George S. Vascik


Teaching American History grant participants at Monticello

Faculty members who teach at the "regional locations" of Miami University have a different service expectation from those who teach exclusively on the Oxford campus. In addition to service to the university units and to the profession, it is expected that we serve the community. From 2003 to 2012, an exhausting but rewarding part of my service to the community was fulfilled through my role as Academic Director of four successful Teaching American History grants. These grants, funded by the U.S. Department of Eduation, were designed to provide 4-12 social studies teachers with enhanced U.S. history content and new pedagogy tools. The process evolved throughout the course of the four grants from a top-down structured "delivery" model to a true collaborative effort on the part of the district teachers and Miami Hamilton faculty. I learned a great deal from the teachers that has informed my own classroom teaching and made a set of happy friendships that remain central to my self-esteem as an educator. Pictured about, TAH 4 staff and educators at Montecello.

Grants for working with schoolteachers:

  • Principal Investigator, Midwest Center for Teaching with Primary Sources grant, administered by Illinois State University for the Library of Congress, American Memory in Ohio, 2009.  $15,000.
  • Academic Director, U.S. Department of Education Teaching American History grant, Ever-Greater Freedom, 1492-1965, with Middletown, Fairfield and Princeton Schools, 2008-11. $995,093.
  • Academic Director, U.S. Department of Education Teaching American History grant, The Beacon of Liberty, 1492-1965, with Hamilton, Middletown and Mason Schools, 2006-09. $999,953. 
  • Academic Director, U.S. Department of Education Teaching American History grant, America's Journey to Freedom, 1492-1837, with Northwest and Fairfield City Schools, 2005-08. $999,993
  • Academic Director, U.S. Department of Education Teaching American History grant, America's Journey to Freedom, 1492-1837, with Hamilton City Schools. 2003-06. $750,000.

We have been fortunate at Miami Hamilton to have a special program - the Michael J. Colligan History Project - sponsored by the Hamilton Community Foundation. Through the Colligan Project, I have come to know many of the leading civic-minded individuals in the Hamilton community, most especially the extraordinary local historian Jim Blount. Jim and his wife Jackie have taken several of my courses and I rely on Jim to talk to my students about Hamilton's role at important times in our nation's past.

Under the tutelage of former dean Daniel Hall, a Downtown Center was set up in a renovatated building on High Street, where Cielle Dienno pioneered a marvellous series of commity talks know as the "Egghead Café". The EC gave me a chance to present my research interests to a body of interested community members. Times and priorities change and the Downtown Center is "changing focus". It was fun while it lasted!

Public talks as part of the MUH-Downtown Egghead Café series:

  • "Red Vienna"
  • "Vienna: Cradle of Modernity"
  • "Loyal to the End: Ludwig Alpers and the Monarchist Opposition to National Socialism"
  • "Liberals into Nazis"
  • "America to the Rescue: The Dawes Plan and the End of German Hyperinflation"
  • "The Coming Hyperinflation? Lessons from Germany in the 1920s"

Other public talks:

  •  "Liberals into Anti-Semites." Public lecture presented as part of Holocaust Awareness Week 2009.
  •  "Adolf Hitler in Myth and Reality." Public lecture presented as part of the Colligan History Project lecture series.

An unexpected impact of the Teaching American History grant program in my participation in the National History Day competitions, now sponsored by the Ohio Historical Society. I served as a History Day judge four times in 1998-2000. There was then a hiatus, picking up in 2009 after seven years experience with TAH learning what middle and high schoolers know and how they know it. I find the current experience a true delight, and now judge at both the District and State level.

Other service to the community
  • Judge, National History Day competition, 1998-2000, 2009-2013
  • Reader for the Hamilton City Schools for the World War II Veterans Committee essay contests, 2004-05
  • Talks to European History AP classes at Hamilton High School. 2004-06
  • Students from the European History AP class at Hamilton High School attended lectures of my "Rise and Fall of Hitler" class on Thursday evenings, 2005
  • Host family to international students for the Office of International Programs, 1997-2004
  • Host family to exchange students from the Business University of Vienna summer program conducted by the German department, 1998-2002.

