Otis Eliot Pope
Title: Lecturer, History
Hometown: Chicago, IL
Degrees: BA, Bowdoin College; MA, DePaul University; PhD ABD, Loyola University Chicago
Courses taught: 19th Century American History and 20th Century American History
What attracted you to Arrupe College?
I became attracted to Arrupe College for several reasons. First, Arrupe’s commitment to helping students get a good education at an affordable price is an innovative concept. Many often graduate with college debt which takes years to pay off. Because Arrupe students graduate with little to no debt, they are better positioned to pursue their dreams because they are not financially strapped. Secondly, Arrupe’s devotion to helping students transition to a four-year institution is amazing. Thanks to Arrupe, students are ready to meet the challenges of earning a bachelor’s degree.
Talk a little about the classes you teach.
I teach American Government and Western Civilization. The objective of my classes is to cover the course content while making it relevant to students’ everyday lives. Most recently in my American Government class we discussed the role of government in police brutality cases. Given the current political environment, these types of debates will hopefully empower students to make a difference in their communities by getting involved in civic activism.
How did you get involved in teaching history?
When I was in grammar school, I was invited to take a history class for two hours each week at the Chicago Historical Society, now called the Chicago History Museum. The class left a lasting impression on me. In my spare time before my class started, I would wander the halls and examine the exhibits on display. I also remember participating in a family history project that provided me with a chance to learn more about my family lineage. As a result of my positive experience, I decided to pursue a career as a history professor.
What’s your favorite part about teaching? And the biggest challenge?
I enjoy making history engaging and fun for students. For example, encouraging students to draw parallels between Athens and Sparta to American cities allows them to appreciate the similarities between ancient civilizations and modern societies. I enjoy helping students make meaningful connections to history. The biggest challenge I face is ensuring that students understand that events, people and places remain pertinent today. Sometimes students discount history because they do not comprehend how and why historical events from the past are worthy of being studied. As a teacher of history, I work hard to help students understand that history is filled with nuggets of knowledge that can be applied to daily life.