Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Phi Alpha Theta -New Members Induction

The St. John's chapter of Phi Alpha Theta, the national history honor society, will welcome nine new members on the 19th of April.  The ceremony will be held at six o' clock, in D'Angelo Center 128.  Food served ... please stop by if you're hungry.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Pardon Our Appearance

We are revamping our blog site. While we work to make extensive improvements you may find a few em
pty pages etc. We plan to be done by the end of April.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Five Things I've Learned in my First Year as an Adjunct Professor

The Five Things I've Learned in my First Year as an Adjunct Professor

                   By Christopher Cody

I must admit the last two semesters at St. John’s University have been a complete revelation for me. In that time, I have supplemented my demanding PhD work with the equally rigorous endeavor of being an adjunct Professor of History.

At first, it was slightly bizarre transitioning from being the one listening to the professor to the person standing in front of the classroom hoping my students would listen to me. But, the beauty of being a newly-minted adjunct professor is that I am learning something new with each, and every, class. While it is difficult to boil down the many new experiences I have had to date, I would like to list five key lessons I have learned in my first year teaching college students.

Class, pay attention and take notes. There will be a quiz after you finish reading this blog.

1) Poise - While I've made countless presentations as an undergrad, graduate student and, now, a doctoral candidate, nothing really prepared me for the feeling one gets when 50 pair of eyes are expecting you to lead an hour-long discussion on the intricacies and complexities of the French Revolution. I must admit to having a serious case of the butterflies before my first lecture, but I soon learned that projecting poise and confidence is critical to being an effective academic instructor. While I am by no means an authoritarian, I am now very confident in my ability to take, and maintain, control in a classroom.

2) Listening – I have always prided myself on my listening skills but, as I've evolved in my role as an adjunct professor, I've taken great pains to listen to my students. And, I've learned that listening includes many elements. It consists of the obvious: listening to what my students have to say. But, it also includes reading verbal and non-verbal clues that tell me if I have struck a nerve, truly engaged my class, or need to adjust my presentation style to try other ways to connect. I've learned that the better listener one is, the more engaged and enthusiastic one's students are.

3) Sensitivity - While I've been careful about the words and phrases I use in my day-to-day life, I didn't think ahead of time before discussing a book or showing a film. Since I teach American history, I refer to books and other content from various eras in our country's history. In one instance, I realized I needed to contextualize a discussion of a film depicting the New York City draft riots of the 1860s that used racially charged language. I apologized to my class for the inappropriate language and explained it reflected the tenor and attitude of the past. I now review ALL content in advance to ensure I pre-empt any potential hurt feelings by asking my students to understand the words they are about to read or hear are indicative of the times and are, in no way, intended to offend their sensitivities. That's been a great learning lesson.

4) Toughness - I like to be liked. I have a wide array of friends and family who I like and who like me. So, when I began teaching, I wanted to be liked by my students. I quickly learned my job was to teach, not to be liked. So, while I do my best to keep my classes upbeat and energized, I won't hesitate to chastise a student for poor work quality or, likewise, poor behavior (i.e. sleeping in class). Likewise, if I review a dismal paper, I make it very clear why the student's work came up short. I have grown into a teacher that’s not afraid to flunk a student if she or he simply is not putting in the effort. I hate to be seen as unkind but rather, to hopefully light a fire under them and motivate them to aspire to do better.

5) Impact - In my life, there were three or four teachers and professors who truly made a difference in my life. They did so by transforming teaching into a fascinating, almost theatrical experience that mesmerized me. While I am still light years away from being that one-of-a-kind faculty member, I aspire to be that type of professor each, and every, lecture. I have had students come up to me and say that my class has been the best History class they have ever taken.  It felt great.  But I’d love it even more to one day be told by a former student that I had a profound impact on his or her life. For me, that's the ultimate goal of any academic.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Hasia Diner talk 4/4/2016

