Archive for April, 2015

Alumni@Work: Catching Up With Our Former Students, Part II

Today, Patrick Jung (PhD, 1997), offers some insights into a non-traditional route into academia and advice about being flexible while moving into the profession.

I received my Ph.D. in United States history in 1997, but I did not move into the professoriate immediately.  For the first five years, I workpatrickJunged full time in the non-profit sector and as an adjunct professor at UW-Milwaukee, Lakeland College, Mount Senario College, and Marquette University’s College of Professional Studies.  In every case, I taught evening and weekend courses in various adult degree programs.  I found this to be particularly rewarding because I maintained my connection to academe, and I was able to supplement the income of my full-time job with income earned from part-time teaching.  I also taught a wide variety of courses: United States history, history of Western civilization, global history, history of the Middle East, women’s history, Wisconsin history, American Indian history, and American government.   Thus, when I applied for my current position in 2003, I was a good fit because MSOE requires that I teach a variety of history courses (in fact, I am the only history professor at MSOE).

My position at MSOE also requires that I teach more than one discipline.  While in graduate school, one of my minor fields was cultural anthropology, and I teach all the cultural anthropology courses at MSOE.  In fact, one of the anthropology courses I teach is Latin American culture, a course that requires a one-week trip to Central America during spring break.  I have made five trips to Central America and have visited Honduras, Guatemala, and Panama.  One of the best things about teaching at an engineering school (and being the only professor with backgrounds in history and anthropology) is that I teach a broad number of courses in both disciplines.  I was also tapped to teach art history, and this afforded me an opportunity to write a book on the German artist Erich Mercker, whose paintings grace our art museum on campus (the Grohmann Museum).  I have made nine trips Europe in the past five years, most of which have been to Munich, Germany.  I have also visited Berlin, Bremen, Bremerhaven, Nuremberg, Göttingen, Brussels, Amsterdam, and Dublin.  In fact, I was even tasked to teach a political science course on European government and the European Union for this reason.

Here are few lessons I want to pass on to current graduate students.  First, be flexible.  A doctoral degree in history prepares you for more than working in academe.  I found the non-profit sector to be rewarding, challenging, and satisfying.  Second, working as an adjunct gave me a significant amount of classroom experience that made me a more attractive candidate when I did decide to move into the academy.  Third, working at a smaller institution that does not have a history department has provided jung bookme with life-changing experiences that I never would have had if I would have gone to a larger institution and worked in a traditional history department (and where I probably would have taught only United States history).  I have seen much of the world, and other opportunities are now on the horizon.

Pat Jung received his PhD from MU in 1997. He is the author of The Black Hawk War of 1832 (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2007) and co-author of The Nicolet Corrigenda: New France Revisited (Arlington Heights, IL: Waveland Press, 2009). He won the Oscar Werwath Distinguished Teacher Award from the Milwaukee School of Engineering in 2010.


Alumni@Work: Catching Up With Our Former Students

Editor’s note: When we launched Historians@Work three years ago, we announced our intention to focus on “the journeys the community of historians at Marquette take in the name of research, broadly defined. Some of these will be actual, physical journeys, to archives, to conferences, to places strange and familiar to our readers. Others will be intellectual, as we learn about our world and ourselves through our research.” Since then, in about five dozen separate blog entries, we have written about “the places and ideas and yes, adventures, that we encounter scrounging through archives, networking with our colleagues, and even at our computers.”

Over the next several weeks we’ll turn H@W over to our former PhD students, who will provide updates on their own journeys since leaving Marquette. Some have remained in Milwaukee, working at local universities; others have traveled the world. My email invited them to write “a paragraph or two about your experiences, including frustrations, discoveries, altered viewpoints—anything that you would like to say about your careers,” including “the ways your expectations have or haven’t meshed with reality, about how your perspectives on teaching, researching, and the profession have been confirmed or altered.” Some provided chatty updates on themselves, others reflected on the ways that the profession had changed during their careers. We’re proud of all of them! Jim Marten, Editor

 First up is David Pigott, Brigham Young University-Idaho, who writes,

I’ve been quite active, not necessarily in the publishing realm, but in teaching and various projects. I am very grateful for the FullSizeRender4counsel given to me by Dr. Ruff to choose a non-western minor field, and to Philip Naylor and Dr. Gardinier.  It not only made me more marketable and enabled me to land a very good tenure-track job but also has become my main teaching field, and has allowed me to help build a new undergraduate program in international studies at my university. As a result, I teach in both the history department and  in the international studies dept.  I love to travel and this job fits perfectly with this preference—indeed, I’m writing to you from Kathmandu where I’m taking a few days off after doing research in rural Rajasthan, where I’m comparing solid fuel consumption to that of sub-Saharan Africa, all with the intention of presenting a “solution” to deforestation and the use of invasive species (such as water hyacinth) as a fuel source to Muhammad Yunus in May, and then again at the World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates in November.  It’s a bit more complicated than that but that’s the most recent project I’ve been on, as well as teaching a 3-3-3 (yes, three semesters/year) load.

Before the water hyacinth project I put together a documentary film about the Baganda people of Uganda and the challenges globalization poses to the survival of their culture and future as a tribal identity.  It’s called Cultured Pearl: Voices of Uganda (click here for the IMDb entry for Cultured Pearl).

I’ve also taught at Mutesa I RFullSizeRenderoyal University in Kampala where I lived with my family. I also run a small charity dedicated to providing school fees to Ugandan children, called Enough to Spare (check out its website at We also help fund an orphanage in Gulu.

Most recently, as of last week, I was informed that I’ll be awarded Professor of the Year at Brigham Young University-Idaho where I’ve been teaching for the last 14 years. I credit Marquette, and specifically Julius Ruff and Philip Naylor for preparing me for the rigors of a teaching university.  I try to stay passionate about what I teach.

Most importantly, and I know this is long, my wife and four children have been able to enjoy many of the travels this career has offered me.

David Pigott received his PhD from MU in 2001; his dissertation was Autonomy and Antagonism in Early Modern France: The Protestants of Bergerac, 1545-1685,” which he wrote under the direction of Julius Ruff.

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