History department to add new faculty member

The history department is in the process of selecting a new history professor to initially help with G.E. classes. After teachers have taught in the department for a while, they are able to teach in a specialized area. Stock Photo

The history department will soon have a new starter to add to the faculty lineup, which means the relievers covering General Education (G.E.) classes will get a break.

“I love teaching G.E. classes, my colleagues would say that as well,” history professor James Tejani said. “I look forward to the day when we’re less short-handed.”

History professors are responsible for G.E. Area D1: The American Experience courses, said Andrew Morris, the history department chair.

“We have found ourselves short in offering the same classes to the same number of students, particularly in American history, which is our biggest demand,” Morris said.

History professors that are not usually part of the American history curriculum are asked to teach these courses.

However, faculty members were ready to pick up the slack, Tejani said.

“People are willing to fill in,” he said. “We want to provide classes for students. It’s a service to the university and to the students.”

Most students are usually required to take a course from G.E. Area D1. Others finish AP courses or transferred credits prior to starting at Cal Poly, Morris said.

The new faculty member will concentrate on D1 classes, he said.

“They’ll be teaching two sections each quarter of HIST 206 American Cultures (G.E. D1, USCP) or HIST 207 Freedom and Equality in American History (G.E. D1, USCP), and then the third class would be an upper-division (300- or 400-level) U.S. history course of his (or) her  choosing,” Morris said.

The HIST 206 and HIST 207 classes have about 50 students a section. The new faculty member may teach anywhere between 120 to 150 G.E. students per quarter. The upper-division course of their choosing will have fewer students.

When professors start their career in the department, they teach G.E. courses before moving to specialized courses, Morris said.

A new professor has more students to teach than tenured professors, Tejani said.

After they are here for a few years, they can move onto classes that are part of their specialization. They may range anywhere from political media or U.S. foreign relations.

“That will add diversity to our curriculum because we don’t offer those classes very regularly,” Tejani said.

They can be intellectually challenging for professors who are used to their specialized American courses. Some find it fun to teach it that way, Tejani said.

Coming from the department chair’s perspective, history professors must be flexible to teach these courses, Morris said.

The chair said there are possible course positions that need to be filled with assistant professors.

“Dr. Morris works very hard to make sure that everyone is teaching what they want to be teaching,” assistant history professor Lewis Call said.

The D1 classes allow professors to teach a macro-perspective of America, Morris said.

“When you have a new junior colleague it’s fun socially, and it’s nice when new people show up and add a new perspective, new ideas and new classes,” he said.

The College of Liberal Arts and the history department have put a lot of time into reviewing applications as well as conducting phone interviews and campus visits.

The search has been such an energizing process because the candidates are so bright, said Linda Haliksy, dean of the College of Liberal Arts. Just being able to talk to them about the things that excite them is really enjoyable, she said.

The search for a tenure-track faculty professor started last summer. The department publicized for the position in different historical journals, including The American Historical Association Journal, and posted advertisements on various academic websites.

“The market right now is tight nationwide so we received exceptional candidates,” Halisky said.

A total of 253 individuals applied for the position.

The College of Liberal Arts and the history department have extended an offer to a potential faculty member.