Plater served as the Indiana University Dean of the School of Liberal Arts (1983-87), Executive Vice Chancellor and Dean of the Faculties (1987-2006), and Director of the Workshop on International Community Development (2006-2012) at IUPUI until his retirement in 2010. Before joining IUPUI, Plater was Associate Director of the School of Humanities at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he earned BA, MA and PhD degrees in English.
From 2012 to 2013, Plater served as senior advisor for education strategies at Course Networking, a learning technologies company providing global networking services for academic purposes through social media. He was a director of the management committee of Epsilen, a learning technologies company owned in majority share by the New York Times and senior advisor for education at Epsilen from 2010 to 2011.
Plater currently serves as a member of the advisory boards for the Carnegie Community Engagement Classification, the IU Center on Global Health, and the Greater Indianapolis Red Cross. Past leadership roles have included the Council of Adult and Experiential Learning, The Children’s Museum, WFYI public radio and television stations, the Indiana Humanities Council, and numerous other community boards.
In 2006, American Association of State Colleges and Universities established the William M. Plater Award for Civic Engagement, the first national award of any kind to recognize provosts. Students graduating from IUPUI—from bachelors to PhDs—with outstanding civic engagement records are awarded the Plater Medallion for Civic Engagement. IUPUI also established the Plater International Scholarship Program, providing a cohort of entering undergraduates a four-year tuition scholarship, residency in International House, and a study abroad opportunity; the Scholars have a dedicated advisor and are provided international experiences throughout the year. Plater has been awarded honorary doctorates by Purdue University and the National Institute of Development Administration in Thailand.
Academic positions held
- Chancellor's Professor Emeritus of Public Affairs, Philanthropic Studies, English, Indiana University, 2006-2010; Emeritus 2010-present
- Visiting Scholar, Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, Stanford University, January-April 2007
- Director, International Community Development, a joint office of the IU Center on Philanthropy, the IU Center on Urban Policy and the Environment and the IUPUI Office of International Affairs, 2006-2010
- Executive Vice Chancellor, IUPUI, 1988-2006; Emeritus 2006-present
Dean of the Faculties, IUPUI, 1987-2006; Emeritus 2006-present
- Acting Chancellor, IUPUI, January-May, 2003
- Dean, Indiana University School of Liberal Arts, IUPUI, 1983-1987
- Graduate Faculty, IU Graduate School, Full Member, 1983–2010
- Professor of English, IU School of Liberal Arts, IUPUI, 1983–2010 (with adjunct appointments in Public Affairs, Informatics and Philanthropic Studies)
- Associate Director, School of Humanities, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC), 1977-1983
- Assistant Director, School of Humanities, UIUC, 1974-1977 (Acting Director, Summer 1975, Spring and Summer 1976, Summers 1977-1983)
- Assistant Dean, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, UIUC, 1973-1974
- Assistant to the Dean, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, UIUC, 1969-1972
- Graduate Research and Teaching Assistant, UIUC, 1967-1971
- Ph.D., English, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1973
- M.A., English, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1969
- B.A., English, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1967
Academic work of national scope
- Commissioner, Western Association of Schools and Colleges, one of seven U.S. regional accreditors, 2007 – 2011
- Member, National Advisory Panel on the Carnegie Classification for Community Engagement, the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the New England Research Center on Higher Education, 2006 to present
- Organizer and Convener, International invitational meeting, “Philanthropy and International Responses to National Disasters,” Indianapolis, IN April 8-9, 2010
- Co-director and convener, International invitational conference on “Global Perspectives on Philanthropy in Muslim Majority Nations” at the Pocantico Conference Center of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, February 20-23, 2010
- Organizer and Moderator, 5th National Summit on Philanthropy, “Planning Disaster; The Role of Philanthropy in Anticipating and Responding,” Contigny, IL, October 12 – 19, 2009 Organizer and Moderator, invitational international meeting, “International Philanthropy and Voluntary Action for the World Good,” Indianapolis, IN, November 5-6, 2007 Organizer and Moderator, 4th National Summit on Philanthropy, ”Expecting Too Much?Promising Too Much?” Assessing Accountability for Grantmakers and Their Recipients,” Indianapolis, IN, August 20-22, 2007
