The University of Massachusetts Amherst
HFA - College of Humanities & Fine Arts view HFA submenu

Community Engagement

Faculty and students in the Department of History are committed to community engagement, through public events, continuing education programs, online classes, engaged scholarship, and community-based history projects. For event announcements, please join our email list.

Public Events

The History Department hosts lectures, film screenings, performances throughout the academic year, all of which are free and open to the public. Each year, we host a Writer-In-Residence and a Distingushed Annual Lecturer. Every other year, we collaborate with the W.E.B. DuBois Department of Afro-American Studies to host the Baldwin Lecture. Every two years, the department hosts the Feinberg Family Distinguished Lecture Series, which allows students, faculty and visiting scholars to explore a particular theme in depth. We also regularly sponsor or co-sponsor numerous additional public events. Visit our calendar to learn about upcoming events. Join our events listserv here. Read our Statement on History Department (Co-)Sponsorship of Events.

Programs for K-12 Educators

Since 1994, the History Department has hosted events, workshops and in-service trainings for K-12 teachers in western Massachusetts. The Department's signature offering is The History Institute, an annual series of workshops organized around a central theme. The History Institute is a collaborative endeavor. Partners have included Collaborative for Educational Services, Five College Partnership Programs, the Feinberg Series, the Five College Center for East Asian Studies, the Western Mass Writing Project, and various additional local organizations.

Continuing Education

The History Department offers a number of continuing education opportunities for working professionals and others who wish to maintain employment while pursuing an advanced degree, individual courses, or other professional development opportunities.

Engaged Scholarship and Community-Based History

History faculty and students regularly publish in popular online and print venues. In doing so, they bring their scholarship to bear on ongoing public conversations, weigh in on contemporary issues, and use history to offer a new lens of understanding. We regularly share links to new books and articles on our Facebook, Twitter, and blog, Past@Present.

Faculty and students also work on a wide range of historical projects with community groups. The Valley Women’s History Collaborative, for example, is an active group of students, scholars, archivists, and community volunteers dedicated to researching, collecting, preserving and publicizing the history of women committed to social justice in Western Massachusetts. The Public History program combines teaching, research and outreach in historic preservation, museum studies, and archives.

Recently, the History Department took part in a two-year project funded by Five Colleges, Inc. and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to explore ways to clarify and strengthen pathways from liberal arts education to careers in the applied and public humanities.

Online Courses

The History Department offers an array of online classes. These classes are small, discussion-rich, and highly participatory. They meet the same rigorous academic standards and are taught by the same outstanding university faculty as our regular on-campus classes.

The Newsletter

Each year, we publish Past, Present & Future, the History Department's newsletter. Faculty, staff, alumni and students contribute articles and photographs that illuminate what the department has accomplished over the past year, and its ambitions for the next year.


For more information about our community engagement initiatives, contact the History Department Outreach Director, Dr. Jessica Johnson at