Meeting the Challenges of the Two-Year Faculty Classroom, Part 1: Interdisciplinary Approaches to the Classroom

AHA Session 70
Friday, January 4, 2019: 8:30 AM-10:00 AM
Boulevard A (Hilton Chicago, Second Floor)
Sue Jean Cho, Northern Virginia Community College
Lee Benjamins, San Jacinto College
Carlos Alberto Contreras, Grossmont College
D. Jack Norton, Normandale Community College
Brian Sahotsky, County College of Morris
Sue Jean Cho, Northern Virginia Community College

Session Abstract

As noted in a May 2013 Perspectives article, “At least half of all undergraduate students in the United States are enrolled in two-year colleges. Subsequently, a community college history course may be many students' only encounter with secondary-level history study.” Related to this, many of the students in history courses at community colleges are non-majors. More recently, a 2016 online survey conducted by the American Historical Association found that fewer students are enrolling in college history courses. Taking an interdisciplinary approach to teaching history in the two-year college classroom could address these developments.

Interdisciplinary approaches to teaching history help students make connections between it and other subjects. This can not only spark their interest if discussions relate to their major or area of interest, but it can allow them to see the connection between history and current events by demonstrating history’s pervasiveness throughout society. In a very practical sense many interdisciplinary approaches help build skills necessary for success in the college classroom or workplace as they frequently encourage the development of critical thinking skills and teamwork through collaboration.

Panelists will discuss the benefits and challenges faced in taking interdisciplinary approaches to the classroom. Some topics discussed include incorporating in-class writing assignments into coursework, using digital humanities methods to analyze history, and using a student’s major to enhance their understanding of history.

As with the other roundtable of this workshop ample time will be provided for audience participation to create an open dialogue regarding these issues.