PICKERING OPTIMISTIC ABOUT UH RESHAPING

by Meagan McGovern

Daily Cougar Staff

UH President James Pickering gave faculty members an idea of what to expect as the university's reshaping process begins its transition from Phase I to Phase II.

Although in Wednesday's "State of the University" address he said no decisions have been made to show how UH will be affected in the expected budget crunch, he outlined his vision for the university after the restructuring process and the key issues governing the process itself.

The reshaping of the university is designed to refocus all of UH's resources to areas they will be most effective. Because Texas is facing a huge deficit, cuts to higher education are expected during the next legislative session. To prepare UH for the cuts, administrators must decide which areas have priority. This is referred to as Phase I.

In three weeks, officials move into Phase II to develop the college and division plans. Pickering said five issues are key in deciding what is important in the reshaping process.

•Reshaping is driven by the mission of UH -- to be a major comprehensive urban research university in the 21st century.

•The vision of UH means seeing students as customers and clients, and seeking to consistently

serve them well.

•There are no "sacred cows." This means that everything in the university must be looked at based on hard data, rather than by "prejudices and intuition."

•The reduction and improvement of administrative overhead to strengthen instruction. Each college and department must examine their own administrative costs.

•A key concept is that of the reshaping as an ongoing process. The president said this liberates the planning from the "crisis mentality" that has been taken by other universities in their approach to budget reductions.

Each department is undergoing "component analysis," or an internal review of strengths, weaknesses, and budget information.

Each department in the school will submit their plan to the deans and directors of UH. These plans will be discussed in January at open meetings of the University Planning and Policy Council, which oversees the reshaping process.

Most of the restructuring is taking place within each department, said Pickering.

Pickering would not say exactly what the outcome of the reshaping would be, saying he wasn't yet sure himself.

"I will not tell you that I believe that the number of colleges should be reduced from 13 to ten, or eight, or that six departments will be eliminated, or that four existing service functions will be privatized," he said.

"I have no private agenda, nor does a secret 'hit list' exist. While such decisions may be an outcome, statements like this would be presumptuous on my part and would serve to destroy -- rather than support and enhance -- ongoing reshaping discussions."

The vision he did discuss, however, has six goals for the school, including:

•Providing a first-rate education for undergraduate, graduate, and professional students.

•Enhancing research and scholarly activities in order to build a base for new knowledge.

•Strengthening internal service, including admissions, registration, and financial aid, to students.

•Strengthening external functions to the community.

•Expanding a commitment to diversity as a defining characteristic of UH.

•Ensuring that UH uses its resources to benefit current and future students and to serve the public trust.

 

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CLINTON RAILS BUSH ON PRESIDENT'S TURF

by Jeff Balke

Daily Cougar Staff

Democratic presidential hopeful Bill Clinton brought his message of change to George Bush's adopted home town Tuesday morning.

With six days left until the election, Clinton continues to campaign heavily in traditionally Republican territory. He's trying to drum up support throughout crucial states like Texas, which has supported Bush in the past.

"I think we can win here. Do you?" Clinton asked the crowd of several thousand that crowded Sam Houston Park in downtown Houston.

Gov. Ann Richards and Sen. Lloyd Bentsen, D-Tx., helped welcome Clinton. Richards said, "We can stick a fork in Bush because he's done."

Bentsen said, "Bill Clinton is the best hope for putting America back on the road to prosperity." He added, "If this is the best he can do (referring to Bush's presidency), God help us."

Clinton spent most of the time discussing the Bush campaign against him and responding to allegations that members of the Republican Party had investigated Clinton's and his mother's passport files. He said, "They (the workers who checked his files) have too much time on their hands."

Clinton also spent time discussing his platform. "America needs a real education president," he said. He pointed out that college loan recipients could pay off their loans with community service work in Texas.

When interrupted by yelling Bush supporters, Clinton responded, "We only have to pay attention to them for six more days." When they continued to yell, Clinton said, "If I had to defend Bush's record, I'd scream too."

Andrew Monzon, president of UH's College Democrats, said he was surprised at the large turnout. Monzon conceded it will be tough for Clinton to win Texas but he said it will be close. "It helped that he (Clinton) came to Texas," he said.

