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DeGraaf Lecture to Examine School, Professional
Life and Personal Growth

Posted March 27, 2003

HOLLAND -- Professor Jane Tompkins of the University of Illinois at Chicago will present the 2003 DeGraaf Lecture at Hope College on Thursday, April 3, at 3:30 p.m. in the Maas Center conference room.

The public is invited. Admission is free.

Her topic will be "School as School: Professional Life as an Opportunity for Personal Growth."

In addition to many scholarly articles and reviews, Tompkins is author of "Sensational Designs: The Cultural World of American Fiction 1790-1860" (1985), and a book on Western books and movies: "West of Everything: The Inner Life of Westerns" (1992). She also edited the influential collection "Reader-Response Criticism: From Formalism to Post-Structuralism" (1980).

Her literary studies have always focused on involvement of the whole person in the activity of reading. In recent years, her emphasis has expanded to an interest in holistic education.

Her most recent book, "A Life in School: What the Teacher Learned" (1996), is both a memoir and a critique of higher education in the United States. It tells how her inner life was transformed as, in writing the book, she relived the school days of her childhood and reflected on how they molded her as a person, but also on how school was in many ways a fearful and stultifying place. The book also describes her efforts, in recent years, to find ways to bring emotion, imagination, spirituality, and respect for the body's needs, as well as reason and the intellect, into her classrooms.

Tompkins, a graduate of Bryn Mawr College, earned her Ph.D. from Yale University. She taught at Temple University and Duke University before moving to her current position as professor of English and education at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

The Clarence DeGraaf Lectureship was established in 1988 by the family of Dr. Clarence DeGraaf in memory of his service on the faculty of Hope College. DeGraaf taught in the department of English at Hope for 44 years, until his retirement in 1972, and served as department chairman for 25 of those years.

The Maas Center is located on Columbia Avenue at 12th Street.

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