ProfessorPhone Number: 402.826.8219
Primary Campus: Crete
Credentials: BA, MA, PHD
Personal-- Dr. Orsag currently holds the title of Professor of European and Interdisciplinary History at Doane University. He grew up near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He and his wife Dr. Rebecca Word-Orsag, who works in the Omaha Public School system as a School Psychologist, reside in Gretna, Nebraska with their Welsh Terrier, Dylan. Mark is an avid technical rock climber (climbing outdoors mostly in South Dakota and Arkansas and participating in indoor competitions). He has also done numerous alpine/mountaineering ascents in Colorado and Wyoming.
Education, Teaching and Service-- Dr. Orsag received his BA from Carnegie-Mellon University, his MA from the Pennsylvania State University and his Ph.D. in European History from Michigan State University. In addition to the two Western Civilization survey courses, Dr. Orsag teaches or has taught upper-division courses on Asian, Roman, Russian, British, French, German, Indian, Interdisciplinary, World and Military history. He also has taught or teaches a variety of undergraduate and graduate courses online (through Doane's Open Learning Academy) and participates in Doane's Ed.D. program, both as a committee member and chair. Since coming to Doane University in 1998-1999, Dr. Orsag has been awarded the Doane University Student Congress Teaching Award three times (2002-2003, 2008-2009, and 2012-2013). His IDEA teacher/course evaluation scores are very consistently in the highest Excellent Teacher/Excellent Course range. He has served as Honors Program Director, History Department Chair, Social Science Division Chair and as the manager of four significant academic projects at Doane University between 2007 and 2023.
As a scholar, Dr. Orsag has around 50 academic publications/presentations. His latest research projects have involved interdisciplinary topics mixing history and the hard sciences. These efforts are the results of collaboration with former and current Doane University colleagues Dr. Amanda McKinney, MD and/or Dr. Andrea Holmes (Professor of Chemistry). Recent interdisciplinary research, involving Dr. McKinney and Professor of Biology Dr. DeeAnn M. Reeder of Bucknell University, focused on a 3rd Century Ancient Roman pandemic, the Plague of Cyprian. The resulting monograph Interdisciplinary Insights from the Plague of Cyprian: Pathology, Epidemiology, Ecology and History (also available here) was published by Palgrave-Macmillan in April 2023.
That work was presented at all the relevant top juried national conferences: the American Historical Association (2022) and the Association of Ancient Historians conferences held by the University of Illinois (2021) and the University of California-San Diego (2022). Working under the leadership of Andrea Holmes, Mark participated both as editor and a contributing author, in the publication of two textbooks Cannabis, a Comprehensive Overview (Volumes I and II). This textbook project involved, at various stages, a total of ten faculty from three different universities as well as scientific specialists from private industry.