On campus, Monzon said attendance for the College Democrats is up. "Our main goal is to disseminate information about the Democratic Party and to keep students involved after the election, no matter who wins," he said.

Monzon also said all the negative campaigning against Clinton and between Perot and Bush is helping Clinton.

"This year, the Democrats are taking the high road and not engaging in negative campaigns," he said. "When the Republican Party investigated Clinton's mom, they made a mistake because, especially in the South, attacking someone's mother is a huge insult," Monzon said.

Monzon is cautious when predicting victory, however. "Anything is possible, but it is highly improbable that Bush will win," he said. "Some Democrats are predicting an electoral landslide, though."

Monzon said the College Democrats plan to keep campaigning for Clinton between now and election day.

 

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SUPERCONDUCTIVITY CENTER AMASSESS $7 MILLION FOR ITS MISSION TO REVOLUTIONIZE SCIENTIFIC WORLD

by Tom Anderson

News Reporter

Magnetic levitating bullet trains, zero resistance power lines, and bearings that never show wear are only a few of the applications superconductivity researchers at UH's Texas Center for Superconductivity (TCSUH) have in store in the future.

Superconductors are compounds of materials that conduct electricity with none of the electrical loss experienced with typical conductors like copper, said Susan Buttler, associate director for public affairs at the Center.

There are two types of superconductors: low temperature (LTS) and high temperature (LTS). LTS superconductors are cooled with liquid helium to a temperature of around 20 K, said Wei-Kan Chu, deputy director of research.

High temperature superconductors (HTS) can be cooled with liquid nitrogen to about 77 K, which is warmer than helium. Liquid nitrogen is also cheaper, more plentiful and easier to handle than helium, he said.

Almost $7 million in grants was awarded to TCSUH in fiscal year 1992, according to documents from the Office of Sponsored Programs. The grants support three basic areas of superconductivity: materials research, applications research, and advanced materials research.

Applications research primarily investigates ways superconductors may be used to improve industry and medicine, said Wei-Kan Chu.

"We take the unique material property to design some useful toy, and we eventually scale up into something having impact throughout society, and that's very exciting," said Wei-Kan Chu.

One of the unique physical properties of HTS is that when the material is trapped in a magnetic field, it levitates above the magnet, said Mark Lamb, a student researcher at TCSUH.

Vibration damping is one extension of this unique property that TCSUH is currently investigating, said Lamb. In the vacuum of space, there is no resistance on vibration from motors and other moving parts, so research is being conducted to attempt to damp, or lower, the amount of vibration.

Materials research is Paul Chu's specialty. Five years ago, Chu was the first researcher to break the liquid nitrogen temperature barrier, and he continues to search for higher temperature superconductors today.

"I believe that there will be more new compounds discovered with a high transition temperature, not necessarily 127 degrees Kelvin (the highest temperature reached so far)," said Paul Chu. "Also, we are continuing to look for new compounds which are not oxides, and we would also like to find material without copper in it.

Silver and gold can also be used instead of copper. The main function of silver, copper or gold in the superconductor is to allow for drawing the material into a wire. "My group, along with my colleague, have developed a new compound that can be used for that wire drawing purpose at a much higher temperature," said Paul Chu.

Some of the problems TCSUH is researching include magnetic flux loss -- the energy lost due to movement in magnetic field lines, and critical carrying capacity -- the highest current a superconductor can carry before losing its superconducting properties.

"For applications, you have to have long pieces that are good," Paul Chu said. "In my group we developed a continuous processing technique and we can really make long, continuous pieces. And then we bombarded this piece with neutrons, and it shows that it can carry several hundred thousand amperes per centimeter squared. We could not quench it."

Paul Chu explained that one use for such rods is to take large currents of electricity from outside to low temperature superconducting magnets for use in the superconducting supercollider and in medical technologies, like magnet research imaging.

"The HTS is a great conductor of electricity, but a really poor conductor of heat," said Paul Chu. Copper and other traditional conductors would transmit the heat along with the electricity, he added.

"What is the status of HTS research? Basically it's a roller coaster," Paul Chu said.

