Herbst Faculty Update

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Fall 2013

Scot Douglass, as recent graduates know, is the founding Director of the Engineering Honors Program, in Andrews Hall. EHP is a vibrant, productive, and supportive educational community, with engineering students performing music, designing astronomical devices, reciting poetry, and staging other events.  Scot presides over Andrews Hall both day and night: he lives in its faculty apartment, along with his wife Kathleen and their two daughters. In recent years, Scot has developed two wildly popular and successful Maymester courses, one on the Narnia Chronicles and one on the Harry Potter books. And, this spring, he was named a Presidential Teaching Scholar in recognition of achievements both in the classroom and in the scholarly profession. Way to go, Scot!

>> More information on EHP

Hardy Fredricksmeyer came to the Herbst Program from the Department of Classics, the Program for Writing and Rhetoric, and the Farrand Residential Academic Program. His Herbst courses give a special spin to the study of classical Greek literature and civilization that draws on multiple disciplines.  This approach can be seen, for example, in his course description for Introduction to the Humanities (HUEN 1010).

In the Iliad, Achilles’ response to the death of his closest friend suggests both the intoxication and self-destructiveness of war:  “Nothing matters to me now, but killing, and blood, and men in agony.” As New York Times foreign correspondent Chris Hedges observes, military conflicts throughout history have offered men the twin allures of comradeship and violence.  Yet, as suggested by recent neuroscience, most human beings feel an aversion to killing that is simultaneously instinctive and learned. Consequently, the cost of killing often includes Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.  This section of HUEN 1010 addresses war and the human psyche in both fact and fiction. Guest speakers about combat and PTSD include USMC Colonel Dick Rosser, who flew 840 helicopter missions in Vietnam, received two Silver Stars for gallantry in action, and is featured in the film Helicopter Heroes of Vietnam, shown in class.

Anja Lange is still here! In addition to teaching Herbst seminars, she has developed and twice led a study abroad program in Xi’an, China - home of the terra cotta warriors. There she guides students through Chinese history and culture with classes, day trips, and interactions with Jiaotong University students.  Invariably her students gain new insights - not only into the ‘other,’ but also into but also into themselves. Anja plans to share some of her adventures in the next Herbst newsletter.


Founding Director Athanasios Moulakis left the Herbst Program in 2000.  Since then, he has had multiple adventures, including directing a program in Mediterranean Studies in Lugano, Switzerland, and serving as president at the American University in Afghanistan. He is still globe-trotting and meeting new challenges: since 2010, he has been president of the American University in Iraq!  



Former Director Diane Sieber, another Presidential Teaching Scholar, has been appointed Associate Dean for Education in the College of Engineering and Applied Science. In that capacity, she is keeping the college at the cutting edge in terms of new teaching techniques and technology. Starting this fall, she will be the first faculty-in-residence for the new Kittredge Central Global Engineering Residential Academic Program. Still a professor in the Herbst Program, Diane has become its vigorous promoter in the Dean’s Office.

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