Provost’s Distinguished Speaker Series Goes Virtual … and That’s a Good Thing

The Provost’s Distinguished Speaker Series is going online this year, and its coordinator says that presents an opportunity.

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Top Row: C. Michael White, Sandra Chafouleas, and Pamir Alpay. Bottom Row: Katharina Von Hammerstein and Sergio Luzzatto.

The Provost’s Distinguished Speaker Series, like so many other things during the COVID-19 pandemic, will move to a virtual format this year. However, that’s just fine for Vice Provost for Faculty, Staff and Student Development Michael Bradford, the coordinator of the program this year.

“I know it’s been a tough time for faculty, staff, and students and we are all trying to stay in touch and engage people,” says Bradford, who is new to his position after serving as the head of the Department of Dramatic Arts and artistic director of the Connecticut Repertory Theatre. “For something like the Speaker Series, going virtual presents opportunity, as far as I am concerned. It’s an opportunity to touch base with alumni and parents of our students, so they see the type of work that is happening on our campus.”

The Provost’s Distinguished Speaker Series, now in its third year, fosters intellectual, professional, and personal growth and collegiality among the UConn community. This series provides an opportunity for the most recently inducted Board of Trustees Distinguished Professors and Endowed Chairs to share advances in their expertise and engage in thought-provoking discussions.

The series is open to all member of the University community and the public.

The first presentation is Monday, Nov. 16 at 4 p.m., when Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor of Pharmacy Practice C. Michael White will speak on the topic, “Shining Light in the Shadows: My Work in Dietary Supplements.”

“When I was a faculty member, it was always impressive for me that I had these colleagues around the campus that have this depth of research and knowledge and these people are not operating in the clouds,” Bradford says. “They are having these conversations about everyday things. They are talking to me in a way I know very clearly and that makes me interested.”

The other presentations in the Provost’s Distinguished Speaker Series are:

Thursday December 3, 2020

Sandra M. Chafouleas, Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor of Educational Psychology

“Well-Being in School, Child, and Community: Advancing the Whole, Not the Sum of Its Parts”

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Pamir Alpay, Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor of Materials Science and Engineering

“The Iron Man Approach: Accelerating Materials Development Using Atomistic Models”

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Sergio Luzzatto, Emiliana Pasca Noether Chair in Modern Italian History

“Looking into a Name: The Emiliana Pasca Noether Chair and World History”

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Katharina Von Hammerstein, Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor of Literatures, Cultures, and Languages

“Voices of Genocide: From German Colonialism in Africa to the Southern District Federal Court of New York”

For more information on the series, including how to access the presentations virtually, visit the Distinguished Speakers Series site.

“The reason I love these conversations by the Board of Trustees Distinguished Professors is because they know a lot, but they are still very human,” says Bradford. “The know how to be in conversation with people, and our students need this, our colleagues need this. It’s who we are as a university: we are centered on scholarship and we are centered on research, and we have to celebrate that.”