Spotlight on Faculty: History instructor encourages students to participate in educational process

Posted: February 26, 2018

Academic instructor Kurt Schaefer has been teaching history at Bates Technical College since 1991, “which is long enough to have had the children of former students in my class,” says Kurt. He holds a Ph.D. from the University of Washington and also teaches college history at the Washington Corrections Center for Women in Purdy.


  1. Why did you choose to become a history teacher?

I originally went to college to study biology. However, I had always enjoyed my history courses and during my first semester I enrolled in a course with another good professor. It was at that point that I changed my mind about my future.

2. What is unique about your teaching style?

I would not say my style is unique because I’ve patterned it on the strategies of teachers I have had the fortune of studying under. Those individuals taught me the value of patience, clarity, and preparation, and the effectiveness of making sure that each student is allowed to participate in the educational process. A sense of humor also helps.

3. What is your favorite aspect of history to teach, and why?

I think that the most interesting and important aspect of history is the creation of a viewpoint that is based upon solid evidence.

4. What do you find most rewarding about being an instructor?

I have always been appreciative of the fact that I get paid to study and tell stories about people who find themselves in “interesting” situations.

5. If you could meet any historical figure, who would you choose and why?

I would have like to have met Abraham Lincoln. He had a talent for telling stories, and I would ask him what life was like for him during one of the most important periods in American history. Al Kaline would be my second choice.