History Announcements for the Fall – and Open House on Tuesday 8/4 at 10am and 8pm

Dear History Students,
Excuse the email blast – I’m sending this out to  majors and minors and students enrolled in history courses – and sharing a copy with history faculty.
The calendar still says summer, but I know many of you have been thinking about the fall. I wanted to take a moment to give you a few updates on the fall and to answer some of the questions that we’ve received.
First, I want to let you know that we’ll be holding two History Department Open House sessions to share details on the fall and to answer your questions. Attend either one if you are interested:
– History Department Open House (session 1), Tuesday, August 4, at 10:00am EST – Follow link: Join Microsoft Teams Meeting
– History Department Open House (session 2), Tuesday, August 4, at 8:00pm EST – Follow link: Join Microsoft Teams Meeting
You can also find these meetings on the Student Fall 2020 Advising Open House team under the History Channel.
And note, for first-year students interested in History there will be another open house in the week of August 17 as part of FY Orientation.
The most important message is to say that we are excited to welcome you back to campus – or to meet you online for those who are attending courses remotely. Wherever you are we hope to make this a great year despite the public health challenges.
We think – I hope you will come to see this, too – that the study of history has never been more important. History can help us gain perspective on the present, understand different cultures, and make sense of the forces that shape the societies we live in. This kind of awareness has always been necessary to a complex understanding of the world. It has never been more important than in the current moment, In the midst of the public health challenge of COVID-19 and in the face of the demands for social justice spurred on by the Black Lives Matter protests.
Your faculty have been planning courses that follow the health guidelines of the College (as well as the State of Ohio and the Centers for Disease Control). To be sure, this year is going to be different from others. Some courses will meet remotely and most will have some hybrid format that will include online meetings as well as in person meeting. There will be physical distancing and masks in the classroom. And we know that things can change quickly as public health conditions change. But we are committed, as always, to a pedagogy of inquiry and dialogue and classrooms (and virtual spaces) welcoming to all.
Some brief faculty notes: Peter Pozefsky and Jeff Roche are on research leave for the academic year. And we welcome back Ibra Sene and Jordan Biro Walters who are returning from research leave.
And a note on courses. If you are considering changes to your schedule, open enrollment for sophomores, juniors and seniors begins on Tuesday, August 4 and runs through Friday, August 14. You should be able to add any course with open seats.
If you are still looking for a course in history consider one of the following:
Under the rubric of History 201: The Craft of History (a writing course that helps prepare students for Junior and Senior I.S. with an emphasis on the critical skills of the historian). Dr. J is offering Hist 20124: Public History, an introduction to the theories and methods of public history, the application of history outside of academia, in museums, historic sites, archives, community projects and more.
Among our survey courses, you might take a look at Prof. Holt’s Hist 21700: Modern Brazil, Prof. Welsch’s Hist 22000: Tudor-Stuart England, or Prof. Sene’s Hist 23100: The Making of Africa.
We are working on our calendar for the year, but we have some exciting events planned. Stay tuned for more details about:
– The Hayden Schilling Distinguished Lecture
– Roundtable on the Black Lives Matter protests of 2020
– Cafe Bob: The History Roundtable – on various subjects through the year
– Presentation on careers for history majors
– Presentation on graduate school planning
This may be the first year in living memory that the annual history croquet game does not go off as scheduled. We are working to develop a suitable alternative.
Feel free to reach out to your academic advisor with questions you may have. For those of you who had Prof. Pozefsky or Prof. Roche as academic advisor in the spring, you have been reassigned to me (Prof. Shaya) for the time being.
Note that we will reassign academic advisors for juniors and seniors in history when we assign your Junior I.S. or Senior I.S. Advisor (more on that process below).
Feel free to reach out to the Chair of History (that’s me, Prof. Shaya), if you have unanswered questions about history.
For those of you enrolled in Junior I.S. in the fall, let me share a few words.
Junior I.S. in History is taught as a tutorial – one-on-one with a faculty member. You will fill out a form indicating your interests and advisor preferences and will be assigned to an advisor who will be a good match for you and your project. You and your advisor will meet once a week (at a time that you schedule together) as you work on a historical research project. I expect that most advisors will meet their students over Teams.
Meetings with advisors are complemented by a series of four Junior I.S. Workshops where we bring together all the students doing Junior I.S. for some common work – and students prepare a poster to present their research.
Take some time in the weeks to come to do a bit of research (reading, thinking, gathering sources) on the topic you would like to work on for Junior I.S.
And for our seniors embarking on Senior I.S.?
The process of assigning advisors will be the same as any other year. You will fill out a form indicating your topical interests and advisor preferences and will be assigned to an advisor who will be a good match for you and your project.
Some of you start classes with a very clear idea of your Senior I.S. topic. Others are still searching for a topic they want to work on. Take some time before in the weeks to come to prepare the way. Think about topics, refine your ideas, look for primary sources, read a book that will get you well oriented, and come to campus ready to get started.
Note that there will be a meeting of all History majors and faculty members in the first week of classes. Faculty will introduce themselves and students will select their student representatives.
You can find out more information – and learn about past events – at the History Department Website – https://history.voices.wooster.edu/
If you aren’t on the History-Announcements email list you can send a message to Angela Sponsler – asponsler@wooster.edu – to be added.
You can follow us on Facebook or Instagram.
Or you can sign up for office hours with your history professor or myself.
Well, that is a lot of information for one email – I hope you found it helpful. Bring your questions to one of the Open House Sessions on Tuesday and we’ll do our best to answer them.
Stay well, gks

Gregory Shaya (he/him/his)
Professor of History, Chair of History

The College of Wooster
Wooster, OH 44691