Changing History – Dismantling divisions between academic and public history

Opportunities for team-based research, collaborative content development, and creating material that moves beyond classroom walls are relatively rare in humanities coursework.

One model from UM’s department of history, proposed and organized by Dr. Michelle McClellan in conjunction with Dr. Lexi Lord, did all of these while providing students with experience in communicating to a range of audiences, using materials to create an argument, and working in conjunction with a range of organizations to accomplish a goal. Such skills are useful to a wide range of humanities careers inside and outside the academy. The class successfully nominated Dr. Bob’s Home in Akron, OH to be a National Historic Landmark.

Though this piece from the Chronicle of Higher Education is from 2011, its rationale for thinking about graduate education and the boundaries between “academic” and “public” audiences remain salient.