Backer is a renowned scholar of international corporate governance, and was named chair of the Faculty Senate in 2011. He is the W. Richard and Mary Eshelman Faculty Scholar and Professor of Law and International Affairs. His most recent work touches on the regulation of multinational corporations, sovereign wealth funds, transnational and theocratic constitutionalism, the free movement of capital within European Union law, and the convergence of public and private law.
Backer splits his teaching between Penn State Law and the School of International Affairs, teaching classes in constitutional, corporate, and transnational law and policy. He has offered a variety of courses in those fields, including constitutional law, corporate law, European Union law, comparative corporate and constitutional law, and international business transactions. He is a member of the American Law Institute and the European Corporate Governance Institute and also shares his thoughts on a blog titled Law at the End of the Day.