Michael J. Halvorson
Benson Family Chair in Business and Economic History
Office Location: Xavier Hall - 116
Curriculum Vitae: View my CV
- Professor of History
- Innovation Studies Director
- Ph.D., History, University of Washington, 2001
- M.A., History, University of Washington, 1996
- B.A., Computer Science, Pacific Lutheran University, 1985
Areas of Emphasis or Expertise
- Business and Economic History
- Innovation / Public interest technology
- History of Computing (Personal Computers)
- Software Development / Windows Programming
- Early Modern Europe / Reformation Germany / Lutheranism
- Tudor England (study abroad)
- Abstractions and Embodiments: New Histories of Computing and Society, edited by Janet Abbate and Stephanie Dick. (Chapter 9- "The Help Desk: Changing Images of Product Support in Personal Computing, 1975–1990," Johns Hopkins, 2022) : View Book
- Code Nation: Personal Computing and the Learn to Program Movement in America (ACM Books 2020) : View Book
- The Renaissance: All That Matters (McGraw-Hill 2015) : View Book
- Microsoft Visual Basic 2013 Step by Step (Microsoft Press 2013) : View Book
- Heinrich Heshusius and Confessional Polemic in Early Lutheran Orthodoxy (Ashgate 2010) : View Book
- Microsoft Visual Basic 2010 Step by Step (Microsoft Press 2010) : View Book
- Defining Community in Early Modern Europe (Ashgate 2008) : View Book
- A Lutheran Vocation: Philip A. Nordquist and the Study of History at Pacific Lutheran University co-edited with Robert P. Ericksen (PLU Press 2005) : View Book
- Lo-ha-ra-no (The Water Spring): Missionary Tales from Madagascar edited by Michael James Halvorson (Warren & Howe Press 2003) : View Book
- Running Microsoft Office 2000 Professional, with Michael J. Young (Microsoft Press 2001) : View Book
Michael Halvorson teaches business and economic history courses in the Department of History at PLU, as well as classes on innovation and the history of technology. His most recent book is Code Nation: Personal Computing and the Learn to Program Movement in America (2020). The project investigates programming culture, computer literacy debates, and the technical history of recent software companies, including Apple, Borland, DEC, IBM, and Microsoft.
Prof. Halvorson is interested in oral history and its use in preserving the early history and contributions of technology companies and their workers. A recent example of this scholarship is the book chapter “The Help Desk: Changing Images of Product Support in Personal Computing, 1975-1990,” in Abstractions and Embodiments: New Histories of Computing and Society, edited by Janet Abbate and Stephanie Dick (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2022).
Halvorson’s newest research project is about the creative use of technology and innovation practices in social impact organizations. This Little World: Using Tech for Good to Create Positive Social Impact, is being co-authored by PLU alumna Shelly Cano Kurtz, ’98.
PLU’s Innovation Studies program was co-founded by Prof. Halvorson in 2017 to cultivate innovative thinking across campus and engage with community partners that use academic resources and innovative technology for the public good. Halvorson currently serves as director of the program.
Michael Halvorson’s research bibliography is available at: