by Professor Jacki Rand

Dear fellow public historians and Iowa community members,

In the coming months, students and I will blog about History Corps, an organic project, housed in an academic department, which serves as an idea incubator, skills acquisition lab, and all around collaborative playground for the serious work of exploring history.  Our aim is to model the principles of public history—research, collaboration, and engagement.  The blog facilitates transparency, dissemination of information about projects under construction, and engagement with you, our audience. We invite you to become a part of our project by watching as we build, raising questions, and offering criticism.   We declare at the outset our gratitude for the support we have received from the UI Department of History, Obermann Center for Advanced Studies, and The Studio (UI Libraries).

A dedicated group of history graduate students at the University of Iowa manages History Corps.  It is my privilege to serve as faculty advisor.  On a personal note, History Corps energizes my life as an associate professor of history and American Indian and Native Studies each day. The students and I are partners working in the absence of hierarchies typical of student-faculty relationships which allows us to learn from each other. History Corps has altered my pedagogical approach to undergraduate and graduate teaching for the better and completes my transformation as committed scholar in the public humanities.

We hope you will return at the first and middle of each month to see what we’re learning and experiencing as engaged scholars.

Jacki Rand, Associate Professor of History, Faculty Advisor to History Corps

Associate Professor Jacki Thompson Rand has served as faculty advisor to History Corps since 2013.  She teaches the graduate seminar in public history in addition to her various courses on American Indian history and federal Indian law and policy.  Her turn to the public humanities, and her growing knowledge of the digital humanities, has transformed her pedagogical approach to undergraduate and graduate teaching, most of now center on collaborative, project-based work based on primary source and secondary literature research.  She hopes to model her transformation as a teacher, using History Corps as a pedagogical incubator, for her colleagues and hesitant others who are interested in the public humanities.