Assoc. News Editor
1. How long have you been teaching at Millersville University?
I have been teaching at Millersville University for four years.
2. What classes do you teach at MU?
I teach Imperial Russia, the Soviet Union, Modern Jewish History, Hitler and Nazism, Europe and the World, 1789 to Present and Twentieth Century Europe.
3. Where did you go to school?
I have a Ph.D. in Jewish history from Brandeis University in Boston and a Ph.D. in Russian history from the Russian State Humanitarian University in Moscow. My undergraduate studies were at Kiev State Pedagogical University in Ukraine.
4. Why did you become a teacher?
I love to teach, to share my knowledge with other people, I hope that I can make the past more relevant and comprehensible for my students.
5. Have you always wanted to be a teacher?
Yes, but I thought at first that I want to be a grade school teacher. However, when I began my career as a middle school teacher in Kiev, Ukraine, I very soon understood that 10 – 12- year-olds have many limits in their understanding of historical material. The material should be intentionally simplified for them. I am more interested in the scholarly approach to history so the university level of teaching is much more enjoyable for me.
6. What do you like most about being a teacher at MU?
Our good students and my supportive colleagues are the best aspects of MU teaching. I like students who show their interest in history, who ask me many questions and who read well beyond the class requirements.
My colleagues have given me many good ideas regarding teaching and the organization of some special events. For example I am working now with my students on preparation of a small exhibit of Russian-Ukrainian folk arts.
I like the opportunity to establish the new courses. I added a couple years ago to the school curriculum my new course Modern Jewish History.
Each University Professor is not only a teacher, but also a scholar. I truly enjoy my research in Russian Jewish History, I participate in US and international conferences with my presentations, and I publish my books and articles.
I really appreciate that Millersville University gives me the opportunity to organize a scholarly conference on the campus. I have been the Director of the Millersville Conference on the Holocaust and Genocide since 2010. This is an international conference, where participate the best scholars in the field. MU has hosted already 32 conferences and we will have the 33rd conference from Apr. 2-4, 2014. These conferences allowed scholars to share their research and for students to receive their first scholarly experience, meet with professors from other universities, and learn more about the Holocaust and Genocide.
The theme of the 2014 conference is “Resistance to the Holocaust and Genocide.” The conference is free and open to the public. I hope to see MU faculty and students and community members in the audience. Further information about the conference will be posted at the conference web site in the next few months: http://www.millersville.edu/holocon/
7. What are your hobbies or special interests?
I like to travel and see the world. I have been to many European countries, which I believe is important for my teaching of European History. I learned there more about the history and culture of these countries and share my knowledge with my colleagues and students. I also like the arts: painting, sculpture, film, theater and music. So if I have free time I go to see exhibits, the theater, a concert or to a good movie.
8. Do you have any advice for students who are thinking about earning a degree in education?
To be a good educator you should be an interesting person yourself. So I recommend students to read beyond the course requirements, travel, enjoy the arts, and incorporate your personal experience in your teaching.
9. What teaching techniques do you utilize in the classroom?
The learning process should be interesting and enjoyable for students. So I incorporate documentaries, arts, movies and music in my historical lectures. I believe that this interdisciplinary approach to teaching is most effective, because it involves not only logical thinking, but also imagination and emotions of the students. You cannot forget something that really amazed you, appealed to your emotions and feelings.
The documentaries, arts and music also help students to comprehend better the spirit of the time. I often organize class discussions, because I would like to hear the opinion of my students about various historical processes and events.
10. Is there any advice or knowledge you would like to bestow upon the MU students and/or faculty?
Enjoy your life! Gaining knowledge is the most interesting part of life.