Basler Chair

About the Basler Chair of Excellence

In 1994 the Wayne G. Basler Chair of Excellence for the Integration of the Arts, Rhetoric, and Science was named in honor of an individual who has continuously supported the university over many years. This chair helps to bridge the gap in academia between the sciences, the arts, and the humanities disciplines.

Chairholders serve for one semester, or the equivalent, allowing a number of individuals from a variety of fields to participate over time. The primary duties of the chairholder are to teach two courses, typically one undergraduate and one graduate, and to present four public lectures/performances.

The Basler Chair Committee

The Basler Chair Nomination Procedure

Past Basler Chairholders*:

1996 - John Bowers (fall semester)

1997 - Gustavo Perez Firmat

1998 - Coramae Richey Mann

1999 - Patrick Cronin (spring semester)

1999 - Lisa Alther (fall semester)

2000 - Dr. George Gale (fall semester)

2001 - Dr. Anne LaBastille (fall semester)

2002 - Dr. John Shelton Reed (fall semester)

2003 - Mr. John Blake, Jr.

2004 - Mr. Mel Chin

2005 - Dr. Martin A. Hendry

2006 - Dr. George Kampis (spring 2007)

2007 - Ivars Peterson (spring 2008)

2008 - Dr. Graham Leonard (spring 2009)

2009 - Dr. Phillip Rhodes (fall 2009)

2010 - Dr. Molly Faries (fall 2010)

2011 - Dr. Jennings Bryant (fall 2011)

2012- Dr. Thomas Schmickl (fall 2012)

2013- Mary Jane Jacob (fall 13/spring 14)

*Created in 1994 but no chairholder chosen until 1996


Mary Jane Jacob, Basler Chair of Excellence, Fall 2013-Spring 2014

Mary Jane Jacob

Jacob is the 2013-14 chair holder of ETSU's Wayne G. Basler Chair of Excellence for the Integration of the Arts, Rhetoric and Science.  Her lecture is co-sponsored by the ETSU College of Arts and Sciences and Department of Art and Design.

Jacob is a curator who has worked with artists to expand the practice and public discourse about art as a shared process.  She has done this by developing hundreds of exhibitions, site-specific and community-based projects and public programs.  Her study of the nature of the art experience has led her to co-edit the anthologies "Buddha Mind in Contemporary Art," "Learning Mind: Experience into Art" and "Chicago Makes Modern: How Creative Minds Changed Society."

Jacob is a professor and executive director of Exhibitions and Exhibition Studies at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC), where she is currently spearheading a major research project on Chicago social practice.  This project is funded by a $50,000 fellowship she was awarded by the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts – the first Warhol Foundation grant received by the SAIC since 1995 and the largest that the school has ever been given by the organization.

Past Holders of the Basler Chair

Dr. Thomas Schmickl 


Dr. Thomas Schmickl (Fall 2012)


Dr. Jennings Bryant
Dr. Jennings Bryant (fall 2011)
Dr. Molly Faries (fall 2010)
Dr. Phillip Rhodes
Dr. Phillip Rhodes (Fall 2009)
Dr. Graham Leonard
Dr. Graham Leonard (Spring 2009)
Ivars Peterson
Ivars Peterson (Spring 2008)