advanced industrial societies, taught at Harvard University before coming to Duke as a visiting associate professor of political science in 1981. He joined the permanent faculty in 1982.

As vice provost for academic and international affairs, Lange helped Duke expand its international curricula and its recruitment of foreign students. Curriculum 2000, which he spearheaded, places more rigorous graduation requirements on students in Duke's Trinity College, beginning with those entering in the fall of 2000. The new requirements, approved this past January, include foreign-language courses, intensive writing and research experiences in and outside the major, and broader and deeper study of ethical, cross-cultural, and science and society issues.

Lange has served as a member of the Provost's Committee on Academic Priorities and the President's Advisory Committee on Resources. He has represented the faculty on the board of trustees' Business and Finance Committee; and he served as a member of the executive committee of the Graduate School and as a member of the Academic Council, including the council's executive committee.

Lange's most recent scholarly work is as co-editor of and contributor to Continuity and Change in Contemporary Capitalism, from Cambridge University Press. Since 1991, he has been editor of Cambridge Studies in Comparative Politics. In 1986, he was a visiting professor at the University of Milan as a Fulbright Research Scholar. He earned his bachelor's degree at Oberlin College and his Ph.D. at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.


aureen Quilligan, a prominent University of Pennsylvania Renaissance scholar and a leading voice in feminist theory, will head the Duke English department. She will assume her new responsibilities January 1, 2000, after completing a sabbatical leave at the Huntington Library, a private research library in San Marino, California.

Her appointment caps a national search involving more than thirty candidates for a chair of English in the wake of an outside

review committee report last spring that said internal problems seriously threatened a department that had undergone a "meteoric rise to national leadership" in recent years. William Chafe, dean of the faculty of arts and sciences, says he plans to appoint an interim chair for the fall semester.

Quilligan, who succeeds Marianna Torgovnick, is noted for her scholarship on a wide array of English and continental authors of the early modern period from the late fourteenth century into the sixteenth century, with special attention to women and literature. She is viewed "as one of the luminaries of Renaissance literary studies," says Chafe.

She has published three books: The Language of Allegory: Defining the Genre (Cornell University Press, 1979); Milton's Spenser: The Politics of Reading (Cornell, 1983); and The Allegory of Female Authority: Christine de Pizan's CitŽ des Dames (Cornell, 1991). She has also co-edited two volumes of essays: Rewriting the Renaissance: The Discourses of Sexual Difference in Early Modern Europe (University of Chicago Press, 1986) and Subject and Object in Renaissance Culture (Cambridge University Press, 1996). She is working on book-length projects on female political authority in the sixteenth century, incest and female agency, and slavery in the Renaissance epic.

Quilligan earned her bachelor's and master's degrees at the University of California, Berkeley, and her Ph.D. at Harvard. Before going to Penn in 1983, she taught at Yale University from 1973 to 1977.

Her appointment to Duke follows by a month the announcement that African-American studies scholar Houston A. Baker Jr., founder of the Center for the Study of Black Literature and Culture at the University of Pennsylvania, and his wife, linguist Charlotte Pierce-Baker, will join the English faculty in September. Baker will be a full professor in Duke's English department with a secondary appointment in African and African-American studies. Pierce-Baker will be an associate research professor and teach in the university's women's studies and African-American studies programs.

Baker was president of the Modern Language Association in 1992, the first African American to hold that position in the 100-year history of the leading academic organization for the study and teaching of language and literature. Known for his literary and cultural studies of the African diaspora, he has been a professor of English and director of Afro-American studies at Penn since 1974. He is the author of Workings of the Spirit: The Poetics of Afro-American Women's Writing and Black Studies, Rap, and the Academy. Also a published poet, he has a recent volume, Blues Journeys Home.

Pierce-Baker has taught at the University of Delaware, the University of Pennsylvania, and St. Hughes College of Oxford University. She was director of Innovative Study in Teaching and the Humanities at Penn from 1990 to 1998, as well as assistant dean for its Master of Liberal Arts Program. She recently published a book about her own and other black women's experiences of rape, Surviving the Silence: Black Women's Stories of Rape. The book has been well received by critics who have lauded her for its portrayal of rape's effect on the lives of African-American women and men.

This past year, Baker and Pierce-Baker have taught as visiting professors at Duke.


Copyright © by David Suter, 1999.
Reprinted with permission of Workman Publishing

hower with your eyes closed. Take a different route to work. Learn the Braille numbers in the elevator for the floors. Hold your nose as you try different foods to explore how the taste changes. These are among eighty-three "neurobic" exercises advocated by Duke Medical Center neurobiologist Lawrence Katz and co-author Manning Rubin in their new book Keep Your Brain Alive, from Workman Publishing Company.

In the book, Katz, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator at the medical center, takes out of the laboratory and into everyday life the latest insights into how the brain can rewire itself to adjust to new experience. New scientific evidence shows that the brain can rewire itself, even in adults, Katz says. "It was not appreciated for a long time how, even quite late in life, the brain has quite a lot of residual capacity for reorganization."

Basically, brain cells learn by making new connections with one another, growing tendril-like connections called dendrites, say Katz and Rubin, senior creative supervisor at K2 Design in New York City and the author of 60 Ways to Relieve Stress in 60 Seconds. These dendrites connect with neighboring cells through linkages called synapses. As brains age, these dendritic connections may thin out, but Katz and Rubin advocate mental exercise as a way to enrich those connections.

"It's long been clear that during critical periods early in life, people's brains set up some of their very basic circuits," he says. "But the long-held idea that after that, brain connections were frozen is probably not true. And, in fact, it's obvious that people learn things throughout their lives; even if they're eighty years old, they can learn new things."

Katz emphasizes that "neurobics" is not about doing puzzles or brain-teasers, but about using the full range of the senses to help forge new connections among the different sensory structures of the brain. "A huge area of our brain is devoted to processing sensory inputs, because that's how we deal with the outside world," he says. "And the senses need to know what's going on in the other senses as well, to try to make predictions about the future. So, for example, if you hear a gunshot and see a bottle next to you explode, you make a very strong association that that sound means something bad."

When we "starve" our senses, brain function degrades, he says. "We believe that people use the same senses in modern life over and over again, so that they end up using lots of visual and auditory associations. But by bringing the other possible associated sensory pathways on line, you actually increase the repertoire of brain pathways that are activated." Unfortunately, he says, the conveniences of modern life have robbed us of some of this sensory richness. "We don't forage for food in the dark, for example, where we have to rely on smell to know whether we're near a rotting log, or touch to feel our way along. We just don't rely on such richness of sensory input very often, so those kinds of possible conjunctions are underused."

In their book, Katz and Rubin recommend eighty-three different exercises that use not only the five usual senses--vision, taste, smell, touch, and hearing--but also what they call the "sixth sense" of emotion. The authors' criteria for such neurobic exercises are that they involve one or more of your senses in a novel way, engage your attention, and break a routine activity in an unexpected, nontrivial way.

With these criteria, the book divides its list of neurobic exercises into six categories of daily routine:

  • Starting and Ending the Day. Suggested example: Go through your morning hair-combing, tooth-brushing routine using the nondominant hand.

  • Commuting. Close your eyes as you get into the car, find the keys, and start the car.

  • At work. Make a "sensory cannister" containing such aromatic substances as sage, thyme, or cloves and take a whiff when you dial a certain phone number. See if it helps you remember the number.

  • At the market. Go to new markets such as an ethnic market or a bakery to experience new sights and aromas.

  • At mealtimes. Share a meal in silence and see how it affects your sensory experience of the food.

  • At leisure. Go camping or visit a place you've never been.

    The aim of neurobics is not to increase intelligence, Katz emphasizes. "Neurobics is not going to make you have the brain of a twenty-year-old. And it's not going to make you smarter than you were. It's the equivalent of a physical exercise, in that it's designed to keep you mentally fit and able to engage in a wide range of mental activities. It's designed to preserve and firm up your mental capacities, not to augment them."


fter a review of external proposals to manage the Duke Stores, university officials have closed the chapter on plans to lease the stores' management to an outsider, concluding that there would be no financial advantage. Instead, the university plans to invest in upgrading the current stores' operation.

In a letter to law professor Robert Mosteller, chair of the executive committee of the Academic Council (ECAC), Executive Vice President Tallman Trask III said, "We have now completed the analysis of two vendor proposals. On a net present value basis, even with conservative growth estimates, neither is much better (if at all) than we might expect to do ourselves." Trask also told Mosteller that the university was committed to continue "to improve the quality and appearance of the bookstore."

In recent years several major universities--including Harvard, Yale, Chicago, and the University of Pennsylvania--have turned over their bookstore operations to external firms. Last fall, after consultation with the ECAC and political science professor Michael Gillespie, who chaired the council's Bookstore Advisory Committee, officials agreed that Duke should assess how university stores could more efficiently and effectively serve the needs of faculty and students. Trask authorized Joseph Pietrantoni, associate vice president for auxiliary services, to conduct such a review and to invite Barnes & Noble and Follett College Stores to submit proposals for running the stores' operations.

