Board of Trustees

Teaching History to Undergraduates: A Regional Conversation


People teaching history to undergraduates, including tenured and tenure-track professors, adjuncts, graduate students, and department chairs; administrators working with history students, including departmental administrators, transfer counselors, registrars, undergraduate deans; as well as public historians.

When: Tuesday, May 20, 2014, 10:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m.

Where: St. Francis College
180 Remsen Street
Brooklyn, New York  11201

There is no registration fee. Lunch will be served.

Elaine Carey
St. Johns University; Vice President, AHA Teaching Division

Sara Haviland
St. Francis College

Eric Platt
St. Francis College

Sarah Shurts
Bergen Community College

Emily Tai
Queensborough Community College

Message from the Organizers

Please join us for a one-day conference, “Teaching History to Undergraduates: A Regional Conversation."

The purpose of the conference will be to build collaborative partnerships among history faculty at two- and four-year schools in the region and discuss some of the pressing concerns facing History departments. Many departments are experiencing declining numbers of history majors, budget constraints, and departmental consolidations. At the same time, an increasing number of students struggle with college expectations in historical research and writing, in spite of the utility of these skills in the current job market. The American Historical Association’s Tuning Project has begun to address these concerns by researching, describing, and promoting the skills history majors develop, the value of a history degree, and the applicability of the discipline’s methods in a range of career settings.

The conference will also provide an important forum for history faculty from two- and four-year colleges to discuss the relationship between our programs. Many students are choosing to transfer to four-year institutions after finishing their general education credits at two-year schools. These colleges can provide four-year history departments with a steady enrollment of dedicated history majors who are well-prepared for research and writing. Two- and four-year history faculty can help students transfer smoothly by engaging in an ongoing conversation about how to best align the expectations, skills, courses, and goals of our programs. This conference will begin that conversation.



Everyone who has registered for the conference should have received a confirmation by email.  If you did not, please submit the form below and we will follow up!

Registration Is Now Closed


Jim Grossman
Executive Director of the American Historical Association


Dan McInerney
Utah State University
Advisor, AHA Tuning Project

Download the Presentation Slides


Teaching History to Undergraduates: A Regional Conversation

9:15-10am Check-in and Refreshments

Lobby area of the Genovese Hall, 4th Floor

Morning Address: "Why Tuning?"


Room: Genovese

Welcome remarks provided by Timothy Houlihan, Provost of St. Francis College

Introductions provided by Elaine Carey, Vice President of the AHA Teaching Division

Morning Address by Jim Grossman, Executive Director of the American Historical Association

Session I  


Participants can elect to join any of the following four discussions. All discussions will be introduced and moderated by a facilitator but are designed to be active discussions in which all participants exchange new ideas and successful practices.

Advocating for History: the Role of the Department Chair in Assessment

Room TBA

Facilitator: Elaine Carey

Hands-on History: Teaching Skills in the Archives

Room TBA

Facilitators: Eric Platt, Sara Haviland, and Brooklyn Historical Society staff

Developing and Assessing Writing Assignments in Undergraduate History Courses

Room TBA

Facilitator: Emily Tai

Recruiting, Retaining, and Transferring History Majors from Two to Four Year Institutions

Room TBA

Facilitators: Sarah Shurts and Julia Brookins     

Session II


All participants have been assigned a regional group designated by a color on their nametag. The purpose of this second session is to begin what will hopefully become an ongoing conversation about transfer of history students between two and four year colleges. While these discussions might eventually result in articulation agreements, the initial conversations can begin with discussion of the expectations we have for students at each level: entering freshmen, junior level transfers, and graduating seniors. What should be the expectations for historical thinking skills, research skills, and coverage of content at each level? What problems have you and your students encountered with transfer and articulation? What skills do transfer students seem to be lacking and how can this transfer gap be closed? Should two year colleges offer courses beyond the traditional introductory surveys? How can we promote seamless and successful transfer from high school or community college to four year college?

Room 5401


Facilitator Elaine Carey


Room 3213


Facilitator Eric Platt


Room 4202


Facilitator Sarah Shurts


Room 4403


Facilitator Emily Tai


Room 4306


Facilitator Sara Haviland

Luncheon and Afternoon Address


Room: Genovese

Introduction provided by Julia Brookins, Special Projects Coordinator for AHA

Afternoon Address by Dan McInerney, Tuning USA Advisory Board, Lumina Foundation for Education Advisor, AHA Tuning Project

"A Beginner's Guide to Tuning: Starting the Discussion with Your Colleagues"

Closing Discussion


Room: Genovese

Continuing the Tuning Project and Other Initiatives of the AHA

Facilitator: Julia Brookins        

Closing discussion: What Needs to Be Done?

How can we be better advocates for historical study? What is the role of history in general education? How can we promote historical thinking at all levels to close the transfer gap?


The New York Marriot at the Brooklyn Bridge has kindly offered a $20/night discount rate for conference attendees. If you need lodging, visit this site.

Please use Corporate/Promotional Code-  SF4.



St. Francis College. All rights reserved.
180 Remsen Street, Brooklyn Heights, New York, 11201. 718.522.2300

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