William Baker will talk about his scholarship, love of books in BOT Professorship Seminar

Baker, William
William Baker

NIU faculty standout William Baker, who holds a joint appointment with University Libraries and the Department of English, will present a Board of Trustees Professorship Seminar at noon Monday, Oct. 1, in the Capitol Room of the Holmes Student Center.

The event is open to the public, with refreshments to be served before the seminar, beginning at 11:30 a.m.

During his talk, titled “The Love of Literature, Scepticism and Collaboration in Literary Study,” Baker will describe his research, his teaching methodology and its impact upon students.

In 2009, Baker was named as an NIU Board of Trustees professor. The professorships recognize faculty members who have achieved international or national acclaim, engage students in their research and have a consistent record of excellence in teaching, academic leadership, scholarship and service and outreach.

Baker has made an impressive career of his love of books and the stories behind the creation of works of literature.

His research is internationally acclaimed in several areas including the study of Shakespeare; Victorian literature; contemporary British drama; descriptive bibliographies that trace and describe the history of a book from its genesis to published formats; reconstruction of authors’ libraries and the whereabouts of their books; and literary discovery, including editing authors’ letters.

Book cover of “Companion to Shakespeare”Baker is the recipient of numerous research awards, including from the British Academy, the National Endowment for the Humanities and the American Philosophical Society. He also is the recipient of two Choice Book of the Year awards and is the author, co-editor and editor of more than 30 books and more than 150 articles.

His edited five-volume “The Facts on File Companion to Shakespeare” has just been published.

Baker’s inquisitiveness has led him to the discovery of the forgotten notes, notebooks, letters and manuscripts of eminent 19th century writers, including George Eliot, George Henry Lewes, Wilkie Collins and Sir Walter Scott. He is considered the foremost biographer and a leading scholar on the works of Eliot, the pen name for Victorian writer Mary Ann Evans. She was among the most important British novelists of the 19th century.

During his seminar, Baker will focus on the nature of his research, his approach to scholarship, encouragement of the love of literature, belief in skepticism in literary studies and his student-orientated research.

In addition to describing key moments in the development of his approach to literary study, Baker will describe the results of his mentoring of both undergraduate and graduate students and collaborative faculty work at NIU and elsewhere.

The seminar, which will include a question-and-answer session, will be accompanied by numerous examples of work produced by NIU students. Sponsors are the Office of the Provost and the Faculty Development and Instructional Design Center.

For more information, call (815) 753-0595 or email facdev@niu.edu.

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