I am the faculty co-sponsor of the University of Central Arkansas' Phi Alpha Theta chapter. We are currently working on a book that tells UCA's history through images. We recently received a contract from Arcadia Publishing for the project. Students are getting valuable time in the UCA archives, learning how to compile research and create original captions.
We are also very interested in equipping our students in PAT with the tools they will need to be successful in both graduate school and in their future jobs. To that end, we encourage professional development including presenting at regional and national conferences.
I also work for the Arkansas Center for Research in Economics and each semester I co-lead a reading group for 15 or so students. While the topics are generally history related, we try and cover a broad range of political, economic, and historical topics.
In addition to reading primary sources and select secondary materials, the students also play a Reacting to the Past game. These games challenge the students to take on the role of an historical figure and to use their readings in an interactive setting. So far we have played the American Constitution and the Threshold of Democracy games in reading group.
PAT in the Archives - Spring 2019
Phi Alpha Theta Students Working in the Archives on the History of UCA Through Images, which is forthcoming with Arcadia Publishing in the Fall of 2019. Students selected photographs from UCA's past and researched and wrote captions of those images. The book tells the story of UCA's campus history in four chapters: campus construction, student life, sports, and outreach.
Summer 2019 FEEcon in Atlanta, Georgia
I took a group of six UCA students to FEEcon (June 13-15, 2019) where they heard nationally renowned speakers. In addition to talks about free enterprise, poverty, and justice, students had the opportunity to attend professional development seminars. Notable attendees and speakers included: Henrik Scheel, Austin Wintory, Bryan Kelley, Magatte Wade, Dewitt Jones, John Stossel, and Larry Reed. The theme of the conference was "Set Your Path; Change the World," which encouraged students to pursue what they are passionate about. In doing so, the conference speakers insisted that they would enrich others lives and change the world for the better.
Spring 2019 Freedom and Virtue Seminar, UCA
On a Saturday in March, 12 UCA students read What Adam Smith Knew and discussed the morality of market capitalism. Students engaged with primary texts including Hume, Smith, Locke, Rousseau, and Marx. Topics discussed included the importance of liberty and equality in society, the role of virtue in the economic realm, and true meaning of freedom. I hosted and organized this event with the help of the Intercollegiate Studies Institute.
Spring 2019, The Birth and Evolution of Democracy
In the Spring we read about the origins and evolution of democracy. We began in Greece, reading primary documents such as Plato, Pericles, Xenophon and others. Then we shifted to Rome and learned about its governmental system. Students read Cicero, Polybius, Tacitus, Augustine and other. We concluded by discussing the Magna Carta and the implications of what we had read on the present. In addition to the readings, students also participated in a Reacting to the Past game that gave them the opportunity to shape Athenian democracy. Set in 403 B.C., following the defeat of Athens in the Peloponnesian War, the students used what they had learned about Athens to determine what governing system the city would adopt. We recreated the assembly, with similar rules and customs to what Athens had at the time, and the students delivered impassioned speeches (where they drew on the primary source documents they had read) to persuade their fellow assembly members that their vision for the future of Athens was the correct one.
2019 Phil Alpha Theta Regional Conference
Two of our PAT students presented their papers at the 2019 regional conference at Arkansas State University. They both received excellent experience and feedback. Riley Kovalcheck presented her paper "The Modern Plantation: An Analysis of Arkansas Prison Systems" and Iain Montgomery presented his paper "'Now Let the People do the Rest': The Dangerous Effects of Mob Violence in Kentucky and Tennessee, 1906-1909."