MFA Creative Writing
Faculty and Staff
Pontious Professor of English
Hometown : Haverstraw, NY
Joined Chatham : 1980
Academic Areas of Interest
Nineteenth-century American Literature, American Exploration, American Humor, Chatham Abroad, Chatham Scholars
Personal Areas of Interest
Travel, pug dogs, snorkeling and scuba
William E. Lenz is Pontious Professor of English at Chatham University. A member of the English Department since 1980, Dr. Lenz has taught writing, critical thinking, and literary analysis at virtually every level of the institution. He currently teaches in the First Year Seminar Program, offers American literature classes from surveys to upper-level seminars, directs the Chatham Scholars Program, and teaches content courses in the graduate MFA program in Creative Writing. He has traveled on Chatham Abroad with students to Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands, Belize and Guatemala, and to Hopital Albert Schweitzer for service-learning in Haiti. The author of two books, Dr. Lenz is researching the 19th-century narratives of John Lloyd Stephens, American author of Incidents of Travel in Central America, Chiapas, and Yucatan (1841) and Incidents of Travel in the Yucatan (1843).
- B.A., Amherst College (Amherst, MA), 1973
- M.A., University of Virginia (Charlottesville, VA), 1974
- Ph.D., University of Virginia (Charlottesville, VA), 1980
- "Seeing the Maya in the American Parlor: Illustrations as a Parallel Text in John Lloyd Stephens’ Incidents of Travel in Central America (1841)," paper presented at the Popular Culture Association national convention, St. Louis (March-April 2010).
- "Deciphering the Hieroglyphics of John Lloyd Stephens," paper presented at the Popular Culture Association national convention, New Orleans (April 2009).
- “Some Lessons of Short-Term Study Abroad: Student Writing, Reflection, and Experiential Learning in Central America.” William Lenz and Joseph Wister, International Educator (2008).
- “’Writing in the Dark’: John Lloyd Stephens’ Incidents of Travel in the Yucatan (1843),” paper presented at the Popular Culture Association national convention, Boston (April 2007).
- "Confidence Men," in American History through Literature, 1820-1870, edited by Janet Gabler-Hover and Robert Sattelmeyer. Detroit: Charles Scribner's Sons, 2006.
- “Sut Lovingood,” in Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism, Vol. 165, eds. Jessica Bomarito and Russel Whitaker, Detroit: Thomson Gale, 2006.
- “Writing Race, Gender, and Other Antebellum Cultural Anxieties in John Lloyd Stephens’ Incidents of Travel in Central America (1841),” paper presented at the Hawaii International Conference on the Arts & Humanities, Honolulu (January 2004).
- The Poetics of the Antarctic: A Study in Nineteenth Century American Cultural Perceptions. Garland Studies in Nineteenth Century American Literature. New York: Garland, 1995.
- Fast Talk and Flush Times: The Confidence Man As A Literary Convention. Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 1985
- Middle States Accreditation Evaluator
- Charles and Ida Pontious Distinguished Professor
- Jane Burger Excellence in Adacemic Advising Award (2011-2012)
- NACADA Faculty Advisor of the Year Award Winner (October 2005)
- Chatham nominee for 2002 Thomas Ehrlich Faculty Award for Service-Learning
- Chatham nominee for CASE Professor of the Year (June 2000)
- American Studies Association
- Project Director, NEH Focus Grant, "Environmental Issues and the Humanities" (1996)
- Chatham Buhl Professor, 1997-98, 1993-94
- Sears Roebuck Foundation1990-91 Teaching Excellence and Campus Leadership Award
- Chatham Irene Heinz Given Professor, 1985-88