History Department
History Department

History Faculty recognized by UT Regents for bringing award-winning, innovative research to the classroom; Erika Bsumek latest to be recognized with ROTA Award

Thu, August 2, 2018
History Faculty recognized by UT Regents for bringing award-winning, innovative research to the classroom; Erika Bsumek latest to be recognized with ROTA Award
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Dr. Erika M. Bsumek, Associate Professor and Eugene C. Barker Centennial Professor in American History, is among twenty-seven faculty members from across The University of Texas System to be named a recipient of the 2018 Regents’ Outstanding Teaching Award (ROTA).  She is the thirteenth faculty member in the History Department to be awarded the prestigious and highly competitive prize, which recognizes innovative teaching and commitment to student success.
“The Regents' Outstanding Teaching Awards are among the largest in the nation for rewarding outstanding faculty performance” according to the Regents’ announcement. “Nominees undergo a series of rigorous evaluations by students, peer faculty and external reviewers. The review panels consider a range of activities and criteria in their evaluations of a candidate's teaching performance, including classroom expertise, curricula quality, innovative course development and student learning outcomes.”

“It is only fitting that Dr. Bsumek has joined the distinguished History professors selected for the Regents’ Outstanding Teaching Award," said Dr. Jacqueline Jones, Professor and Chair of the History Department, Ellen C. Temple Chair in Women’s History, and Mastin Gentry White Professor of Southern History. "Erika is a gifted teacher, reaching across the disciplines and UT colleges to introduce students to the history of Native Americans, the U. S. West, and the environment.  She has not only utilized but also developed cutting-edge technology for the classroom. On behalf of my colleagues in the department, I can say that we are thrilled that she has received this much-deserved award.”
And UT History may have more winners than just about any department in the System, a testament to the department’s astonishing track record of teaching excellence in the classroom. Previous UT History recipients of the Regent's award have included historians of the U.S., Europe, Latin America, Africa, and the Middle East, as well as scholars of Early Modern and Modern history, and have represented all ranks from Senior Distinguished Senior Lecturer, to Assistant, Associate, and Full Professors:

Janet Davis, 2016
Julie Hardwick, 2014
Toyin Falola, 2013
Michael B. Stoff, 2012
Brian P. Levack, 2011
Yoav Di-Capua, 2011
Frank A. Guridy, 2010 (now at Columbia University)
Tiffany M. Gill, 2010 (now at University of Delaware)
George B. Forgie, 2010
Penne L. Restad, 2009
G. Howard Miller, 2009 (retired)
Karl Haagstrom Miller, 2009 (now at University of Virginia)
Read more about these past winners: Julie Hardwick; Toyin Falola; Michael Stoff; Yoav Di-Capua and Brian Levack; George Forgie, Tiffany Gill, and Frank Guridy; and G. Howard Miller, Karl Haagstrom Miller, and Penne Restad.

Since the ROTA program began in 2008, UT System has granted “nearly $18 million to more than 700 UT faculty who have delivered the highest quality of instruction in the classroom, laboratory, field and online,” according to a 2017 statement by the Regents.
Professor Bsumek is currently at work developing a history concept mapping timeline tool called ClioVis: Visualizing Historical Connections which allows students to create events and connect them to provide a graphical view of the times and causality of history. The tool has proven both engaging in the classroom and helpful for students’ understanding and connecting events in the past. She recently posted a piece in Life & Letters on why learning history will better prepare students to solve the biggest challenges society faces now and in the future. She is also editing a new collaborative web-based project called “Radical Hope,” a crowd-sourced syllabus featuring essays on creating the infrastructures of hope in the face of ecological crisis. Read more about “Radical Hope: Inspiring Sustainability Transformations Through Our Past,” the conference that inspired the syllabus.

Bsumek researches and teaches Native American history, U.S. West history, environmental history, the history of engineering, and the history of consumption and production that cover the relationship between geography, climate change, and engineering. She is the author of Indian-made: Navajo Culture in the Marketplace, 1880-1940 (University of Kansas Press, 2008), which examined the intersection of consumerism and ethnic identity construction, and co-editor of Nation States and the Global Environment: New Approaches to Environmental History (Oxford University Press, 2013). She was awarded the Louisville Institute Sabbatical Grant for Researchers in 2018-2019 to complete her book project “Damming Zion: Race, Religion, and Environmental Stewardship on the Colorado Plateau, 1800-1980.”

Image Top Left: Professor Erika M. Bsumek, credit Kirsten Thompson Photography.
Top Row, L to R: Julie Hardwick, Yoav Di-Capua, Penne L. Restad
Second Row, L to R: Toyin Falola, Frank A. Guridy, G. Howard Miller
Third Row, L to R: Michael B. Stoff, Tiffany M. Gill, Karl Haagstrom Miller
Fourth Row, L to R: Brian P. Levack, George B. Forgie, Janet Davis

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