William Craig Rice
Rice was born in 1955 in Washington, D.C. He received his bachelor's and master's degrees at the University of Virginia, where his studies focused on English and American literature. He later earned an M.F.A. and a doctorate at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, where he won a Hopwood Writing Award and the Brubacher Prize in the History of Education. His publications include: Public Discourse & Academic Inquiry, a study in the sociology of knowledge; Characteristics of Exemplary Schools; a special edited volume of the Harvard Review commemorating Seamus Heaney’s Nobel Prize; and more than fifty articles, reviews, essays, stories, and poems in such periodicals as The New Criterion, Policy Review, The Sewanee Review, The Washington Post, and The Common Review: The Magazine of the Great Books Foundation. He has also worked as an Alfa Romeo mechanic, a warden at the Adirondack Mountain Reserve, and the manager of an antiques shop.
After his studies at the University of Virginia, he taught at the Webb School in Bell Buckle, Tennessee, at Temple University, and at the University of Pennsylvania; and then undertook graduate studies at the University of Michigan. From 1992 to 2001, he taught expository writing in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at Harvard University, where he also edited non-fiction for the Harvard Review. While at Harvard he became involved in education reform as a consultant to the Massachusetts Board of Education, helping to reshape curriculum frameworks and assessment in English Language Arts. He has been a Visiting Fellow at Johns Hopkins University's Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, and at the American Enterprise Institute; an Ella Baker Fellow at Antioch New England Graduate School; a consultant to the John Templeton Foundation; and from 2001-2004 a staff member at the American Academy for Liberal Education, where he created new K-12 programs. Furthermore he has been a consultant to the American Board for Certification of Teacher Excellence, which offers an alternative route into the K-12 classroom for liberal arts college graduates and career-switching professionals, and also to the education reform organization Achieve, which has launched the American Diploma Project to raise academic expectations in American high schools.
In 2004 he was appointed the President of Shimer College, where he also served as a Professor of English, Education, and the Humanities. Amid controversy, the Shimer College Board of Trustees announced in January 2006 that at his urging it had accepted an invitation to move the school to the Illinois Institute of Technology campus on the south side of Chicago. The move was completed in August of the same year. In August 2007 he left Shimer in order to accept his present position with the NEH. He also serves as a Visitor of Ralston College.
His paternal grandfather was John Andrew Rice, the founder of Black Mountain College. He collaborated with Mark Bauerlein in editing the republication of John Andrew Rice’s suppressed autobiography, I Came Out of the Eighteenth Century (1942), in the Southern Classics Series of the University of South Carolina Press (2014).
- "National Endowment for the Humanities Appoints Three New Division Directors". 15 August 2007. Retrieved 25 April 2011.
- "Biography of the Director of the Division of Education Programs". Retrieved 25 April 2011.
- "William Craig Rice named 12th President of Shimer College". Shimer College News & Events Archive. 29 March 2004. Retrieved 25 April 2011.
- The National Endowment for the Humanities: Division of Education Programs
- Transcript of PBS Discussion on the National Endowment for the Arts
- Shimer College
- How to Move a College - Chicago Public Radio - an interview with William Craig Rice about the move of Shimer College
- Who Killed History? An Academic Autopsy - an article by William Craig Rice
- I Hear America Singing - an article by William Craig Rice