Jay Tomlin will join the Department of History as a lecturer in Fall 2019. His students can look forward to elaborate games where they will be assigned the roles of real historical figures to act out historical events in the classroom.
Why did you decide to teach at UNT?
I decided to teach at UNT because of its exciting opportunities to work with a growing and diverse undergraduate body of students. The History department, for example, is investing in cutting edge techniques for the study of history, as well as new methods of engaging and teaching students. It seems an exciting time to be a member of UNT's College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences.
What are you most excited to teach your students?
I am most excited to bring an analytical lens to history courses that allows students to push away from the traditional linear, step by step, "names and dates" approach to the subject, and instead encourages them to focus on the "how" and "why" of history. This approach trains students to understand the cause and effect, the contingency, and the sheer chance involved in a confluence of forces at work in shaping the past and, ultimately, how that informs the present.
What are you bringing to UNT that is new and different?
One of the new pedagogies I have trained to utilize is a promising new approach that uses active learning. That is, courses designed to use immersive historical simulations, game theory, and formative rather than summative learning. This approach not only enhances student access to the material and interest in the subject, but also allows them to think and feel like people from the past. Students learn to love history when they can see themselves as a part of that story and are empowered to find and use their own voice in the learning of it.
What do you tell students or parents of students who are concerned about finding a career after graduation?
I would say to parents or students to focus on skill acquisition rather than career placement. The days of working the same job for 35 years are largely over. This reality comes with both positive and negative effects. But there's every reason to focus on the positive. As the traditional university experience gives way to college education as job training, there is still a great opportunity for students to pursue majors and minors that develop personal skill sets-skill sets that transcend specific jobs or career trajectories. As more and more young people attend college, it becomes more- not less- of a means to become well-rounded in a whole host of areas of professional development. This can ultimately help students to find the jobs that utilize their imagination and their strengths, and teaches them just how much value they can truly to bring to a wide variety of career paths rather than a single job they can get but then never get out of.