Michael J. Birkner is the Benjamin Franklin Professor of the Liberal Arts, and professor of history at Gettysburg College and serves on the Faculty Advisory Council for the Eisenhower Institute. He chaired the Pulitzer Prize in History Jury for the 2006 award and just published An Illustrated History of Gettysburg College for the College's 175th anniversary.
Birkner's scholarship focuses on aspects of 19th- and 20th-century America: political, urban, oral and biographical history. He is recognized for his work on Dwight D. Eisenhower and recently wrote about his presidency with special emphasis on the role of his Chief of Staff Sherman Adams. He published a book on Eisenhower for middle-school students and has taught a seminar on Eisenhower for years, in which he takes Gettysburg College students to the Eisenhower Presidential Library in Abilene, KS, for use of primary sources in research. Each summer he teams up with the Eisenhower National Historical Site to conduct a seminar for secondary school teachers. Birkner also edited a video series workbook, The Eisenhower Era, for Disney Publications.
His numerous other publications include books on President James Buchanan, 19th-century Secretary of the Navy Samuel Southard, and an award-winning book about the history of his hometown, Bergenfield, N.J. His early career was in journalism and he served as an editorial page editor and writer for New Hampshire's Concord Monitor. He continues to pen op-ed pieces for national publication.
On campus, Birkner has served on numerous college committees and chaired the department of history for a decade. He received his bachelors degree from Gettysburg College and his masters degree and doctorate from the University of Virginia in American history.