Updated: Oct 7
By Naidelly Coelho
What is your educational and career history prior to working at FSU?
I went to the University of Wisconsin in Madison for my undergraduate degree and from there, I applied to graduate school at Boston College and was accepted into a bachelor’s to Ph.D. program. So I got my doctorate from Boston College in 2002. I started working at Framingham State in 2006. Prior to coming to Framingham State, I taught at Simmons College, Boston College and at Wheelock College. I had also worked in a position as a research faculty at Simmons College.
What is your current job at FSU?
I am a professor of history. I teach European history, broadly modern European history. But I teach a lot of different courses, everything from revolutionary France to courses that grapple with questions of gender and sexuality. I teach a course both in an upper-level course and then general education course: the 60s. So I teach a whole range of classes.
Can you tell me a little bit about your current job as the Faculty Union President?
I have stepped up to be the union president this semester because our president, Kate Caffrey, is on sabbatical this semester. So she'll be returning in January, but I have stepped up to fill that role for the fall semester, and it's been very exciting. I have learned a lot. I've been busy. We are about to begin negotiations in the spring for a new contract. So I have been trying to get members prepared for that new bargaining session. I have been trying to help those who are going up for promotion or tenure this year get their materials ready and their committees in place. I have been working with our statewide union on trying to get the word out about the Fair Share Amendment. The Fair Share Amendment in Massachusetts, which is on the ballot in November, which would put a 4% tax on any individual who made over a million dollars … and that money would be earmarked for education and transportation and of course, we are a state university and higher education is an important part of that education platform to help alleviate student debt and to better fund public universities.
Do you think you are where you always wanted to be or do you want to achieve more?
Can I have both as the answer? I am in life where I want it to be, and part of what that means is that I always want to achieve more. Last year, I was on a sabbatical and I started a new research project on the women's liberation movement of the late 60s into the 1970s. I'm looking at a transatlantic view of that movement and how it came into being. And I spent time this last year in England doing research in libraries and archives looking at papers of the Women's Liberation Movement. … And I really want to bring this project to fruition, meaning that I have a book in mind that I would like to write. So that's definitely one thing on my mind. I'm always thinking about teaching and my students. I'm looking at ways to continue to incorporate my own research into the classes that I teach. So there is always more to do.
Do you have any advice for students or in particular, history majors?
You can’t know all the answers. In fact, if you have an open mind, you don't know the answers. And part of what you're doing while you're here is trying to explore all avenues to think about what it is that you want to do with your life, so that would be my recommendation. Of course you need to get a job, but you also need to think about, well, “What is it that I want to do?” And that I think is what college should be about.
Any final thoughts?
I have been here since 2006. My passion has always been the students at Framingham State University. And I am so excited about what Framingham State University students do, and what our university has become. When I go on a walk around the campus, it makes me so happy to see you all here and being part of this community.