SAN ANTONIO – Trinity University has appointed Michael Fischer, Ph.D., as the inaugural Janet S. Dicke Professor in Public Humanities. Fischer, an English professor and an authority on modern literary criticism, is a long-time member of the Trinity administration and faculty.
Fischer’s research and teaching interests focus on English Romanticism, the history of ideas about literature and philosophy, and defenses of the humanities. His scholarship includes a long list of publications centering on the theory and history of literary criticism and includes five books, 25 articles, 15 book chapters, and 46 reviews. Fischer is currently writing a book on the importance of compromise. Among the classes he teaches is a first-year humanities course (HUMA), Trinity’s flagship program in the study of Western culture and ideas.
Fischer was Trinity’s vice president for Academic Affairs from 2000 to 2016. In this role, he served as the University’s chief academic officer, providing leadership for student affairs, intercollegiate athletics, and undergraduate recruitment and retention. He also played a central role in the development of the Trinity Tomorrow strategic plan as one of the committee’s three chairs. He returned to full-time teaching and research in fall 2017.
The Janet S. Dicke Professorship in Public Humanities is made possible by an endowment gift from James Dicke II ’68 in honor of his wife, Janet, a current member of Trinity’s Board of Trustees. An education advocate, Janet St. Clair Dicke ’68 is an active civic leader who has served on the Board of Trustees of the Academy at Ocean Reef, a private school in Key Largo, Fla. A former member of the Chi Beta Epsilon sorority, Janet graduated from Trinity with a Bachelor of Arts with a major in elementary education, and a teaching field in art. Janet and Jim are part of a Trinity family legacy, as a brother-in-law, sister-in-law, two nieces, Janet’s son, and daughter-in-law all followed Janet and Jim as Trinity graduates.
Janet and Jim reside in New Bremen, Ohio. Jim, a former long-time Trinity Trustee, was the recipient of the Trinity University Distinguished Alumnus Award.
“Janet and Jim have remained committed to education and have been lifelong Trinity supporters. We are extremely grateful for their active support of Trinity’s mission as a transformational liberal arts and sciences university,” Trinity President Danny Anderson said.
As the Dicke Professor in Public Humanities, Fischer will direct activities that bring the humanities to a broad and general public as well as serve as an advocate for the importance of the humanities in everyday life. “Dr. Fischer’s commitment to teaching humanities while serving as vice president for Academic Affairs and his deep conviction in the value of a liberal arts education make him particularly deserving of this high recognition,” Anderson said.
The purpose of the professorship is to raise the visibility of Humanities at Trinity University and to enhance the work around “public humanities” as a field.