From Mentoring to Collaborating: Fostering Undergraduate Research in History

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In this essay, I argue that historians should join their colleagues in the sciences in creating supportive environments for undergraduate research. Despite the apparent hurdles to overcome, historians can devise effective undergraduate research experiences that mimic those occurring in chemistry, biology, and psychology labs across campus. Like the sciences, undergraduate research in history can be successfully implemented in ways that positively advance a scholar's research and teaching agenda. My personal examples consider how to collaborate with undergraduates in the field of pre-modern European history, specifically the social history of France before 1800, an area of study perhaps more difficult for faculty to incorporate undergraduates into because of the specialized linguistic training required to pursue research. Moreover, these examples will illustrate how undergraduate research typically fostered within a selective liberal arts college or a Carnegie Research I university can be facilitated at a comprehensive state university-an academic context typically perceived by faculty to be least amenable to undergraduate research, and one that is currently under fire from critics of higher education for not doing enough to engage its students.

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The History Teacher