Ph.D., Duquesne University, 1975
16th- and 17th-Century British Literature
Ronald is a senior member of the doctoral English faculty. He has published widely, especially on Shakespeare, Milton, and the Metaphysical Poets, and offered numerous presentations at regional, national, and international conferences. His two collections of essays, one on Shakespeare and the other on Milton, have been well-received and positively reviewed in leading journals. Currently, he is completing his 41st year in the IUP Department of English.
More recently, he has produced, written, and codirected videotape documentaries on some of America’s leading authors—Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky, poets Donald Hall and Jane Kenyon, and novelist John Updike. Founder and continuing president of the Friends of Milton’s Cottage, he was coordinator of the International Milton Symposia (1981 and 1983) and executive director of the 15th World Congress of Poets (1997), held in England. He serves on the Trustees of the Milton Cottage Museum, is honorary president of the Japan Milton Society, has been a member of the board of directors of the College English Association, and presided over the Pennsylvania College English Association.
Shafer has been the recipient of a number of national awards—Silver Medalist in the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education’s National Professor-of-the-Year Award, Exemplary Teaching Excellence Award by the American Association for Higher Education, and one of 50 professors cited by Change Magazine for creative faculty leadership at the national level. He has also served as a master teacher for two National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Shakespeare Institutes and taught, as first Fulbright recipient at IUP, in Egypt for an academic year on a senior Fulbright visiting professorship. Professor Shafer is a lifetime distinguished University Professor at IUP and has also received the university’s President’s Medal of Distinction.
He has guest-lectured, keynoted, or taught abroad in numerous countries, including Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Kuwait, Russia, Morocco, Panama, the Dominican Republic, Uganda (East Africa), Korea, China, Japan, Taiwan, the Philippines, Thailand, Germany, Austria, England, and France. Most recently, he offered the invited keynote at a prestigious international conference in Cairo. Also, he helped facilitate an IUP linkage with Egypt, and continues to direct numerous Egyptian professors’ dissertations. Locally, he played a major role in bringing to the area celebrity-status figures, including English poet Stephen Spender, American novelist John Updike, British film star Michael York, and the New York Times best-selling author Madame Nien Cheng. A lifelong resident of Armstrong County, Shafer continues to lecture extensively in the area.
His most recent projects include guest lecturing on Shakespeare at the Costa Rica Conference on Applied Linguistics, on Milton in Egypt, and giving a keynote address at the 21st World Congress of Poets in Manauga, Nicaragua. A 2003 grant, funded by the U.S. State Department, sponsored a keynote address at the Ain Shams University in Cairo. In 2007, he was named to the IUP President’s Cabinet on Strategic Planning in Higher Education and was named a Lifetime Distinguished Chair. Also in 2007 and 2008, Shafer was a committee member for the University Strategic Planning Committee and the University Professorship Committee, which he chaired for three years. He served on the Provost Search Committee in 2008.