Publication Date

November 1, 1995

UND Teaches College Teaching

To the Editor:

Donald Fixico, in his Teaching Innovations article in September's Perspectives (p. 5), stated that the course he and his colleagues at Western Michigan developed “is like no other.” Well, it very much is like a seminar in the teaching of college history required of all history doctoral students at the University of North Dakota. UND offers a Doctor of Arts degree designed to prepare one to teach in environments where teaching is valued above research, and the program requires that one teach first-year surveys of Western civilizations and U.S. history, as well as an upper-level undergraduate course. In addition to the above-mentioned seminar—which includes syllabus preparation, textbook selection, videotaping and critiquing of lectures, and coping with classroom problems-the program includes a course in the psychological foundations of education.

The Doctor of Arts degree is not widely known, but it effectively prepares one to teach in community or liberal arts colleges or smaller universities where one must teach a variety of courses in addition to one's area of specialization. One must do significant research-although not a complete dissertation-in an area of specialization as well as demonstrating broad teaching competence. I would suggest that any history department that takes undergraduate teaching seriously look at the Doctor of Arts program.

Ronald E. Spreng, D.A.
History Program Director
Oak Hills Bible College

Director's Desk Criticized

To the Editor:

Regarding Director Freitag's article about Thomas Sowell and the question of the AHA's "dissemination of information" and "lobbying" (Perspectives, September 1995, p. 3): I would not object to being provided with information about legislation affecting historians if it were done in a relatively objective manner. Your approach, however, is relatively one-sided and biased, filled with loaded language. Applying the critical tools I was trained to apply to texts as a professional historian and having analyzed your choice of adjectives in the article on Sowell, I can only classify it as polemical, or perhaps, an example of the modem genre called propaganda. Such “information if I can readily do without. Unfortunately, it has come to characterize the various “Washington reportage” pages of Perspectives over the past several years.

Dennis D. Martin
Loyola University of Chicago

To the Editor:

On page 6 of the September Perspectives, in the footnotes to the Director’s Desk column, there is a reference to the “Jewish conspiracy.” Could we have some more information about this conspiracy? Particularly about how to join up? I’ve always wanted to be part of a conspiracy. Perhaps we could get the Masons to sign up as well. On a more serious note, please take your editing tasks more seriously. It is quite likely that this comment will eventually turn up in some anti-Semitic publication as “proof” that the AHA supports various Jewish conspiracy theories.

Stephen D. Corrsin
Harrison, N. Y.

Editor's Reply:

The Director's Desk column in the September issue of Perspectives (see note 1, p. 6) refers to a publication called The Truth at Last (Marietta, Ga.). An entire issue of the publication, which included Thomas Sowell’s article opposing nonprofit lobbying, was sent to the AHA offices, presumably by a person who wanted to let the Association know the context in which Sowell’s article appeared. The issue devoted many of its pages to documenting the “Jewish conspiracy”; the term was taken directly from the publication. The Association has received other letters, in addition to Corrsin’s, asking how we knew which newspapers syndicated Sowell’s column. We learned of the publications from Sowell’s readers who clipped his column from various newspapers and mailed it to us.

Director's Desk Praised

To the Editor:

What a terrific Director's Desk piece in the AHA newsletter (Perspectives, September 1995, p. 3). I’m so glad you included it; it should help a lot.

Linda Kerber
University of Iowa

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