Conducted by Auxiliary Services in conjunction with the university's Bookstore Advisory Committee, the review concluded that projected revenues over a fifteen-year period for the two chains would not be substantially different than if the stores remained independent. "Because the cumulative figures of all three [projections] were relatively close, the loss of operational controls is not worth the potential risks or gains of employing a privatized vendor," Pietrantoni says.

Trask says he wasn't surprised by the result of the analysis. Most of the successful privatization efforts have been at universities where the bookstore is in disarray or losing money, and that isn't the case at Duke. "The stores have had good leadership over the years," he says. "It's also in Durham, which means the market forces are somewhat different: big enough to have a market but not so big that it's overwhelmed with competitors."

The panel's analysis examined what privatization would offer in program and product services and financial returns. The Bookstore Advisory Committee helped raise the key questions as to what was special about the stores and what kind of guarantees the university should demand of potential external managers.

For students, Gillespie says, one of the key issues was whether the chains would buy back used textbooks and provide competitive prices for books. For staff, there were job benefits and other employment concerns. The committee insisted that the staff would have to be protected either by keeping them as Duke employees or as chain employees with benefits comparable to Duke staff.

Faculty members also wanted guarantees that scholarly titles would not be pushed out for best-sellers, that foreign titles and hard-to-get scholarly texts could be delivered quickly, and that revenues would not be drained from academic programs. During the discussions with ECAC and Gillespie, Trask said these issues would be part of the analysis.

"I'm pleased with the process," says Mosteller. "I think it worked. When the issue came up, it seemed to me it was not clear that there was a right answer. What needed to be done was for it to be worked through by thoughtful people, and I think the administration and the Bookstore Advisory Committee played that role asking the right questions."

But Pietrantoni, Trask, and Gillespie agree the end of this review process marks the beginning of another process of keeping the operation competitive. In his memo to Mosteller on the issue, Trask cautioned that if the market continues on this same course, the university may have to revisit the issue of privatization.

"From the start," said Trask, "our review was predicated on wanting to be sure we were providing the best possible service to our students and faculty within the realistic market constraints the bookstore faced. This review gave us a chance to assess these issues in a formal way, and we learned.


he American Dance Festival will bring to the Duke campus the world's most outstanding dance--and the most outstanding dancers in the field of modern dance --with sixteen commissioned works June 10 through July 24. In addition, nearly 450 professional and pre-professional dancers from around the globe are expected to converge for six weeks of intensive training at the ADF school.

In this, its sixty-sixth season, the ADF will feature performances and commissioned pieces by Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company, African American Dance Ensemble, Martha Clarke, Pilobolus Dance Theatre, Eiko & Koma, Tharp!, John Jasperse Company, Philadanco, David Dorfman Dance, Argentina's El Angiel Dance Company, China's Ma Bo and Li Han Zhong, Russia's Tatiana Baganova, Israel's Barak Marshall, and Paul Taylor Dance Company.

For 1999, the Samuel H. Scripps American Dance Festival Award to honor lifetime achievement in modern dance went to Pina Bausch. The $25,000 annual award was established in 1981.

Doris Duke Millennium Awards for Modern Dance and Jazz Music Collaborations united the talents of choreographer Bill T. Jones with composer Fred Hersch, and Paul Taylor with Rick Benjamin and the Paragon Ragtime Orchestra. Doris Duke Awards for New Work, cash prizes awarded at three different levels, went to Twyla Tharp and Meredith Monk ($100,000), Eiko & Koma and Martha Clarke (each $40,000), and John Jasperse and David Dorfman (each $15,000).

From June through the end of July, the ADF-mounted "Full-bodied Expressions of Modern Life: Modern Dance and the American Twentieth Century" will be exhibited in the Perkins Library lobby at Duke. The exhibit features materials from the ADF archival collection of photos, letters, and administrative files from its earliest days to the present.

The ADF was established in 1934 in Bennington, Vermont, with Martha Graham, Hanya Holm, Doris Humphrey, and Charles Weidman as founding artists. The festival, directed by Charles and Stephanie Reinhart, moved to Durham in 1978. Throughout its history, the ADF has played a critical role in increasing the repertoires of American modern dance companies, hosting more than 480 premieres, many of them landmark dances.

Performances will be held in Page Auditorium and Reynolds Industries Theater. For tickets, contact the Page box office at (919) 684-4444. For more information, see the website at www.AmericanDanceFestival.org.

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