Classes 2009-2010

 

Fall 2009

HSTR 101-001 WESTERN CIV I

HSTR 101-004 WESTERN CIV I

HSTR 365-001 ANCIENT NEAR EAST

HSTR 302-001 ANCIENT GREECE

 

Spring 2010

HSTR 101-800 WESTERN CIV I

HSTA 102-002 AMERICAN HIST II

HSTR 304-001 ANCIENT ROME

HSTR 462-001 HOLOCAUST NAZI OCCUPIED EUROPE

Thomas C. Rust, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Department of History

Department of History

Office:  822 Liberal Arts Building

tel: (406) 657-2891

 

Education

Ph.D.  University of Leicester (2006)

M.Ed. Montana State University-Billings (1999)

M.A. University of Denver (1995)

B.A. University of Minnesota (1992)

 

Specialization

My interests lie where history meets archaeology.  I am a historian first and an archaeologist second. As Ivor Noel Hume once said, "I am not suggesting that anthropologists cannot be good historical archaeologists, only that initially they do not know the documentary sources essential to the study of historical artifacts." My current research focus is on examining the social and economic change in small towns of the northwest Roman Empire.  However, my general interests also include American frontier history and archaeology.  I teach a wide range of classes from ancient and medieval history to United States military history.

 

Select Publications

Architecture, Economics and Identity in Romano-British Small Towns. (John Hedges, Ltd.: Oxford, 2006) ISBN 1-84171-760-6

Fort Ellis: A Documentary History (Edited with Introduction) (Gallatin County Historical Society, 2004) ISBN 1-59247-742-9

“Settlers, Soldiers, and Scoundrels: Economic Tension in a Frontier Military Town.”  Military History of the West, Vol. 31, no. 2  (Fall 2001), pp. 117-138.

 

Awards

Who's Who Among America's Teachers, 10th Edition 2005/2006, ID# 36878941-8 

Outstanding Faculty Award for Excellence in Teaching 2002-2003, presented by the Associated Students of Montana State University- Billings (ASMSUB)

 

Teaching Philosophy

I am constantly reflecting on my teaching practices and how those practices are indicative of my teaching beliefs. Many times, my teaching and learning experiences influence my beliefs about how students learn. As I continue to reflect on my profession, I know that my teaching philosophy will evolve.  My teaching philosophy and methodology is based on a student-centered constructivist approach where knowledge is socially constructed. What we absorb and retain from childhood to adulthood is influenced by our surroundings, our backgrounds, and our interests.   

Therefore, I believe classrooms should be learner centered, not teacher centered. My job is to act as a guide or facilitator, not just as a dispenser of knowledge. I believe that students learn more from solving their own problems and finding their own answers rather than from passively accepting deposits of knowledge in a book or from a lecture. Thus, when I teach, I set up frameworks for learning and give students guidelines. I encourage them to pose their own opinions, and to question the opinions of others. 

 To understand my teaching philosophy it is necessary to understand constructivism.  Constructivism is an approach to teaching and learning based on the premise that cognition (learning) is the result of "mental construction." In other words, students learn by fitting new information together with what they already know. Constructivists believe that learning is affected by the context in which an idea is taught as well as by students' beliefs and attitudes.  Effective teaching focuses on problem solving rather than on prescriptive solutions. It means teaching students the useful kinds of questions to ask about information with which they are confronted. As a teacher, I try to help students develop their critical reading, thinking and writing skills so that they can successfully participate in the work place.

Because we live in a fast-moving and technological society, the way we teach has to change. Educators can no longer merely function as dispensers of information because there is far too much information to dispense, and it is changing as quickly as it is created. Educators must become facilitators of learning who show students how and where to access information quickly and efficiently.

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