Congratulations to the WHC’s newest Teaching World History Credential Awardees, Dr. Aura Jirau Arroyo (spring 2021), Leonardo Moreno-Alvarez (spring 2022) and Dr. Matthew Plishka (spring 2022). Graduate students in Pitt's Department of History may pursue a credential in Teaching World History as part of their professionalization portfolio. The credential requires that students take a graduate course on Teaching World History and at least two courses with transregional or world historical perspectives, design a syllabus for a World History survey course and teach a stand-alone World History class.
Recently World History Center staff caught up with our newest recipients to discuss the credential and how it shaped their teaching and experience on the job market.
Leonardo felt as though taking the courses required for the credential, especially the graduate course on teaching world history, gave him the opportunity to try new things in his classroom and become acquainted with new materials and important historical conversations. About creating his own syllabus for world history, Leonardo said, “It was a fantastic experience in the sense that it forced me to come up with my own structure but also allowed me to have the freedom to follow my curiosity and build on the things that did work.”
Aura found that teaching world history prepared her well for the job market – an ability institutions are increasingly looking for. Aura noted that taking the graduate course in world history helped her to talk about history in a pedagogical sense, something that translated into a concrete teaching philosophy. Through this experience, Aura was able to convey her expertise not only in her field but also in the theory, method, and craft of teaching a history course.
Similarly, Matt found that thinking and teaching about world history prepared him for the job market. Matt said “Teaching a class that is 5% of your knowledge base forces you to form a teaching philosophy more so than teaching within your area of expertise might.” This is because when teaching world history, an instructor must think critically about how they would like to present so much material to their students. This experience, in turn, helped him to form and shape his teaching philosophy.
All of our credential awardees will continue their teaching and study of world history in the future. In the fall of 2022, Leonardo will join Pitt’s history department as a Visiting Instructor of World History. Matt will begin a three-year Collaborative Humanities Postdoctoral Fellowship at Vanderbilt University. And Aura will join Eastern Illinois University as an Assistant Professor of Latin American and Latinx History in the fall.