William M. Chace is Professor of English and President Emeritus of Emory University and Honorary Professor Emeritus of English at Stanford University. In his interview, he discusses the changes in higher education nationally and at Stanford University from 1956 to 2015, a time when colleges and universities transitioned from educating for citizenry to educating for participation in the economy and when funding sources also changed.
Chace discusses his experience teaching at Stillman College as a Woodrow Wilson Scholar and his graduate education at the University of California, Berkeley, including witnessing Free Speech Movement protests. He describes his days as an assistant professor in the Stanford English Department, recalling campus protests against the Vietnam War, his experience teaching a course in African-American literature in response to demands from the Black Student Union, and his colleague in the English Department, Bruce Franklin.
Chace reflects on the increasing specialization of faculty and its impact on the teaching of general knowledge courses. He discusses factors that have contributed to the declining importance of the humanities from the perspective of university administrators, and he recalls debates over the teaching of Western Culture at Stanford. He recounts the birth and progress of Stanford’s Continuing Studies program and gives his impressions on the value and rewards of skilled teaching.
William M. Chace, Stanford Historical Society, oral histories, tenure, Stanford Continuing Studies program, higher education, professors, adult education, humanities, Vietnam War protests, African American students, and English Department
November 12, 2015
Stanford Historical Society Oral History Program interviews, 1999-2012