Skip to Content

Innovative Instruction

U-M History faculty teach; they do not just do research. One of the largest history departments in the world, our classes span an extraordinary range of eras, regions, and topics. Our faculty’s dedication to undergraduate teaching offers students a window into cutting-edge historical research as well as providing a solid foundation for students to engage rigorously with sources and historical interpretations.

In addition to traditional lecture and seminar courses, History faculty have developed novel approaches to understanding the past, including field trips, archives projects, and public history initiatives. U-M History faculty are perennial winners of college and university teaching awards, and the History Department recently won the LSA Student Government's Department Award of Excellence.

Department Undergraduate Awards

  • LSA Student Government’s Departmental Award of Excellence, 2012-13
  • LSA Dean’s Office’s Departmental Award for Contributions to the Undergraduate Initiative, 2012-13
  • LSA Department Award for Outstanding Contributions to Undergraduate Education, 2002-03

Faculty Teaching Awards

Golden Apple Award
honors teachers who consistently teach each lecture as if it were their last, and strive not only to disseminate knowledge but to inspire and engage students in its pursuit; one award annually

  • Matthew Lassiter (2004)
  • Victor B. Lieberman (2014)

Arthur F. Thurnau Professorships
recognizes and rewards faculty for outstanding contributions to undergraduate education; five awarded annually

  • Charles C. Bright (2009)
  • Kathleen M. Canning (1996)
  • Martha Jones (2013)
  • Valerie A. Kivelson (1997)
  • Matthew Lassiter (2015)
  • Terrence J. McDonald (1993)
  • Brian Porter-Szücs (2012)
  • Rebecca J. Scott (1994)

John Dewey Award
recipients demonstrate long-term commitment to the education of undergraduate students

  • Matthew Lassiter (2017)
  • Douglas Northrop (2014)
  • Brian Porter-Szücs (2010)

Provost’s Teaching Innovation Prize
honors original, specific innovations to improve student learning

  • Douglas Northrop (2011)

Harold R. Johnson Diversity Service Award
recognizes faculty whose service contributes to the development of a culturally and ethnically diverse campus community

  • Matthew Countryman (2008)
  • Martha Jones (2011)
  • Anthony Mora (2017)

Undergraduate Teaching Award
recognizes a History faculty member who has challenged students, encouraged them to think in new ways, or has displayed exceptional innovation or creativity in teaching; presented by the History Club

  • Rita Chin (2017)

Outstanding Contributions to Undergraduate Education Award
recognizes faculty members who are exceptionally dedicated to the educational experiences of undergraduates, and who demonstrate this dedication through achievements and innovations in their own and others’ classrooms or academic programs

  • Anne Berg (2016)
  • Juan Cole (2004)
  • James Cook (2005)
  • Farina Mir (2013)
  • Brian Porter-Szücs (2006)
  • Paolo Squatriti (2003)

Matthews Underclass Teaching Awards
honors significant contributions to the teaching of first- and second-year students in mathematics, history and modern languages, broadly interpreted

  • Stephen Berrey (2016)
  • Kathleen M. Canning (1994)
  • Victor B. Lieberman (2012)
  • Martin S. Pernick (2015)
  • Raymond Van Dam (2002)

Class of 1923 Memorial Teaching Awards
recipients demonstrate outstanding teaching during their first years on the faculty

  • Paulina Alberto (2012)
  • Stephen Berrey (2015)
  • Sueann Caulfield (1997)
  • Matthew Lassiter (2006)
  • Farina Mir (2010)
  • Ian Moyer (2012)
  • Ellen Muehlberger (2015)

Excellence in Education Awards
recognizes special efforts in the areas of classroom teaching, curricular innovation, and the supervision of student research, as well as other significant contributions to the quality of the college's teaching-learning environment

  • Juan Cole (2004)
  • James Cook (2005)
  • Nancy Rose Hunt (1999)
  • Susan Juster (1995)
  • Valerie Kivelson (1995)
  • Victor B. Lieberman (1999)
  • Farina Mir (2013)
  • Regina Morantz-Sanchez (1998)
  • Martin S. Pernick (1994, 1999)
  • Brian Porter-Szűcs (2006)
  • Paolo Squatriti (2003)
  • Raymond Van Dam (1998)

University Undergraduate Teaching Award
honors faculty in the early stages of their careers who have demonstrated outstanding ability in teaching undergraduate students

  • James Cook (2003)
  • Matthew Lassiter (2005)
  • Terrence J. McDonald (1991)

John H. D'Arms Faculty Award for Distinguished Graduate Mentoring in the Humanities
recognizes scholars and/or creative artists of extraordinary depth and breadth who have provided their students with the quality of support that only remarkable learning, coupled with boundless generosity of spirit, can bestow

  • Kathleen M. Canning (1999)
  • Matthew Countryman (2016)
  • Philip J. Deloria (2012)
  • Geoff Eley (2005)
  • Rebecca J. Scott (2011)
  • Scott Spector (2015)
  • Thomas R. Trautmann (2006)
  • Raymond Van Dam (2014)

Environmental Encounters in Japan: Leslie Pincus Leads A Field-Based Extension of History 392 to Tokyo and Beyond

By Terre Fisher

It’s one thing to study Japan’s environmental history in the classroom and another thing to learn through direct experience in the field.

In May, History professor Leslie Pincus led students from History 392, “Doing Environmental History in Japan,” on a nineteen-day extension course exploring environmental legacies and prospects for sustainable futures in Japan ... (read more)

Making the Invisible Visible: Kira Thurman and Students Map Afro-German History

By Gregory Parker

Fragmented, isolated, and marginalized. In Kira Thurman’s estimation, this describes the more than eight million people of African descent living in Europe.

They are a small but sizable minority who trace their roots to a multitude of countries, including former colonies. Some measure their time on the new continent in terms of days or years; others can look back upon a multigenerational heritage spanning centuries. They share no common language. Some were driven to Europe by violence and poverty, others by opportunity. Some followed family members north ... (read more)

In the News: Students, Faculty Partner to Digitize Historic Photo Albums

By Gregory Parker

The Arabella Chapman Project website debuted on March 10, 2015, the latest phase in a multi-year initiative that utilizes Chapman’s photo albums to “explore the role of visual culture, especially photography, as a critical dimension of the everyday life and politics of black Americans at the end of the nineteenth century.” The website features digitized versions of the photo albums, the originals of which are preserved in the university’s William L. Clements Library ... (read more)

In the News: Undergrads Make Michigan History

By Gregory Parker

It felt less like course work and more like detective work.“Archival research meant literally digging through thousands of documents—most that had nothing to do with our project—to find a single piece of paper,” said Emilie Irene Neumeier, a student in Professor Matthew Lassiter’s winter 2015 seminar, History 497, Global Activism at U-M: The Anti-War, Anti-Apartheid, and Anti-Sweatshop Movements ... (read more)