Professor of English, Deborah Penner


  • Ph.D., English Literature and Literary Criticism, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Indiana, PA, 2002
  • MA, English Literature, Wichita State University, Wichita, KS, 1996
  • B.A., English, Tabor College, Hillsboro, KS, 1993

Professional Background

  • Professor of English and Writing Center Director, Tabor College, 1999 to the present
  • Humanities Division Chair, Tabor College, 2009 to the present
  • Language and Literature Dept. Chair, Tabor College, 1999-2013
  • Assistant Editor, Christian Leader magazine (US Conference of MB Churches), 1991-1994

Recognitions & Awards

  • Faculty Lecturer, Tabor College, 2000. Presentation “Finding Her Own Voice: Mary Sidney’s Psalm Translations.”

Courses Taught

  • British Literature 1 and 2
  • American Literature 1 and 2
  • Shakespeare
  • American Regional Literature
  • Writing Tutor Practicum
  • Advanced Business Writing
  • Advanced Expository Writing
  • Film Studies
  • Studies in Rhetoric
  • Literary Theory
  • Senior Capstone Course
  • Young Adult Literature
  • Composition and Literature


  • Penner, D. (2014) Essay “Mother as Maker/Artist,” in book to accompany Shin-hee Chin’s visual art exhibit “Mother Tongue and Motherhood,” Lawrence (KS) Art Center, Dec. 2013.
  • Penner, D., Editor (2009) A Tradition of Transformation: TC Centennial Devotional Book. Hillsboro, KS: Tabor College Press.
  • Penner, D. (2002) The Disruptive Female Voice in Renaissance Pastoral. (dissertation) Indiana, PA: IUPGraduate School.
  • Penner D. (2004) “Blending Voices from Past and Present: Ann Hostetler’s A Capella: Mennonite Voices in Poetry,” Mennonite Life magazine (Book Review in Summer issue online magazine).
  • Penner, D. (2005) The Voice of the Crone: The Disruptive Female Voice in Early Modern Pastoral, (unpublished manuscript).
  • Penner, D. (1996) Children of the Moon/Children of the Sun: Willa Cather’s “Lost Generation,” (master’s thesis) Wichita, KS: Wichita State Graduate School.


  • Penner, D. Presentation/Discussion Facilitator “Setting Realistic Goals for the Division/Department,” Council for Independent Colleges Division Chair Workshop, “The Chair as Leader and Faculty Peer,” Albuquerque, NM, June 4-6, 2013.
  • Penner, D., Hunt, K., Heyen, B., Faber, D, Johnson, F. Academic Affairs Council, “Tabor College Curriculum Revision” (AAC&U Academic Renewal Conference, New Orleans, LA) Feb. 2012.
  • Penner, D. Conference Paper “Wrapped in Safety and Power: Female Disguise in Early Modern Texts,” Group for Early Modern Cultural Studies, Annual Conference, San Antonio, TX, Dec. 1-4, 2005.
  • Penner, D. Conference Paper and Panel Chair, “Lady Mary Wroth’s Re-Vision of Virtue and Religion in The Countess of Montgomery’s Urania,” Panel Title: Appropriating Male Spaces/Creating Female Spaces of Their Own,” Group for Early Modern Cultural Studies, Annual Conference, Philadelphia, PA, Nov. 16, 2001.
  • Penner, D. Conference Paper, “Re-versing the Male Gaze: Mary Sidney’s Monument to Sir Philip (Psalm Translations),” College English Association, Annual Conference, Apr.3, 1999.


  • Chair, Faculty Search Committees (History, Instrumental Music, Vocal Music(twice), Graphic Design), Member, Faculty Search Committees (English (twice), Communications, Visual Art, Chemistry, Academic Dean).
  • Strategic Planning Committee (twice), Enrollment Management Committee, Faculty Lectureship Selection Committee, Faculty Nomination Committee, Teacher Education Committee (18 years), Faculty Representative to Administrative Committee, Tabor Life Committee, Tabor Women’s Fellowship Executive Committee.
  • Faculty Personnel Committee (2 terms, 3 years as Chair), Academic Policies Committee.
  • Charter Member, Publicity Chair, and Soprano Soloist for Hillsboro Cottonwood Chorale vocal ensemble.
  • Member, Hillsboro Mennonite Brethren Church, Building Committee, Sunday school teacher, VBS teacher and co-director, youth sponsor, choir member, deacon, and women’s and couple’s Bible study leader for 40 years.


  • Active in farming wheat, soybeans, corn and milo with husband Paul D. Penner. Active with husband in the Kansas Association of Wheat Growers and National Association of Wheat Growers (Paul was Kansas Association President from 2008-10; National Association President from 2014-15)
  • Three adult children and three grandchildren 
  • My most satisfactory achievement is that my children are all well-educated, productive and ethical citizens. They and their spouses all work for non-profit organizations in the health, education or church media areas.