History Department - Faculty Snapshots 2021

History Department – Faculty Snapshots 2021

Jodie N. Mader ’98, Ph.D.

Mader enters her 11th year as a full-time faculty member in the history department. This is her second year as chair, being supported by her awesome colleagues Drs. Hebert, McNutt, Sierra, and Professor Eagan. Under her leadership the department has updated promotional materials and created a new page on the Thomas More website. Mader also worked with Eagan to create the first ever winter session course, which ran through winter break 2020-2021. The department has created events such as Senior Sendoffs honoring graduating students, as well as Phi Alpha Theta honorary inductions which occur every other year.  With COVID-19, many of these events have been virtual with the hope that they return to an in-person format when it is safe and healthy to do so. Mader also serves as faculty development director for the University with this year being her final year serving as secretary of the Faculty Relations Committee. This spring her oldest son, Jeffrey, will graduate from Thomas More with a degree in ethical leadership.

Looking ahead, the department will merge with the Law Department to be a multi-disciplinary department.  New courses for the 2021-22 year include a return to a history of the Civil War and the history of Kentucky.

Raymond G. Hebert, Ph.D.

Hebert is currently in his 46th year at Thomas More. After 10 years as the director of the James Graham Brown Honors program and six as the chairperson of the Department of History, International Studies, and Political Science (in addition to his teaching), he had shifted his secondary focus to his role as director of faculty development and director of Thomas More’s Gemini Dual Credit Program. More recently, since 2017, he handed off his role in conjunction with the Education Department coordinating the Gemini Dual Credit Program and Dr. Mader stepped in as director of faculty development. Hebert continues his duties as the executive director of the Wm. T. (Bill) Robinson III ’67 Institute for Religious Liberty (IRL). With the end of the fall semester of 2020, Hebert taught his final class, the HIS 497 history senior seminar. Cutting back to halftime status, Hebert will remain at Thomas More as the director of the IRL and as patriarch of the History Department. He has also been named as one of Northern Kentucky’s representatives to the Thomas D. Clark Foundation of the University Press of Kentucky (UPK).

During the last few years, Dr. Hebert was recognized by Thomas More as the initial recipient of the Dr. Ray Hebert Faculty Service Award that in the future, will be presented in his name. He was also named as a 2019 Ruth A. Eger Leader of Distinction by the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce and, in 2020, Cincinnati Magazine named him an Outstanding Educator of 2020 and one of its A+ Professors.

Luis M. Sierra Ph.D.

While the pandemic has presented its challenges to all of us, for Sierra this year several important personal milestones came to fruition. In January 2021, he published his first book, “La Paz’s Colonial Specters: Urbanization, Migration, and Indigenous Political Participation, 1900-52,” completing a process that began in 2006 when he first entered the Bolivian archives. In addition, he applied for and earned tenure and promotion at Thomas More. Beginning fall 2021, he will be an associate professor. Sierra could not be happier with his students, colleagues, and the Thomas More community. He hopes to continue to contribute to the department, college, and the university and local community.

Sierra was the focus of a Saints Spotlight interview in fall 2020 about his participation in the Six@Six online series, a partnership by the Kentucky University Press, the Center for Civic Engagement at NKU, and Thomas More’s Wm. T. (Bill) Robinson III ’67 Institute for Religious Liberty. To hear the interview, visit tmuky.us/sierra2. To listen to the Six@Six segment, visit tmuky.us/6at6sierra.

Patrick M. Eagan ’01

Eagan’s departmental duties include teaching a variety of courses in undergraduate and graduate settings. As with all faculty, the pivot to virtual learning was a challenging experience, but one that has led to a new avenue of pedagogy. This past year, Eagan pioneered the first ever offering of History 102 during the winter session – a four-week immersive, accelerated learning experience for students. It was a successful innovation, and has been renewed for winter 2021-22. 

Eagan prides himself on delivering a comprehensive learning experience for students with a blend of traditional and experimental pedagogies and modalities. At the end of spring semester 2020, several of his ZOOM classes went “viral” on YouTube – with multiple classes being viewed over 500K times, and one reaching over 1 million views! Eagan’s YouTube channel now sports over 5,000 subscribers learning about history. 

During the summer months, Eagan keeps busy teaching online history courses for Thomas More but you will most often find him and his wife, Lindsay (head softball coach), and their two black labs down in Tennessee at Norris Lake.

James E. McNutt, Ph.D.

Apart from learning the ropes of Canvas remote teaching, McNutt has been enjoying the life of a grandfather to a growing number of grandchildren. This is important because after 26 years at Thomas More, the stage is set and the time is confirmed for leaving the classroom in December of 2022. The students of today and of yesteryear have been a blessing and enriched his life. In addition to lecturing, the work of research and writing continues with the collecting and organizing of material for what is planned to be a book on clerical antisemitism during the Third Reich. McNutt is looking forward to the post-Covid classroom where, instead of speaking to a computer, he will be sharing history in the way it is meant to be taught, face-to-face, person-to-person, creative mind-to-creative mind. To those who have passed through his classrooms in the past, he sends his fondest regards coupled with thanks for enriching his life……now its off to Diaper Duty 101 and the upper level 407 – The History of Yo Gabba Gabba.

Amanda Siegrist, J.D.

Siegrist is an assistant professor at Thomas More and serves as the program director for the undergraduate law program. She is in her third year at the University and is happy to be “home,” having grown up in the Northern Kentucky area. The law program recently joined the History Department which served as home to the former pre-legal studies associates degree before the move to university status. The law program has since become a full major with an option for students to be accepted to law school early through one of the 3+3 programs Thomas More has with NKU Chase College of Law and University of Cincinnati’s College of Law. The law program also offers a minor for students who wish to pair a base understanding of law, policy, and liability to their field of study. The program continues to grow in number and is looking forward to its first round of graduates heading off to law school in the fall!

History Adjunct Faculty Member of the Year

We would like to congratulate alum and faculty member CLAYTON CONDER ’18 named HISTORY ADJUNCT FACULTY MEMBER OF THE YEAR.