 

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STUIDENTS CREATING CUTTING-EDGE TECHNICAL MARVELS

by Tom Anderson

News Reporter

Texas Center for Superconductivity at UH (TCSUH) is continually making scientific breakthroughs, and at the forefront of the field are two students, Chase McMichaels and Mark Lamb.

"On average, I spend about 30 hours a week at the center," said Lamb, a senior majoring in physics and chemistry. "I've always had an interest in the novel, hot topics of physics."

"I did not know that I would be getting involved with superconductivity until I met and talked with Chase," Lamb said. "I felt that the best place to be working on campus would be TCSUH."

Currently Lamb and McMichaels are working on several projects, including ways to reduce vibration caused by motors and moving parts of space satellites and a bearing that is completely free of wear because it rotates without touching any other parts.

McMichaels and Deputy Research Director Wei-Kan Chu jointly patented the bearing that levitates when refrigerated to 77 degrees Kelvin.

McMichaels came to UH to study superconductivity after dreaming about working under Paul Chu. "I woke up one morning and told my mom, 'I was having this dream that I was working with Paul Chu, I don't want to go to North Texas State, I want to go to UH.' So, I got here, and I met up with Rue-Ling Ming, and I told her I would sweep the floors just to get a job at TCSUH.

"I wanted to use the effect of the superconductor, so I started playing with it, and hardly anybody in the world was able to play with the stuff."

After graduating from UH, both McMichaels and Lamb plan to go to graduate school. "I am applying to a number of campuses, all of which have either a superconductivity program or a good optical program." Lamb said.

McMichaels plans to attend graduate school at UH because of the facilities and staff. "I know everybody, and I feel good about (attending graduate school at UH)," he said.

Outside of class, McMichaels tries to generate jobs in the science field. "... anything that deals with science or technology," he said.

"If I could combine all my talents, my major goal would be to help people and solve the problems of our country," said Lamb. "If I were to become a politician, it would be along the lines of H. Ross Perot, where I have to feel there is something I could do for my country, some specific issue."

TCSUH is primarily a research institute, but approximately 25 undergraduates and 140 graduates work and conduct research at TCSUH, said Wei-Kan Chu.

 

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AUTHOR INVESTIGATES SKIN-COLOR MYTH

by Ericka Schiche

Daily Cougar Staff

Although the Anita Hill/Clarence Thomas hearings have been analyzed by countless writers, one essayist has taken a refreshing new look at the episode.

bell hooks (who doesn't capitalize her name) is the author of <i>Black Looks: Race and Representation<p>. She uses the confirmation hearings, a source of pain and embarrassment for the nation, and the way black women are presented in the mass media --especially in fashion advertisements -- as subjects for her 12-essay volume.

hooks, who taught at Yale University and teaches at Oberlin, has written six non-fiction books, including <i>Ain't I a Woman, Talking Back<p> and, with Cornel West, <i>Breaking Bread: Insurgent Black Intellectual Life.<p>

"They (the essays) represent my political struggle to push against the boundaries of image, to find words that express what I see, especially when I am looking in ways that move against the grain, when I am seeing things that most folks want to believe simply are not there," wrote hooks in her introduction to the essays.

"Loving Blackness as Political Resistance," one of the most brilliantly written of the essays, tackles a difficult subject: how black people who love themselves and their culture are sometimes perceived as inherently threatening.

In this essay, hooks writes on such topics as the vision of cultural homogeneity, denial on the part of whites and blacks, separatism, and subjugation.

She draws on her experiences within the classroom as examples of how blindness is not limited to lack of eyesight.

An essay about the Clarence Thomas confirmation hearings is worth noting because throughout her strong analysis, none of the groups involved is left holding the bag alone; hooks criticizes some of Anita Hill's advisers, holds a magnifying glass to some feminist groups, analyzes Clarence Thomas and his statement about "high tech lynching," and discusses the shameless senators.

Other subjects she addresses in the essays include black masculinity, Jenny Livingston's film <i>Paris is Burning<p>, the similarities between Native Americans and African Americans, and how white people are perceived by black people.

