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William (Buzz) Alexander

Professor, School of Art & Design

Arthur F. Thurnau Professor and Professor of English Language and Literature, College of Literature, Science & Arts
Founder and Member, Prison Creative Arts Project


Email: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Office: 3187 Angell Hall

Curriculum Vitae

Ph.D., Harvard University, 1967 B.A., Cambridge University, 1962 A.B., Harvard University, 1960


Buzz Alexander is an award-winning educator and author and Founder and member of the Prison Creative Arts Project (PCAP), which fosters the creation of original work in the arts in Michigan correctional facilities, juvenile facilities, urban high schools, and communities across the state.

Since 1990, Alexander has been a member of the Sisters Within Theater Troupe at the Florence Crane, Western Wayne, and Huron Valley Correctional Facilities, which recently completed its 24th play, was a member of the Western Wayne Players at the Western Wayne Correctional Facility from 1994-2000, and was a member of the Poet’s Corner at the Southern Michigan Correctional Facility from 2001-2007.  Since 1996 he has co-curated twelve Annual Exhibitions of Art by Michigan Prisoners.  Two of his courses teach students how to facilitate workshops in the arts in urban high schools and Michigan juvenile facilities and prisons.  

Alexander is the recipient of numerous awards and grants for excellence in teaching and scholarship, including the Amoco Good Teaching Award, the University of Michigan Regents’ Award for Distinguished Public Service, the DTE Community Luminary Award, the Harold R. Johnson Diversity Service Award, and the 2005 Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and Council for the Advancement and Support of Education Professor of the Year Award.  He has held a Younger Humanist Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities, a Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship, and a Bridge Residency at the Headlands Center for the Arts.  He has authored or co-authored successful grant proposals for PCAP, including a National Endowment for the Arts Access Grant, a Rockefeller PACT Grant, and a Ruth Mott Foundation Grant.  

Alexander is the author of William Dean Howells; The Realist as Humanist (New York: Burt Franklin, 1981) and Film on the Left; American Documentary Film from 1931-1942 (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1981 – nominated for a Pulitzer Prize in History and winner of the Theatre Library Association Award for best film book of 1981), as well as numerous articles (including many recently on prison arts) and a few poems.  His b will be published by the University of Michigan Press in 2010.   

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