Friday, June 20, 2008

Students fortunate enough to be taking History courses in the coming year have lots of fascinating options. Take (as it were) History 395.3, New Directions in Historical Research, a new (and, indeed, new kind of) course that we will offer each year with a different instructor and topic. The approval process for establishing History 395.3 as a regular offering was only recently completed, and we are now pleased to announce details of the inaugural edition, just in time for registration:

History 395.3 (T2)
New Directions in Historical Research.

Wheat and Wilderness: Canadian Regions, Boundaries, and the Places in Between

Unless you have an outrageously large monitor or freakishly good eyes,
click on image to enlarge

History 395.3, New Directions in Research is designed with two related goals in mind. One is to help top Ph.D. candidates prepare for careers founded on the teacher-scholar model by giving them the opportunity to design and deliver an upper-level course in their field of specialty. The other is to provide our senior History undergrads with a unique opportunity to engage with cutting-edge research and methodologies while gaining insight not only into the world of advanced graduate study, but also into the process by which a researcher becomes a teacher.

Teaching this class is a mark of distinction that ABD doctoral candidates in our department compete for via course proposals submitted to the department. ("ABD" or "all but dissertation" means that they have completed all their training and are engaged in researching and writing a book-length doctoral dissertation -- a.k.a. thesis -- based on original and ground-breaking research; the last step prior to being crowned with a Ph.D. and sent off into the world to become a professor.

This first edition of History 395.3 will be taught by Merle Massie and will build upon her own research in Western Canadian history. Many of you will already know Merle as a published author, experienced T.A., and a dynamic public speaker. At last month's Buffalo Province History Conference Merle won a 'best-in-show' award for a conference presentation based on material germane to this course.

The History Department calls History 395.3 a "mentored course", mainly because each year one or more faculty mentors will be assigned to advise the instructor on course design, assignments, and assessment, and to confer with them as the course unfolds. This year, Merle Massie will have the backstage support of faculty mentors Bill Waiser and Gordon DesBrisay. And that's not all. Merle will be in no danger of running short of advice and support, because History 395.3 is a decidedly bi-lateral affair. Students, it turns out, also know a thing or two about teaching, and so there will also be "mentoring from below" as students in the class observe, comment on, and participate in the development of the course.

Sounds like a win-win situation? That's the idea.

If you or someone you love (or even someone you are not all that fond of, but, you know, respect) are in the market for a history course that promises to connect you to the worlds of grad studies, cutting-edge research, and the craft of teaching, then be sure to consider History 395.3. You might also consider 395 as a useful companion to our methodology course for Honours students, History 397.3, Approaches to History (T1).

For the entire splendid array of History Department 2008/09 course offerings, click here.