Dr. Mark Gudgel is a Nebraska native, born in the northern part of the state in the rolling Sandhills of Cherry County. Gudgel’s parents owned the bookstore on Valentine’s Main Street, and most of his exposure to religion at an early age came from his grandmother taking him to the Presbyterian church, and from the would-be parishioners who would occasionally stroll into their living room on Sunday morning while Mark was watching cartoons in front of the sofa, not realizing that what was once a Lutheran church was now the Gudgel residence.
Gudgels’ teachers had a profound influence on him, and many of his great loves to this day—running, Shakespeare, writing poetry, social justice, sarcasm, and more—can be traced back to these early influences. After high school, Gudgel attended the University of Nebraska in Lincoln, majoring in English Education. He would spend the eighteen years that followed as a high school English, Humanities, and World Religions teacher, first at Lincoln Southwest High School, and later at Omaha North.
While teaching in the high school, Gudgel earned his Master’s degree in Theology at Grace University, followed by a Master’s Module in Holocaust Education at the University of London. During this time, he held fellowships with the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum where he would later work for six years as a member of the Regional Education Corps, and the Imperial War Museum in London. Gudgel also co-founded the Educators’ Institute for Human Rights with his friend and colleague at the USHMM, Drew Beiter, and spent six years as the non-profit’s executive director. After completing his work at the University of London, Gudgel began his Ed.D. in Character Education at Regent University, eventually writing his dissertation on how American secondary teachers use film to teach about the Holocaust. Gudgel gave his TEDx talk, “Empowering Young People to Repair the World,” in the fall of 2012, and was married to Sonja in February of 2013. The following month, he departed again for London, spending three months at the University of London as a Fulbright Scholar. Upon his return, Gudgel defended his dissertation in August of 2015, and his first child, a son named Titus, was born one month later. Less than two years later, his second, a daughter named Zooey, was born.
Gudgel is the author of numerous books and articles, and is a regular contributor to several periodicals. His most recent book, Think Higher Feel Deeper: Holocaust Education in the Secondary Classroom, was released from Teachers College Press in the fall of 2021. He is presently working on a book about the Judgement of Paris, a blind wine tasting in 1976 that forever changed the world, due out from The History Press in May of 2023. Presently, Gudgel’s research interests range from the Napa Valley to Sarajevo, where he recently spent three weeks on a Fund For Teachers fellowship, researching the Siege of Sarajevo and the Sarajevo Roses—sites of massacres from during the siege—laying the groundwork for future scholarship and publication.
After nine years as an adjunct instructor at Southeast Community College and five more in the graduate program at Nebraska Wesleyan University, Gudgel joined the faculty at the College of Saint Mary in the fall of 2022, serving as an assistant professor working with students in the Ed.D. program. In addition to teaching many classes, Gudgel will serve as an advisor to the five-year track, sit on dissertation committees, and seek to support the mission of CSM in scholarship and in his daily work with fellow faculty, staff, and students on campus and online.
Deeply involved in the Omaha community, Gudgel remains a passionate advocate for teachers, and sits on the board of many local non-profit organizations, serving Omaha Performing Arts, Completely Kids, and numerous other organizations. When not teaching or writing, Gudgel enjoys running half and full marathons, catching fish, traveling the world, wine tasting, cooking, and spending time with his family in their home in Omaha.
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Upcoming Speaking Engagements
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“During the Siege of Sarajevo: The longest siege and what we can learn in the aftermath,” Presented at the Association for Holocaust Organizations annual meeting, Miami, Florida, January 8, 2023.
“After the Siege: The Sarajevo Roses and the race against time,” presented at the College of Saint Mary, Omaha, Nebraska, January 18, 2023.
“After the Siege: The Sarajevo Roses and the race against time,” presented at the College of Saint Mary, Omaha, Nebraska, January 19, 2023.
“The State of Holocaust Education in America Today,” presented at the College of Saint Mary, Omaha, Nebraska, April 11, 2023.
Panel Chair: “The Future of Regenerative Viticulture.” Napa RISE Conference. St. Helena, California, April 13, 2023.
“The Elephant in the Classroom.” Keynote address at the National Honor Society induction ceremony. Omaha North High Magnet School, Omaha, Nebraska, May 3, 2023.
“Greater Efficacy, Holocaust Pedagogy, and Practical Advice.” The 35th Annual Teen Symposium on the Holocaust. Scranton, Pennsylvania, May 9, 2023.
“Greater Efficacy, Holocaust Pedagogy, and Practical Advice.” The 35th Annual Teen Symposium on the Holocaust. Scranton, Pennsylvania, May 10, 2023.
“The Judgement of Paris: How a Wine Tasting Changed the World.” Public talk and book signing at the Saint Helena Historical Society. St. Helena, California, May 17, 2023.
“The Judgement of Paris: How a Wine Tasting Changed the World.” Public talk and book signing at the Napa Valley Library. Napa, California, May 18, 2023.
“The Judgement of Paris: How a Wine Tasting Changed the World.” Public talk and book signing at the Sharpsteen Museum. Calistoga, California, May 20, 2023.
“The Judgement of Paris: How a Wine Tasting Changed the World.” Public talk and book signing at V. Mertz Restaurant. Omaha, Nebraska, May 24, 2023.
“The Judgement of Paris: How a Wine Tasting Changed the World.” Public talk and book signing at The Bookworm. Omaha, Nebraska, May 26, 2023.
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“A Race Against Time: Preserving the Sarajevo Roses for Future Scholars and Generations.” The Why Remember? Conference, Sarajevo, Bosnia, July 7, 2023.
“Pedagogy versus Pragmatism: Film, Best Practice, and the Shoah in the Classroom.” Conference at Yad Vashem. Jerusalem, Israel, July 10, 2023.
“Holocaust Education in America Today.” Nathan and Esther Pelz Annual Conference for Educators. Milwaukee, Wisconsin, July 18, 2023.
“Shades of Gray: Genocide, Heroism, and the Complications of Perspective.” Nathan and Esther Pelz Annual Conference for Educators. Milwaukee, Wisconsin, July 19, 2023.
“The Judgement of Paris: How a Wine Tasting Changed the World.” Public talk and book signing at Plains Trading Company Booksellers. Valentine, Nebraska, July 29, 2023.
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“Holocaust Education in America Today.” The Anne Frank Center. Charlotte, South Carolina, September 21, 2023.
“The Next Pioneers: Leaders in the Fight Against Global Climate Change in Napa Valley.” The Fourth World Heroism Science Conference. Tauranga Moana, New Zealand, October 5, 2023.
“Shades of Gray: Genocide, Heroism, and the Complications of Perspective.” The Fourth World Heroism Science Conference. Tauranga Moana, New Zealand, October 6, 2023.
“Conscientious Consumption: What Wine We Want to Drink and Why.” Sustainability Awareness Month lecture at the College of Saint Mary, Omaha, Nebraska, October 24, 2023.
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