The David B. Abernethy Emeriti/ae Lecture Series: Autobiographical Reflections features distinguished senior faculty members speaking about their lives, careers, and inspirations. Speakers reflect a wide range of teaching and research fields at Stanford, including the arts, humanities, social sciences, education, business, law, engineering, sciences, and medicine.
Milbrey McLaughlin: Context and the Power of Opportunities
Milbrey McLauglin, the David Jacks Professor of Education and Public Policy at Stanford University, Emerita, spoke to an emeriti/ae audience on April 22, 2021. She traced her life trajectory through college and an “awakening” of sorts in Kansas City, Missouri, to policy analysis at the RAND Corporation focused on disadvantaged youth, and quite “unintentionally” to a faculty position at Stanford where she was the founding director of the John W. Gardner Center for Youth and Their Communities. Professor McLaughlin discussed several themes in her work helping to identify policies that can improve outcomes for vulnerable urban youth, including “mutual adaptation” by local educators and careful attention to the settings and contexts of both teachers and students. She highlighted the power of well-designed extra-curricular opportunities such as the CYCLE program in Chicago, that allowed youth to overcome hostile conditions in Chicago’s Cabrini-Green public housing project and embark on positive life paths.
Eve Vivienne Clark: From French Literature to First Language Acquisition
Eve Vivienne Clark, Richard W. Lyman Professor in the Humanities and Professor Emerita of Linguistics presented a lecture via Zoom on Feb. 17, 2021 entitled “From French Literature to First Language Acquisition.” She discussed her early life and her education in France and Edinburgh, advice along the way from important mentors, and joining Stanford’s Department of Linguistics in 1974. She shared vivid examples of her extensive research on how children acquire language, the development of principles in language acquisition and use, and how new words are coined by children and adults. Clark described sabbaticals and summers doing research, teaching, and sailing in The Netherlands and multiple other European countries along with her husband, Stanford Psychology Professor Herbert Clark. She expressed gratitude for Stanford’s supportive environment and answered audience questions about her research and what it was like to be one of very few women faculty members and part of a rare couple with two faculty appointments at Stanford beginning in the 1970s.
Jim Gibbons: Tutored Video Instruction, Before and After Zoom
James Gibbons, Stanford Professor of Electrical Engineering, Emeritus, spoke in the Abernethy Emeriti/ae Lecture Series. In his talk he traces the origins and uses of the Tutored Video Instruction (TVI) process, which he developed in 1972 while serving on President Nixon’s Science Advisory Council. Originally designed to teach Stanford electrical engineering graduate courses to Silicon Valley engineers at off-campus locations, Gibbons outlines the positive learning outcomes achieved through TVI and DTVI (Distributed TVI) as well as the elements contributing to that success, including the importance of tutor selection and training. He describes subsequent uses of TVI in very different settings: teaching computer literacy to children of migrant farm workers and teaching emotional skills to youth in a variety of school and juvenile justice settings across the country. Gibbons mentions that the TVI methodology was also used in a Stanford poetry course and adopted by faculty at the Autonomous University of Guadalajara.
David Abernethy: A Fortunate Life
In a lecture on Nov. 20, 2019, entitled “A Fortunate Life,” David Abernethy, Stanford Professor of Political Science, Emeritus reflects on the advantages of being born into an American, white, middle class, Protestant family. His youthful commitment to doing something about sub-Saharan Africa led to summer experiences in Nigeria and Guinea with Operation Crossroads Africa and eventually to filling a new faculty billet at Stanford in African politics. He discusses changes at Stanford since he arrived in 1965, including the increased diversity of the student body and trends in student activism; his support for replacing the freshman Western Culture requirement with more globally oriented courses; involvement in campus anti-apartheid and disinvestment issues; and his role in the controversy over the location in the campus foothills of the proposed Ronald Reagan Presidential Library. He describes his post-retirement desire to balance activities that are familiar vs. unfamiliar and benefitting himself vs. others. New activities include singing in the Stanford Symphonic Chorus and chairing the Emeriti Council. He advises that it is okay in retirement to step back from our hectic lives. He also answers audience questions about his book, “The Dynamics of Global Dominance: European Overseas Empires, 1415-1980,” published in 2000.
Albert Camarillo: Growing Up Mexican American
Albert Camarillo, Stanford Professor emeritus of History, reflects on growing up as a Mexican American in the Los Angeles suburb of Compton and the profound effect of that environment and the opportunities it provided in shaping his scholarship and his life. He discusses racial restrictive covenants, changing demographics, school integration in the 1960s, and the value of playing team sports. As one of very few Mexican American students when he entered UCLA, he met his wife Susan and discovered the nascent field of Chicano history, going on to earn the first PhD in this field. Coming to Stanford in 1975 as an affirmative action hire, he praises senior faculty mentors in the history department. After founding Stanford’s Center for Chicano Research, he directed the Center for Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity and credits Stanford for taking a chance and investing in the development of this new field. He mentions chairing a major two-year study, the University Commission on Minority Issues. And he notes that his service as associate dean of Humanities & Sciences helped him learn how the university works from the inside.
Lee Shulman: A Well-Marbled Career
Lee Shulman, Ducommun Professor of Education, Emeritus at Stanford, reflects on his life and academic career, describing the chance-filled path he took from slicing pastrami in his parents’ deli to teaching at Michigan State and Stanford and then presiding over the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. He talks about his Yeshiva high school in Chicago, undergraduate and PhD experiences at the University of Chicago, his research interests in the philosophy and psychology of education, integration of pedagogy with content, development of new forms of teaching assessment, and his work at the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching which moved to the Stanford campus. He comments that just as pastrami is marbled, teaching and research should be equal parts of a well-marbled career.