Dr. Michael Gagnon is a graduate of Hall County Public Schools and has served on a nuclear powered submarine in the US Navy. He has taught university history courses since 1993. He often helps organize and attends scholarly conferences, and regularly presents at history conferences or reviews articles by other scholars. He often has multiple projects in development at the same time, but most draw on local history to understand regional and national trends.
Gagnon has six overarching goals in teaching history in college. First, it conveys enough information, organized into a story, that students will remember it when they leave college. Second, when telling his stories, he often cites historical themes from current events, convincing students that studying history can yield useful insights for the present. Third, he introduces students to the analytical categories of race, class, and gender to understand stories and their own worlds.
Fourth, he seeks to introduce students to scholarly discussions within the field of history so that they see the discipline of history as a process of inquiry rather than as a limited body of knowledge. Fifth, he introduces them to the techniques of historical research and spends time in class introducing historical research methods, using traditional and online documents.
He rewards some students for their good work by taking them out each year to present their research at the conference. Sixth, and finally, it helps students to write well. He emphasizes how to structure historical arguments and how to use evidence to illustrate a point. Gagnon’s agenda among these six academic goals is to encourage students to think independently and share their ideas with others.
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