Category Archives: Teaching

Why I Hate Grading

When it’s time to grade papers, I suddenly go into housecleaning frenzies. I start preparing next semester’s courses. I finally get around to reading the most obscure and boring articles on my research reading list. I actually clear out my … Continue reading

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Billable Hours

How does an academic spend her time? Mostly out of your sight, which is why so few people actually understand the nature of academic work. What people see is our classroom teaching, and maybe our “office hours,” designated times when … Continue reading

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Top Ten Avoidable Mistakes Made by History Students

(in no particular order) 1.    Using words vaguely I frequently get the impression that many students choose words that are merely “close enough” rather than the one word that most precisely captures their meaning. Similarly, many students seem to read … Continue reading

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A Reality Check for College Students (and their parents)

According to a survey I took on the first day of class in my modern European history lecture course in the spring of 2011, 90% of students in my two sections were at least considering going to grad school. The … Continue reading

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Who is “the reader”?

Professors (and editors) tend to talk a lot about revising your writing to suit “your reader.” Who exactly is this person? The following description of the academic reader may be helpful to students, undergrads and grads. Your reader for any … Continue reading

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Grades — What Are They Good For?

When I learn that a student is working to maintain a 4.0 grade point average, I see red flags waving all over the place. A 4.0 does not particularly impress me, and it does worry me. In my experience (and … Continue reading

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How Not to Write an Email to Your Professor

Unfortunately, this is the kind of thing I frequently find in my inbox, from something like “dragonboy785@gmail”: Hey Prof! I need the notes from last week. Did we do anything important in class? Besides being rude and demonstrating very little … Continue reading

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Top Ten Things Most Americans Don’t Know about the USSR and the Cold War

10. The Cold War marks the greatest period of affluence and stability Russia ever enjoyed in the 20th century. Which still isn’t saying much, sadly. 9. The Eastern Bloc countries “went Communist” on their own after World War II. In … Continue reading

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