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University Lecture Series

This series puts first-year students in front of nationally renowned scholars, scientists, and civic leaders.

University Lecture Series Fall 2014

The School of Undergraduate Studies assembles a list of lectures that you may count for the Fall 2014 Signature Course University Lecture Series requirement. We will update the list continuously, and we welcome your suggestions/additions. Video recordings of the Fall 2013 Lectures are also available on this site.

Monday, September 29
Bass Concert Hall

In The Creative Mind Featuring:

Prof. Ann C. Johns: Obama, Art History, And Me (or why you should study the arts)
Why should UT students take classes in the arts? This issue came into unexpected focus this past February, when President Obama, in a speech touting the value of manufacturing jobs, suggested that a major in art history might be less than practical. After weeks of debate, UT-Austin was briefly in the national spotlight when President Obama responded in a hand-written letter to UT art historian Dr. Ann Johns’ emailed response in defense of a career in the arts. So just what are the benefits of studying the arts?

Prof. Guy P. Raffa: Dantemania: Looking Back Today for a Better Tomorrow
Dante Alighieri is known today for his poetic journey through the afterlife even by those who haven’t read a single word that he wrote seven hundred years ago in Italy. Forget about the proliferation of translations, academic studies, and college courses touting Dante and his work: when a video game inspired by your Inferno is launched during half time of the Super Bowl, when Don Draper reads your opening lines on a Hawaiian beach to open a season of Mad Men, and when Dan Brown bases his latest blockbuster on your poem and its enduring influence, you know you’ve become a word-wide celebrity. What do these and other creative reinventions of Dante’s own creation tell us about the medieval poet and his world? What do they tell us about our world and ourselves? This talk uses today’s Dantemania to show how studying the past can shape a better future through a clearer understanding of the present.

Prof. Michael P. Starbird: Elements of Effective Thinking
A wondrously romantic belief is that brilliant thinkers magically produce brilliant ideas: Einstein jostles his hair and relativity falls out. We can enjoy these fanciful visions of leaps of genius, but we should not be fooled into believing that they’re reality. Brilliant innovators are brilliant because they practice habits of thinking that inevitably carry them step by step to works of genius. No magic and no leaps are involved. Habits of effective thinking and creativity can be taught and learned. Anyone who practices them will inevitably create new insights, new ideas, and new solutions.

Tuesday, September 30
Bass Concert Hall

Innovations and Ethics in Healthcare Featuring:

Prof. James W. McGinity: Pharmaceutical Inventions Developed by Students and Faculty in the College of Pharmacy
Two issued patents and a patent application on innovations developed by students and faculty in the College of Pharmacy will be discussed during this presentation. The ‘963 patent protects the abuse-deterrent sustained release opioid tablet product, “OxyContin®.” This patent has not only generated more revenue for UT than any other patent in the history of the University, but this abuse-deterrent technology saves the lives of many who are unable to physically extract the opioid from these tablets.

Prof. Lauren Ancel Meyers: Tracking and Curbing the Next Deadly Pandemic
Professor Meyers will discuss global pandemics, the current threats of ebola and influenza, and how big data and modern computing are helping to fight contagion.

Prof. William J. Winslade: Creative Interventions and Ethical Implications
Innovations in medical treatment can result from new techniques and technologies or new uses of old technologies. New treatments for nerve damage, eye diseases and mental illness will be used to illustrate them. But innovative treatment always raises ethical questions about appropriate and inappropriate uses.

The University Lecture Series is generously funded by the Audre and Bernard Rapoport Excellence Fund for Undergraduate Studies. View archived ULS events.