The University Record, March 22, 1999

British Columbia's Neuman recommended as LS&A dean

By Jane R. Elgass

Shirley Neuman, dean of the Faculty of Arts and professor of English at the University of British Columbia (UBC), Vancouver, Canada, will be recommended to the Regents at their April meeting as dean of the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts, her appointment effective Aug. 1, 1999. She also will have faculty appointments in the Department of English and in the Women's Studies Program.

In recommending Neuman, Provost Nancy Cantor notes that "the University of Michigan is extremely fortunate to have attracted an individual with internationally recognized scholarly achievements, an interest in interdisciplinary and collaborative work at all levels, and strong administrative experience."

"As an administrator, Dr. Neuman will bring to the U-M wide-ranging experience with innovative initiatives in undergraduate education. These initiatives, many developed collaboratively, demonstrate her passion for and commitment to undergraduate education and interdisciplinary teaching and scholarship," Cantor says.

"We were very impressed with the breadth of her interests, even in areas of the natural and health sciences outside her current scholarly and administrative portfolio, suggesting that she will be very able to lead LS&A in cross-school and college collaborations, such as those being discussed in the life sciences, the environment and international studies.

"She also brings," Cantor notes, "an exceptional body of scholarly work in English and Women's Studies, with research and writings focused on the autobiographical texts of major modernist writers."

Citing her distinguished scholarship and success as an administrator, President Lee C. Bollinger says he is "delighted to have Dr. Neuman joining the Michigan faculty. With her broad intellectual interests and commitment to interdisciplinary research, she promises to bring enthusiasm and energy to LS&A and to the entire University."

Neuman says she was attracted to the U-M "by the quality of its faculty and students, by its intellectual vitality, by the work that has been done over the past decade to improve undergraduate education and by the priorities of the current leadership."

Neuman was particularly attracted by "the public commitment of the U-M to making a liberal arts and science education work within a research-intensive university. The fact that the U-M has in the past decade done much to rethink and improve undergraduate education in the humanities, social sciences and sciences, while at the same time remaining one of North America's best research universities, is important to me."

"I'm impressed with the University's commitment to international studies, and by the vitality of its interdisciplinary programs. I am very much looking forward to participating in the development of the new interdisciplinary initiative around biocomplexity in the life sciences. Where my own teaching and research are concerned," she adds, "I'm obviously attracted to the strong English Department and Women's Studies Program. And I anticipate much personal pleasure from the great musical programming at the U-M and in Ann Arbor."

Among the most rewarding things she has done at UBC, Neuman says, "is launching new initiatives that are collaborative at both the research and programmatic level, including an interdisciplinary set of foundations courses for first-year students," in which they move in cohorts through three different team-taught offerings.

"In addition to giving undergraduate students the experience of working across disciplines, by creating student cohorts, the courses address the alienation often felt by students at a large campus," she says.

Her commitment to interdisciplinary initiatives also is evident in other programs, including an interdisciplinary "First Nations" study-stream in the B.A. program which will go forward this spring, an interdisciplinary program in United States studies under development for inclusion under the umbrella of a Pacific Center for American Studies, a joint engineering/arts degree, and a joint education/arts degree in intercultural language learning.

At the graduate level, she has overseen the establishment of a master of journalism program, and preliminary planning has been completed for a master of curatorial studies, building on strong graduate programs in anthropology and art history.

As dean at UBC, Neuman has been responsible for all programs and departments in the humanities, social sciences and creative and performing arts; the Faculty of Arts' highly regarded contemporary art museum; two theaters; and the university's cinema program.

She also oversees the Museum of Anthropology, recognized as among the finest in North America, the internationally known Center for Research on Economic and Social Policy and the Center for Intercultural Language Studies, a joint program with the Faculty of Education.

Neuman's scholarly work includes a monograph on the autobiographies of Gertrude Stein; one on those of W.B. Yeats; an innovative book of interviews with Canadian novelist and poet Robert Kroetsch; the first major edited collection of essays from Canadian women's writing; and numerous chapters, articles and edited collections on Canadian literature, theory and practice of autobiography and feminist theory.

Neuman is beginning work on a project about the intersections of landscape, memory and nation in autobiographies, discovering the ways in which autobiographical evocations of remembered landscape are often tied to nostalgia or mourning for national losses or failures of various kinds.

She is co-principal investigator of a collaborative interdisciplinary project, "Cross-Cultural Approaches to Women, Identity, Food," and a participant in a collaborative research group studying "autopathographies."

As one of the founding members of NeWest Press, one of Canada's most successful regional publishing houses, Neuman edited a "Literary Documents" series. She also was a co-founder and publisher of Longspoon Press, which published avant-garde Canadian poets.

Prior to her appointment at UBC in 1996, Neuman was founding chair of women's studies (1986≠89) and chair of English (1992≠95) at the University of Alberta.

She has served as president of both the Association of Canadian College and University Teachers of English and the Academy of Humanities and Social Sciences of the Royal Society of Canada. She has been active in the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, serving on numerous peer review committees and as chair of both the Major Research Grants Committee and the Major Collaborative Research Initiatives Committee, and recently was appointed to its governing board.

Neuman received her B.A., M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Alberta, where she began her academic career in 1976. In 1989≠90 she was the McCalla Research Professor there. In 1984 she received the Gabrielle Roy Critical Essay Award from the Association of Canadian and Quebecois Literature for the best critical essay on Canadian literature published in 1983.

Admission lawsuits delayed

Detroit judges have postponed the trial dates for both lawsuits challenging the University's use of race in admissions.

Both the University's attorneys and the plaintiffs' legal team asked for additional time to complete the pre-trial discovery phase, citing that the discovery of large amounts of information warranted the delay.

"As the case nears the end of discoveryčthe period for gathering all the facts and opinions that either side will use to prove its casečit is not unusual to have a status conference with the judge to see if the original schedule still makes sense," explained Julie Peterson, director of News and Information Services.

The lawsuit against LS&A is scheduled for September or October. The Law School suit is scheduled for late August.

(Adapted from The Michigan Daily, Feb. 22, 1999.)