Faculty Feature: Why an Acclaimed Historian Teaches Community College
Dr. Andy DeRoche loves academic life. He’s felt at home in the world of learning from the time he took his seat in the first grade — which isn’t too surprising. His mother and father were teachers in rural Maine, and they nurtured his love of learning.
Inspired by the Civil War
Years later, in an undergraduate class at Princeton University, Andy discovered the allure of history. “I was studying the Civil War when it hit me,” he said. “I was completely seized by the material and my interest just kept escalating.” He declared his major and set his sights on becoming a history teacher.
Passion for the Classroom
Though Andy has taught graduate-level courses at area universities, his preferred teaching environment is the community college.
“I’m a trained researcher, but my passion is the classroom,” he says. “FRCC is a classic community college — a teaching institution that focuses on student success. I’m a teacher first.”
Historian, Fulbright Scholar, Lecturer
In addition to his passion for the classroom, Andy is a published historian, Fulbright Scholar, and lecturer at international conferences.
The Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program is considered “the flagship academic exchange effort” sponsored by the U.S. government. Scholars are sent abroad to lecture and research. Andy was a Fulbright Scholar in 2005 to Zambia, where he lectured at the University of Zambia and researched his book on Kenneth Kaunda.
After Andy presented a paper at an African Studies Association conference, he was invited to lecture at the Africa Studies Centre at Leiden University in the Netherlands. The paper was on the influence of race and especially African Americans (such as singer James Brown) on U.S.-Zambia relations during the Nixon Administration. His lecture was about the 1955 trip to Africa by U.S. Rep. Frances Bolton (R-Ohio), and her influence on the subsequent creation of a Bureau for Africa in the U.S. State Department. The lecture is being revised for inclusion as a chapter in a book to be published by the Africa Studies Centre.
Learning Something New Each Day
Andy brings his expertise into the classroom, but he also expects to learn from his students. “Teaching is a chance for me to continue learning something new each day, and to share my enthusiasm for learning with others,” he says. “I truly feel lucky to teach history at FRCC.”