When history professor Ken Keller helped bring a $700,000 academic grant to local schools, he not only brought an innovative graduate program for teachers to the Mary Baldwin campus, he brought Amy Tillerson as well. Tillerson will be serving as director of the new Institute for Decisive Events in American History; she will also teach two undergraduate history courses this fall.
Tillerson earned her B.A. from Virginia Tech with a major in African-American History. She earned her master’s from the same university and is currently working on a Ph.D. from Morgan State University in Baltimore. Tillerson taught different aspects of American history at the University of Virginia, George Mason University, Virginia Tech, and various public schools.
The Institute for Decisive Events in American History will give Tillerson the opportunity to recruit and work with local history teachers seeking to liven up their lesson plans or brush up on some historical knowledge. The one-week kickoff session on the revolutionary Era was hosted by Mary Baldwin this summer; students will continue to attend classes and visit sites such as Monticello and Woodrow Wilson’s Birthplace and other places where history was made.
Besides her work with the Institute, Tillerson also plans to teach African-American History and The Gilded Age at Mary Baldwin next semester. She hopes that African-American history will soon become a requirement not only for African-American studies minors, but also for history majors. “[The African-American History] course will challenge students to investigate and critically analyze the history of a group of Americans whose experiences have often been omitted from a larger understanding of American history,” she said.