Numbers never tell the whole story, but they can serve as a useful shorthand for the remarkable accomplishments of our faculty: seven books published last year and another five expected this year; eighteen major fellowship awards over the past six years, a record that would be the envy of any research university in the country; over $400,000 dollars awarded this year by federal agencies in support of our presidential papers projects; and the college and university honored our faculty with four research awards. Our graduate students have contributed to this distinguished record, winning many external research fellowship awards this year, including two Fulbright awards.
Those numbers add up to one conclusion—that our department is home to a remarkably productive and engaged community of scholars that’s making major contributions to what historians can tell us about the past.
And our faculty speak to more than the national and international scholarly audience that reads our books and grants these research awards. We are proud to be a department of excellent and committed teachers who provide UT students the chance to learn about history from people who are writing it. Some of the most exciting conversations going on in our halls these days involve new ways to engage our students, and the number that comes up in these conversations is 299, as in “History 299.” That’s our new entry-level seminar for our history majors, designed to build a close mentoring relationship between faculty and students, and to show students what it means to “think like a historian.”
We are also actively engaged in taking our scholarship beyond the classroom. Each year we give dozens of public talks in the community, and host an annual workshop for history teachers that connects over twenty-five area teachers with our faculty. We join the East Tennessee Historical Society in hosting the region’s National History Day, where several hundred area students share their passion for history with faculty and student judges. And we continue our program that brings faculty into area classrooms, culminating this year in a campus visit from forty advanced history students from Fulton and Austin-East high schools.
In this newsletter we aim to put some flesh and blood on the bare bones of those numbers. Thanks for spending some time staying in touch with us. We’re pleased to number you among our valued supporters.