Western Michigan University
1903 W Michigan Ave
Kalamazoo MI 49008-5245 USA
- Ph.D., Latin American History, University of Connecticut, 1993
- M.A., History, University of Connecticut, 1986
- B.A., History, Fairfield University, 1984
Lee M. Penyak joined the Haenicke Institute for Global Education in May 2016 as the director of Study Abroad. He directs the University’s study abroad activities, overseas outreach and exchange programs, leads and supervises study abroad staff, and provides leadership and support in the areas of study abroad and general program administration within the Haenicke Institute.
Penyak was born in Danbury, Conn., educated in Bethel, Conn. public schools, and then received advanced degrees from Fairfield University and University of Connecticut. He lived in Mexico City and taught history classes at the high–school level from 1994-2000. Penyak accepted a position in the history department at the University of Scranton in 2000 and earned the rank of full professor prior to accepting his position at WMU. Among other global initiatives, he has taught for United States and Canadian universities at their study abroad centers in Mexico and was co-director of several faculty-led, service-learning programs to El Salvador. At Scranton Penyak received the provost award for excellence in advancing global learning.
He is the author of scholarly articles on the history of marriage patterns, domestic violence, female confinement, same-sex relationships, obstetrics medicine, and prohibited artwork in late-colonial and early-modern Mexico. Two additional articles focus on service-learning projects he conducted in Mexico. Research on church and state and the hacienda complex also culminated in three edited books on those topics.
Penyak enjoys spending time with family and friends, walking, reading, and traveling.
As director of WMU Study Abroad, Penyak's primary responsibilities include:
- Provides leadership to WMU Study Abroad staff
- Works closely with academic department faculty and international committees in the colleges to develop and promote study abroad programs
- Develops and executes a strategy to increase study abroad participation
- Manages student crises abroad and performs risk management in coordination with the associate provost or executive director of the Haenicke Institute for Global Education