- Consultant, planning the Academic Network Conferences on “Defining the Professoriate for the 21st Century” in April 2009 and 2010, American Association of Colleges and Universities (AAC&U), January 2008 - 2010
- Consultant, Achieving Greater Expectations (AAC&U), SAGE Group, Washington, DC, 2003 - 2010
- Contributor to a number of projects related to Civic Engagement primarily under the auspices of Campus Compact but including the National Review Board for the Scholarship of Engagement, two Wingspread Conferences on Renewing the Civic Mission of America’s Research Universities, and a national summit on Higher Education for the Public Good; member of the National Advisory Committee for the establishment of a new community engagement category for the Carnegie Classification System, Fall 2000 – 2004
- Participant in a team of 14 people known as the Project on the Future of Higher Education led by Alan Guskin and Mary Marcy to develop models of institutional transformation to prepare colleges and universities to respond to external pressures for cost containment, accountability, and student centered instruction. Fall 2001 - Fall 2004
- Participant in a team of 12 people led by Russ Edgerton to develop concepts on Responsibility and Accountability for Undergraduate Learning growing out of the Pew Forum for Undergraduate Learning. Fall 2001 - Spring 2005
- Co-author (with Victor Borden) of a white paper commissioned by the Carnegie Endowment for the Advancement of Teaching on The Role of Instruction and Learning as a Criterion for the New Carnegie Classification System. Spring 2003
- Participant in the National Project on the Student Credit Hour, led by Jane Wellman and sponsored by the Institute for Higher Education Policy, to develop alternatives to the student credit hour as a vehicle to promote transferability of student learning, to account for faculty instructional effort, and to serve as a uniform means of applying federal and state policies across institutions. Fall 2001- Fall 2003
- Participant in The Pew Learning and Technology Program led by Carol Twigg and sponsored by the Center for Academic Transformation. Fall 1999 - Fall 2004.
- Co-leader with Margaret Miller, Barbara Cambridge, and Susan Kahn of the Urban University Portfolio Project that has led to national models for institutional portfolios and that has influenced regional accrediting bodies and state commissions in adopting electronic portfolios for accreditation self studies. Fall 1998 - Fall 2005
- Public Work and the Academy: An Academic Administrator’s Guide to Civic Engagement and Service-Learning, Mark Langseth and William M. Plater, co-editors, Bolton, MA: Anker, 2004.
- The Grim Phoenix: Reconstructing Thomas Pynchon. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1978.
Monographs, editions and chapters
- “Research on Service Learning and Institutional Leadership; Toward Improving Practice at a Time of Urgency” Lorilee Sandmann and William M. Plater, in Research on Service Learning, Robert Bringle, Julie Hatcher, Patti Clayton, editors, Anker, 2012.
- “Collaborative Leadership for Engagement,” To Serve a Larger Purpose; Engagement for Democracy and the Transformation of Higher Education. John Saltmarsh and Matthew Hartley, editors, Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2011.
- “Educating Globally Competent Citizens through International Service Learning,” William Plater, Steven Jones, Robert Bringle, and Patti Clayton, The Handbook of Practice and Research in Study Abroad: Higher Education and the Quest for Global Citizenship, Ross Lewin, editor, New York: Routledge, 2010.
- “The Context for International Service Learning,” International Service Learning Research, Robert Bringle, editor, Anker, in press.
- “Leading Engaged Institutions,” William Plater and Lorilee Sandman, Institutionalizing Community Engagement in Higher Education: The First Wave of Carnegie Classified Institutions, San Francisco: New Directions, 2009.
- “The Rise and Fall of Administrative Careers,” Transitions Between Faculty and Administrative Careers, Ronald Henry, editor, New Directions, San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass, 2006.
- “The Promise of the Student Electronic Portfolio: A Provost’s Perspective,” Handbook of Research of ePortfolios, Ali Jafari and Catherine Kaufman, editors, Idea Group, Inc., May 2006.
- “Civic Engagement, Service-Learning, and Intentional Leadership,” Public Work and the Academy: An Academic Administrator’s Guide to Civic Engagement and Service- Learning, William M. Plater, and Mark Langseth, co-editors, Bolton, MA: Anker, 2004.
- “A Profession at Risk: Using Post-Tenure Review to Create an Intentional Future,” Post-Tenure Faculty Review and Renewal Experienced Voices, Christine M. Licata and Joseph C. Morreale, editors, Washington, D.C.: AAHE, 2002.
