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  • When the Phone Rings: Responding to the Media Added July 24, 2014

    In the November 2005 issue of Perspectives Jamil Zainaldin offered a fine introduction to ways of working with the media. And there were very good reasons for writing and printing such an article. In recent years, partly due to the explosion of new local media outlets from Fox Television to 24-hour local cable news services run by Time Warner, more and more historians are receiving calls from the media. This phenomenon has developed because there is also a growing realization among local me...

  • History Learning and Teaching in the Graduate Curriculum Added July 24, 2014

    For history graduate students facing the classroom for the first time as instructors, the challenges of teaching may seem unfamiliar and isolating. Many get frustrated when students do not understand what history is or what they are trying to teach. But teaching challenges, like the research challenges elsewhere in the graduate curriculum, can be eased by evidence-based inquiry and shared, scholarly conversations. Early career instructors-whether they are planning a discussion section or trying...

  • Using Skype in the Classroom to Connect Students with Authors Added July 24, 2014

    Increasingly, new forms of media and media devices have been finding their way into the classroom. The World Wide Web, document cameras, computers, DVD players, and the clicker now supplement, if not replace, the boom boxes, overhead projectors, hanging wall maps, cassette players, and slide projectors that instructors have relied on for years. In addition, many classrooms are now Wi-Fi hotspots, thus enabling students to introduce their own technology into the classroom. While more instructo...

  • AAUP to Be Restructured Added July 24, 2014

    In an effort to strengthen and expand its activities, the American Association of University Professors has announced plans for restructuring itself into three interlocked entities—a professional organization, a labor organization, and a charitable organization—that will operate under the umbrella of the AAUP. The reorganization currently in progress is the result of the recommendations of a task force that the AAUP set up in 2004. Three constitutions are being developed for ratif...

  • Writing Letters of Recommendation Revisited: The Undergraduate Case Added July 24, 2014

    The October 2007 issue of Perspectives featured a forum on a subject that takes an enormous amount of faculty members' time, yet is rarely discussed in scholarly venues— how to write effective letters of recommendation . The three distinguished scholars who contributed to the forum focused their attention on letters that could help shape the careers of graduate students and recent PhDs, especially those who are seeking positions in academia. But they left out discussion of an equally ...

  • The Particular and the Universal Added July 24, 2014

    I've been consistently pleased to see historians embrace the teaching of American/US history in a global context. (See the fine article by Annette C. Palmer and Lawrence A. Peskin, "What in the World Is 'America and the World'?"Perspectives, November 2011.) Above: Touro Synagogue, designed by Peter Harrison and dedicated in 1763, exemplifies Jewish social inclusion in British colonial seaports. A visit to Touro in Newport, Rhode Island, was the inspiration for George W...

  • Undergraduates at the AHA Annual Meeting Added July 24, 2014

    For the last four years, I have taken from 8 to 12 undergraduate members of the Humboldt State University History Club to the annual AHA meeting. It began with the meeting in San Diego. I suggested going because Humboldt State University (HSU) is relatively isolated and the history department is small. A trip to the AHA meeting, I reasoned, would give students exposure to areas we did not cover in the department and to new approaches in various fields. Students financed the trip themselves&mdas...

  • No Man or Woman Is an Island Added July 24, 2014

    By the time you read this letter, Barbara Weinstein, AHA president for 2007, and I will have presented key speeches on current challenges to academic freedom at the annual meeting of the Modern Language Association (held December 27–30, 2007, in Chicago). I invited Barbara to join me at this session because I realize historians are very much aware that cultural values are subject to change, that every generation must be educated anew about the issues that matter to us. That awareness is p...

  • Tuning and Recharging Added July 24, 2014

    Editor's Note: The six articles that follow report on the AHA's Tuning project, a three-year, multi-stage exploration of the history major. James Grossman introduces this forum . Walk into a meeting of your average college or university history department and utter the simple word "assessment." The reactions will probably range from eye-rolling to resigned sighs to blank stares. Some might even run screaming from the room. Okay, so I'm exaggerating a bit. But many in higher education ha...

  • Tuning Teaching and Taking Care of Students Added July 24, 2014

    Five years ago, when I was on the academic job market, an interviewer responded to one of my questions in a way that still gives me goose bumps. The atmosphere in the AHA Job Center was particularly tense that year, with dozens of empty tables representing cancelled searches in the wake of the 2008 market collapse. Such an environment is no place for improvisation. Thankfully, I had prepared a list of softball questions for those last five minutes of every interview when they are invited. "Wh...