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2015 Lectures

Designed to create a campus-wide conversation, the Helen and Jeff Herbert Family University Lecture Series gives first-year students an opportunity to interact with leading members of our faculty—scholars, scientists, and civic leaders who are nationally and internationally renowned. All students, faculty, alumni, staff and community guests are invited, but the events will be aimed at entering first-year students. The Helen and Jeff Herbert Family University Lecture Series is generously brought to UT Austin by the Helen and Jeff Herbert family.

Spring 2015

Thursday, Jan. 29
8 p.m.
MEZ 1.306

Italian filmmaker Marina Spada will visit UT for a screening and discussion of her 2011 film Il mio domani / My Tomorrow. For more information about this event, please visit this link.

Thursday, Feb. 5
5:30–7:30 p.m.
College of Liberal Arts Building (CLA) Room 0.130

Freedom of Commercial Speech, a panel discussion, featuring:

Clark Neily is a senior attorney with the Institute for Justice, a public policy law firm based in Washington, DC. He litigates constitutional cases involving economic liberty, property rights, school choice, and the First Amendment in both federal and state courts. He has worked on commercial cases involving state licensing of such occupations as limousine service and interior design. Mr. Neily also represented the plaintiffs in the historic Heller gun rights case. Mr. Neily clerked for Judge Royce Lamberth on the U.S. District Court and then worked as a litigator with the Dallas-based firm Thompson & Knight. Mr. Neily is the author of the recent book, Terms of Engagement: How Our Courts Should Enforce the Constitution’s Promise of Limited Government.

Tamara Piety is a professor of law at the University of Tulsa. A nationally recognized scholar on the legal treatment of commercial and corporate speech, Piety is widely published in legal journals and author of the book, Brandishing the First Amendment, arguing that First Amendment protection for advertising and corporate speech does not materially advance any of the interests the First Amendment was meant to protect. Professor Piety earned her bachelor’s degree in economics from Florida International University; her J.D., magna cum laude, from the University of Miami School of Law; and an LL.M. from Harvard Law School, where she was the executive editor of the Harvard Women’s Law Journal.

David Brown is a familiar voice to many Austin residents as a radio journalist. He is the host and managing editor of the Texas Standard, a statewide daily news hour covering business and money, politics, life, culture, as well as breaking news. The program is a first-of-its-kind collaboration among public radio stations across the state, as well as the Texas Tribune, Texas Monthly, NPR, and many other partners. Mr. Brown holds a law degree from Washington and Lee University. Mr. Brown has reported from bases in Washington, London, Los Angeles, and Boston and has anchored in-depth public radio documentaries from India, Brazil, and various points across the United States and Europe.

Panelists will consider such questions as:

  • Truth in advertising—should the law police it? And should paid ads have to say that they are paid ads?
  • Mandatory disclosure of product information (calorie counts, labor practices)—Do consumers have the right to compel certain speech?
  • Confidentiality agreements—May businesses demand silence from employees?
  • Would “net neutrality” restrictions liberate speech, or limit speech?
  • Occupational Speech—Doctors, designers, and many others give advice; tour guides and teachers talk for a living. When a person is paid for his speech, should he need a license?
  • Does the exchange of money alter individuals’ speech rights?
  • To what extent can you separate free enterprise and free speech? Can either exist without the other?
  • Does a business hold the same First Amendment rights as a person?

The format is audience-friendly: brief presentations by the three guests, followed by about 40 minutes of interview-style dialogue, then a half hour of questions from the floor.
Note: There is a related Essay Contest with cash prizes, open to all undergraduate UT students. More information about the Free Speech Dialogues series can be found online.

Thursday, Feb. 5
4:30 p.m.
SEA 4.244

Dr. Maki, the leading scholar regarding hormone therapies at menopause and cognitive functioning, will be giving a talk.

Thursday, Feb. 19
6:30 p.m.
Blanton Auditorium

Film Screening—Eyes on the Prize: The Promised Land. (60 minutes) Covers the last year of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s life and the turn of the Civil Rights Movement toward addressing economic inequality. Conversation with film director Paul Stekler follows.

Friday, Feb. 20
1 p.m.
SEA 4.244

Dr. Charles is at the cutting edge of research emotion and social ties in late life. Her SAVI model has become the dominant paradigm guiding research on this topic.

Sunday, Feb. 22
2 p.m.

Blanton Perspectives—Artist Jack Whitten and Witness co-curator Kellie Jones discuss the works and themes of the exhibition, with a focus on Whitten’s work and the development of his practice since the 1960s.

Thursday, March 5
7 p.m.
Joynes Reading Room (CRD 007)

The Mary Lu Joynes Endowment in the Plan II Honors Program and L.L. and Ethel E. Dean Endowment in the School of Undergraduate Studies will host a reading by Terrance Hayes. For more information, please visit this site

Thursday, March 12
3:30-5 p.m.