- “Habits of Living: Engaging the Campus as Citizen One Scholar at a Time,” Colleges and Universities as Citizens, R.G. Bringle, R. Games, and E.A. Malloy, editors. Allyn & Bacon, 1999.
- "Literature Shaped by Technology,” Technology Success Stories: Using Technology to Enhance Teaching and Learning at IUPUI," Erwin Boschmann, editor, Indianapolis: IUPUI, 1997.
- “Faculty in 2005: Changing Roles,” Journal of Adult Training, Vol. VIII, No. 2, Spring 1996.
- "The Electronic Classroom,” A Handbook for Education in the Electronic Environment, Erwin Boschmann, editor, Medford, NJ: Learned Information, 1995.
- "The Place of the Human-Made World in General Education," Cultural Literacy and the Idea of General Education, Alan Purves, editor, Chicago: The National Society for the Study of Education, 1988.
- The Journal of Aesthetic Education, (special issue devoted to the humanities), guest editor. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, Fall 1983.
- A Vocational Guide for Liberal Arts and Sciences, Urbana: College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, 1970.
- Man and the Multitude: A Symposium, Urbana: College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, 1967.
Articles, papers, reviews and notes
- “Assessing Diversity, Global, and Civic Learning: A Means to Change in Higher Education,” Robert Bringle, Patti Clayton, and William Plater, Diversity & Democracy, Summer 2013 (forthcoming)
- “Toward a Transnational Framework: Aligning Internal and External Quality Assurance Processes,” Higher Learning Research Communications, Vol.3, Number 1, March 2013.
- “The Future of the Professoriate,” Academe, July/August, 2008
- “The Public Purpose of Higher Education: What Does the Public Think?” Robert Bringle and William Plater, Metropolitan Universities, Vol. 19, Number 3, July 2008.
- “Background Paper for Consideration of a Project on the Future of the Professoriate,” Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, April 13, 2007.
- “ Sustaining Civic Engagement: Faculty Development, Roles, and Rewards,” Robert G. Bringle, Julie A. Hatcher, Steven Jones, and William M. Plater, Metropolitan Universities, Vol. 17 Number 1, April 2006.
- “Service Learning: Having a Positive Impact on All Participants,” William M. Plater and Eugene R. Tempel, The NonProfit Times, January 1, 2006.
- “A Profession At Risk: Using Post-Tenure Review to Save Tenure and Create an Intentional Future for Academic Community,” Change, February 1, 2001.
- “Foreword,” The Department Chair’s Role in Developing New Faculty into Teachers and Scholars, Estela Mara Bensimon, editor, Boston: Anker Publishing Co, 2000.
- “So . . . Why AREN’T We Taking Learning Seriously?” About Campus, Vol. III, No. 4, November/December 1998/
- “Using Tenure: Citizenship Within the New Academic Workforce,” American Behavioral Scientist, Vol. 41, No. 5, 1998.
- “Chaos and Community: Metropolitan Universities’ Big Chance in the Era of Change,” Metropolitan Universities, Vol. VII, No. 3, Winter 1996.
- “Future Work: Faculty Time in the 21st Century,” Change, May/June 1995.
- “The Library: A Labyrinth of the Wide World,” EDUCOM Review, April/May 1995. “Capturing the Vision of the Future,” Indiana Libraries, Vol. 13, No. 2, 1994.
- "Frederic Jameson" and "Amari Baraka," Bibliographical Dictionary of Neo-Marxism, Robert Gorman, editor, Westpoint: Greenwood Press, 1986.
- "Discourse on Discourse: When a Humanist Speaks, Who Listens?" The Journal of Aesthetic Education, Fall 1983.
- "Faculty Study in a Second Discipline," with Harry S. Broudy, Resources in Education, February 1982.
- “Thomas Pynchon: The Art of Allusion,” David Cowart, South Atlantic Review, January 1981
- “A Literature Without Qualities: American Writing Since 1945,” Warner Berthoff, Journal of English and Germanic Philology, October 1980.
- "Humanities?" On Teaching and Learning, Urbana: University of Illinois, No. 1, 1975.
- "Renewed Vitality for the Humanities," University of Illinois Alumni News, September 1975.