Each essay probes -- some more successfully than others -- into the darkest places of the collective conscience. When she is at her best, hooks makes a convincing case of showing how judgment based on skin color and popular myth alone is faulty.

 

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TOWERS RESIDENT ARRESTED FOR SPYING IN FEMALE SHOWER STALL

by Michica N. Guillory

Daily Cougar Staff

A male Moody Towers resident was arrested Friday for peeking into a female's shower stall.

Jack Rainey, a 24-year-old junior math major, was arrested for criminal trespassing in a female restroom after a female resident identified him from a photographic lineup, UHPD Lt. Brad Wigtil said.

He was not arrested immediately following Friday's trespassing because Rainey was no longer at the scene. Wigtil said Rainey was served with an arrest warrant at 8:36 p.m. Friday.

The female being spied upon is identified as a 22-year-old junior majoring in radio-television.

"She heard a door close and then observed a male looking into her shower stall while she was in it," Wigtil said. "She then leaves (the stall) and sees a male fleeing from the restroom."

"She believed he was the same person who had been pointed out to her by another female for the same thing," he said.

In light of Rainey's actions, the Moody towers' staff is looking into new measures to ensure resident safety.

"We are sad that it occurred and we're working on what we can do to make (Moody Towers) better for everybody," said Ana Goff, assistant area coordinator for the north tower.

"We are investigating and are maintaining security as best as we can," she said.

The female student refused to comment on the incident.

Moody Towers Area Coordinator Juanita Barner, who is responsible for new guest check-in procedures, was not available for comment. The dormitory is currently in the midst of implementing new security measures for visitors.

Rainey has been arrested before for similar actions in the same residence halls, Wigtil said.

Rainey appeared in court for the class B misdemeanor Monday and was sentenced to 120 days in the Harris County Jail.

Because he is legally required to serve only half of his sentence, he will serve 56 days.

The remaining four days were credited from the time he spent in jail prior to his court appearance.

 

62-year-old Watson Deerman, arrested last week for placing his hand under women's buttocks as they sat down in the M.D. Anderson Library, allegedly did it again in the Texas Medical Center, said an unidentified source with Texas Medical Center Police.

Deerman "... did the same thing to a woman," the source alleged. "She jumped up and got on him."

Deerman was able to leave the scene, the source said.

"He wasn't caught because for some off-the-wall reason everyone told her to let him go," the source revealed.

 

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STUDENTS GIVEN CHANCE TOBYPASS DORM FOOD FOR EXOTIC, OVERSEAS DELICACIES

by Florian Raqueno Ho

News Reporter

Adobo. Somosa. Biryani. Yakitori. Houmos. Baklavia. These were some of the foods UH students sampled during Wednesday's food fair at UC's patio.

Students, faculty and staff eagerly crowded the booths to taste a piece of ethnic culture. "A minimum of 2,000 people were in and out. It was an impressive turnout," said International Student Organization President Hatim Abusineina.

I'm here for some home cooking," said senior bio-physics major Neil Bascon, who ate filipino fare -- lumpia, an egg roll, and pancit, noodles with vegetables.

"I've been at the previous food fairs and they have always been wonderful," said Shirley Hendrickson, junior engineering major. She said she prefers Asian food, especially Korean and Vietnamese.

Tapes of various ethnic music played for the duration of the fair. Those who could hear the music over the sounds of the crowd experienced the sounds of different countries.

Most of the organization's members proudly acknowledged making the food they served. Morris Cheng of the Chinese Students' Association said some members stayed up until 4 a.m. cooking. "That's how fresh this food is," said Cheng.

"My mother and I spent over five hours making everything," said Caribbean Student Organization President, Collette Dennis. She prepared curry chicken, spicy-jerk chicken and beef patties. The organization also sold Ginger beer, a bottled non-alcoholic Jamaican-style soda.

Sandra Gonzalez, a sophomore business major, said she was planning to sample as many different foods as she could. Gonzalez, who sampled spaghetti from Circolo Italiano, said, "The prices are good compared to what you get at the cafeteria."

