Professor of History, He/him/his
Presenting a paper on the history of chemistry at Harvard and publishing “The Constitutional Origins of the American Civil War with Cambridge University Press.” My specialties include the history of science and legal and constitutional history.
In which online degree program do you teach?
Links to share:
In what ways do you connect with online students?
I hold Zoom office hours. I check my email several times a day, every school day. I respond promptly (two school days or less) to emails and Canvass messages.
What do you want your students to take away from class?
Students will learn how to polish their writing through tricks of the trade (e.g., paragraph mapping, topic sentence audits, backwards proofreading, etc.) so they can be their own copyeditor. Students will also learn how to calibrate their writing for different professional tasks: a cover letter (aka job pitch), a curriculum vita (aka résumé), a proposal to get a paper accepted for presentation at a professional conference, and a proposal to get their work accepted for publication by a scholarly journal or an academic or commercial press. Finally, students will learn how to find and apply for jobs relevant to holders of advanced degrees in history.
What is the value of an advanced degree in today’s work environment?
An advanced degree in history will allow you to apply for history-related jobs in academia, museums, libraries, archives and historical sites. Few of these jobs are available to people with just a bachelor’s in history. Moreover, a master’s in history is an excellent credential for K-12 teachers with social studies endorsements, allowing a teacher to gain additional training in fundamental social science.
What advice would you give to your online students?
Don't forget to stop, catch your breath and follow some interesting tangents along the way. Learning is supposed to be fun as well as challenging. If you fall behind, contact your instructors immediately so you both can make plans for makeup work. Otherwise, the devil takes the hindmost.
Why did you start teaching?
Originally, I taught to support my research habit, but over time I began to enjoy teaching even more than contributing to the sum of human knowledge.
What is the one book you think everyone should read?
My book on the “Constitutional Origins of the American Civil War” because it makes a lovely holiday gift (just kidding). I think everyone should read Matthew Walker's “Why We Sleep,” which literally changed how I live my life. He is one of the world's foremost sleep experts and he explains the history of sleep science and gives helpful hints to improve your sleep. The one sentence summary is: sleep is incredibly important for your mental and physical health so you should make it a priority.
What do you do when you need a laugh?
I watch my two pandemic kittens, Ayo and Dee, roughhouse and slowly destroy my furniture.
Tell us something interesting about yourself that your students may not know.
I used to hold a USCF road racing license and I raced bicycles across the Midwest and parts of the Southwest for five years as a graduate student (I stopped racing so that I could finish my Ph.D. dissertation). Now, I’m a cycling enthusiast who sometimes commutes to work on a LeMond Victoire Titanium (with SRAM Red gruppo) when the weather is nice. Also, my sons, my kittens and I are all die-hard supporters of the Liverpool Football Club (You'll Never Walk Alone)!