Howard L. Sacks began teaching at Kenyon in 1975 and was selected as Kenyon's first recipient of the National Endowment for the Humanities Distinguished Teaching Professorship in 1994. His courses included social psychology, contemporary social theory, community and field research. He has particular interest in traditional art and culture and in the past offered additional courses in folklore, ethnomusicology and cultural politics. As director of Kenyon's Rural Life Center, Sacks oversaw a wide range of public projects with students and faculty on local rural life. He also served as Senior Advisor to the President (2004-2008) and Provost (2008-2009).

His publications have appeared in American Quarterly, American Music, Theatre Survey, the Journal of American Folklore, Contemporary Sociology, Social Forces, Symbolic Interaction, the John Edwards Memorial Foundation Quarterly, as well as numerous magazines and newspapers. His book, "Way Up North in Dixie: A Black Family's Claim to the Confederate Anthem" (Smithsonian Institution Press, 2003 [1993]), was hailed in the Nation as "the fullest, most finely detailed account of the musical life of a nineteenth-century African American family anywhere in the United States," and received a 1994 Ohioana Book Award.  Professor Sacks was twice awarded an NEH Fellowship for College Teachers for his scholarly research.

Sacks has served on panels of the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities, as well as on the board of directors of the National Council for the Traditional Arts; and he consults regularly with organizations and communities on arts and cultural activities. Most recently, he worked in China on efforts to preserve intangible cultural heritage.

As director of Kenyon's Rural Life Center, Professor Sacks regularly guideds projects involving the local community. He has received over thirty grants for scholarly research and public programs, including six award-winning projects on regional life: "Seems Like Romance to Me: Traditional Fiddle Tunes from Ohio;" "The Community Within: Black Experience in Knox County, Ohio"; "Rural Delivery: Family Farming in Knox County, Ohio"; "Life along the Kokosing"; and, "Where Does Our Food Come From?"; and "The Place to Be: Public Life in Knox County, Ohio". 

Howard Sacks is also well known in the area as a guitarist and singer whose repertoire includes blues, country, and rockabilly.  In 2014 he participated in a musical tour across China funded by the U.S. State Department. Sacks has appeared on three recordings.


1975 — Doctor of Philosophy from UNC Chapel Hill

1973 — Master of Arts from UNC Chapel Hill

1971 — Bachelor of Arts from Case Western Reserve Univ, Phi Beta Kappa