AHA Council Spotlight: Anne Hyde

To go along with our ongoing AHA Member Spotlight we have introduced an AHA Council Spotlight series featuring short interviews with our elected council officers. Like our membership, the AHA Council is composed of historians with wide-ranging specializations, interests, and stories. We hope this feature will let our membership get to know their elected officials in a different way. 

Anne Hyde is a professor of history at Colorado College and the Director of  the Crown Faculty Development Center. She is currently a councilor in the AHA’s Teaching Division and has been an AHA member since 2001.

AHA Councilor, Anne Hyde

Fields of interest: History of the US West, race and ethnicity, family history.

When did you first develop an interest in history?
As a kid I explored old mining towns in Nevada with my family. Looking at graveyards in those towns with fantastically varied names and imagining the lives those people led surely got me hooked early.

Have your interests changed since graduate school? If so, how
On the teaching side, I’m much more interested in how people learn and in developing undergraduate students’ writing and research skills. On the research side, I’m still really enjoying the re-creation of people’s lives, but also in figuring out how to do that for people who left fewer tracks through the past.

What projects are you working on currently?
The AHA Tuning Project has got me rethinking our curriculum at Colorado College. I’m rethinking how we support faculty as scholars and writers across their careers at a college focused on teaching.  And, I’m working on a research project about mixed blood families in the American West.

What has been your favorite and least favorite aspect of serving on Council? 
Finding out what makes the AHA tick and meeting a broad range of my colleagues through the Tuning project has been wonderful. I’ve learned a lot about the ecology of the historical profession and about writing for different audiences. On the downside, actually sitting through 3-day council meetings can be challenging.

What do you value most about the history profession?
Our mix of public engagement and deep work with students makes us potentially powerful, but we could lose that civic relevance if we don’t use our historical perspective often and well in the public realm.

Has your time on Council changed your view of the profession? If so, how? 
Knowing more about the ways that higher education in general is under fire and how historians and professors are a tiny piece of this is humbling, but also really inspirational.

Do you have a favorite AHA annual meeting anecdote you would like to share?  
When I was first interviewing for jobs at a meeting held in Washington, DC, the person running the sign-up desk for interviews recommended visiting the National Zoo right before an interview. That was really good advice!

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