Teaching Division 2004

By Patrick Manning

The meaning of “teaching” has been broadening steadily among historians, and the work of the AHA’s Teaching Division has been broadening accordingly. The trick will be to address teaching concerns at graduate and undergraduate levels and in the practice of public history, and do so without reducing the division’s historic emphasis on teaching at K–12 levels.

In its most immediate task, the division took significant responsibility for implementation of the report on graduate education. This involved working with AHA staff in the creation of the web site on History Doctoral Programs. Preparation for the web site included participation by myself and Arnita Jones in the convening of the 10 history programs participating in the Carnegie Initiative on the Doctorate, in an August meeting in Stanford. The web site went online in October 2004 and has met with a positive reception. Work is going on now for redesigning and updating the site based on the experience of 2004. The detail and comparisons of doctoral programs on this site are of particular interest for applicants to PhD programs and to the mentors of undergraduate and MA students.

Further, the division sponsored a workshop for directors of graduate study and department chairs at the Seattle annual meeting, and is working with AHA staff to develop further such meetings. Directors of graduate study may expect to find AHA workshops offered each year, providing discussion and recommendations on this important departmental task: a workshop session at the annual meeting and a two-day workshop in the summer.

The report of the Committee on the Master’s Degree, drafted by Phil Katz, was the subject of vigorous discussion within the teaching division, especially on the relations between history departments and education schools in preparing teachers and the balance of community college teachers with MA and PhD degrees. The CMD report has done an excellent job of sharpening these and other issues in master’s programs, and demonstrates the need for further analysis of this large proportion of graduate study. The Teaching Division regrets that no funding agency has yet been willing to support further study of the history master’s degree, and reaffirms its interest in finding a way to continue this work.

The Teaching Division sessions at the 2006 annual meeting in Philadelphia will include a review of the Teaching American History grant program, public history resources for K–12 teachers, a session on assessment of learning at secondary and postsecondary levels, reports from the NEH summer institute on “Rethinking America in Global Perspective,” and experiences in implementing the AHA report on the doctorate.

The division has begun other work that may lead to specific actions in the future. The topics of these efforts include the introductory college course, the Teaching American History program, position papers to circulate to congressional staffers, and links of teaching and public history. Thanks to Michael Galgano of James Madison University, the long-standing AHA statement on liberal learning will soon be updated to apply more clearly to undergraduates at all institutions.

I want to express thanks to members of division for their activity during the past year, and particularly to Keith Barton of the College of Education at the University of Cincinnati, whose term ended at the end of the year. Joan Arno, Emily Tai, Kevin Reilly, and I continue for the year 2005. The division is fortunate to have the energetic and insightful staff support of Noralee Frankel and Cliff Jacobs, and the generous input of Arnita Jones.

Patrick Manning (Northeastern University) is vice president of the Teaching Division.