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Lecture series showcases work of LAS professors

The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences introduced something new this semester – a lecture series specifically for the college.

“When I took over [as dean], this was one of the things I wanted to do to raise awareness of the college,” said interim dean Stacey Robertson. “We are a college of successful scholars. I wanted to create a lecture series to share that scholarship.”

When Robertson began her position on June 1, she also began planning the lecture series. The series is designed to showcase faculty knowledge, by inviting faculty to present to students. She said she hopes two lecturers will present each semester.

The series kicked off with Lee L. Morgan Chair in International Affairs Shah Tarzi on Nov. 13. Tarzi’s lecture covered strategies for the United States’ “grand strategy,” a plan to “preserve national safety, regain economic vitality and to remain true to core [nation] values.”

“I felt privileged when [Robertson] asked me to deliver the inaugural address in this prominent lecture series,” Tarzi said. “For me, the most gratifying and special part of the experience was the students’ questions on a range of issues during the question and answer session following my lecture.”

Because of the diversity in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (LAS), Robertson said she wants to incorporate lecturers from each of the college’s three areas. Tarzi, an international affairs professor, represented the social studies area, so Robertson said she would like to see a professor from the humanities area and a professor from the natural sciences and mathematics area speak in the spring. No speakers have been determined for next semester yet.

“The speeches will be beautifully open, which is one of the best elements of the college,” Robertson said. “Our college is very diverse. I want to be inclusive to all majors and I want all 14 departments to participate, [both full-time faculty] and junior faculty.”

The lectures may not be limited solely to LAS faculty in the future, Robertson said.

“I’m hoping that eventually, we’ll occasionally have collaborative research between professors and students,” she said. “We pride ourselves at Bradley for having students collaborate with professors…so perhaps the lectures can exemplify this.”

Because of the wide array of departments in LAS, Robertson said students should attend the upcoming lectures, even if their department or area is not being featured.

“I want to remind students that college is an extraordinary privilege to have the ability to go to free lectures,” she said. “I would encourage all majors to go to the lectures to get exposed to so much knowledge.”

Tarzi said he thinks the lecture series will prosper in the future.

“I am confident that [the lecture series] will be a great success because we have a good reservoir of scholarly and intellectual talent in our college,” he said. “Dean Robertson envisioned and designed this lecture series as part of her broader commitment to… benefit of the college, the university and the larger Peoria community.”

Robertson said students should nominate their LAS professors for the lecture series. Students can nominate a professor by emailing Robertson.


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