"As one of the full-time historians in the Liberal Arts department, I've taught a wide range of history courses, including both Western and World Civilization. I also teach a course called Interpreting History, in which we study major historical events, movements, and people, from various perspectives. We look at how they were treated in the mass media, film, drama, and music, as well as in historical sources."
"It's interesting to see how students who did not experience events like Vietnam or even the first Gulf War compare their prior conceptions to the perspectives we look at. There is this wonderful 'aha moment,' when students see, for example, why certain aspects of the music of the 1960s were the way they were."
"In addition to wanting my students to consider things from more than one perspective, I'd like them to take away a real sense of how connected they are. They talk a lot about how hard that can be: how fast-paced things are and how even with technology you can stay connected but you're not in the same room. I think a lot of things they experience at Berklee do let them feel a sense of community—and not just the college community, but also Boston and the much larger global community they're interacting with on a regular basis."
"I also want my students to get used to the idea of oral history being a part of their learning. And I want them to become active historical thinkers, especially those interested in the history of the music they're playing. So I give students a project in which they have to pick a historical event, then go out, find somebody, and sit down with them and ask them about their experience with that event."
"We're teaching students who are not traditional liberal arts majors, but who nevertheless have a very keen interest in contemporary history. Students will sometimes ask you the questions that you're not going to ask yourself. And they often make you think about things from a very different angle than you would if you were talking to a contemporary in your own field. I think it makes you a better scholar and a better historian to keep that sort of freshness and challenge."
"Howard Zinn, who's always been a personal hero, maintained that kind of very active engagement in his own classes: I could quote him on how 'students should not become passive acceptors.' It's something I think is a real cornerstone of my teaching philosophy."
- B.A., Skidmore College
- M.A., Northeastern University
- Ph.D. (D.Phil), University College, University of Oxford