Warner Elected WHA President
by Richard Paige
January 13, 2016
Wabash College Professor of History Rick Warner is the new President of the World History Association (WHA).
Warner, who took office Jan. 1 after serving as Vice President for the previous two years, now leads an organization that fosters the advance of scholarship and teaching within a trans-national, trans-regional, and trans-cultural perspective. Founded in 1982, the WHA currently has 800 active members.
“With the rise of the WHA in 1982, world history as a practice has changed radically, moving beyond a Western Civilization focus into new territory that is sometimes called the ‘New World History,’” said Warner, the Jane and Frederic M. Hadley Chair in History at Wabash. “While traditional historical scholarship has been set in archives and with a regional focus, world history integrates regions and disciplines, with newly emerging research practices. In my two years, I hope that we can improve WHA support of research by graduate students as well as seasoned professors.”
A major figure in the world history movement, Warner is an expert in the field of early modern Latin American history, and food in world history. He is also a leader in the Advanced Placement World History (APWH) program, now a respected question leader in various contexts, he also serves on the APWH test development committee for the College Board, and is active in the Midwest World History Association (MWWHA).
Along with WHA Past President Craig Benjamin, Warner aided in a major reform of the WHA in 2014-15 that saw its headquarters move to Northeastern University in Boston, and helped steer the WHA to a very strong financial and academic position.
“Now that we have secured safer footing in our new headquarters at Northeastern, I can spend the two years of my presidency strengthening the culture and membership of the organization,” said Warner. “We will continue our strong connections with the secondary teaching world, especially with the AP course, but will renew our focus on the developing research practice of our discipline.”
Warner joined the Wabash faculty in 1999 and carries an impressive administrative record. He is the Chair of the History Department, served as the associate Dean of Students from 2008-09, and chaired the Off-Campus Study, Faculty Development, Teacher Education, and International Studies Committees at Wabash.
In addition to excellence displayed in the classroom – he earned Wabash’s McLain-McTurnan-Arnold Excellence in Teaching Award in 2014 – Warner serves as the faculty coordinator for international programs, and serves or has served as a faculty advisor for Unidos Por Sangre, the Independent Men’s Association, sh’OUT, and the Vietnamese Student Association.
Warner’s ascension to the WHA presidency continues the global focus of the Wabash history department decades ago under the guidance of Professor Stephen Morillo. Known within the GLCA and the liberal arts world as strong supporters of the growing movement to teach world history in ways that are respectful of the historical agency of ordinary people in diverse cultures, Morillo's recently published textbook and Warner’s administrative ties to the WHA and the College Board AP Test committee has strengthened the reputation of Wabash College.
“Rick’s election as President, the excellent research and publishing work of Stephen Morillo, and the fact that the most recent conference of the MWWHA was held on the Wabash campus, is all evidence that the College has become a widely recognized and respected center for academic and teaching excellence in the rapidly growing field of world history,” said Benjamin, a professor of history at Grand Valley State University. “All in the Wabash community should be proud of Rick and his achievements. Personally, I will always be grateful for his loyalty, vision, and professionalism during my term as President of the WHA.”
Warner’s WHA term expires on Dec. 31, 2017.