This is what I am going to do. I am going to think of questions you all may have, and I am going to blog an answer... The answer, of course, will be shaped by my experiences. So, here is question number one:
What are the professors like?
I have liked (to absolutely loved) every single on of my professors so far. Obviously there are going to be some professors you connect with better than others, but at least in my experience they have all been wonderful
Just like the rest of the professors on campus, my history professors are well known in their field. Their publications are pretty extensive, and we do have some book editors in our department. I think that is really cool, to have professors at our University that actually put collections of essays together for books. Think about all the work that goes into that! Having to go over every essay, make sure each fits with the theme of the book (if you are looking for an example of what I am talking about, look up William Hewitt's Defining the Horrific).
I could go on and on about all of my professors here, but I think I'll focus on my two for this semester - since we have already done some really cool things in both classes. My Monday class is Problems in Medieval Culture. Basically the class is designed to focus on the major historiographical questions about the fall of Rome through the end of what we call the Middle Ages. Since you are not all history majors, I'm just going to tell you why I like the set up of this class. The professor does assign a great deal of reading for each week, but nothing overwhelming (at least not to me anymore). He opens each class with asking us to tell him what the important points of the reading were. That's the best part. He has us all in a circle and the class debates the issues pretty much the whole class (we have presentations, too, but for this blog that's not so important). He interjects his opinions and answers questions, but it is awesome to have such intellectual conversation for the night. What I love the most about this professor is that he is extremely helpful. At any time you can go to him and ask for help in any aspect of the class. While he has a very laid back classroom atmosphere, he is not easy - by any means. He challenges all of us every class to think and every paper to prove what we think. But, like I said, any questions about what his grading means, and he'll answer it completely honestly.
My Thursday night class is America Goes to War - basically the philosophy and culture behind American wars. We started with WWI and go up to today. This class is filled with an array of media. We watch movie clips, read books, articles, listen to lyrics of songs and show how they relate to American War Culture. The set up of any class is pretty much the same as Monday - open debate/discussion. The best part about this class so far, though, would HAVE to be the talk we went to (on campus) last Thursday. Our professor managed to get - through his incredible connections - a Lt. Col and Col in the military to give a discussion on Counterinsurgency. Whether you are a war nut or not, you cannot deny that being able to gain an unclassified look into American military would be an awesome experience. And it was. I even got to talk to both officers afterwards, and they gave us their email addresses for further questions! This professors has a lot of these talks set up this semester.
Obviously it looks like my classes have been pieces of cake, but they aren't. They are both very demanding and challenging. So let's look at some sub questions:
Are the professors hard? Yes.
Are the professors demanding? They want you to reach your full potential.
Are they fair? Yes. They can't expect you to become great if they don't treat us all the same.
Do they want you to succeed? Absolutely! They wouldn't be helping us get published or push us towards conferences if they didn't.
Are they fun? Some more than others. But all take the strenuous life of graduate school and make it as calm as possible.
Feel free to go to the website, www.wcupa.edu/grad, and click on departments to look up faculty in your program. I guarantee you will not be disappointed!!