In my courses, there are generally two types of students: those who tell me they love History and those who tell me they hate it. In reality, no one actually hates History – most people have simply never learned how to think about it, so it seems boring or useless. When you consider that everyone and everything has a history, then you realize that we are all at least historians of our own lives. Since History is already a large part of who we are, when we understand how it works, life makes a lot more sense.
The discipline of History is unique - it is the only one that covers all of the disciplines. There are, however, misconceptions about it. Many people seem to think that studying history is just knowing the things that happened in the past. It is certainly part of what we do, but in the discipline of History we try to answer questions such as: “how did it happen?” “why did it happen”? and “what does it mean?” Those are some of the same questions we ask about our own lives, and that is why understanding History is necessary. People in the past are in many ways no different than us. We can benefit from their experiences and build upon their legacies of knowledge.
My path to History:
I initially went to college right out of high school as a Physics major, and perhaps made the mistake of convincing two members of my high school heavy-metal band to join me. We discovered that the rock-n-roll, partying life was not a strategy for academic success, and all of us dropped out within three semesters. For me, I just wasn’t learning the things I wanted to learn, and I thought heavy-metal superstardom was just around the corner – so who needs college!
My decision to quit school rewarded me with a series of low-paying factory jobs, and even though I studied harder, read more, and developed more skills than when I was in college, at age 35 I was making a little more than $7 per hour. That’s when I decided to go back to school.
Since I am interested in almost everything, enjoy solving problems, and need to be creative, I chose History as my discipline. Thirteen years later, I had finished my Ph.D. and life is better now.
Like many Empire State College students, I was an adult, non-traditional student, who worked and went to school, so I well know the challenges of living life while working toward a degree, and I spend a lot of time talking with students about those challenges. If you take one or more of my courses, then I look forward to working with you.
Although I can create an Individualized Study with you on almost any topic or time period, the courses I regularly teach include:
Art, Music, and History I
American Art: The New World to the Modern World
Modern American History
Sex, History, and Art I
The Hudson River and Its Valley
American Business History
History of Management
Introduction to Guitar and Guitar Music
Novel America: The Story of the Story in American Literature to 1850
U.S. History to 1865
U.S. History from 1865
Western Civilization I
Western Civilization II
I hope to see you soon and wish you success at Empire State College!