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Kenneth Munsell

Senior Lecturer

Headshot of Professor Kenneth MunsellBorn and raised in suburban Long Island in New York State, my parents brought me to Eastern Washington in 1964. I've lived in this beautiful country ever since. I received my B. A. and M. A. from Central Washington University where my teachers exposed me the excitement of learning. To my great joy, I now teach here and hope that I convey that same excitement to my own students. I also published and edited Small Town, a journal concerning community development in small communities, for twenty years.

I've always had an intense and broad curiosity about the world and find that the discipline of history is the best place to bring all of my interests together. I deem myself a generalist and am intensely interested in all aspects of the human condition. There are no boundaries to human thought. I've read extensively in such wide-ranging subjects as urban planning, Enlightenment philosophy, the history of medieval China and contemporary American culture - and, in my classes, I try to show the connections between all of these varied interests. When not teaching, I enjoy good conversation and company in local coffee shops, summer road trips to visit small communities, writing, and swimming at the municipal pool.

Curriculum Vitae


  • 1975, B. A. with majors in History and Sociology, Central Washington University, Ellensburg, Washington.
  • 1981, M. A. in History, Central Washington University. Thesis topic: "Social Change in a Small Community in World War II." The case study focused on Ellensburg and Kittitas County, Washington.


  • September 1976-June 1977, March-June 1978, January-June 1981, Graduate Assistant, Central Washington University History Department.
  • February 1979-September 1980, Assistant Editor for the Washington State Historical Records Survey.
  • September 1980-April 1983, Assistant Editor, Small Town, the journal of the Small Towns Institute. Also was Editorial Assistant for the Design Resource book for Small Communities Project funded by the National Endowment for the Arts, and was editor of the Historic Preservation Resource book for Small Communities, funded by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
  • April 1983 to present, Director of the Small Towns Institute and editor of Small Town.
  • September 1991-December 1991. Adjunct instructor of History. Central Washington University History Department. Courses included History 101 (World Civilizations to1500 A.D.) and History 102 (World Civilizations 1500-1815).
  • September 1992-December 1992. Adjunct instructor of History. Central Washington University. Courses included History 144 (U.S. since 1865) and History 444 (Sectionalism, the Civil War and Reconstruction).
  • September 1993-present. Adjunct instructor of History. Central Washington University. Courses included History 102 (World Civilizations 1500-1815), History 144(U.S. since 1865) and History 103 (World Civilizations since 1815.)
  • September 1994-present. Lecturer in Central Washington University Douglas Honors College.


  • Historical Records of Washington State: Records and Papers Held At Repositories, Lawrence R. Stark, editor; Kenneth Munsell and Kristin Ravetz, assistant editors. Published by the Washington State Historical Records Survey, 1981.
  • Design Resource book for Small Communities, Anne S. Denman, editor; Kenneth Munsell and Ikuno Masterson, project associates Published by the Small Towns Institute, Ellensburg Washington.
  • Historic Preservation Resource book for Small Communities, Kenneth Munsell, editor. Published by the Small Towns Institute, Ellensburg, Washington.
  • Small Town, editor April 1983 to present.
  • "Disaster Planning in Small Communities," editor, special issue of Small Town, January 1984.
  • "Promoting the Arts in Small Communities," editor, special issue of Small Town, December 1985.
  • "What Landscape Architects Must Do to Succeed in Small-Town Design," Landscape Architecture, February 1990.
  • "The World From Main Street: An Extended Family, A Softball Team and Community," The Five Stones, Fall 1990.
  • "Downtowns Become Special Service Districts, "Current Municipal Problems, 1992, Vol.19, No. 1.
  • "Coping with the Big Box: How to Deal with Wal-Mart and Similar Discount Stores," Planning and Zoning News, March 1996. Vol. 14, No. 5.

Recent Professional Activities:

  • Selected to participate in the 2007 NEH Summer Institue on The Ideal and the Real: Arcs of Change in Chinese Culture, to be held at the East-West Center in Honolulu, June 18 - July 20, 2007.
  • Subject of a program aired on the Public Broadcasting System's television series, "Today's Life Choices," The program, #707, was titled, "Rural America, Sundown in Small Towns and first aired December, 11, 1992. Produced by Golden Dome Productions, Notre Dame University, South Bend, Indiana.
  • Coordinated the effort of six Central Washington University History students to prepare and deliver professional papers at the Northwest Regional Phi Alpha Theta Conference held at the University of Montana, April 9-10, 1993.
  • Keynote Speech given at "In Partnership: A Northwest Forum on Rural Cultural Development," sponsored by the National Association of State and Local Arts Agencies held in Boise, Idaho, October 15-16, 1993. The speech was titled, "The Challenges of Community Preservation in the Face of Change."
  • Chaired a session entitled, "Thoughts on Small Town Life in Washington," and participated as a panelist in the concluding general session, entitled, Promotion, Exploitation or Preservation: Cultural Strategic Planning," at the Washington Heritage Conference, held in Tacoma, Washington, February 18-19, 1994.
  • Douglas Honors College, Central Washington University. Two lectures on Harriet Beecher Stowe and the United States leading up to the American Civil War. April 21 and April 28, 1994 as part of the 1993-1994 Douglas Honors College Junior Class Lecture Series. Gave lectures on the philosophy of John Locke in the 1994-1997 lecture series for 1994 through 1997. Gave lectures on Mahatma Gandhi and the Chinese Ming Dynasty novel, Journey to the West, in the 1996-97 lecture series.
  • Keynote speech given at the National Trust for Historic Preservation's Iowa Main Street Conference held June 13-16, 1994, in Des Moines, Iowa. The speech was titled, "What is the Future of Small Towns"?
  • Keynote speech at the Olympia (Washington) Economics Club September monthly meeting held September 7, 1995. Speech entitled, "Store Wars: Taming the Mega-Store Monster."
  • Keynote speech at the 5th Annual Community/School Rural Revitalization Conference at Chadron State College, Chadron, Nebraska. The speech was entitled, "Charting the Future for Nebraska's Small Communities."
  • Grant Reviewer for the Dunn Foundation of Warwick, Rhode Island, for its Summer,1997 community development grants program.


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