Ken Mulliken biography

Dr. Ken Mulliken grew up in Independence, Missouri, and attended the University of Missouri – Kansas City, majoring in history and minoring in German. As a junior in college, he started his “Take the Lead” concept by initiating, Trek for Africa, biking 1,382 miles and raising over $17,500 for comprehensive human-development projects in Africa. Following graduation, Mulliken participated in an internship with the State of Nevada’s Office of Historic Preservation, writing a history of irrigation and reclamation for the state. He worked as a Graduate Teaching Assistant at the University of Missouri – Columbia, graduating with a Master of Arts degree in history. He attended one semester of law school, and hated it. In 1993 and 1994, he taught history courses at Utah Valley State University and at Brigham Young University. During the 1990s, Mulliken worked as an adjunct instructor of history at Park University and at Graceland University, while concurrently supervising an historic site and working as an executive recruiter. He found “head hunting” financially lucrative but professionally unfulfilling.

In 2003, Dr. Mulliken started working as a professor at the University of Saint Mary (USM), while finishing his doctorate. At USM, Mulliken taught courses in U.S. history, world history, global studies, the First Year Experience, and Honors. He launched USM’s online history-course offerings, and incorporated the Association of American Colleges and Universities’ LEAP “High Impact Practices,” including extensive undergraduate research. He directly supervised student service-learning trips abroad to Jamaica and Guatemala. Twice he earned the Sullivan Award for Teaching Excellence, which is USM’s “Teacher of the Year Award.” At USM, where Mulliken was a tenured full professor, he served as the Chair of the Department of History, Political Science, and Global Studies for seven years, and concurrently as the Director of the Lawrence D. Starr Global Studies Institute (GSI) for three years. He was part of the team who secured the $1.35 Million endowed gift that launched GSI. For several years, Mulliken volunteered as a Board Examiner for both the Kansas State Department of Education (KSDE) and the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE).

In 2013, Dr. Mulliken launched the Honors College at Southern Oregon University, working as SOU’s inaugural Executive Director of the Honors College. He has been recognized repeatedly for his excellence in strategic planning, recruiting, marketing, curriculum and instruction, student advising, faculty and staff development, budget management, grant writing, fund raising, and program assessment. A reflection of his success, through initiatives such as the “Peer Mentoring Program,” and “Take the Lead Projects,” can be seen in a 93% retention rate for SOU Honors College students. Under Mulliken’s direction, the Democracy Project has enabled students to explore conflict resolution and peace building by traveling to Japan, Russia, India, Switzerland, Germany, Austria, and the Czech Republic.

Dr. Mulliken’s doctorate is in history and his dissertation won the Mormon History Association’s Gerald E. Jones Outstanding Dissertation Award. A majority of his research publications and academic presentations have focused on the topics of identity, and Honors education. Mulliken is the President of the SOU chapter of Phi Kappa Phi Honors Society. He is actively engaged in the National Collegiate Honors Council, serves currently as the President of Western Regional Honors Council (hosting this year’s WRHC conference), and has worked with University of New Mexico Honors College faculty, promoting student exchanges for Scribendi. He and his wife Wendy have two daughters, two beautiful and vivacious grandchildren, and an elderly dog named Foster.