Katherine H. Tachau


            Faculty Senate officers have the privilege and responsibility to articulate and advance the interests of the entire faculty and thereby the university itself.  Faculty, after all, are not mere “stakeholders” in a university, as contemporary critics contend; we are its sine qua non, and its strength lies in our strength and authority.  The quality of the education we offer our students, the research we undertake, the care we provide patients, and the future colleagues we prepare, all depend upon the faculty: our numbers, our abilities, our morale, our resources, our academic freedom, and our unity.  These, however, are almost always precariously sustained, and require for their vigor that faculty participate effectively at every stage in the direction of the university.  Few outside a university appreciate the need, much less the centrality, of the faculty in governing a college or university.  Even inside the academy, some are unaware that faculty governance has both existed and been contested since the very first universities were created by professors and students in early thirteenth-century Europe; but because the excellence of universities has, from that time to the present, been rooted in vibrant structures of faculty governance, I believe that reinforcing and extending these structures is absolutely critical, especially in our own times.  Current economic, political, and social forces are coverging to distort, perhaps destroy, the academic missions of our university to which we, as faculty, are committed; yet these pressures present us also with the opportunity to clarify our values and rethink how we deploy the resources to sustain them.  To do so, we must involve ourselves and our colleagues in enhancing genuinely shared governance when it matters most.  If elected Vice President of the Senate, I shall to the best of my ability, work to understand and advocate for the faculty’s varied interests in all their complexity.


Current Position:   Professor, Department of History, College of Liberal Arts & Sciences (current rank, 1993; Associate Professor, 1988; Assistant Professor from 1985).


Previous Positions:  Assistant Professor, Pomona College, 1982-85.

                    Adjunct Assistant Professor, Montana State University, 1981-82.


Education:   B.A., 1972, Oberlin College  (Spanish and Medieval Studies)

                     M.A., 1975, Ph.D., 1981, University of Wisconsin-Madison  (Medieval History)


Teaching:   I teach undergraduate and graduate courses each year, have directed several Ph.D. students, and participate in the training of medievalists in other departments as well as in History.  The courses I teach regularly include Ancient and Medieval Science, Medieval Intellectual History, Medieval Universities, Medieval Manuscript Books, and The Middle East and Mediterranean 330 B.C.E.-1566 C.E. (Alexander to Suleyman the Magnificent).


Research:  The books and articles that I have published concern the history of the science of optics, medieval philosophy, and medieval art, and I currently continue research in these areas.


Service: Faculty Senate; Faculty Council; ad hoc Intellectual Property Policy Committee; University Libraries Charter Committee; Co-ordinator, Medieval Studies; Center for the Book, Advisory Board; Graduate College Council; College of Liberal Arts Promotion & Tenure Committee; AAUP Executive Committee.