University of Rochester

University Appoints Professor to Endowed Chair

September 18, 1998

Kathleen Parthé, director of the Russian Studies Program and an associate professor in the Department of Modern Languages and Cultures, has been named Mercer Brugler Distinguished Teaching Professor at the University of Rochester.

Parthé joined the faculty in 1986 and specializes in Russian national identity and cultural history. She has taught Russian language, literature, culture, and civilization. Among other new courses, Parthé introduced "Russia Now," offered each semester, in which students in small discussion groups analyze the day-to-day unfolding of events in Russia using print and electronic resources. Several of her courses are part of the curriculum of Judaic Studies and Polish and Central European Studies.

As director of Russian Studies, Parthé redesigned the program and established two speakers' series and monthly luncheons for students and faculty. Graduates working in Moscow and Washington as well as those pursuing advanced degrees keep in touch with Parthé and other program faculty on a regular basis and meet with current students on the University campus and during the annual summer study program in Russia.

"Professor Parthé's gifts for curricular conception and development have helped make Russian Studies one of the most stable and appealing of the College's interdepartmental programs," said William Scott Green, Dean of the College.

For the past four years Parthé has worked on a study of Russian national identity in the post-Soviet era at the invitation of James H. Billington, Librarian of Congress. After two conferences in Washington, Parthé traveled with Dr. Billington to Moscow this past June to help conduct an in-depth discussion with Russian leaders. Parthé describes this meeting as "one of the most intense and satisfying experiences of my career. The fact that the full conference report was sent to policy-makers in the State Department, Congress, and the White House is very gratifying. But I also bring much of what I learned through this project to the classroom, so that students get a very up-to-date sense of the state of the country."

Parthé is a graduate of Barnard College, with a master's degree and a doctorate from Cornell University. Before coming to the University Parthé taught at Cornell, Hobart and William Smith Colleges, and the State University at Oswego, and she has also been a visiting professor at Princeton University. She is on the Advisory Council for the Kennan Institute for Advanced Russian Studies; and has served on the Academic Council of the World Literature Institute in the Russian Academy of Sciences, and as vice president of the American Association of Teachers of Slavic and Eastern European Languages.

The Mercer Brugler Distinguished Teaching Professorship was established in 1979 in honor of Mercer Brugler, chair emeritus of the University's Board of Trustees, with support from Sybron Corp., Brugler, and others, to recognize excellence in teaching and encouraging the development of cross-disciplinary instructional programs. The Chair is awarded for a three-year period to a full-time member of the College faculty.