Associate Professor Department of History College of Liberal Arts & Sciences
Course(s) Targeted by this Innovation
HIST 110: History of the Western World I
Purpose and Impact
I plan to develop a new course design and syllabus for HIST 110 Western Civilization. This is a gateway course, part of general education, and a required course for History majors and minors. The class enrolls ca. 55 students each semester and has a higher DFUW rate than upper level courses. The new course design intends to spark creativity, ingenuity, and imagination by engaging students in novel ways. It will integrate arts into the teaching of history as an alternative way to approach thinking and learning. The main goal is to increase equity in this class by teaching in a culturally responsive way, and embracing the idea that there are multiple ways of learning about history. Students will be able to activate prior knowledge and strengthen their sense of identity by connecting historical developments to their own lives in creative ways. I plan to offer multiple hands-on activities to engage with history through creative writing, painting, sculpture, geography, poetry, and music, among other things. I would also like to find ways to integrate community-based activities and projects. Overall, I want to offer a teaching method that encourages critical thinking through creativity, innovation, and beauty. I believe that these are equally important skills for the future as competency in STEM fields.
Description of Innovation
Besides being an historian, I always had a strong interest in the arts, and have engaged in many projects with textiles, fibers, paper, printing, painting, music, and creative writing in the past thirty years. My goal is to develop a new Western Civilization syllabus that actively engages students to learn about history through creative projects.
Instead of using the traditional teaching tools of lectures, textbook, quizzes, and essay writing assignments, I would like to invite students to reflect on ancient and medieval history through creating different works of art. This could be creative writing prompts, storyboards, poetry slams, painting, composing songs, printing, collage, photography, embroidery, building objects, digital projects, working on a newspaper, to name a few possibilities. My goal is to enable students to learn by connecting history to their own experience, to include individual culture and identity, and see that ideas can be discussed, challenged, and explored from multiple perspectives.