It is worth noting that our program has so far attracted three recipients of the very impressive–and extremely competitive (only one fellowship is awarded per state each year)–James Madison Memorial Fellowship. The fellowship is designed to enable practicing teachers to attain the M.A. in History (with a concentration in American constitutional history) at any institution of their choosing in the United States.
At the current time there are two Madison Fellows, Jason Todd and Andrew Vernon, enrolled in our program. Here are few remarks from them regarding their impressions of La Salle’s graduate program in history:
“The initial appeal of the La Salle M.A in History program was that it allowed me the flexibility to pursue my degree while working as a full-time teacher. The availability of a summer term affords me the opportunity to complete the program in a timely fashion. The Saturday morning course offerings are an added convenience. Finally, and most significantly, two graduates of the program (one a James Madison Fellow) strongly encouraged me to apply. Both were overwhelmingly positive about the program’s structure, rigor, and quality of instruction…My experience in the program to date has been nothing but positive. Academically, I have been thoroughly challenged to grow as a student of history; as a teacher, the program has both energized and enriched my classroom instruction. The Visualizing History and Oral History courses, in particular, confronted me with perspectives on the study of history that I had not previously encountered. The core readings courses connected, in a very direct way, to the content I cover in the high school curriculum and, thus, were extremely helpful in deepening my content knowledge. My interactions with professors and students, both inside and outside the classroom, have made me a better student and teacher of history.”
~ Jason Todd, Class of 2014
“Initially the option of a Masters in the History of Education, the reputation of the program, and strength of its faculty are what made me consider La Salle. La Salle carries a reputation of rigor in the history profession. In fact, the James Madison Fellowship Program chose Dr. Leibiger to deliver a keynote at their symposium this year. As a history teacher, a challenging program with expert content knowledge was what I was looking for. After sitting down with Dr. Stow, (which no other institution offered to do) he explained the coursework and what La Salle had to offer. Dr. Stows’ blatant honesty concerning aspects of his own program, and the advice he gave me concerning my other options were invaluable, and unique. I do not think the directors of many programs set aside time for individual prospective students…To conclude, the impression of this program is lasting, both in terms of the content it challenges you to acquire and the personalized education it provides you from application to graduation.”
~ Andrew Vernon, Current Student
M.A. in History
“The Master’s program in History at La Salle, unlike most master’s level History programs, advanced my knowledge of frequently neglected historical methods and applications that have grown increasingly important and common to the study of history. The faculty emphasizes the need to employ social scientific and humanistic research methodologies that enhance the quality of historical analysis and magnify the quantity of available source materials. Dr. Francis Ryan, for instance, guided my research on the historical significance of the Harlem Renaissance in shaping African-American identity during the twentieth century and insightfully instructed me on what literary and historical sources I should utilize within my research.
After completing my degree at La Salle, I sought a Ph.D. program that would build on my previous graduate work in African-American and Intellectual History and would offer similar educational challenges and advantages to those I had experienced at La Salle. As I prepare to begin my doctoral studies at the University of Rochester, I intend to apply what I had been taught at La Salle to my doctoral research and to teach future students about the different research techniques and methods that La Salle’s faculty imparted to me.”
~ Matthew Smalarz, Class of 2006
“I wanted a graduate program that was practical, but more challenging than the trendy on-line universities my colleagues were stuck in. I found a home at La Salle. Evening classes fit my schedule, and the historical readings courses I am enrolled in have enhanced my academic prowess. Having the assistance of a well-respected faculty of professional historians is also an invaluable asset. You won’t find that on-line.”
~ Michael DiCamillo, Class of 2006
“The history program at La Salle is both challenging and rewarding; as a high school teacher I am able to apply what I am learning into my classroom. The style of the program is inventive in its blend of reading courses and hands-on ‘teaching history’ courses. I would have to say that the program fits every criteria I was looking for in a Master’s program.”
~ Patty Roessner, Class of 2007
“The degree of flexibility in the program and accessibility of the professors is unparalleled, compared to my prior graduate education. The professors are extremely excited about the program, have thoroughly mastered their respective disciplines, and engage the students at every opportunity. The structure of the program and competency of the professors makes this a perfect program for the working professional.”
~ Gregg Pearson, Class of 2008
“I was first attracted to the La Salle M.A. in History program due to its course design and flexible schedule; its reputation for rigor and small classes further appealed to me. As a graduate, I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to learn how to do the work of a historian. The program accommodates full-time working professionals with evening and Saturday classes. As a high school teacher, the availability of a summer term enabled me to reach graduation more swiftly.
