Roots of Contemporary Issues News
The end of the 2018-19 academic year has brought multiple exciting transitions in leadership for the program. While Jesse Spohnholz is on research sabbatical following his recent promotion to full professor (congrats!), Rob McCoy will serve as Interim Director for 2019-20. Rob brings teaching experience in RCI dating back to the earliest years of the program and a wealth of departmental leadership experience to the Interim Director’s position. Clif Stratton, who has served as Assistant Director since 2014, has accepted the position of Director of University Common Requirements (UCORE) for WSU. Stratton will continue to teach in the program and will now bring experience in RCI to the Office of Undergraduate Education. Katy Whalen will seamlessly step into the role of Assistant Director. Whalen has served as Curriculum Coordinator for the past two years, is a seasoned classroom teacher, and is therefore well positioned to assume the Assistant Director role. In her place, Ashley Wright will serve as Curriculum Coordinator. As a tenure-track member of the History faculty, Wright, like McCoy, also brings teaching experience in RCI to her new role.
Program Outreach and Service
RCI faculty and the program itself remain important models for scholarly engagement beyond WSU and beyond the academy. This year’s RCI events included “Roots of Contemporary Issues: An Innovative Approach to Core Humanities Curriculum;” a delivered address at Pullman’s Neill Public Library on the history of the electoral college and the US political system, the release of Rijn Religies, a dual language (German & Dutch) smartphone app introducing history of religious refugees to travelers of the Rhine River Valley; two roundtable events – one on decolonization pedagogy at the Western Association of Women Historians Annual Conference, and one on publishing in the field of empire and decolonization for the French Colonial Historical Association; service on the board of the Spokane Preservation Advocates and Washington Trust for Historical Preservation. RCI further hosted a lecture by Dr. Lawrence Pintak regarding the relationship between America and Islam, as well as a George and Bernadine Converse lecture by Dr. Alfiee Breland-Noble regarding mental health and depression disparities in black youth.
Further expansion on RCI Programming can be found here!