Teaching Underprepared and Nontraditional Students: The Community College Perspective

Endorsed by the OAH Committee on Academic Freedom and the OAH Committee on Teaching

Friday, March 31, 2023, 1:30 PM - 3:00 PM

Type: Roundtable Discussion

Tags: General/Survey; Teaching and Pedagogy


This roundtable discussion focuses on the unique needs and challenges in teaching history at the nation’s community colleges. Faculty at community colleges experience the same trend towards adjunctification and declining state funding as universities, while also facing the added challenge of being open enrollment institutions. This roundtable brings the community college perspective to the OAH, looking at how we approach teaching history and teaching our students. The panel will discuss how the adaptations made to reach community college students can help faculty at all levels and at all types of institutions.

Session Participants

Chair and Panelist: Scott Mason Williams, Weatherford College
Scott M. Williams has a BA in History from Rice University and an MA in History from Penn State University. He has been teaching at Weatherford College, a community college just west of Fort Worth, TX, since 2006. At Weatherford College, he teaches the US History surveys, both in hybrid and online formats. He is also the Assistant Department Chair in charge of Assessment for the Social Sciences Department. As well, he chairs the eLearning Advisory Committee and is the co-creator of the Weatherford College Learning Community. He was chosen Faculty Member of the Year in 2014 and received the Jack Harvey Exemplary Teaching Award in 2015.

Panelist: Linda M. Coslett, Chattanooga State Community College
Linda Coslett was a Secondary U.S. History educator for over five years but has been at the community college level for over a decade. She earned a B.A. in Secondary Social Studies from the University of Arizona and an M.A. in American History from the University of Tennessee. She is a James Madison Memorial Fellowship Fellow - 2004 Tennessee. She also earned a Juris Doctor (J.D.) from the University of Tennessee. At the community college level, she began as an adjunct and worked her way into a full-time tenure-track position. She has served on her college’s Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) Advisory committee regarding accreditation and various smaller committees committed to fulfilling the college’s mission. She is currently the Department Head for the Social Behavioral Sciences Division at the college and supervises 17 fellow faculty members. She has been named to serve on the OAH's Committee on Community Colleges beginning May 1, 2022.

Panelist: Babette Faehmel, Schenectady County Community College
Babette Faehmel is a Professor of History in the Division of Liberal Arts and Humanities at SUNY Schenectady County Community College in New York. She holds a PhD in US History from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and is the author of College Women in the Nuclear Age: Cultural Literacy and Female Identity, 1940-1960 (Rutgers University Press, September 2011). Dr. Faehmel coordinates the student mentoring program at SUNY Schenectady County Community College and she developed and co-hosts a podcast dedicated to DE&I discussion in community college education. She was also the director of the NEH-funded Project “Humanistic Approaches to Criminal Justice” (Grant period 2017-2020), and is the recipient of a SUNY Chancellor Award for Excellence in Scholarship and Creative Activities (2016).