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General Education Featured Faculty

Dr. Dupont

Dr. Carolyn Dupont
Professor, Department of History, Philosophy, and Religious Studies

●  What General Education course(s) are you teaching? In what Element?

HIS 102 (3 sections) American Civilizations to 1877, in Element V.

●  Why do you enjoy teaching in our General Education program?

I love teaching an introductory-level history class, in part because I know it may be the last history course and/or last time they really think much about history.  Many students come into the class not liking history.  I want to change their attitudes.

History is currently extremely politicized in our cultural landscape, in part because many people have little understanding of what the discipline is and what its methods are.  They think history education is “knowing what happened.”  We historians probably have fed into this misperception by presenting the past as a set of facts to be grasped and memorized. I try, instead, to foreground issues of how historians know what we know, and how we interpret and draw meaning from sources. I bring students into those conversations. I do my best to make them work with sources and continually rely on sources to talk about what they know and think they know.

●  As a faculty member, what is your role in teaching students in General Education courses?

My role is to make each class session an opportunity for students to look at evidence from the past, to ask questions of it, to draw conclusions, and to make arguments;  in other words, to be apprentice historians.  We engage in activities that force them to do these things in some fashion. 

●  How do you facilitate connections with students in your General Education courses?

I try to have as little classroom time where I am “presenting information” as possible.  As much as possible, I plan class sessions so that the students are doing activities whereby they can make discoveries, rather than my presenting the material to them.  The activities are carefully designed around specific pedagogical goals.

The class is very informal.  The students work in small groups (3-4 students) with documents that I guide them through with a specific series of questions.  In their groups, each student has an assigned role, so that the burden is evenly carried by the group. 

In general, I also find that the small groups help the students to make connections with one another, and it seems really valuable for them to feel that they know and interact with other students.  Occasionally, a group will not work well, and in these cases, I rearrange the group or make other adjustments.

Published on September 09, 2022

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