The following was written by Matt Bokovoy, UNP Senior Acquisitions Editor and is from the University of Nebraska Press Fall 2021 Newsletter, i.e.
Mark Scherer has spent his twenty-two-year career at the University of Nebraska–Omaha’s Department of History enjoying the three main duties of his professorship: teaching, research, and service. Currently the Charles and Mary Caldwell Martin Professor of Western American History at UNO, Mark spent his early professional career as a lawyer in Columbus, Ohio. With a J.D. from the Ohio State University College of Law, Mark has argued cases in the Supreme Courts of Nebraska and Ohio, as well as in many federal district and circuit courts. But a part of his family history and upbringing in southern Ohio’s rural lands eventually convinced him to dedicate his life to teaching, research, and service.
Growing up on traditional Shawnee Indian Nation homelands, “I was always fascinated by the historic folklore of that region and the indigenous artifacts that we occasionally came across on the family farm,” he recalls. “My attraction to history was nurtured by a grandmother who was a long-time teacher in a two-room country schoolhouse.” With a family background in education and as the spouse of a new UNO faculty member in the late 1980s, Mark made the decision to enroll at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln to pursue a PhD in history (American legal, Nebraska, great plains, western, and Native American). Working with mentors Dr. Michael Tate, Dr. Jerry Simmons, and Dr. John Wunder, he was able to turn a lifelong passion for history into a new vocation when he began work at UNO in 1999.
Mark is the author of four books, including Rights in the Balance: Free Press, Fair Trial, and Nebraska Press Association v. Stuart (Texas Tech University Press, 2008); Imperfect Victories: The Legal Tenacity of the Omaha Tribe (UNP, 2009); and his most recent book, coauthored with John Wunder, Echo of Its Time: The History of the Federal District Court of Nebraska (UNP, 2019). At the University of Nebraska–Omaha, Mark teaches courses in
legal and constitutional history, Native American and Indigenous studies, and Nebraska and great plains history among other related subjects.
Due to his research and teaching interests, Mark has appeared on Nebraska Public Media (formerly NETV), PBS, History Channel, C-Span, and other media outlets. He has been invited to deliver talks at institutions such as the First Amendment Center of the Newseum in Washington DC. Mark’s work has been supported by grants from the American Society for Legal History, the National Press Foundation, the Center for Great Plains Studies, the UNO Martin Fund, the First Amendment Center, the Nebraska State Bar Association, and the Omaha Bar Association, among other institutions and organizations.
In his spare time Mark enjoys team sports such as baseball and football and also singular games like golf. He played baseball in college for the Ohio State University and has been a coach for his sons’ baseball and other sports teams. The mentoring aspect of coaching fits well with the main aspect of teaching and pedagogy.
Despite all his accomplishments and recognition, Mark finds the most satisfaction in both teaching and service, particularly in the classroom engaging with his colleagues and students at UNO. “The most satisfying aspects of my career have been the relationships I’ve developed with my colleagues,” says Mark, “and the reminders of the impact that we can all have on the lives and minds of our students.” His service on the UNP Press Advisory Board has been rewarding as well as eye-opening, another reason Mark enjoys his role on the board. “The exposure to the new manuscripts being evaluated by the Press provides a welcome and much-needed ‘recharging’ effect on my own work,” he notes, “as I am reminded of the dynamic, diverse, and multidisciplinary new approaches that are being advanced by the current generation of scholars and writers.”