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  • The AHA-Mellon Career Diversity Project: Recent Accomplishments and Next Steps Added July 24, 2014

    The AHA's Mellon Foundation ­funded project to broaden the career horizons of history PhDs was active on several fronts this spring and summer. Project personnel completed a major quantitative research study on post­doctoral careers and facilitated meetings and discussions with employers and history PhDs in a range of occupations. AHA staff has begun to incorporate the preliminary findings into plans for AHA member activities, online resources, annual meeting programming, and department...

  • Letters to the Editor: On "History for Non-majors" Added July 24, 2014

    Perspectives on History welcomes  letters to the editor  on issues discussed in its pages or which are relevant to the profession.  Letters should follow our guidelines . Letters selected for publication may be edited for style, length, and content. Publication of letters does not signify endorsement by the AHA of the views expressed by the authors, who alone are responsible for ensuring accuracy of the letters' contents. Institutional affiliations are provided only for ide...

  • Teaching the Survey Course in Present-Centered Area Studies Curricula Added July 24, 2014

    In an area studies curriculum focusing on contemporary society and politics, the history survey course's function is usually to supply first year students with a basic set of historical facts essential for understanding present issues. This is undoubtedly a crucial goal of any history course. Leaving it at that, however, misses a vital and in many cases the only opportunity to nourish students' interest in and understanding of a country's or region's history for its own sake. Drawing on my expe...

  • Engineering History Added July 24, 2014

    Among the courses that I teach at the Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE)—where I am an assistant professor in the General Studies department—a favorite of mine is a class called "Public Policy in Urban America." The class is taken primarily by architectural engineering students, young people who will soon directly engage with the built environment in cities and towns across the country. As an urban historian, I start the course by taking them back to the optimistic days of post-...

  • An Assignment from Our Students: An Undergraduate View of the Historical Profession Added July 24, 2014

    What do 18-year-olds think of historians and our work? I should have known that was a dangerous question to ask and yet, too late to stop after the books had been ordered, the syllabus distributed, and the add/drop sessions complete, 16 first-year students and I plunged into exploring the many ways that American history lives in American society. The students, enrolled in a first-year seminar at the University of Richmond, came connected to an array of places in the nation and the world, from ...

  • Teaching Middle Eastern History in North America: Challenges and Prospects Added July 24, 2014

    Student interest in the Middle East and its history in North American universities has proliferated notably in response to the recent global-scale conflicts directly or indirectly related to the region and the Muslim world. The single most important turning point was of course the September 11 attacks. However, more recently, the popular surge for democracy in the Middle East, i.e. the Arab Spring, has further propelled student interest. While this soaring interest provides teachers of Middle E...

  • Letter to an Angry Parent Added July 24, 2014

    Dear Mr. Smith, Thank you for your recent e-mail about your son's experience in my world history course at Stevenson University. I understand your concern and anger about my injecting my liberal political bias in class discussions. I can assure you that your concerns are being taken seriously. I have spoken with the chair of my department, the dean of the school, and the vice president of academic affairs about your comments. I know that we will continue to think about and to discuss the iss...

  • Teaching Twitter: The History of the Present Added July 24, 2014

    "140 characters is a novel when you’re being shot at." —Anonymous tweet during the Iranian Green Revolution One of the chief historical skills taught in all classrooms is source analysis. We labor over this with students, impressing on them to take no commentator—whether that person is Abraham Lincoln or Mother Teresa—at face value. Along the way, we hope to promote that spin-off of a questioning mind, a lively curiosity. This mindset, and this skill, is vital in t...

  • Forum on Capstone Courses: The History Capstone Course at Saint Peter's College, Jersey City Added July 24, 2014

    Editor’s Note: In this second part of the forum on capstone courses (the first part of which appeared in April 2009), the three essays discuss capstone courses in terms of the authors’ varied personal experiences in the classroom as well in terms of the institutional contexts. The capstone course in the history department of Saint Peter’s College was launched in academic year 1989 as a result of a two-year self-study. Members of the department as well as an outside evaluat...

  • Forum on Capstone Courses: My First Capstone Course Added July 24, 2014

    I was both excited and apprehensive when, as a new faculty member in my first full year as a tenure-track assistant professor at the University of Idaho, I received an e-mail from the department chair asking if I would teach the department’s Senior Seminar (as the capstone course in the history department is known). Numerous questions flew through my mind: How would I choose a suitable topic? How would I structure the course and engage the students? How would seasoned and possibly cynical...