"Excellent!," said Priti Bhavsar, junior pharmacy major, who enjoyed an Indian dish. Bhavsar, who usually eats at the American Cafe, said the prices were reasonable for the amount of food people get.

The theme of this year's fair was "Celebrating Our Diversity." Twenty colorfully designed booths representing each organization's country were an attraction on their own.

A panel of twelve judges, composed of faculty, staff and student leaders, judged the organizations on their creativity, presentation of food, hospitality, costumes and promptness.

First place went to the India Students' Association, whose booth was covered with sarees made of silk, polyester and cotton. A variety of crafts depicting different aspects of Indian religions and culture were among the displays on their table.

Food servers, dressed in saris, offered complementary sweets to celebrate the Indian New Year, which was Monday. Among the food served were Samosa (a fried spicy pastry), nan (a pita bread) and spinach curry.

The Pakistan Students' Association placed second. "The response was wonderful. More than we expected," said Zaigham Shah, president of PAS. Shah said they ran out of most of their food, citing tikka (boneless grilled chicken) as their best seller.

"We basically wanted to introduce our culture and food. I think we succeeded," said Shah.

A replica of a mosque was created by the third place winners, the Muslim Students' Organization. On what would be the roof of the mosque was the message, "There is no God but one God and Mohammed is the messenger of God," written in Arabic. Servers were dressed in traditional Muslin costumes.

One noticeable piece of "architecture" was a makeshift hut built by the Filipino Students' Association. The hut took four days and twenty large packages of raffia to build. "The raffia was the most expensive part of our booth," said Janry V. Edralin, president of the Filipino Students Association.

Edralin said he didn't anticipate making too much money from the fair, but he didn't mind. "Our goal is to promote the Filipino Students' Association and to let Filipino students know we're here," said Edralin.

"Everyone was in good spirits and there was no conflict. The groups did what they came out here to do. Most sold out of their food," said Abusineina.

Tom Nguyen, president of the Vietnamese Student Organization, said his organization didn't make a profit, but that was expected. "There were more culturally-oriented participation here this year, which means more competition," he said. "Besides we kept feeding our members for free, so as long as we break even, we're okay."

This semester's food fair, co-sponsored by the Student Program Board, coincided with campus-wide Homecoming activities.

 

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UH LIBRARIES OFFER RESEARCH MATERIAL FOR ALL DISCIPLINES

by Tamara Gay

News Reporter

The massive M.D. Anderson Library may overwhelm or intimidate students, but they can learn to use it efficiently with a little help from the library staff.

"Once you get into advance-level classes and have to write a lot of papers, you're going to need to use the library," said Dan Davis, a junior English major. "The CD-ROM has helped me tremendously in locating plenty of research material needed for various topics."

"I viewed an instructional film on how to use the library, but still found it complicated," said Jackie Sherman, a senior psychology major. "I just basically figured it out by myself each time I went there."

To aid students in using the library to its fullest potential, tours are offered at the beginning of each semester and a self-paced tour on audio cassette tapes is available.

"Tours are also offered to students every week," said Gretchen Sawson, a library reference assistant. The tours begin at 2 p.m. on Tuesdays and at 10 a.m. on Wednesdays.

"For more information, students can go to the reference desk on the first floor and someone will be glad to help them," she said.

Swanson said a six-page hand-out provides step-by-step instructions to guide students through the library.

An enormous range of information in business, education, engineering, psychology and science is available. Five other campus libraries are available for researching more specialized subjects.

Topics such as painting, drawing, sculpture, photography or urban design can be found in the Architecture and Art Library located in the Architecture Building. However, it is closed on Sundays.

American law and research materials covering a variety of legal subjects are available seven days a week at the Law Center Library in UH's Law Center.

In the Fine Arts Building, students will find the Music Library contains a large collection of printed musical scores for performance or study. It also contains a vast array of volumes of music literature and theory. Classical music is the major strength of the music library, which is closed on Saturdays.

Books on the subjects of vision science, optics, optometry and psychophysics can be found at the Optometry Library. A collection of audiovisual materials is also available. The library is located in the Optometry Building and is closed on Saturdays.

The Pharmacy Library is located in S & R II. It contains information about clinical medicine and health administration, and clinical and pharmaceutical sciences. It is closed on Saturdays and Sundays.

 

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'ANTI-FASCIST'GROUP FIGHTS SCHOOL'S DRESS CODE

by Shane Patrick Boyle

Daily Cougar Staff

On Tuesday, Oct. 20, approximately 40 current and former students of Alief schools made local news broadcasts when they attempted to enter an Alief School Board meeting to protest the district's dress code, but were held back by district police.

Though the demonstration was against a public school system thirty miles away, its origins can be traced to the UH campus.

The students were part of a civil rights group called Refuse & Resist (R&R). R&R is a national organization founded in 1987 with a local chapter recently formed by UH journalism senior Frank San Miguel.

According to San Miguel, the group's "anti-fascist" goals led to actions against high school policies because "a lot of the stuff people are indoctrinated with -- the forced conformity -- is reinforced in high school."

Young people are "taught to raise their hands, wait for the bell, and to not think until told to do so," he said.

San Miguel said the group's first activity in high schools was the distribution of pamphlets challenging traditional teachings about Christopher Columbus -- described in R&R literature as "The First Hitler."

According to San Miguel, the students involved expressed concern about the fact they and their peers were being reprimanded just for wearing certain things, and they organized to challenge that system.

San Miguel said he did not participate in the demonstration against the school board. The most publicized participant was Christopher Hensley, a member of R&R, a student at Houston Community College. A few years ago, Hensley was sent home from Alief High School for wearing controversial clothing. His shirt depicted the Grim Reaper holding Ronald and Nancy Reagan over a pit of fire.

Hensley and a couple of current students first approached the school board during the September meeting, but were just laughed at, according to Hensley.

Alief School Board President Ray Anderson said they allowed Hensley to speak, but the board did not address the issue of the dress code that night, because it was not on the agenda, and "until a member of the board puts an item on the agenda, the board can not make a decision."

"Some were surprised we even allowed him to speak," Anderson said.

At the October meeting, Hensley and two current students were again allowed to speak. "The students demanded that we change the policy that night," Anderson said, but it was not on the agenda for that meeting.

AISD police stopped a large group of students outside from entering the meeting. According to Anderson, this was because the crowd inside already exceeded the maximum allowed by the fire code, and "they weren't singling anybody out."

When Hensley spoke, he addressed the rules against "satanic" symbols as a violation of religious freedom since the school's Christian Fellowship members were allowed to wear their T-shirt depicting a crucifixion with spurting blood and bearing the caption "No pain. No gain."

Hensley said, however, that the media "misconstrued it so that the emphasis was on Satanism."

Nobody in the group was involved in Satanism, he said.

He said the dress code is very far reaching and shirts that people have been sent home for include Malcolm X (for condoning violence), Houston Area Teenage Coalition on Homosexuality, Bad Religion, and others.

Black students are not allowed to wear a Star of David, because it it considered to be a gang symbol, Hensley said. He also said students were sent to the office for dressing outside their gender. One girl was sent home for wearing a man's suit, and a male student was reprimanded for wearing a shirt that said "Nobody Knows I'm A Lesbian."

The purpose of the dress code is to "keep things that are against the values of the community out of the school," Anderson said.

Anderson could not comment in detail on what specific symbols were banned. "The code is enforced at the discretion of the principals," he said.

The most recent version of the code established in 1990, "was "favored by students at the time, because it was the first time they were allowed to wear shorts," Anderson said.

"But every year, protests come up over earrings (for males) and facial hair," he said. The school can not be flexible on these two things because "they are marks of people off campus. Gang members, drug dealers, (etc.)," he said.

Anderson said that the situation was caused by "pure aggression on their part, basically."

San Miguel, on the other hand, called the R&R's expansion into public schools a positive thing, saying it gives students "who might otherwise feel isolated" in their discontent a chance to be be "empowered together toward a common goal."

San Miguel and some R&R members recently discussed censorship, including dress codes, for a panel discussion filmed by Marcus Champion. It airs this week on the Student Video Network.

 

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INNOVATIVE PROFESSOR REVEALS COLORFUL GOVERNMENT

by Debbie Callier

News Reporter

One day in Steven Mintz's American history class is enough to change students' view of history forever.