Beyond scheduling, however, the La Salle program allows students to pursue their individual historical interests within its structure. The small class size helps students form bonds with one another and get personalized attention from professors.
Academically, I have been thoroughly challenged to grow as a student of history; as a teacher, the program has both energized and enriched my classroom instruction. Specifically, the Visualizing History and Oral History courses confronted me with perspectives on the study of history that I had not previously encountered. The core readings courses directly connected to the high school curriculum I teach and, thus, were extremely helpful in deepening my content knowledge. The structured thesis-writing process significantly enhanced my ability to work with primary source documents – a critical historical skill. The close mentorship of a knowledgeable faculty member gave me the confidence to create an original work in which I can take pride. In sum, the hard work required by the M.A. in History program has made me a better student and teacher of history. Most importantly, the faculty and my peers at La Salle have taught me how to be a historian.”
~Jason Todd, Class of 2014
“Participating in the La Salle University History M.A. program was a very rewarding experience. The professors created an atmosphere of enthusiasm and fun in learning, while challenging me academically. Small classes provided a personal learning experience where participation was important. This personal attention enables students to excel and explore those areas of history that perhaps were not their main interest. American History is my passion and I especially enjoyed the Visual History, Readings in American History classes and Historiography project. All my courses, but especially these, aided me in writing my thesis and honing my researching skills. While I graduated with a sense of relief and accomplishment, I soon missed the intellectual stimulation and creative atmosphere of the classroom. The highly dedicated professors in the history department created this environment. The La Salle history Masters program is one I highly recommend to others.”
~Paula Gidjunis, Class of 2014
“As a recent graduate of La Salle University’s Masters of History, I would highly recommend the program. As a business executive with twenty years in the consumer goods industry, a graduate degree in History might not appear as a natural fit. However, the writing and research skills that I have developed in the program provide me with a point of differentiation in my career progression.
The History program at LaSalle added to my professional development and granted me the opportunity to explore one of my passions. Over the time that I spent in the program, my perspective has expanded through reading numerous books and by thought-provoking class room discussions with a diverse array of individuals. My professors at LaSalle have encouraged all my endeavors and their world class knowledge has challenged me to perform at a very high level.
My last few years at LaSalle have reawakened my spirit for continual learning and have opened paths for me that I have never before considered. I have only the highest regard for the program and would strongly encourage anyone interested in the program to continue their journey at LaSalle University.”
~Charles Lannutti, Class of 2014
La Salle’s Public History program allowed me to pursue my master’s degree while working a full-time job in fundraising. The program is ideal for a student who not only has a passion to learn history, but wants to develop techniques to preserve and portray that history as well. Each course challenged me to improve my analytical thinking and to examine history’s influence on today’s society. The program goes far beyond textbooks into hands-on conservation and exhibition.
In addition to improving my writing and communication skills, the Public History program allowed me to explore different methods in recording and displaying history. I produced documentaries and created historic Web sites. I honed my archival skills while drafting proposals for exhibits. Perhaps my favorite project was my internship at the Woodlands Historic Mansion and Cemetery, where I shadowed the site’s executive director for two months. The internship gave me keen insight into the day-to-day operations and connected me to the local history network. I still volunteer at The Woodlands to this day.
La Salle’s M.A. in Public History program has opened the door for me to successfully pursue my goal of becoming an executive director of an historic site. It was exactly the program I was looking for.
~ Adam Clements, Class of 2012
While attending La Salle, I learned how to produce and edit historical documentaries, design a Web site, professionally transcribe oral interviews, critically analyze historical pieces, navigate the intricacies of museum software programs, and design a museum exhibit with all the minutiae that such a project encompasses. This is just some of the knowledge I gained.
In today’s technologically advancing world, it is imperative to stay ahead of the curve. I started La Salle as a technological novice; but by the time I graduated, I was years ahead of where I started. I am grateful for La Salle’s Public History program because I know that it is the starting point from which all my career goals will come true. I now possess a solid foundation to build upon and a thorough and in-depth understanding of what “public history” means. I developed a confidence in my abilities as a historian and an educator that I did not have prior to La Salle.
Most importantly, La Salle helped me gain the knowledge and confidence necessary to make my career goals come true. I learned skills that will continue to benefit me throughout my lifetime. I truly feel that I gained a competitive edge by attending this university. I found a network of support and encouragement at La Salle and have made lifelong friends.
On a personal note, I am currently awaiting my Pennsylvania teaching certification, and I am on the Pennsylvania civil service list to become a Pennsylvania park ranger. In pursuit of a career, I have learned that La Salle helped finely tune and develop the qualifications that employers are looking for.
~ Elizabeth Keppel, Class of 2012