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Chancellor, provost host colloquium and forum


By Dateline staff

Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi’s guest is a small-scale farmer in South Africa and an international leader in agriculture. Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Ralph J. Hexter’s guest is an expert on American higher education, coming here to discuss “the innovative university.”

Next week, each will give a talk, free and open to the public, in a pair of ongoing series.

Brylyne Chitsunge — “Farming in the 21st Century: A Woman’s Perspective from South Africa,” in the Chancellor’s Colloquium Distinguished Speakers Series.

Roger L. Geiger — “The Past and Future of the Innovative University,” in the Provost’s Forums on the Public University and the Social Good.


Photo: Brylyne Chitsunge


Chancellor’s Colloquium — In South Africa, 70 percent of farmers are women — Chitsunge among them. She breeds Kalahari red goats, Nguni cattle, free-range poultry, indigenous pigs and even tilapia.

“My entry in this business was driven primarily by anger at the inability of many of my contemporaries to see the value in agriculture as a business and a critical part of nation building,” she said in an address at the Global Science Conference on Climate-Smart Agriculture in 2011.

But, in building these nations, she added, “We need to emphasize the importance of reinforcing human and social dimensions of development in the process that assures food sovereignty and security.”

As such, Chitsunge works to educate farmers — in South Africa and elsewhere — about sustainable farming and community-supported agriculture, and she is especially interested in developing resources for small-scale farmers like herself.

In her advocacy, she promotes agriculture as an economic engine to combat poverty in less developed countries.

She is the facilitator of the South Africa-Nigeria Group on Agriculture and has traveled the world to discuss climate change and support for female farmers, as well as sustainable agriculture.

Her talk is scheduled for 4 p.m. Tuesday (Feb. 5) in the Vanderhoef Studio Theatre at the Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts. A reception will follow. People planning to attend are asked to RSVP.


Photo: Roger L. Geiger


Provost’s Forum — Geiger has been a faculty member at Pennsylvania State University since 1987, pursuing his studies of both the history of American higher education and issues pertinent to research universities. He is a Distinguished Professor and professor in charge of the Higher Education Program (part of the College of Education), and a senior scientist at the Center for the Study of Higher Education.

Before Penn State, he spent six years at the Yale Program on Nonprofit Organizations, where he began his multiyear study of American research universities in the 20th century. The resulting trilogy traced three distinct phases:

  • To Advance Knowledge, 1900-1940 (1986 and republished in 2004), examining the formative years when philanthropic foundations supported basic research
  • Research and Relevant Knowledge: American Research Universities Since World War II (1993 and 2004), focusing on the period when the federal government supported research relevant to national needs
  • Knowledge and Money: American Research Universities and the Paradox of the Marketplace (2004), analyzing universities in the marketplace in the last decades of the century.

He and Creso M. Sa studied university contributions to economic growth, in Tapping the Riches of Science: Universities and the Promise of Economic Growth (2008).

Geiger has been the editor of Perspectives on the History of Higher Education since 1993. Volume 30 (2013), edited by Geiger and Nathan M. Sorber, will address The Morrill Land-Grant Act and the Shaping of American Higher Education.

Geiger wrote chapters for and edited The American College in the Nineteenth Century (2000). His articles include “Demography and Curriculum: the Humanities in American Higher Education from the 1950s to the 1980s” in David Hollinger’s volume on The Humanities and the Dynamics of Inclusion.

Today, Geiger is writing a history of American higher education, to be published by Princeton University Press in 2014.

He holds a doctorate in European intellectual history from the University of Michigan in 1972 and went on to study comparative higher education with the Yale Higher Education Group, first studying French universities and later writing Private Sectors in Higher Education: Structure, Function and Change in Eight Countries (1986).

Geiger’s talk is scheduled for 3 p.m. Friday (Feb. 8) in the multipurpose room (second floor), Student Community Center, with a reception to follow until 5:30 p.m.

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