Students enrolling in revamped history survey courses at Southeast Campus may find they aren’t the same people, at the course’s end, as they were when they began their study of U.S. history.
That’s because Associate History Professor Gregory Kosc and History Instructor Bradley J. Borougerdi deliberately changed the classroom experience. Instead of focusing on short-term recall of facts and figures so students could sprint from one exam to the next, these instructors wanted to help their students actually think differently about history.
This change in pedagogy began 18 months ago with the instructors’ exhaustive research to integrate culture and its impact into the existing American History survey course.
“Our primary goals are to help students understand how and why cultures adapt, grasp the crucial role that cultural brokers play in American cultural development and increase awareness of peoples and cultures in American history,” Kosc said.
The new course, “Making ‘Others’ Into Us: Bridging Cultures in the U.S. History Survey,” was first offered in fall 2013. The Community College Humanities Association and National Endowment for the Humanities provided the grant for its development as part of their Bridging Cultures Initiative. Both Kosc and Borougerdi continue to weave a cultural focus into both sections of the U.S. survey classes they teach.
Southeast Campus’s history club, the Historical Underground, is helping to foster a culture of learning and tolerance on their campus by publishing stories about cultural experiences that often are not covered in traditional survey classes. The club also helps sponsor public lectures throughout the academic year that illuminate the “different strands that make up the cultural fabric our nation,” Kosc said.
“Not only will this empower students from these groups, but it will better prepare the entire student body for the globalized world they live in.”
A major outcome of the research is the development of an extensive bibliography of primary and secondary readings that may be used by professors interested in interjecting cultural experiences into their curriculum. The 1301 syllabus for Cultural History of the U.S. to 1877 is available at:
The 1302 syllabus for Cultural History of the United States 1877 to the Present is available at: