A New Face at the AHA
Meet Brendan Gillis
The AHA is pleased to welcome Brendan Gillis as manager of teaching and learning. In this role, Brendan oversees the Association’s many teaching and learning initiatives, which celebrate innovative pedagogy and promote the interests of both educators and students of history.
Brendan began his historical education with an AB in history from Harvard University, followed by an MPhil in historical studies from the University of Cambridge. In 2015, he earned his PhD in history from Indiana University Bloomington (IU). Brendan taught for a year as a visiting assistant professor at Miami University of Ohio, after which he spent a year researching and writing at the American Antiquarian Society in Worcester, Massachusetts, as a Hench Post-Dissertation Fellow.
This new job is not Brendan’s first stint at the AHA. From 2010 to 2012, Brendan worked as an editorial assistant for the American Historical Review when it was housed at IU. There, he was involved in coordinating every stage of the book review process for new monographs. “I learned an incredible amount about history and the historical discipline, and I developed some really great friendships with other EAs,” Brendan told Perspectives. “I’m proud of the work that I did for the AHR and that my name is listed on the masthead for the issues I had a hand in creating.”
In the fall of 2017, he became an assistant professor of history at Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas. At Lamar, he also served as the assistant director of the Center for History and Culture of Southeast Texas and the Upper Gulf Coast. Brendan credits this position as helping him “develop a rich appreciation for the pedagogy of place.”
As manager of teaching and learning, Brendan looks forward to the opportunity of addressing some larger, systemic issues facing the historical discipline. He cites the last five years teaching at a public regional university that serves a majority-minority student population as an inspiration. “I love the work that I did in the classroom, but I also came to care a great deal about advocating for my students and for my colleagues,” he says. In moving from teaching to a position that supports teachers and students, he is looking forward to learning about the pedagogy and learning taking place in classrooms across the country.
When not working or parenting his three-year-old child, Brendan enjoys playing the viola, cooking, and reading crime novels. He is an accomplished amateur musician; for a few years, he was the principal violist of the Bloomington Symphony Orchestra and served briefly as a board member. “I’ll even occasionally bring my viola to class when I need musical examples for a lecture,” said Brendan. Orchestra is not his only hobby that has crossed into the classroom—his affection for crime novels inspired him to develop and teach a course at Lamar called a History of Britain in 12 Murders. “I loved it, and I think many of the students did too.”
Please extend Brendan a warm welcome to the AHA!
Lizzy Meggyesy is research and publications assistant at the AHA.
Tags: AHA Activities
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