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K-State Today

May 7, 2013



Meet one of K-State's newest university distinguished professors: Philip Nel

By Communications and Marketing

Philip Nel

Kansas State University has chosen five faculty members as its newest university distinguished professors: James Edgar, Stephen Higgs, Ryszard Jankowiak, Philip Nel and Mike Tokach.

Each day K-State Today will individually spotlight each new university distinguished professor. University distinguished professor is lifetime title and the highest honor that the university bestows on its faculty. It is given following a universitywide competition conducted by the provost.

Philip Nel is a professor of English and director of the graduate program in children's literature.

Nel specializes in children's literature and culture, particularly Dr. Seuss, Crockett Johnson and J.K. Rowling's "Harry Potter" series. He has authored or been the editor of eight books, including "Tales for Little Rebels," which received a positive review by The New York Times, and "The Annotated Cat: Under the Hats of Seuss and His Cats," which was profiled by Newsweek magazine. His most recent book, "Crockett Johnson and Ruth Krauss: How an Unlikely Couple Found Love, Dodged the FBI, and Transformed Children’s Literature," received a positive review from the Wall Street Journal and is nominated for a 2013 Will Eisner Comic Industry Award in the Best Educational/Academic Work category. He has 21 refereed articles, three of which he co-authored, and has authored nine non-refereed articles.

Nel has been featured in more than 300 national and international media outlets, including CBS' "Sunday Morning"; NPR's "Talk of the Nation," "Morning Edition," "Weekend Edition" and others; C-SPAN2's "Book TV;" USA Today; Washington Post; U.S. News and World Report; CNN; CBC in Canada; ABC in Australia; and RTE Radio 1 in Ireland. He has given invited lectures at Dartmouth College, Stanford University, the Smithsonian Institution, the New York Public Library, the University of British Columbia and various other institutions in the U.S., U.K., Canada, Sweden and Norway.

Nel serves as editor of Routledge's Children's Literature and Culture series -- the longest-running and most prestigious series of children's literature scholarship -- and was a consultant on an A&E biography about Dr. Seuss. He has received the National Endowment for the Humanities summer stipend, a Smithsonian Fellowship, Big 12 Faculty Fellowship, the Children's Literature Association's Article Award, the Commerce Bank Distinguished Faculty Award and the Stamey Award for Excellence in Teaching. He is a member of the Children's Literature Association and its Book Award Committee, Modern Language Association, Children's Literature Association, American Studies Association, International Research Society for Children's Literature and Phi Beta Kappa. He also is a co-founder of the Don DeLillo Society.

Nel joined Kansas State University in 2000 as an assistant professor. He earned his bachelor's degree in English and psychology from the University of Rochester in 1992, and his master's degree and doctorate from Vanderbilt University in 1993 and 1997, respectively.