Senior lecturer hopes to spark student interest in core history class

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Senior lecturer Megan Seaholm teaches a U.S. History class that most students do not want to take but need to. In her twenties, Seaholm was “politico hippie” living in Austin before deciding to pursue her doctorate in History.

Photo Credit: Carlos Garcia | Daily Texan Staff

On the first day of class, senior lecturer Megan Seaholm always asks her students how many of them are taking the class because they want to be there, and out of the 300 students in her lecture this semester, only four raised their hands. She told the class that was a new record.

After 27 years of teaching history classes at UT, Seaholm has taught tens of thousands of students. She said she knows students don’t want to be in her class, which is a core requirement for most students, but she does her best to make it interesting through narrative storytelling.

“It doesn’t work with everybody,” Seaholm said. “There are a lot of people that hate the class, you know. I don’t win everyone over.”

Seaholm said she is always making changes to the lectures to keep things interesting because she has been in the classroom for so long.

“I think that’s good for me because if I keep it fresh, hopefully it reduces the chance of me or the lecture sounding boring,” Seaholm said.

Alicia Willoughby, international relations and global studies freshman, said she likes the way Seaholm lectures, and she respects her for doing what she does.

“It’s definitely not easy to come up and do something every single day that no one really wants to be there for or enjoy, but the way she does it with such a passion is so incredible,” Willoughby said.

Theodore Banks, history graduate student, is serving as a teaching assistant for the first time with Seaholm, but said he likes the way she presents history as a narrative.

“Dr. Seaholm is very easy to work for, and I like to hear the students responding to her lectures (and) laughing at the funny parts,” Banks said. “Even though she is soft-spoken in her delivery, it seems like her students are very engaged.”

Seaholm has taught thousands of students, and she doesn’t take for granted the fact that many remember her.

“I hope, most of all, I’ve communicated it’s important to pay attention to what’s happened and what’s happening,” Seaholm said. “I hope it’s a good influence.”

Seaholm said she is very thankful for the time she has spent at UT.

“Getting to talk with people about something that I think is important is a great privilege,” Seaholm said. “I feel incredibly fortunate that the University of Texas has employed me this long because I can’t think of anything I’d rather do.”