Valparaiso University has appointed Peter Kanelos, PhD, as Dean of Christ College—The Honors College effective July 1, 2013. Most recently he has been a faculty member at Loyola University Chicago.
In his role as Dean, Kanelos will be responsible for the strategic leadership, coordination and guidance of Christ College. He has an accomplished record in higher education and brings a comprehensive vision for liberal arts education; an ability to collaborate with academic and administrative colleagues; and experience with a diverse student body, combined with commitment to supporting initiatives to expand diversity. Kanelos is deeply devoted to honors education and has a rooted enthusiasm for Christian higher education.
“Professor Kanelos brings to Christ College a variety of important gifts: extensive experience at strong Catholic universities that are mission driven; a well informed love for interdisciplinary education; and both the energy and the imagination required to build new programs,” Valparaiso University Provost Mark Schwehn said. “These strengths are vitally important, since Professor Kanelos will be the first dean in the nearly half century of the College’s existence to have been selected from outside of the University.”
At Loyola University Chicago, Kanelos has chaired several committees in addition to serving as a core faculty member of the honors program, an associate professor in the Department of Fine and Performing Arts and the founding director of the Interdisciplinary Shakespeare Studies Program. Kanelos brings a distinguished background as an educator and administrator who has developed innovative programs and worked across departments and disciplines to create a cohesive student curriculum.
“Professor Kanelos comes at a time when the College is ready to be led by someone who will bring to bear upon its management rich outside perspectives and who is ready as well to build upon its widely recognized strengths to develop new academic initiatives,” Schwehn said.
Prior to his tenure at Loyola, Kanelos was the founding director of the Cropper Center for Creative Writing at the University of San Diego, and served as the resident Shakespearean in the prestigious Old Globe MFA in Performing Arts Program. He was also a fellow in the humanities at Stanford. Kanelos has published extensively and is currently editing a book series, “Shakespeare and the Stage,” and writing a textbook, “A History of Drama.” He has a new collection of essays in press, has several peer-reviewed articles forthcoming and is serving on the editorial board for a new Shakespearean journal.
He is frequently invited to address national and international audiences on subjects related to Shakespeare, most recently at the Globe Theatre in London.
Primarily, Kanelos strives to develop students into accomplished leaders who will make a difference in the lives of others.
“As an educator, my first priority is to encourage excellence, not only so that students will be able to identify and achieve their goals, but to ensure that in seeking their own success, their accomplishments lift those around them as well,” Kanelos said. “This two-fold purpose—to foster intellectual, moral and spiritual growth in such a way that personal advancement is in accord with the public good—is, I believe, the noblest goal of higher education.”
Valparaiso University’s Christ College offers an honors environment where faith and learning are cherished, where interdisciplinary education fosters independent critical thinking and where virtues such as charity, humility and courage are nurtured. These qualities align closely with Kanelos’ values, making him an ideal candidate to lead the college.
“I believe intensely in the value of interdisciplinary study and in the principles of honors education,” Kanelos said. “I am thrilled to have the opportunity to lead a faculty and body of students who are committed to engaging critically and analytically the full range of the human experience. By insisting that we cross boundaries, grapple with the unfamiliar and upend the familiar, Christ College works toward the education of the whole person in the fullest sense.”
Kanelos holds a PhD from the Committee on Social Thought at University of Chicago, a MA in Political Philosophy and Literature from the University Professors Program at Boston University and a BA in English from Northwestern University.