Textual Technologies: An Interactive Genius Workshop. This workshop will explore the history of Genius (formerly Rap Genius) and its pedagogical purposes, while also working hands-on with the site’s forthcoming functions. This workshop is designed for faculty, graduate students, and undergraduates. For more information, please visit this site.

Tuesday, March 24
Noon–1:30 p.m.
School of Social Work, Utopia Theater, 2.106

Human Trafficking: Good Cause, Bad Strategy? Nearly two decades into the fight against trafficking in persons, how much progress have we made? While many experts would attribute sparse data—regarding basic characteristics of human trafficking—to its underground nature, others suggest that we may have a misguided approach to the problem. At what point is critical assessment imperative to a fledgling movement and when, if ever, is it counterproductive? Will assessment even matter to those most vested in the current strategy? Robert J. Benz, founder and executive vice president of the Frederick Douglass Family Initiatives, will discuss the focus on force and the absence of education in the struggle to end slavery.

Friday, March 27
1 p.m.
SEA 4.244

Dr. Zarit is one of the most cited scholars in the fields of gerontology and developmental psychology. He will be speaking about interventions to help caregivers of dementia patients.

Wednesday, April 8
6 p.m.
LBJ Auditorium

Civil Rights Panel—The Blanton will co-host a panel discussion on the Civil Rights Movement with the University of Texas’s LBJ Library and Museum and Dolph Briscoe Center for American History.

Friday, April 10
CLA 1.302E

Dr. Hess who has brought new ideas to the study of cognitive aging that are likely to shape the field for decades to come.

Tuesday, April 14
Noon–1:30 p.m.
School of Social Work, Utopia Theater, 2.106

Kirsta Leeburg Melton is the assistant attorney general responsible for the prosecution of human trafficking for the Texas Attorney General’s Office. For the past 14 years she has prosecuted in the Family Justice Unit of the Bexar County District Attorney’s Office combating human trafficking, the physical and sexual abuse of children, sex crimes against adults, and family violence from felony assault to capital murder.

Melton graduated cum laude from Cornell University in 1993. She then went on to obtain her law degree and her master’s in Public Affairs from the University of Texas. In addition to prosecuting, Melton is the former chairperson of the Alamo Area Coalition against Trafficking and one of the founding members of Chapter 61 Ministries, which has become “Truckers against Trafficking,” a nation-wide campaign dedicated to educating and raising awareness of human trafficking in the trucking industry.

Fall 2015 Lectures

Monday, Sept. 21
6:30-7:30 p.m. & 8:30-9:30 p.m. (two shows)
Hogg Memorial Auditorium
“Two Guys On Your Head”

Speakers: Dr. Robert Duke – School of Music & Dr. Art Markman – College of Liberal Arts

What’s going on in that head of yours? Most everyone has a mind, but very few people know how the mind works. As a result, the ways that people study, learn, and use knowledge are often less than optimal. In this talk, we’ll examine core principles of learning, and consider elements of motivation that influence what people learn in and out of school. We’ll also discuss ways to connect information across disciplines and to make the transition from being a good student to becoming a good thinker.

Watch the Two Guys On Your Head lecture.

Tuesday, Sept. 22
6:30-7:30 p.m. & 8:30-9:30 p.m. (two shows)
Hogg Memorial Auditorium
Lessons in Leadership

Speakers: Dr. Andrea Gore – College of Pharmacy, Dr. Richard Reddick – College of Education, & Professor Daron Roberts – Center for Sports Leadership and Innovation

Dr. Andrea Gore will discuss her research, teaching, and outreach activities related to her work on hormones and the brain, and how environmental chemicals disrupt neurodevelopment and behavior. As Editor-in-chief of the journal, Endocrinology, and through service to the US government, she has had additional opportunities to influence the future of science. Dr. Gore is chair of UT-Austin’s faculty council and will provide some perspective on the changes taking place on our campus.

Dr. Richard Reddick will discuss Leadership in the #BlackLivesMatter Era using The Forty Acres as a living laboratory for cross-cultural understanding. For the past two years, young people have engaged in discussions and activism addressing systematic inequities in the criminal justice system, education, and many aspects of our society. Drawing on his research on campus diversity and mentoring, Dr. Reddick hopes to examine how to exhibit leadership in a time of profound differences in American society, as well as what opportunities students may encounter on campus.

Professor Daron Roberts will examine leadership as a contact sport. The art of shepherding people to a desired destination begins with rigorous introspective work. After understanding “self”, the leader can craft a blueprint for success. Professor Roberts will focus on three essentials for cultivating an effective leadership style.

Watch the Lessons in Leadership lecture.