I am also happily at a stage in my career where I am providing significant service to the profession. I have found a congenial home in the Social Science History Association and its European counterpart. I discovered the SSHA at a turning point in my research. I was beginning to do historical GIS in a concerted way and I needed a place where I could learn from other, more advanced researchers. From 2005 to 2008, I was co-chair of the Association's Rural History network and from 2011 to 2013 co-chair of its Historical Geography network. SSHA is in many ways a set of interdisciplinary mini-conferences that hold a common yearly program. The Historical Geography network is a medium sized fish in the SSHA sea. As co-chair, I have shared the responsibility of creating 12 four-paper panels, with associated book and poster sessions, for each conference. As I learned so much from my K-12 friends in the TAH grants, so I have learned from the geographers and political scientists in the HG network.

Since 2002, I have regularly attended the conferences of the European Social Science History Association. Imagine all the positive synergies of the American association, add the rigorous methodological insights of  European colleagues, and the value added by scholars who actually know the terrain over which your research works. Our 2014 conference will take place in Vienna and I am beyond excited.

Service to the profession

  • European Social Science History Association, active participant and coordinator of panels for the History and Computing Network, 2005 - ongoing
  • Co-Chair of the Rural History network of the Social Science History Association, 2005-08
  • Co-Chair of the Historical Geography network of the Social Science History Association, 2011-2013
  • Ohio Academy of History
    • Program committee, 1999-2000, 2007-08
    • Executive Committee, 2006-08
    • Dissertation Award Committee, 1996-97, 2013-2016
  • Associate Editor, Essays in Business and Economic History, 1993-1998
  • Trustee, Economic and Business Historical Society, 1993-1998

Lastly, there is the obligatory service to the University and its units, which I have listed below. In American academe, we have this wonderful myth of faculty governance. My personal opinion on matter had best remain unstated.

Service to Miami University and the College of Arts and Science

  • Liberal Education Council, 2008-09
  • Senate Committee for the Evaluation of Deans and Administrators, 2006-08
  • Fine Arts and Humanities subcommittee, Graduate Council, 2005-07
  • University Courses and Curriculum Committee, 2003-06
  • CAS, Committee on Enhancing Teaching Effectiveness 2004-05
  • CAS Curriculum Committee, 1998-2004, Chair, 2000, 2002-04
  • University Disciplinary Board, 1999
  • European Area Studies Committee, 1998-2006

To the History Department

  • Advisory Committee, 2012-13
  • Undergraduate Studies Committee, 2012
  • Holocaust Fund committee, 2007-11
  • Speakers Committee, 2007-08
  • Graduate Studies Committee, 2006-07
  • Ad Hoc committee to create guidelines for the Holocaust Fund, 2006-07
  • Ad Hoc committee on Havighurst Fund, 2005
  • Advisory Committee, 1998-2003
  • Undergraduate Studies Committee, 1997-98, 2000-01

To the Hamilton regional campus

  • Chair, Faculty Concerns Committee, 2011-2014
  • Chair, Committee on Committees, 2008-10
  • Ad-Hoc Inter-Disciplinary Committee of Advisors, 2006-09
  • Political Science position search committee, 2006-08
  • Reader, Scholarship Sub-committee, 2000-07, 2010-2013
  • Academic Concerns Committee, 2006-07
  • Michael J. Colligan History Project Advisory Board, 2000-04
  • Reader, Wilks Scholarship Committee, 2004-05
  • Ad Hoc Committee on the John E. Dolibois History Prize, 2004
  • Administrative Concerns Committee, 2000-03
  • Chair, Michael J. Colligan History Project search, 2000

© 2007 Miami University | 501 East High Street | Oxford, Ohio 45056 | 513.529.1809
Equal opportunity in education and employment | Privacy Statement | Accessibility problems? Contact