2013-2014 Wyatt Fellow
Dr. Thomas Henthorn
I am genuinely pleased to host the Wyatt Exploration of 2013-2014. I joined the department of History in 2010 as the Wyatt Professor of U.S. History with a distinct pedagogical and scholarly mission - to lead civic engagement initiatives between the Department and the community. Since that time, I have worked to craft students' encounters with history that differ from the traditional university experience. Whether students are learning about a specific period or content in history, or grappling with some methodology of the discipline, the hallmark of any course is working outside the classroom, alongside community members, to collaborate in the pursuit of the learning about the past.
i have also worked aggressively to connect our students and program with local history and become involved in the civic life of Flint. For the past three years I have served on the Board of Directors of the Whaley Historic House Museum to cement the relationship with our historic neighbor across the street. In addition, I serve on the board of directors of the Flint Cultural Center Corporation and the Sloan/Longway Advisory Committee. All of these experiences have allowed me to link our program with local cultural and historical institutions and work to improve the way in which history is interpreted for our community. A tangible benefit of these efforts has been the internships available for our students who want to experience the discipline of history in unique ways.
In many ways, the Wyatt Exploration Program provides us with the opportunity to extend those efforts. Like our trips to Poland, Virginia, Japan, and Wales our students will become immersed in the culture and experiences of people who live in the places we study. It is my hope that students will not only come to understand their local surroundings in new ways, but further cement the bonds between the department and the community whose intellectual needs we serve.