Event Type

AHA Regional Conference, Conference

AHA Topics

Academic Departmental Affairs, K–12 Education, Teaching & Learning, Undergraduate Education


  • Waco, TX

Event Description

The 2023 Texas Conference on Introductory History Courses took place Friday, October 13 and Saturday, October 14 at Baylor University in Waco, TX.

Sessions included:

  • A discussion with Ms. Elizabeth Mayer, Assistant Commissioner for Academic and Health Affairs for the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board about recent developments in state policy
  • A roundtable discussion about incorporating gender and sexuality in introductory courses, as well as a breakout discussion on LGBTQ+ issues related to history teaching
  • A plenary address from Lendol Calder, Professor of History, Augustana College
  • A session with Stephen Sloan, Executive Director, Oral History Association
  • The opportunity to interact with historians and build a network of fellow history teachers

We hosted an assignment workshop on Saturday morning that allowed participants to submit assignments to a group and receive feedback from their peers.


Featured Speakers

Lendol Calder, Professor of American History at Augustana College, IL, has been inspiring students in introductory US History courses since his graduate student days at the University of Chicago. Honored as the 2010 Illinois Professor of the Year, the citation praised him for epitomizing advice given by Ralph Waldo Emerson: “Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” Calder’s 1999 book Financing the American Dream: A Cultural History of Consumer Credit was described by The New York Times as “immensely influential,” sparking renewed interest among historians in the history of capitalism. But his research trajectory shifted when a chance remark from the late Roland Marchand—”Why are historians so uncurious about teaching?”—encouraged Calder to join the newly formed Carnegie Academy for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (CASTL), a study center dedicated to improving college teaching on the basis of evidence-based, intellectual work. As a CASTL Fellow, Calder delved into the introductory history course, resulting in his groundbreaking 2006 article in the Journal of American History, “Uncoverage: Toward a Signature Pedagogy for the History Survey,” which a President of the International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning has called “the gateway drug” for history SoTL. A subsequent essay, “The Stories We Tell,” won the American Historical Association’s Gilbert Prize in 2014. In his most recent publication, “Must History Students Write History Essays?” (March 2019, Journal of American History), Calder offers essential insights for teachers navigating the challenges posed by AI technology and teaching history to diverse students.

Elizabeth Mayer joined the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board in May 2020 as its Director of Policy and in February 2022, became its Assistant Commissioner for Academic and Health Affairs. Ms. Mayer leads the Academic Health Affairs (AHA) Division, which provides leadership, guidance, expertise, and resources to improve the efficiency and quality of higher education in Texas. The AHA Division promotes the goals of the agency’s refreshed strategic plan, Building a Talent Strong Texas, and facilitates collaborative solutions with Texas higher education institutions. Under her leadership, the division develops new degree and certificate programs that are responsive to workforce needs, encourages quality and equity across the higher education landscape, and drives student completion. AHA is also responsible for the administration and management of more than $200 million in grant funding to support Texas public higher education. Ms. Mayer began her career in higher education at the Coordinating Board in 2008 as a Program Director. In 2013, she joined the staff at UT System where she served as a Senior Research and Policy Analyst focusing on issues of affordability, dual credit, transfer, and educator preparation. Ms. Mayer has a Master’s in Public Affairs from the LBJ School of Public Affairs at The University of Texas at Austin and a bachelor’s degree in International Relations and Diplomacy from Seton Hall University.