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 Edward Balleisen, Ph.D.

Dean’s Award for Excellence in Mentoring
Associate Professor of History and Public Policy and
Senior Fellow in the Kenan Institute for Ethics



Edward Balleisen has directed or co-directed five completed Ph.D. dissertations and served on the dissertation committees of 16 other graduated Ph.D. students. He is currently on the committees of 11 Ph.D. students, including two as dissertation director. He has also supervised two terminal master’s theses, twelve undergraduates’ honors theses, and six Sanford School Public Policy Internships.

Balleisen’s research explores the historical intersections among law, business, politics, and policy in the modern United States, with a growing focus on the origins, evolution, and influences of the modern regulatory state. He has published extensively, including Navigating Failure: Bankruptcy and Commercial Society in Antebellum America (2001) and the co-edited volume, Government and Markets: Toward a New Theory of Regulation (2009). He is also the director of Rethinking Regulation at the Kenan Institute for Ethics.

In His Words

"You have to be interested in their paths. You have to figure out what they are actually passionate about, the sorts of goals they have. You maybe can offer some alternative possibilities, but you have to be willing to facilitate an individual’s growth in light of their own interests and goals."

In Their Words

Excerpts from Balleisen’s Nominations

“Ed treats his graduate advisees like colleagues from the outset, thereby helping them make the all-important transition from student to professional scholar early in their training.”

“Ed supported and championed my decision to pursue a track outside traditional tenured lines. … I was not a black sheep who didn't go on to the professoriate but a success story which he still talks about quite frequently.”

“More than any professor that I have encountered, Balleisen respects his students’ visions for their future. He is not interested in reproducing new versions of himself nor is he interested in forcing students to adhere closely to traditional career paths or disciplinary boundaries.”

“He is a master of the most important and most nuanced mentorship skill: the ability to recognize his students’ goals and strengths, frequently long before they do themselves, and to guide his students towards their own realization of those goals.”