Never again will students believe the white-washed version of the American Revolution, or the fairy tales about Christopher Columbus, our founding fathers, or the early presidents.

Mintz teaches what he terms "real history," and he approaches it with an eye for interesting details and relevant issues.

"I'm absolutely convinced that everyone comes here believing that a history class is absolutely irrelevant," he said. "It has nothing to do with anything they are possibly interested in. But I believe history is not irrelevant. The issues we deal with in class are of central importance in people's lives."

From the first day in class this belief is clear. "Historians are iconoclasts," he said. "They are image breakers. They destroy myths."

Gone are the presidents that were bigger and bolder than modern men. Mintz draws portraits of real men to whom people can relate.

He shows us George Washington, feeling inadequate, filled with dread on route to the presidency. He talks about Thomas Jefferson entertaining dignitaries in his pajamas and slippers in an effort to look unassuming. He shows us anger and poor judgement in Vice President Aaron Burr challenging Alexander Hamilton to a duel over character slurs.

The men and women Mintz reveals have a lot in common with today's students. They made mistakes, tried things, failed and often got lucky.

Mintz advocates what he calls the New History. "It is concerned with issues like power, domination, the role of the state, race relations, gender relations," he said.

He describes New History as "history that emphasizes the everyday lives of ordinary Americans, their family lives, work experiences, recreation leisure activities."

"It is history that shows a diverse, multi-cultural society where conflicts appear between various groups, with particular emphasis to the losers, the dissenters, and the outsiders."

Mintz draws vivid portraits with surprising and sometimes funny details: the 1,200-pound slab of cheese Jefferson brought to the White House for his guests, the evolution of women's underwear paralleling their growing independence, and men bowling in the streets of early Jamestown because the nobility were never trained to work in England.

Mintz grew up in Detroit and attributes some of his interest in history to the issues of the city that surrounded him. "I think the riots, the industrial decline of the city, the wealth of the suburbs versus the growing poverty of the city, all illustrated there are social forces that reshape people's lives," he said.

"The reason I became a historian is simply because it allowed me to do what I like to do. It's one of the few jobs where you research, you write, you talk to people about interesting ideas, and they pay you for it."

He writes books, conducts research, interviews people, edits the American Social Experience Series, assists graduate and undergraduate students in their studies and spends time with his wife and son.

The researching, writing and talking have resulted in a number of history texts, and he is now writing a book that he describes as a study of America's first age of reform, tentatively titled <i>Reform and Radical Protests in Pre-Civil War America<p>.

His texts have been written in collaboration with other scholars, including his wife, Susan Kellogg, assistant professor of history. "The advantage of collaboration is that both people bring their expertise, their own knowledge. It especially helps when you are tackling a very big topic. It forces you to work out your theories and your hypotheses," he said.

As far as working with him, said Sarah Fishman, assistant professor of history, "He's the hardest working person I've come across anywhere. He has unbelievable energy and drive. He never puts anything off. He's an inspiration about at what levels you can teach, parent and be a department member,"

Mintz served as interim chair of the history department last year. Fishman was assistant chair.

Scott Murray, one of Mintz's teaching assistants said, "Mintz comes up with crazy things you've never thought of."

He draws parallels -- the American Revolution and the Vietnam War, Colonial America and the "Banana Republics."

The past is filled, he believes, with Twentieth Century issues -- hostage crises, smear campaigns, racial cleansing, birth control, and unemployment.

Mintz graduated from Oberlin College and earned his Ph.D. from Yale University. He has taught at Oberlin College, Harvard University and at Universitat-Gesamthochschule-Siegen in West Germany, on a UH extension program. The lectures he delivers here are the same he delivered at Harvard.

He said his respect for UH students is enormous.

"In terms of drive, in terms of motivation, these are really fun students," he said. "They're older, so they come with more opinions, more life experience."

"They are deferential but tend to be more outspoken in class if they disagree with an interpretation. They also experience the shock of recognition that subjects they viewed as trivial or insignificant, like history, tie into their own lives," he said.

 

 

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