My research interest in the history of American higher education presents a distinct yet related line of historical inquiry to my work in the history of science. Themes and topics include: the rise of the American university system, the tension between academic discipline and institutional context, the campus as a cultural space, and the fate of the university in a time of global change. The main site of my investigations has been the history of Indiana University in social, intellectual, and environmental perspectives. In progress is a biography of noted IU educational leader Herman B Wells.

My teaching efforts in this area have been concentrated on undergraduate students. I designed and taught the first course devoted to the history of Indiana University, HIST H263, “Indiana University, Past and Present,” which I teach occasionally in summer session. In 2000, my colleague, sociologist Tom Gieryn, and I designed a multimedia course, COLL X112, “Traditions and Cultures of Indiana University,” that is delivered almost entirely on the web.