Bachelor, University Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, 1971. Master of Arts, University Wisconsin-Madison, 1976. Doctor of Philosophy, University Wisconsin-Madison, 1979.
Assistant professor German Department University California, Berkeley, 1979—1984, associate professor, 1984—1989, professor, 1989—2006, chair German Department, 1991—1997, dean undergraduate division College Letters and Sciences, 2003—2006. Provost, vice chancellor academic affairs University Tennessee, Knoxville, 2006—2008. Chancellor University Massachusetts, Amherst, since 2008.
Distinguished visiting professor Ohio State University, Columbus, 1997. Visiting professor Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1990—1991.
Member of Alexander von Humboldt Society of America, German Studies Association, American Association Teachers of German, Modern Language Association, North America Heine Society (treasurer 1986-1990, president 1990—2000).
Married Renate Wiesner, November 25, 1975 (divorced October 22, 1998). 1 child Alexei David. Married Sabine Scheele, November 6, 1998.
Children: Madelaine Philine, Shoshanah Michaela, Natalie Rae.