by Ryan Trueblood
Did anyone notice the car parked in front of Founders Hall a few weeks ago? The 1950s Edsel had a purpose other than being eye candy for students traveling across campus. Dr. John Hink’s U.S. History Since 1945 class experienced the 1950s through the story of the Ford Motor Co.’s Edsel and the car that was parked on campus.
Hink hopes to provide an immersive experience for his students in U.S. History Since 1945 by incorporating speakers, television and video clips and music that can paint a realistic picture of what it would be like to be a college student in each decade of study spanning from the 1950s to the present.
“Studying the recent past gives us opportunities to learn from different sources,” said Hink.
The sources for learning about the recent past differ from the sources used for learning about the distant past. The rise of both television and the importance of music in society brought the study of recent history into a new light in the age of accessibility.
When asked about the importance of studying history that happened in his own life, Hink said, “I wanted to know why. [We’re] trying to understand why things happen and how two people can look at the same event and come to different conclusions.”
The Department of History, Geography and Criminal Justice’s history classes are not just for history majors.
Hink encourages all students to take history classes and to learn about the people of the past and why the world works the way it does. Hink wants students to focus on the importance of the meaning of what happened in the past by relating to the [hi]story of the past.
“Studying history [is a] skill-set that requires students to be critical thinkers, improve reading and writing skill,” Hink said.
By bringing in people and tangible examples from the past, students have an interactive experience that helps create a concrete understanding of the past.
Hink wishes to keep the upcoming speakers for U.S. History Since 1945 a secret, but he is confident that they will bring valuable insights into what it was like being a college student in their respective decades.
Upcoming history events and activities on campus include the new History Club, a Martin Luther King Jr. Day speaker who knew Martin Luther King Jr. and Concordia’s involvement with the new Nebraska National Guard Museum that is projected to open in July 2016.