University of Vermont

The Honors College

Plenary Lectures Faculty

FALL 2013

The Honors College's plenary lecture series, an integral part of the first-year course, "The Pursuit of Knowledge," invites the campus community to consider along with the students questions similar to those being posed in the course. Lectures are by distinguished members of the UVM community as well as nationally recognized writers and artists from outside UVM.

Plenary Lectures are scheduled on select Thursdays throughout the semester from 5:30-6:45 pm in Billings Lecture Hall. Members of the University community as well as the broader Burlington community are always welcome to attend.

Sarah Alexander, Assistant Professor of English
University of Vermont

Lecture: September 5, 2013
Topic: "Melancholy Waifs and Strays": Life on the Streets of Victorian London
William Falls

Sarah Alexander, Assistant Professor of English, joined the UVM faculty in 2010. She received her Ph.D. in 2009, from Rutgers University where she completed a dissertation on literary treatments of street life in London. Her teaching and research interests include Victorian literature and culture, the novel, Victorian poetry, nineteenth-century science, Charles Dickens, Victorian London, and nineteenth-century political economy. She is currently completing a book manuscript, "Imponderable Matters: Physics in Victorian Literature and Culture," which argues that Victorian fiction appropriated concepts of imponderable matter from physics, including ether, energy and entropy, non-Euclidean space, and atom theories to explain equally imponderable social and economic phenomena, such as the limitlessness of energy demand and waste involved in Victorian manufacture, the entropic decline of the lower social orders under the capitalist system, and the problems associated with imagining imperial spaces.

Bill Falls, Professor of Psychology
University of Vermont

Lecture: September 19, 2013
Topic:"Formulating Scientific Questions"
William Falls

Falls is an Associate Professor of Psychology and has been the recipient of grants from the National Institute of Mental Health. Falls' research is focused on examining the neurobiology of learning, memory and emotion. He uses Pavlovian fear conditioning procedures to examine the neural systems involved in the acquisition, expression and inhibition of conditioned fear and has been recently conducting research examining the mechanism through which physical exercise reduces anxiety and improves learning and memory. Anxiety disorders, such as specific phobias and PTSD, may reflect pathological fear responses acquired through Pavlovian conditioning. Individuals with these disorders exhibit exaggerated fear and anxiety in certain situations. Falls examines these neural systems to better understand the etiology of these disorders and to develop new and more effective treatments for reducing fear and anxiety.

Recent publications include: Waddell, J. Dunnett, C. & Falls, W.A. (2004). C57BL/6J and DBA/2J mice differ in extinction and renewal of extinguished fear. Behavioural Brain Research 154(2):567-76 .

Jaworski DM. Boone J. Caterina J. Soloway P. Falls WA. (2005). Prepulse inhibition and fear-potentiated startle are altered in tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase-2 (TIMP-2) knockout mice. Brain Research. 1051, 81-9.

Heldt, S.A. & Falls, W.A. (2006). The Effects of Posttraining Lesions of the Auditory Thalamus and Cortex on the Inhibition of Fear Conditioned to an Auditory Stimulus.

European Journal of Neuroscience.


Prof. Falls' Website

Allison Neal, PhD Biology Student
University of Vermont

Lecture: October 3, 2012
Topic: "Evolution and Sex Ratios"
Allison Neal

Neal is currently a second year graduate student in the Schall lab at the University of Vermont. Her focus is ecology and evolution, and is particularly interested in the ecology and evolutionary biology of parasites. The complex ways in which parasites interact with their hosts and how these interactions have evolved fascinates her. Neal's graduate work focuses on the sex ratio of the lizard malaria parasite Plasmodium mexicanum. Studying sex ratio is a great way to look at how selection on individuals can lead to population-wide patterns.

Neal's research combines classic parasitological techniques (such as identifying different stages of the parasite under the microscope) and fieldwork with modern molecular analysis (microsatellite analysis to determine the genetic diversity of infections) to test the application of sex ratio theory to a lizard malaria parasite (P. mexicanum). She is interested in whether the parasite follows the predictions of Local Mate Competition as well as what selective forces play a part in shaping the sex ratio.

While Neal's graduate work centers on the life history biology of a malaria parasite, her interests in the ecology and evolution of parasites remain broad. Neal applied and was admitted to the National Science Foundation's East Asia and the Pacific Summer Institute for the summer of 2011. This program gives graduate students the opportunity to work on summer research projects with prominent scientists in East Asia and the Pacific to introduce us to the scientific community of this region and encourage future collaboration.

Neal spent eight weeks in New Zealand working with Dr. Robert Poulin on a project investigating the dispersal of the infective stages of a marine parasite in the genus Philophthalmus. Philophthalmus is a trematode (fluke) whose adult stage is found in the eye orbit of gulls. Eggs are passed in the tears and hatch in the environment, and the larval stage enters intertidal snails. After developing, another larval stage is released from the snail and encysts in the environment, where it may be eaten by a gull. Neal's research investigated the encysting behavior of the parasite and whether it varies spatially.

Michael Arnowitt, Pianist

Lecture: October 17, 2013
Topic: "The Music of 1911" (a recital/lecture)
Michael Arnowitt

Michael Arnowitt is one of the most creative and imaginative pianists in today's classical music world. He is best known for the beauty, clarity and elegance of his musical ideas, for his abilities to find new articulations and colors from the piano, for his talents in constructing innovative and thought-provoking programs, and for his natural and warm on-stage manner with audiences of all ages.

Michael Arnowitt's life and music is the subject of an award-winning documentary by the American filmmaker Susan Bettmann, Beyond Eighty-Eight Keys (2004). The documentary, filmed in both the United States and Europe, contains footage of concert performances, educational talks, and interviews. The film has been broadcast twice on public television and has been shown at a variety of film festivals and venues including the Rode Pomp, an arts center in Gent, Belgium and the Anthology, a theater in New York City's East Village.

Arnowitt has appeared at festivals and concert series devoted to contemporary music in the northeastern United States, and has performed piano solo new music programs in Belgium and Holland. Together with the percussionist Beverley Johnston, he developed a duo program of music by composers from around the world, which they have performed in Canada and the United States.

Elisabeth Root, Medical Geographer, University of Colorado at Boulder

Lecture: October 24, 2013
Topic: TBD

Robert Macauley, Clinical Associate Professor of Pediatrics
College of Medicine, University of Vermont

Lecture: November 7, 2013
Topic: "Knowledge of Illness"
Robert Macauley

Robert Macauley is Medical Director of Clinical Ethics at Fletcher Allen Health Care, and Clinical Associate Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Vermont College of Medicine. He received his B.A. from Wheaton College and M.D. from Yale. Following residency training in pediatrics at Johns Hopkins, he was a pediatric hospitalist in Connecticut and Director of Pediatrics at Kuluva Hospital in Uganda, before coming to UVM in 2002. He also holds a Master of Studies in Philosophical Theology from Oxford University, and Masters of Divinity and of Sacred Theology from Yale Divinity School.

Dr. Macauley's work focuses on clinical ethics, pediatric palliative care, and spirituality. He directs the Clinical Ethics Consultation Service at Fletcher Allen Health Care as well as the ethics curriculum at the UVM College of Medicine, for which he received the Golden Apple Teaching Award. He has published articles on topics ranging from civil disobedience in the practice of medicine to the role of surrogate decision-making following a suicide attempt, in journals such as the Hastings Center Report and the Journal of Clinical Ethics.

Dr. Macauley also directs the Pediatric Advanced Care Team at Vermont Children's Hospital, and is one of less than a hundred pediatricians nationally to also be board-certified in Hospice and Palliative Medicine. An ordained Episcopal priest, Dr. Macauley directs the "Spirituality in Patient Care" initiative at the College of Medicine, for which he received the George Washington Institute for Spirituality and Health Award for Curricular Development.

Last modified August 19 2013 02:45 PM