Kevin Radaker earned his Ph.D. in English with a specialization in American Literature from Penn State University in 1986. He joined the English department in 1987, and he served as chair of the department for twenty-five years, from 1988 to 2013. His current teaching assignments include American Literature of the Nineteenth Century, American Literature of the Twentieth Century, American Poetry, The American Dream in Twentieth Century American Literature, American Nature Writing, Christianity and Literature, Valuing through Literature, and both freshman composition courses. During his first seven years with the department, he taught courses in creative writing and directed the English department’s annual creative writing contests. In the spring of 1991, he received the Sears-Roebuck Foundation Teaching Excellence and Campus Leadership Award.
In addition to his teaching responsibilities, Professor Radaker has published a dozen articles on Henry Thoreau, Herman Melville, Wendell Berry, and Annie Dillard in academic journals and encyclopedias. Besides his publications, he has presented papers at over thirty conferences, including three national conferences and three international conferences. His research interests are wide, but he is especially interested in the American Transcendentalists, the role of nature in American literature and culture, and the expression of the spiritual quest in literary works. During his years with the department, he has received seven summer research grants from the university and nineteen summer fellowships from various state humanities councils in support of his travels to those states to offer his dramatic portrayals of Henry Thoreau, C. S. Lewis, and Winston Churchill.
Besides his teaching assignments and research interests, Dr. Radaker is a veteran actor-scholar who offers three highly acclaimed dramatic portrayals of Henry David Thoreau, C. S. Lewis, and Winston Churchill. Since 1991, he has presented his portrayal of Thoreau over 400 times around the nation at universities, colleges, libraries, museums, conferences, state and national parks, and numerous summer Chautauqua tours. He began offering his portrayal of C. S. Lewis in the fall of 2009. Since then, he has presented his “Lewis” over 70 times in seven states at places of worship, libraries, and conferences, including an international teachers’ conference in Beijing, China, in October, 2011. He began offering his portrayal of Winston Churchill in the summer of 2016 for the Oklahoma Chautauqua tour. For more information about his portrayals, including testimonials and video clips, see his websites: www.thoreaulive.com, www.cslewislive.com, and www.winstonchurchilllive.com.
Over the years, Professor Radaker has aided the university by serving on many different committees. He has also aided his local worship community by serving as a Sunday School teacher on many different occasions throughout the past twenty years. He lives in Noblesville with his wife Linda, and their two sons, Paul and Luke. They attend Church at the Crossing in Indianapolis.