Consulting and independent projects: curriculum and pedagogy

Curriculum Design for Student Achievement

One of my enduring passions is to participate in and facilitate faculty-led intentional curricular design for student achievement. These three ideas – faculty-led shared governance, intentionality, and a focus on outcomes for students – define my curricular work. As chair of the Department of History at SF State, I was proud to lead a redesign of our curriculum from establishing new, shared goals to developing assessment strategies. By Fall 2019, we will have in place a new streamlined minor, a major that meets students curricular and life needs, a revised graduate pattern, and a new certificate in historical research (honors) that will prepare students for research-focused careers in particular.

My curricular work is also represented in leadership at the university and system level. As facilitator for the Teagle Foundation-funded Curriculum Design grant at SF State, I collaborated on leading a shared curriculum design process for twenty programs across campus. In 2018, I became the Principal Investigator on a planning grant, also from the Teagle Foundation, to expand this successful program to multiple CSU campuses.

21st Century History: The Introductory Course

The ability to assemble evidence into meaningful interpretations of the events of the past remains a core competency for a university graduate and a citizen. Such critical enquiry is increasingly under threat in history programs with declining enrollment within colleges treated as commodities set in a society where intellectual curiosity, democracy, and evidence are increasingly challenged. The greatest opportunity for historians and history programs to intervene in this situation is in first-year introductory courses that often constitute requirements or options within general education or university-wide programs. Yet such courses often receive the least curricular attention, and consequently do not take advantage of critical theory, student-centered pedagogy, new technologies, and innovative teaching strategies.

Beginning in 2019, I will serve as Principal Investigator on a grant-funded initiative to transform history education at the level of the introductory US and World history courses. We hope this project will revolutionize the relevance and efficacy of the traditional or dual-environment course for creating students who are grounded in our common past, equipped to engage with it, and able to apply both their knowledge and skills to the full range of their lives in the 21st century.

High school world history curriculum

Just as tertiary introductory courses can benefit from significant redesign to meet student needs and new challenges, so too high school history courses and those who serve them are working to develop and implement new pedagogies and curricula, especially in the field of world history. Over the past decade, I have become deeply involved in these efforts. Together with teachers and leaders at the New York Board of Education, I recently developed elements of a curriculum for 10th grade world history that provides options for the use of several graphic histories and memoirs. In addition, I actively serve on the advisory board for the Gates Ventures world history project, working closely with a small cohort of other historians and the project leadership to develop an open-access world history curriculum featureing deeply-embedded pedagogical tools and careful intentional design.