The 2019-2020 Wittenberg Series will begin with the annual Opening Convocation, the traditional kick-off of the new academic year, at 11:45 a.m. Tuesday, Aug. 27, in historic Weaver Chapel with Wittenberg University Provost Michelle Mattson delivering the keynote address. Her address is titled “The Roads Home.”
Passionate about improving student learning and institutional effectiveness, Michelle Mattson began her tenure as Wittenberg’s provost on July 1, 2019. In this role, Mattson serves as the chief academic officer for the university, providing academic leadership and fostering collaboration across the campus in areas that affect the academic life of the institution.
Mattson previously served as associate vice president of academic affairs for institutional effectiveness at Rhodes College in Memphis, Tennessee, where she was responsible for assessing institutional outcomes and reviewing the general education curriculum. She also has experience in enrollment management, budget oversight, and faculty oversight, having served as the associate dean of academic affairs at Rhodes College from 2014-2018.
In 2017-2018, Mattson was selected to participate in the Senior Leadership Academy offered by the Council of Independent Colleges (CIC) and the American Academic Leadership Institute (AALI), a yearlong program that aims to provide mid-level administrators in higher education with the knowledge and skills needed to advance in their careers.
Mattson joined the faculty at Rhodes College in 2004 as an associate professor in the department of modern languages and literatures, teaching courses in German language and composition, German cinema, and German fairy tales, and rising to full professor in 2011. As department chair from 2004-2010, she promoted program development and created a common understanding of mission among the department’s six language sections. She previously held teaching positions at Iowa State University and Columbia University, among others.
As a German studies scholar, Mattson has had a range of research interests, including German women writers, German media, and feminist ethics. She is the author of two books, Mapping Morality in Postwar German Women’s Fiction: Christa Wolf, Ingeborg Drewitz, and Grete Weil (Camden House, 2010) and Franz Xaver Kroetz: The Construction of a Political Aesthetic (Berg Publishers, 1996), and co-editor with Michael Geisler of Changes in the German Media Landscape, a special issue of New German Critique, 78 (Fall 1999).
Mattson earned a B.A. in German and Latin from the University of Minnesota Twin Cities and both a master’s in German studies and humanities and a doctorate in German studies from Stanford University.
Now in its 37th year, the Wittenberg Series brings distinguished lecturers and performing artists of national and international prominence to the Wittenberg campus and Springfield community. To make special arrangements, request a Series poster, or become a friend of the Wittenberg Series, contact Lisa Watson at WatsonL4@wittenberg.edu. All Wittenberg Series events are free and open to the public. Doors open 30 minutes prior to the beginning of each lecture or performance. Below are further details related to this year’s Series.
2019-2020 Wittenberg Series Events:
- Thursday, Sept. 26: IBM Endowed Lecture in the Sciences, 7:30 p.m., Bayley Auditorium, featuring Renu Malhotra, planetary scientist at the University of Arizona. Colloquium, 4:30 p.m., Bayley Auditorium.
- Friday, Oct. 4: Kenneth H. Sauer Luther Symposium, 7:30 p.m., Bayley Auditorium, featuring Gilbert Meilaender, author and senior research professor of theology at Valparaiso University. Q&A, 3:30 p.m., Weaver Chapel.
- Monday, Oct. 21: Dance concert featuring Step Afrika!, 7:30 p.m., Pam Evans Smith Arena in the Health, Wellness, and Athletics Complex.
- Sunday, Oct. 27: Festival Choral Eucharist for Reformation Service, 7:30 p.m. in Weaver Chapel (music begins at 7 p.m.), featuring The Rev. Dr. William O. Gafkjen, Bishop of the Indiana-Kentucky Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
- Friday, Dec. 6: Lessons and Carols for Advent and Christmas, 7:30 p.m. (pre-service music begins at 7 p.m.), Weaver Chapel.
- Monday, Jan. 20, 2020: Martin Luther King Jr. Convocation, 11:15 a.m., Weaver Chapel, featuring Freeman A. Hrabowski III, educator, advocate, mathematician, and president of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. Q & A, 2:45 p.m., 105 Joseph C. Shouvlin Center for Lifelong Learning.
- Thursday, Feb. 13, 2020: Comedy and improv show featuring The Second City, 7:30 p.m., John Legend Theater at The Dome, 700 South Limestone Street. For mature audiences.
- Thursday, Feb. 27, 2020: Allen J. Koppenhaver Literary Lecture, 7:30 p.m., Weaver Chapel, featuring Charles M. Blow, journalist, commentator, and New York Times op-ed columnist. Q & A, 4:30 p.m., Bayley Auditorium.
- Monday, March 30, 2020: William A. Kinnison Endowed Lecture in History, 7:30 p.m., Bayley Auditorium, featuring Eric H. Cline, author, historian, and professor of classics, history, and anthropology at George Washington University.
For more information on the Wittenberg Series, click here.