Department of History
Jane Wickersham

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Jane Wickersham
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Teaching College History

(Formerly Preparing Future Faculty)

The History Department prepares students for employment as professional historians. Training students for careers in teaching is an important focus of the graduate program in history. The majority of our students plan to teach at a university or liberal arts college. We offer support in the form of pedagogy courses as well as workshops designed to assist students in preparation to teach. For more than two decades the Indiana University History Department has been at the forefront of the movement to prepare graduate students to become college teachers. Graduate students in our program have the opportunity to explore the rapidly expanding scholarship on teaching and learning history through three graduate courses: Teaching College History, Teaching World History and Teaching U.S. History. These courses expose students to pedagogical theories and issues in the field. Students are given assistance with course preparation, lecturing, and exam creation. Each student will prepare a syllabus, exams, and other course materials for a course in his or her field. Graduate students may also choose to pursue a minor in Historical Teaching and Practice.

Faculty from our department are making important contributions to the development of this field. They have delivered papers on learning history at national and international conferences, have contributed articles to this growing literature and are participating in the creation of an international society for the teaching and learning of history. The department has received a large grant in a competition sponsored by the I.U. Dean of Faculties Office that will allow it to undertake two projects: a web site that will coordinate the efforts of historians throughout the world to develop a more systematic understanding of how learning can be increased in college classrooms and an inventory of the kind of skills required of the undergraduates in our upper-level courses that will serve as the basis for new attempts to model these skills more effectively in our lower level classes.

Graduate students in our department have access to what may be the most systematic program for exploring the scholarship of teaching and learning history in the nation. Former students report that what they have learned in these classes has been a key element in their successful job searches and that they have begun their careers as college teachers with a solid foundation of knowledge about what works in the history classroom.

Graduate students in history at Indiana University have a variety of other opportunities for more practical experience and instruction in college teaching. Graduate students in our department receive practical training in teaching through their close work with faculty as Associate Instructors and Course Assistants. Associate Instructors lead discussion sections attached to large undergraduate courses and grade student work. Course Assistants grade student work in large undergraduate courses. The department also hires students to develop and teach summer courses for undergraduates, and sometimes students have the opportunity to teach their own courses during the regular academic year. Indiana University's Future Faculty Teaching Fellowships provide students with the chance to teach at other IU campuses and receive mentoring from the full-time faculty at these campuses. The Department also regularly helps students find part-time teaching experiences at other nearby institutions. Indiana University's Campus Instructional Consulting office offers a busy schedule of workshops on teaching discussion sections and lecture classes, grading, etc.

Faculty in Teaching College History Program: