Education Harvard University
|Name William Pannapacker|
Employer Hope College
Books Revised lives
|Alma mater Ph.D., History of American Civilization, Harvard University, 1999; A.M in English and American Literature at Harvard University, 1995; M.A. in English at University of Miami, 1993; a B.A. in English at Saint Joseph’s University (1990)|
Occupation Professor of English literature, academic administrator, higher education journalist
Awards Bowdoin Prize, Whiting Foundation Fellow (1998–99)
Organization Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, The Chronicle of Higher Education
Meet Hope College English Professor William Pannapacker
William Pannapacker is a professor of American literature and culture, an academic administrator and consultant, and a higher education journalist. He is the author of Revised Lives: Walt Whitman and Nineteenth-Century Authorship, and numerous articles on literature, higher education, and the Digital Humanities. He was a regular columnist for The Chronicle of Higher Education from 1998 to 2014, and he has been a contributor to The New York Times and Slate Magazine. Pannapacker has received $1.5 million in grants from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. He was the founding director of the Mellon Scholars Program in the Arts and Humanities at Hope College in Holland, Michigan, from 2009 to 2016; the director of the Digital Liberal Arts Initiative of the Great Lakes Colleges Association from 2013 to 2015; and he is currently the DuMez Professor of English and senior director of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Grand Challenges Presidential Initiative, also at Hope College.
Pannapacker obtained a B.A. degree in English from Saint Joseph's University in 1990, an M.A. degree in English from the University of Miami in 1993, and an A.M. degree in English and American Literature in 1995 as well a Ph.D. degree in the History of American Civilization in 1999 both from Harvard University. His doctoral dissertation was on the poet Walt Whitman, and his scholarly emphasis is 19th-century American literature and culture. He was a contributing editor on Whitman for American Literary Scholarship (Duke University Press) from 2005 to 2010. Pannapacker is one of six Harvard students since 1790 (including Ralph Waldo Emerson) to have won the Bowdoin Prize twice (1994, 1999); he is also a three-time winner of the Helen Choate Bell Prize for American Literature. He was a lecturer in Harvard's History and Literature honors concentration from 1995 to 2000, and he was a Whiting Foundation Fellow in 1998–99. Pannapacker is the author of Revised Lives: Walt Whitman and Nineteenth-Century Authorship (Routledge, 2004), and he delivered the David H. Hirsch Memorial Lecture at Brown University in 2005.
Since 2000, Pannapacker has been employed by Hope College, a liberal arts institution in Holland, Michigan, where he is the DuMez Professor of English. From 2009 to 2016, he was the founding director of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Scholars Program in the Arts and Humanities, an undergraduate honors concentration that integrates the arts and humanities with collaborative research in digital technologies and experiential education. In the course of leading that program at Hope College, Pannapacker named and developed the "Digital Liberal Arts," a conceptual expansion of Digital Humanities for teaching institutions that has been supported by the Mellon Foundation and adopted at numerous colleges throughout the United States. From 2013 to 2015, Pannapacker also served as the director of the Mellon-sponsored Digital Liberal Arts Initiative of the Great Lakes Colleges Association, which sought to develop collaborations in teaching and research across the thirteen member colleges and international partners based in Morocco and Beirut. He was one of the three founding directors of the Institute for Liberal Arts Digital Scholarship (ILiADS), which has hosted an annual workshop and conference since 2015. Since 2016, Pannapacker has been the senior director of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Grand Challenges Presidential Initiative of Hope College. This Initiative, according to Pannapacker, is intended "to show how the liberal arts have a transformative role to play in the world: that everyone across academic divisions can benefit from the critical thinking, creativity, and performance--and also the knowledge and skills--developed in complementary disciplines.”
Pannapacker was a columnist for "The Chronicle of Higher Education" from 1998 to 2014. His more than 150 contributions (under the pen-name "Thomas H. Benton" between 2002 and 2011) addressed graduate education in the humanities, the academic job market, alternative careers, experiences on the tenure track, liberal arts education, museum design, educational technology, and the annual conventions of the Modern Language Association. In the Chronicle's 50th-anniversary retrospective in 2016, Pannapacker is described as having "helped change the conversation about graduate education, as humanities leaders began to explore limits on enrollment and training students for alternative careers." In 2017, a selection of his social media writing was chosen for "Best American Nonrequired Reading," edited by Sarah Vowell.