On the Record With Faculty Emeriti
January 28, 2015
With the success of the alumni oral history project in spring 2014 came a question: How would the oral history component of Historical Materials be taught in the fall?
With the new semester came a change in course leadership. Maureen Healy, associate professor of history, would now take a turn at the helm.
“I had a conversation with Jane Hunter as I was preparing to teach the class,” says Healy. “She said, ‘Why not continue with faculty emeriti?’ It seemed like a natural extension of the project.”
This year’s student training workshops were led by Joanne Mulcahy, who teaches creative nonfiction, ethnographic writing, and humanities core courses for the Northwest Writing Institute, which is part of the Graduate School of Education and Counseling. “Joanne provided the humanist angle to this kind of work—the importance of getting a sense of the person and their life,” says Healy. “Her presentation was very meaningful to students.”
The alumni office provided a list of local faculty emeriti, and Healy’s class of 15 students set to work. At the time of this writing, the class is still in progress. But we know this much: “Students are challenged by it,” Healy reports.
Healy is impressed by the project because it helps Lewis & Clark “commemorate community.” She notes that there are not many projects that involve so many different areas of the college in such a meaningful way.
What’s next on the horizon? Perhaps a mix of faculty emeriti and alumni oral histories. No matter what the format, Healy is confident the oral history component will continue to be popular. “Students are learning to consider living people as historical actors in their own right,” says Healy. “They are learning how modern history can be.”