Thursday, October 27, 2016

History Professor Peter Shapinsky named the 2016 University Scholar at UIS

Peter Shapinsky, associate professor and chair of the History Department at the University of Illinois Springfield, has been named the University Scholar for 2016. The award, considered the university system’s highest faculty honor, recognizes outstanding teaching and scholarship. Only one faculty member receives the annual award at UIS.

Shapinsky is regarded as one of the foremost authorities in the fields of Medieval Japan and East Asian maritime history. A versatile, interdisciplinary scholar, and fluent in Japanese, Shapinsky is an expert on piracy in medieval Japan.

“Shapinsky exemplifies the teacher-scholar model at UIS,” said Lynn Pardie, former UIS provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs. “He is actively engaged in continuing scholarship to expand the breadth and depth of his work.”

Nominator and reviewers alike point to his monograph, “Lords of the Sea: Pirates, Violence, and Commerce in Late Medieval Japan” as a significant work. This work has generated a new conceptualization of pirates as Sea Lords in medieval Japanese history, drawing parallels between the ruling of land and of sea.

“Peter Shapinsky is a prolific scholar having author to date several peer-reviewed articles and book chapters, as well as book reviews, while he is currently working on five more articles, one co-edited volume and his second book manuscript,” said his nominator.

Shapinsky has also delivered papers at national conferences, as well as numerous invited lectures and presentations at national and international venues. He has an active on-going scholarly agenda that includes new interpretations of cartographic history in the East Asian maritime world.

Professor Shapinsky’s students and colleagues credit his creative, dynamic teaching and mentoring, contagious enthusiasm for his subject, and eagerness to help them succeed, with motivating them to reach their potential.

“I have always maintained that only a good scholar can be a good teacher in higher education, and all good teachers maintain a good scholarly record allowing their scholarship to inform their pedagogy and vice versa. Peter Shapinsky has excelled in both areas,” said his nominator.

He has developed a comprehensive, stimulating, and diverse history curriculum; and he teaches core and elective courses at the undergraduate and graduate levels in the History Department, courses that fulfill general education requirements, and courses for the Capital Scholars Honors Program. Shapinsky’s teaching utilizes both on ground and online modes of delivery, and has included a study abroad trip to Japan.

Shapinsky earned a bachelor’s degree in history from Kenyon College and a doctorate in history from the University of Michigan.

As University Scholar, Shapinsky will receive $15,000 a year for three years to support research and other scholarly activities. Faculty do not apply for this award; they are nominated by their peers. A committee of senior faculty makes the final selection.

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