From the desk of Dr. Debra Reid:
I had the pleasure of participating on a panel on designing general education courses at the Organization of American Historians conference in St. Louis, Missouri, April 17. The session brought together veterans who shared their perspectives on a process that people seem to love to hate – general education. I talked about the philosophy of general education, about differences between top-down and department-driven curriculum reform, and about methods that can engage students in the U.S. History survey since 1876. Other panelists talked about incorporating ethical conundrums (Robert Sampson, Millikin University) and about maintaining high standards (Maureen Nutting, North Seattle Community College).
Between sessions I met Lea VanderVelde (University of Iowa), author of Mrs. Dred Scott: A Life on Slavery’s Frontier (Oxford, 2010). I wish she could have met Bonnie Laughlin-Schultz who was at the conference but not in the room at the time. I am sure that the women of John Brown’s family, the subject of Laughlin-Schultz’ award-winning, The Ties that Bound Us: The Women of John Brown’s Family and the Legacy of Radical Feminism (Cornell, 2014) would have plenty of things to talk about with Mrs. Dred Scott. It sounds like an interesting possibility in light of the upcoming 150th anniversary of Reconstruction. Malgorzata Rymsza-Pawlowska presented at the OAH as well, in a session entitled “Working across Spaces of History Pedagogy: Classroom, Exhibit, Community.” She met David Thelen at her session. He co-wrote The Presence of the Past: Popular Uses of History in American Life (Columbia, 1998), a book that the Historical Administration graduate students were assigned as summer reading last year.
In between all this stimulation, I took a break and went to the ball game. The St. Louis Cardinals beat the Cincinnati Reds on runs batted in by Yadier Molina. How sweet it is!