Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs
Professor of English
Indiana University Kokomo
Years ago, as I watched my infant daughter trying to absorb the intricacies of the belt in her car seat, I understood a trait that perhaps led me to education: I like success. I don’t favor any special kind, but rather the general fulfillment of potential, what the poet Gerard Manley Hopkins called “the achieve of; the mastery of the thing.” Like Benjamin Franklin, another favorite of mine, I believe humans have tremendous potential, and I can think of no more appropriate or fulfilling job for me than helping them to realize that potential. This calling—and it’s a loud and clear one—drives what I do in my academic career.
Mark Canada, Ph.D., is Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs at Indiana University Kokomo, where he oversees seven academic units and leads the KEY, a four-year experiential-learning program. His five books include the recently released Thomas Wolfe Remembered. His articles on student success, "fake news," Henry David Thoreau, Rebecca Harding Davis, Theodore Dreiser, Edgar Allan Poe, and other topics have appeared in The Chronicle of Higher Education, The Academic Minute, The Conversation, Southern Cultures, American Literary Realism, Edgar Allan Poe in Context, and other outlets. A recipient of the University of North Carolina Board of Governors' Award for Excellence in Teaching, he has taught numerous courses in literature, grammar, and writing. He is a past president of the Thomas Wolfe Society and a member of Phi Beta Kappa and the Dictionary Society of North America.
September 2019: Mark brought his knowledge of and enthusiasm for the Lewis and Clark Expedition to the Pacific Northwest for “Passage of Lewis & Clark”, a riverboat cruise on the Columbia and Snake rivers. In addition to serving as the official host for Indiana University alumni on the cruise, Mark delivered two lectures: "Building & Launching the Corps of Discovery" and "Into the Great Blank & Back Again."
Meriwether Lewis and William Clark led the Corps of Discovery, which set off on the Missouri River in May 1804 to explore the newly acquired Louisiana Territory. The expedition, which lasted more than two years, dramatically increased knowledge of the land, people, flora, and fauna of what was to become a huge and important part of the United States. Cartographer William Clark drew numerous maps of the land covered in the expedition. Along the way, the men met the Shoshone teenager Sacagawea and other Native Americans, documented hundreds of animals and plants, and endured hardships ranging from an 18-mile portage to a grueling trek the Bitterroot Mountains.
Mark, who planned and led a student trip on the expedition in the bicentennial year of 2004, has traveled the Lewis and Clark trail, taught classes featuring Lewis and Clark, and given presentations on the Corps of Discovery. He was part of an Adventures in Ideas seminar at the University of North Carolina in 2004. In preparation for this cruise, he recently returned to the trail, where he hiked, took pictures, and visited several sites, including Fort Mandan in North Dakota, Decision Point in Montana, and Lewis and Clark National Historical Park in the Pacific Northwest.
November 2018: After pitching a proposal at the Misinformation Solutions Forum, sponsored by the Rita Allen Foundation, a team of Indiana University Kokomo professors and researchers (Mark Canada, Paul Cook, Christina Downey, and Polly Boruff-Jones) received a $50,000 grant to support a project aimed at teaching mindfulness to help college students overcome cognitive biases and be effective consumers of news and other information in the media.
"Mind Over Chatter" will deploy trained peer mentors to engage composition students in active-learning activities designed to help them to identify and overcome confirmation bias, motivated reasoning, and other psychological factors.
October 2018: Launched in 2016, IU Kokomo's KEY ("Kokomo Experience and You") program continues to grow and thrive. This year, hundreds of students have participated in this experiential-learning program. In October, 20 students in Business, Hospitality and Tourism, Criminal Justice, and Sociology traveled to Disney World, where they attended seminars with Disney personnel and studied business practices, security, and more. Other highlights include trips to Yellowstone National Park, the Motown Museum in Detroit, the Children's Museum in Indianapolis, and numerous business offices, stadiums, and more.
September 2018: New from University of Alabama Press, Thomas Wolfe Remembered, edited by Mark Canada and Nami Montgomery, features more than 40 reminiscences written by Maxwell Perkins, Julia Wolfe, Paul Green, Elizabeth Nowell, and others who knew novelist Thomas Wolfe. Moviegoers who saw the 2016 film Genius, featuring Jude Law as Wolfe and Colin Firth as Perkins, may enjoy reading the book's many anecdotes and insights. From the introduction:
Thomas Wolfe would seem to be an open book--something by the name of, say, Look Homeward, Angel or Of Time and the River. In these and his other two gigantic novels, after all, Wolfe put his life, his personality, and even his private thoughts on display for all the world to esteem or deplore. For this reason, readers of these novels naturally may feel as if they know the real Thomas Wolfe.
Summer 2018: As one of the 44 institutions to be selected for "Re-Imagining the First Year," sponsored by the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, Indiana University Kokomo crafted and implemented several initiatives designed to promote retention and graduation. Between the project launch in February 2016 and summer 2018, IU Kokomo's team of faculty, staff, and student leaders, in conjunction with campus colleagues, trained faculty in both a Student Success Academy and a grant-funded Experiential Learning Academy, developed a Student Success Seminar (complete with growth-mindset education), overhauled New Student Orientation and added a Student Intake Survey, awarded a number of micro-grants to students in need, created a minor in Personal Development, and revised the probation letter to make it more positive. IU Kokomo administrators and faculty members gave more than a dozen presentations on the Student Success Academy, the revised New Student Orientation, experiential learning, and other topics related to student success at RFY sessions at AASCU conferences, as well as other professional gatherings, such as the 2018 High-Impact Practices in the States conference in Carson, California, and the 2018 Student Success Conference at Indiana State University. Mark's articles about IU Kokomo's participation in RFY and about promoting student success in general have appeared in Change and The Chronicle of Higher Education. In August, Mark joined a national RFY working group, which is helping to create a report on RFY and proposing a book on student success.
May 2017: The 39th annual meeting of the Thomas Wolfe Society, which Mark planned during his final year as TWS president, featured a banquet address by Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer A. Scott Berg, author of Max Perkins: Editor of Genius, as well as several scholarly paper presentations, an exhibit of rare Wolfe items at the Indianapolis Public Library, drama and music by the IU Kokomo Players, a tour of Indianapolis's historic Union Station, and a public screening of the film Genius the 2016 film featuring Jude Law as Wolfe and Colin Firth as Perkins. Before the conference, Mark and Berg joined John Krull on WFYI's No Limits radio program for "Thomas Wolfe & 'Forgotten' Writers."
April 2017: Information literacy is more important than ever. Progress in every endeavor depends on sound information, and there's more of it now than at any other time in history. The advent of the Internet has dramatically increased the amount of information--and misinformation--available to students, researchers, professionals, and citizens. Introduction to Information Literacy for Students, co-authored by Michael Alewine and Mark Canada, helps college students navigate the information landscape, taking them through each stage of the the research process, from asking a research question to finding, evaluating, and citing sources.
After the book's publication in 2017, Mark collaborated with Michael on a webinar on information literacy for Innovative Educators. Mark also has given a number of solo presentations, including "Protecting and Pursuing the Truth in the Post-Truth Era" at the annual conference of the Higher Learning Commission in Chicago in April 2018. In July 2018, he joined Mike Caulfield, Sam Wineberg, and Kate Starbird on a plenary panel discussion, "Beyond 'Fake News': Framing the Next Decade of Higher Education's Fight Against Misinformation" for the Academic Affairs Summer Meeting in Bellevue, Washington.