This is my first semester here at Sam Houston State and I am quite excited to meet all my students and get to know all my new colleagues. In the meantime, I’ve been racing to finish a couple articles, revise my book manuscript based on reader reports, as well as prepare curriculum for my classes. I’ve at least reached a milestone on that last goal: all my syllabuses are completed. In fact, I finished them last Thursday and emailed them out to students. I always try to email a finished syllabus to students a week before class starts for two reasons: 1) it works as a self-imposed deadline so I don’t keep tinkering with the syllabus until the hour before class, and 2) it allows the students to know what they are getting into.
I am teaching two undergraduate courses this year, the first half of the American survey as well as American religious history, along with a graduate seminar on American cultural and religious history. This is the life! I’ve tried to come up with some activities and assignments that will spark student enthusiasm. For my American religious history course, for instance, I’m asking my students to come up with a fictitious presidential candidate who has some controversial religious affiliation (they will have read both Barack Obama’s and Mitt Romney’s speeches on religion in preparation) and then write their own address meant to calm the electorate’s fears. They will be delivering their speeches on November 8, Election Day. We’ll see how it works.
For those interested, here are the syllabuses for each class:
- American History to 1877
- American Religious History (undergraduate)
- American Cultural and Religious History (graduate)
I’ll hopefully be blogging insights throughout the semester. Best of luck to everyone else starting classes this week!