My friend and friend of the blog Lendol Calder was recently named 2010 Illinois Professor of the Year. This is a well-deserved honor for a guy who for several years has been on the cutting edge of historical pedagogy.
Lendol is best known for his book Financing the American Dream: A Cultural History of Consumer Credit and his innovative approach to teaching the United States Survey class, which he calls “Uncoverage.” I should also add that his essay “For Teachers to Live, Professors Must Die” appears in our co-edited book Confessing History: Explorations in Christian Faith and the Historian’s Vocation. Congratulations, Lendol!
Here is a taste of an article on Lendol’s award from the Quad City Times:
The news release said Calder is among those leading a movement to bring scholarly inquiry to teaching and learning in higher education. In 1999, he was invited by the Carnegie Foundation to join other distinguished academicians to invent and share new models to enhance student learning.
Calder’s research findings were published in the March 2006 issue of The Journal of American History and examined the problem of “coverage” in introductory history courses — an effort to forge a new way of teaching and learning college history.
“The kind of professor I’ve worked to be is the kind who approaches teaching with both the trained eye of a scholar and the wild eye of a poet or mystic or comic,” Calder said in the news release. “Teaching for me is both scholarly work and soul work.”
Augustana president Steve Bahls said Calder excels at leading students to a deeper, more effective understanding of history.
“This is a very special day for Augustana College, and it’s a great honor to join Dr. Calder’s colleagues and students in offering congratulations on this outstanding recognition,” Bahls said.
According to the college, Calder’s American history class covering 1945 to the present takes no exams and receives no lengthy lectures.
Students in Calder’s class read two competing histories and dozens of documents from the past. Their grades are based on seven essays in which they must construct sound historical arguments on the basis of document analysis, the news release said.
In class, students take part in lively discussions where they formulate questions, analyze evidence, construct claims, dispute inferences, correct initial conclusions, recognize what can’t be known and debate what story best makes sense of the American past, the release states.
“If you don’t have a story that makes sense of the world, then you don’t know what to do or how to live,” Calder stated.
Calder is a native of Texas, who received his bachelor’s degree at the University of Texas at Austin, graduating Phi Beta Kappa in 1980. He received his master’s and doctorate from the University of Chicago and joined Augustana in 1996, after teaching at Colby-Sawyer College, the University of Washington, Seattle, and the University of Chicago.