From the Chair

May 3, 2012

Greetings friends!

The History Department has much to report and celebrate and we are so happy to share our latest news with you.  If you are an alum reading this newsletter and you have not yet updated me (or another member of the department) with the latest news in your life please do contact us now!  We hope that our newsletter will eventually reach every one of our alumni and we would like to share all of your stories!

Among our most important news is the successful revision our History-Education major in order to better serve our students and meet federal and state guidelines.  The new program, approved this Spring, is designed to provide students with the best possible education and to make them even more marketable in a tough job environment.  We are dropping the History-T major and revising the SST major so that all our History teachers will be taking the same curriculum.  The new SST program is dominated by History but also continues to require some coursework in Economics, Psychology, Sociology, and Political Science.  We are very eager to introduce our new SST majors to the new program in the fall.  We are very grateful to the Education Department and in particular Dean Cantu for his generous leadership in this process.  Please see the accompanying article in this newsletter for more information on the revised SST major.

We are also thrilled to welcome two new faculty members to our department.  Both are deeply familiar with our region of the country: Dr. Robert Hawkins joins us from St. Louis University and Dr. John Bragg comes from the University of Wisconsin, Madison.  Professor Hawkins has already revealed his star potential by winning two national awards this year for his scholarship in African American history.  Professor Bragg brings an enthusiasm for teaching, scholarship, and collegiality to our department and resulted in a History Department softball team in the fall!  (I believe we may have had some History majors filling out our roster and helping our batting average. . .)  For more on Professors Hawkins and Bragg please see the articles in this newsletter.  Next year we will be hiring a one-year replacement for Professor Rustin Gates who is taking a one-year leave to teach at the University of Iowa.

In publication news, the excellent international journal Diplomacy & Statecraft published an article by Professor Rustin Gates. The article examines Foreign Minister Uchida Yasuya and his efforts over three decades to secure Japanese interests in Northeast China.  Professor John Williams's recent edited book, Weimar Culture Revisited, published by Palgrave Macmillan, has become one of that press's strongest-selling books in the United States!  Professor Amy Scott published an article entitled "Holding Out for a Hero" and . . .  Professor Hawkins published book reviews in Journal of Social History, the Journal of African American History, and the African American Review.

Our faculty are sharing their scholarship at conferences across the globe, taking on leadership positions in professional organizations, and winning awards.  Professor Brad Brown traveled to Los Angeles to present a paper at the an international conference on "Nationizing the Dynasty/Dynastizing the Nation." Professor Hawkins presented papers at the Association for the Study of African American Life and History in Virginia and the Music of the South Symposium at the University of Mississippi.  I gave lectures at two Teaching American History events in Connecticut, a National Endowment for the Humanities Seminar in New York, the SHEAR conference in Philadelphia, Illinois Central College, the Kewanee Area Women's Business Club, and the Summa Cum Laude Dinner at Bradley.  Professor Scott will be serving on the Program Committee of the Western History Association.  I am serving on the Advisory Council of the Society for Historians of the Early American Republic (SHEAR) and also chairing the Program Committee for the 2013 SHEAR meeting in St. Louis.  Professor Toxqui was asked to serve as an examiner in a Master's thesis defense at the Universidad de Guanajuato in Mexico.  Finally, I was so proud and grateful to win the Samuel Rothberg Professional Excellence Award this past fall on Founders Day.

Our faculty members continue to work closely with student organizations across campus, providing excellent leadership and revealing our commitment to social betterment.  Professor Aurea Toxqui is the faculty advisor to the Bradley Anti-Slavery Coalition.  She worked with the Women's Studies Program and a group of dedicated students to co-sponsor an excellent series on human trafficking this year.  The series included several films and two outstanding speakers.  Professor Toxqui has also supported and mentored the Association of Latin American Students (ALAS) in promoting their public events.  Professor Amy Scott directed the Body Project through a year-long series of events that attracted hundreds of student participants and educated the campus on issue related to healthy self-image and lifestyles.

Our History majors are continuing to excel at Bradley.  Senior Sara Melton, a History-Secondary Education major, won the Outstanding Co-op/Intern of the Year Award for the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.  Sara interned for two summers as a camp counselor at the Wisconsin Badger Camp, a ten-week summer program for individuals with disabilities.  As Sara commented, "My experiences at camp provided me with the necessary tools and skills to become a more effective teacher, forcing me to be creative, adaptable, and resilient in my interactions with my campers."  Her experiences at this camp were "life altering" and thoroughly rewarding.

Senior Katie Childs won the History Department Honors Student award.  Katie is a model student, a compassionate person, and a terrific athlete.  She has received an impressive array of awards and fellowships including the Ray and Kathy LaHood Scholarship for the Study of American Government, the Goldin Scholarship, and the Witness to History Scholarship. She has also participated as a leader in many student groups and won very competitive internships with Speaker of the House John Boehner, Congressman Aaron Schock, and State Senate Candidate Darin LaHood.  As Chairperson of Bradley's College Republicans she helped to arrange for Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney's visit to campus this semester, putting a national spotlight on the university.

We are also extremely proud of our History Department alumni who are excelling in all walks of life.  At nearby Dunlap High School Anne (Thomas) Snyder (2005) is finishing her fourth year of teaching.  She has earned a Master's degree in Educational Global Policy Studies at the University of Illinois and is currently completing a second Master's degree at Western Illinois University in Educational Administration.  Paul Thompson (2002), a former History Honors Student, has also been very busy since leaving the Hilltop.  He earned endorsements in government and psychology for his teaching certificate and picked up a minor in psychology at the College of DuPage.  Next he earned a Masters degree in Psychology at National Louis University in Chicago. He is currently a tenured faculty member at Argo Community High School in the southwestern suburbs of Chicago where he teaches AP Psychology, Law, and American History. He also coaches cross-country and girl's track as well as sponsors the National Honor Society. Recently, he became an adjunct professor in Psychology at Moraine Valley Community College.  He and his wife, Cheryl, (also a proud alumnus of Bradley) live in the western Chicago suburbs with their two-year-old daughter Kaitlyn.

All of us in the History Department become more deeply indebted to our administrative assistant Gina Meeks every year.  As many of you already know, she is the heart and soul of our department.  She is the source of all department knowledge, a compassionate listener for students and faculty, and endlessly energetic and creative.  Please remember to thank Gina when you correspond with the department.

I will conclude with a final request that you email us and share your news.  We hope to create a vibrant and active network of History alums that reconnect, support one another, and build a nationwide community through our Bradley connection!