Dr. Mark Ellis

Professor, Dean of Graduate Studies

Office: CMCT 308   |    Phone: (308) 865-8843   |    Email: ellismr@unk.edu

Mark Ellis

Specialization Areas

American West, American Indians, Sports History, Nebraska History


Mark Ellis was named dean of graduate studies in 2019, after holding the position in an interim capacity for nearly a year.

He’s been involved in academic administration for more than a decade, serving as graduate program chair in UNK’s Department of History from 2006-13 and department chair from 2013-18. Under his guidance, the UNK history graduate program grew from a small residential program to one of the largest online history graduate programs in the nation. He has designed and taught 23 graduate-only courses, advised more than 50 graduate thesis projects and twice been awarded the Graduate Student Mentor of the Year Award.

Ellis joined UNK in 2000 as a visiting assistant professor in the Department of History and was hired for a tenure-track position as a Nebraska/Great Plains historian the following year. He earned full professorship in 2010 and was named a Ron and Carol Cope Professor of History in 2016, the same year he received the prestigious Pratt-Heins Award for Service.

A native of Southern California, Ellis earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in history from California State University at Northridge. He pursued his Ph.D. at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where he studied and wrote on the Great Plains, with his doctoral research concentrating on the legal history of the Great Plains, particularly the relationship between legal culture, frontier communities, violence and law and order. Ellis completed his doctorate in 1999, then taught as a lecturer in the UNL History Department and served as an editorial assistant for the Encyclopedia of the Great Plains.

Ellis authored “Law and Order in Buffalo Bill’s Country: Legal Culture and Community on the Great Plains,” as well as several articles and book chapters, and he’s delivered many conference presentations. A frequent public speaker and expert adviser, Ellis is working on three different book projects that focus on Great Plains themes.

He’s served on the boards for the Center for Great Plains Studies, National Digital Newspaper Program, Humanities Nebraska and Buffalo County Historical Society and been appointed by two governors to serve on the Nebraska State Historical Records Advisory Board.