Department of History
|History students get a black-powder demonstration on a class field trip to a Revolutionary War battlefield.|
|Assistant Professor Allison Palmadessa frequently works with students in small groups.|
Areas of StudyMajor: History (B.A.) Major: History with Social Studies Licensure (B.A.) Major: History & Political Science (B.A., B.S.) Major: History & Religion (B.A.) Minor: History
Curriculum2016-17 Undergraduate Academic Catalog (degree requirements, pp. 166-167; class offerings, pp. 241-245)
Memberships & Accreditations
- Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
- National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education
Our department is special because…The study of history can be engaging and enlightening in a number of ways. Understanding the past helps put the present in context. It is also useful to appreciate that while our lives, as those of previous generations, are shaped by large historical forces, individuals and groups of people have also had the power to shape history. On a more practical level, a History class can be one of the best places to develop analytical skills and the ability to communicate ideas effectively orally and in writing. The History faculty members are active scholars and dedicated teachers who have written monographs, journal articles, conference papers, book reviews and encyclopedia entries, and helped to create websites. They actively pursue their historical passions by conducting field interviews in rural Mississippi, and researching history of contemporary American higher education. They also all employ a variety of teaching techniques in their classroom beyond just lecturing that engage students. The History faculty have had their syllabi selected as best practices models, have presented at teaching conferences, and have won prestigious teaching awards at GC.
How would a student benefit from the program?The Greensboro College History Department is unique given the size and nature of its faculty. The small number of faculty and students make it possible for faculty to develop closer relationships with students inside and outside the classroom. History courses are among the most demanding, and thus potentially rewarding, classes on campus.
What makes the GC program different from/stronger than others?Ways to become involved include:
- Joining Phi Alpha Theta (National History Honors Society). Students are eligible to be inducted into PAT if they meet certain academic criteria.
- Interviewing a GC alumnus or alumna to add to the Alumni Oral History Project.
- Working as part of a class or as an intern to update exhibits on GC history, such as “A Glimpse of GC’s African American History”, created by GC students in Spring 2016.
Success stories of recent grads
- GC History alum Dr. Jeremy Kinney (1994) is a curator in the Aeronautics Division of the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum; he’s shown here with the Wright Flyer.
- Kendra Leghart (a 2009 GC alum), an honors History-Political Science major and Legal Administration minor, is currently a litigator in Los Angeles. While at GC, Kendra played softball and spent a semester studying abroad in Prague. That led her to write her senior honors thesis on the development of Czech nationalism.
- Justin Payne (a 2009 GC alum), an honors History major, is a Greensboro police officer. While at GC, Justin created an award-winning website on the history of Greensboro’s J.C. Price School, based on work he and his classmates did in a community history project. Justin also conducted oral history interviews with GC alumni active in Greensboro’s civil rights movement which are now part of the “Civil Rights Greensboro” collection. Officer Payne serves the Warnersville community, where Price School was located.
- Bridget Hall, who graduated in 2016, received the William Henry and Martha Grant Likins Award, presented annually to the top graduating adult undergraduate student. Hall, a double major in history and religion, is pursuing her M.Div. degree at the Candler School of Theology at Emory University, having turned down a full scholarship to Harvard Divinity School. A single mother, Hall served as secretary of the senior class and chief student marshal and was inducted into the Phi Alpha Theta and Theta Alpha Kappa history and religion honor societies, respectively.Outside the classroom, Hall also took part in a hunger-focused mission trip, volunteered with an on-campus summer educational-enrichment program for children, and served as logistics chair for the college’s Relay for Life, a fundraiser for cancer research.
Teaching Style & AccoladesThe History faculty members are active scholars and dedicated teachers who have written monographs, journal articles, conference papers, book reviews and encyclopedia entries, and helped to create websites. They actively pursue their historical passions by conducting field interviews in rural Mississippi, experiencing firsthand the diverse cultures of the Middle East, and pursuing scholarly research at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. They also all employ a variety of teaching techniques in their classroom that engage students. The History faculty have had their syllabi selected as best-practices models, have presented at teaching conferences, and have won prestigious teaching awards at GC.
- Professor Michael Sistrom, Department Chair, won the 2006 Virginia Clarke Grey and 2008 Alumni Outstanding Teaching Awards. The community history project Professor Sistrom’s class did on Greensboro’s former J.C. Price School (the website that grew out of the project) won the 2012 Greensboro Historical Museum’s Voices of the City Award for outstanding community history project. His manuscript, “Defining Black Power: The Mississippi Freedom Democrats and the Redefinition of Politics” will be published in 2015.
- Dr. Allison Palmadessa ’03 joined the full-time faculty early in 2014 and won the 2016 Virginia Clarke Grey Award, which honors junior faculty. She also was selected by the Class of 2016 to be its Baccalaureate speaker. Dr. Palmadessa has published articles in journals such as Higher Education in Review and The Journal of Higher Education. She has presented multiple research papers at national conferences, most recently at the annual conference for The Association for the Study of Higher Education. Dr. Palmadessa is also currently completing a manuscript on the history of federal higher education policy, due to be published in 2017. Dr. Palmadessa is also active in Guilford County Schools serving on the School Based Leadership Team for Northern Schools.
- Dr. Susan Thomas, GC alum, is a frequent part-time instructor in the History Department.
Current-student profiles“I am a History and Sociology major and a Business and Legal Administration minor. My other minor is in Humanities, through the Honors Program. Greensboro College was my first choice of schools. It is the perfect combination of a small-school atmosphere with big-school opportunities and faculty. “You have so much flexibility in what you want to study, you can pursue any interests you wish. I love this aspect particularly because I am not limited in the areas I can study and can get to know my professors really well. The faculty will go the extra mile for you because they are all genuinely interested in your learning. It is just a great place to be.” Melanie Smith, Class of 2017
Internships/Hands-on experiencesHistory students are strongly encouraged to gain professional experience outside the classroom as interns working under the supervision of History faculty. They can replace one of their 3000-level History courses with a semester-long internship. Over the past several years, eight students have completed a variety of internship projects including:
- helping to staff a national historic park
- creating a new exhibit for the Brock Historical Museum (and Archives) of Greensboro College (read Stacey Smith ’07’s account of that work here).
- digitizing early 20th century editions of the college newspaper and yearbooks
- developing curriculum materials for local teachers tied to historic sites and museums in Greensboro
- launching a website preserving the history of a local African American school
- and serving as a teaching and research assistant for History faculty.