Barry McNamara  |   Published June 27, 2016

The ‘Brexit’ shake-up

Monmouth professor Myers says her European Union course won’t be sidetracked
The “Brexit” vote by Britons on June 23 might have created a state of confusion, but it won’t rattle a Monmouth College course on the European Union.

That’s because Monmouth’s innovative history curriculum is designed to handle such uncertainty.

“Because it is one of our primary-source based courses, it’s very easy for me to change up the readings,” said Assistant Professor of History Christine Myers, who teaches the College’s course on the European Union.

Myers will teach the course again during the 2017 spring semester.

“I’ve been sharing news and editorial pieces to the Facebook page I started for the class the first time I taught it at Monmouth, which will serve as research resources for the students next spring,” she said.

Although there has been speculation that Great Britain might hold a “do-over” vote because of reports that some voters were uniformed about the issue, Myers said that is “doubtful.”

“All reports from Britain indicate there was high voter turnout because the citizens truly cared about this issue,” she said. “And the campaigning was vigorous, so they had plenty of time and opportunity to be well informed about their choice.”

Monmouth’s history curriculum stresses research over the study of events. In addition to being a good way to get students interested in history, the approach allows first-year students to focus on narrower subjects, while upperclassmen deal with broader topics in general courses.

A major part of the curriculum is to teach students how to use primary documents – where to find them, how much students can rely on them and how to analyze the sources. Primary documents include items such as court records, love letters, posters and buttons.

While monitoring the situation in Europe, Myers has been busy promoting another innovative Monmouth program – Summer Opportunity for Intellectual Activity (SOFIA), a three-week summer program that allows select students to conduct in-depth research and inquiry with Monmouth faculty.

“On Monday, (faculty colleague) Laura Moore and I presented about the SOFIA program at the Council on Undergraduate Research Biennial Conference in Tampa, Fla.,” she said. “We provided an overview of the successes of the program in student recruitment and retention, and the benefits to faculty and students for continued research. We also each talked a bit about our projects as examples of the creative possibilities of researching with undergrads.”

One of Myers’ previous SOFIA projects was also tied to a major vote in the UK – the 2014 Scottish independence referendum.
Myers earned a doctorate from the University of Strathclyde in Scotland, and her master’s degree was presented jointly by Strathclyde and Central Michigan University. She joined Monmouth’s faculty in 2012.

Megan Noe of WQAD interviews professor Christine Myers
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