Monday, April 4, 7:10-9:10 p.m. in SJH 211
St. John's University Department of History
~ presents ~
Dr. Hasia Diner, Professor of Hebrew and Judaic Studies and History, New York University
A Conversation with Professor Hasia Diner on
Roads Taken: The Great Jewish Migrations to the New World and the Peddlers Who Forged the Way

Dr. Diner, a pre-eminent historian of American Jewish history and immigration history, provides new insights into the immigrant experience, as well as into the unfolding of consumer culture in the United States, in her recent  book, Roads Taken: The Great Jewish Migrations to the New World and the Peddlers Who Forged the Way.  On April 4, she will engage students in a conversation about her book and her research.  Levi Strauss, manufacturer of blue jeans, is perhaps the most famous of the small-time Jewish merchants who sold wares across the expanses of a rugged, largely rural America.  They brought jewelry and cloth, eyeglasses and bathtubs to people living in towns and on farms.  Peddlers encountered prejudice, but also tremendous opportunities.  

Hasia Diner is the Paul and Sylvia Steinberg Professor of American Jewish History at New York University, with a joint appointment in the departments of history and the Skirball Department of Hebrew and Judaic Studies and is the Director of the Goldstein Goren Center for American Jewish History.  She received a Fulbright to teach in Israel, was a fellow at Radcliffe College, was the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship for 2010-2011, and has held several offices in professional organizations.  She president of the Immigration and Ethnic History Society.  She is the author of numerous books, including In the Almost Promised Land: American Jews and Blacks, 1915-1935; Erin's Daughters in American: Irish Immigrant Women in the Nineteenth Century; A Time for Gathering: The Second Migration, 1820-1880;  Lower East Side Memories: The Jewish Place in America; and Hungering for America: Italian, Irish, and Jewish Foodways in the Age of Migration.

Please join her for a conversation on April 4, 7:10-9:10 p.m. in SJH 211

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Graduate Colloquium: Applying for Conferences and for Jobs.

Thoughts on our Graduate Colloquium: Applying for Conferences and for Jobs.

Larissa Knopp and Richard Taylor

            Here at St. John’s History Department, the first graduate colloquium of the spring semester, which took place on March 1, focused on two topics that leave many students quite fearful: presenting at conferences and finding a job. By the end of the night, the professors leading the colloquium, and special guest-star our own returning D.A. alumnus Christopher Ferraro, had greatly alleviated many of those fears.  
            Long before our dreams of defending our dissertations can be achieved, doctoral students face the hard fact that presenting at conferences is necessary to success in the field of history. The problem, from our perspective, is we lack knowledge of the process which leads to fear and anxiety because the audience will be filled with respected scholars. This fear is largely based on our own self-doubt; as Dr. Rustomji pointed out, when presenting a thoroughly researched paper, the expert in the room is the author. As graduate students the key is to start at small conferences. Stay local and look for those conferences geared towards graduate students, ones that will help you grow as a presenter and researcher.
            Another daunting endeavor that each student must face is the job search. A particularly helpful piece of advice that was offered was to know the trends of the field before we graduate. See what potential employers are looking for, which topics or subtopics they want to hire in. Do not wait until you are graduating or it might be too late. Dr. Szylvian pointed out the necessity to diversify. Do not put all of our focus into one area. The more well rounded we are, the more attractive we look to employers. Lastly, know the location you want to be hired in. Some students have a more flexible lifestyle and are free to move, which can be an advantage. If a student does not have the freedom to move, she may need to start small, such as in a private high school.


Tuesday, March 1, 2016

History Trivia Night
March 3rd 7.30pm
DAC 301

Dear all history lovers!! Are you eager to show off your history skills? Come join us, the History Club/ Phi Alpha Theta ,for a fun night of trivia, food, and prizes!! Winner of the Trivia Night will win an Amazon Gift Card. Follow us on Facebook: STJ History Department

Upcoming History Club Events:

Trip to the NYPL 
Presidential Debate Night
 Trip to the 69th Armory
 And more to come…

 If you have any questions please contact Austin Rojas: