College of Social and Behavioral Sciences

History Class 1

Fall 2020 Updates

Fall 2020 Updates 

For updates on our Plan for returning to campus this Fall: UNI Forward Together.

May 4th, 2020

Dear HIST majors,

I hope this final message of the academic year finds you well and looking forward to the close of the Spring 2020 semester. I send you my best wishes as you complete your final exams – good luck!

These are certainly interesting times to be a student of history, as historians and historians-in-training have a deeper sense of context and a wider range of reference points than many others when it comes to understanding the power of disease to impact various aspects of life. Perhaps in recent weeks you’ve found your mind gravitating for context to the influenza pandemic of the early twentieth century, or perhaps to the plagues during the time of Byzantine emperor Justinian or the Athenian statesman Pericles. For others of you, your contexts might be smallpox in the Americas or the much more recent Ebola outbreak in Africa. For still others, as for me, you might be thinking about the fourteenth-century pandemic that contemporaries called the “Great Mortality” but that’s more commonly known today as the Black Death. Each of these historical events and processes offers lessons for the present, and your History faculty and I look forward to the time when we can be together with you once more to discuss these lessons and legacies.

Until then, though, there’s an opportunity for you to reflect on your experiences this spring in the 2nd Annual Digital Media Competition (move quickly, though, as the deadline is tonight, 5/4):

2nd Annual Digital Media Competition

Easy: Videos must be under 1 minute, including titles and credits

Careful: Do this safely!
Why: All of that creativity – you need to use it!

DEADLINE: Monday, May 4, 2020 by Midnight


1.     You must be a student at the University of Northern Iowa.

2.     One submission per person.

3.     Videos must be under 1minute, including titles and credits.

4.     Videos can be of any genre or form, including, but not limited to, fiction, documentary, news, blog, journal, visual poem, experimental, animation, comedy, drama, romance, science-fiction!

5.     Videos must be related to the theme.

6.     Preferred Format: MP4 1920x1080 at 24fps, 30fps, or 60fps (Other formats will be accepted but will be converted)

Questions? Contact Prof. Francesca Soans,

Even without a traditional UNI Commencement this spring, you can wrap up the semester by celebrating History’s B.A. and M.A. graduates. We are hosting a special Department of History Spring 2020 Convocation this Friday, 5/8, at 6:00 pm via Zoom. If you are graduating, or if you have friends who are graduating, you are cordially invited to attend. Email me at for the Zoom link. All are welcome, whether you’re participating in the UNI remote Commencement or planning to return to walk in the fall. Come and celebrate!

Please stay safe and healthy during the summer, and keep in touch. Feel free to share photos and news to be posted at our Facebook page in the coming months, and don’t hesitate to email if you have questions about History programs, your courses, and more. As always, I am happy to help any way I can.

Take good care until we meet again,

Dr. McNabb

April 27th, 2020

Dear HIST majors,

I know you're being inundated with emails during this busy stage of the semester, but I urge you to pay particular attention to the message sent out from the Office of Financial Aid & Scholarships about the anticipated funds to be made available to UNI students through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. These monies are intended to assist students with expenses such as food, housing, course materials, technology, child care, healthcare, and other related costs incurred after the shift to remote coursework due to COVID-19. 

I strongly encourage you to complete the brief, 2-minute CARES Act Fund application by the May 8 priority date. Both undergraduate and graduate students who were enrolled during the Spring 2020 semester and have completed a 2019-20 FAFSA will be eligible for CARES Act Funds. The university intends to prioritize students with the greatest needs while also distributing funds to as many students as possible. Please do make the completion of this application a priority. If you have questions or need additional information, see the Office of Financial Aid & Scholarships homepage.

There's still time for professional development this spring semester. If you missed the History session with TJ Warren, you have another chance to participate in a live session with TJ this Friday. Here are the details: 

T.J. Warren from UNI’s Career Services is offering a professional development session via Zoom for soon to be graduates in the College of Social & Behavioral Sciences on May 1 at 9:00 am. Topics of discussion include resumes and networking, online job interviews, and helpful resources for employment searches and career planning.  Bring your questions! Once you RSVP to Jenny Becker at, you will receive the Zoom link to join the session. 

Finally, if you need a break from end-of-semester preps, I recommend having a #Shakesperience, in celebration of William Shakespeare's birthday last Thursday. See this page for a list of how you can still get your Shakespeare fix, even in a time of social distancing. 

Enjoy Week 16, and good luck as you prepare for your final exams. I send you my best wishes for success!

Take care, and be well,

Dr. McNabb

April 20th, 2020

Dear HIST majors,

Week 15 means the last two weeks of the semester are finally here. I hope this message finds you all well and looking forward to a successful completion of your Spring 2020 courses. Remember, if you haven’t had the chance to share your input about your Spring 2020 remote learning experiences, you have until April 22nd to follow the link I sent by email to a short 5-minute survey. Remember, too, this Thursday’s professional development session with TJ Warren on resumes, interviewing, networking, and your personal brand. I hope to see you at 4:00 for the session on Zoom.

My focus for this week’s message is celebrating your achievements. These final weeks of the spring semester are traditionally a time for reflecting on the activities and successes of the academic year, with student awards banquets, honor society initiations, club meetings and social events, and Commencement itself. Although our setting this year certainly isn’t traditional, I don’t want to lose the opportunity to honor the hard work you’ve done.

The Department of History is launching a celebration of its graduating seniors on our Facebook page. Each day, a different senior will be profiled. Please visit our page regularly to congratulate your friends and classmates and to help recognize their persistence in pursuit of their academic and professional goals. The attainment of a university degree is a tremendous achievement that deserves all the good wishes we can offer!

I’m also pleased to let you know that two honor societies associated with History and History-Teaching – Phi Alpha Theta, the history honor society, and Pi Gamma Mu International Honor Society in Social Sciences for our teacher education students – can now accept new members online. Brena Hamilton, the current president of UNI’s chapter of Phi Alpha Theta, sent a message to all of this spring’s eligible PAT members with instructions for accepting their invitations to membership; please check your email for details. I sent out invitations to membership for Pi Gamma Mu earlier in the month; if you received an invitation, the deadline for accepting your membership in this recruitment cycle is May 4. If you’re new to the major or don’t yet have the credits or GPA for membership in these organizations, now is a great time to set a goal of pursuing honor society membership for the future.

Graduating and being initiated into a prestigious honor society are big achievements, and not all of you are experiencing these particular successes this spring. But ALL of you will have achieved something of deep significance when you complete this semester. Keep working through the challenges, and be sure to celebrate your dedication to your education. Know, too, that I’ll be celebrating each of you.

Remember to continue to monitor If you are here in the Cedar Valley, please take note of the new precautions issued for Northeastern Iowans. Wherever you are, stay safe.

Take care, and be well,

Dr. McNabb

April 13th, 2020

Dear HIST students,

I hope Week 14 is off to a good start for all of you.

The world may seem pretty small these days. The policies and recommendations put in place to keep us safe and healthy mean that we are more physically isolated than many of us have been in a long time (or perhaps ever). In other ways, though, the world has never been more interconnected than in this historical moment. The experience of coronavirus is helping us understand our shared humanity, but it is also bringing us together virtually, thanks to the use of technology. Communication through E-learning platforms, phone calls, and social media are, temporarily, replacing in-person meetings and interactions. The relative ease of these types of communication will likely mean they will continue to have increased use in educational and professional settings, even after our current circumstances change.  

For these reasons, I would like to make you aware of a number of great professional resources available to you through the department and from the University to help you thrive in our new virtual environment.

First, the department is sponsoring two upcoming professional development events via Zoom; email Dr. McNabb ( for your personal invitation. The first is this Thursday, 4/16, at 6:00 PM and features HIST alum Colby Grothoff. He will be talking about his experiences first as a History teacher education student at UNI and second as a teacher in his own classroom. The second is next Thursday, 4/23, at 4:00 and features Assistant Director of the Office of Career Services TJ Warren. We will talk about practical strategies for enhancing your professional profile and credentials (it is never too early to get started building your personal brand!). Each of these sessions will allow participants to ask questions, so bring yours.

Second, I have also been working with History secretary and web designer Cori to create a dynamic, updated page with information about the many things you can do with your History major, minor, or certificate program. Visit our new Careers page for a number of valuable resources.

Third, I want to share some information provided by our guest speaker on 4/23 about the range of services still being offered remotely by the Office of Career Services on Campus:

Office of Career Services

·      Get familiar with Career Services by visiting and bookmarking their website. The site offers a job board and information on internships as well as an updated "Job Today" site with news and tips.

·      Students can schedule appointments online with Career Services staff for personalized coaching online including resume critiques and mock interviews and/or 1:1 appointments with TJ Warren and/or other professional staff members (see the Career Team section on the webpage for further scheduling options). 

Finally, did you know that the History Department has a Facebook page? Like us for news, updates, and networking opportunities.

I hope to see you at one or both of our upcoming professional development sessions, and as always, I am available by email to take your questions and address your concerns.

Take care, and be well,

Dr. McNabb

April 6th, 2020

Welcome to Week 13, and congratulations on having completed 75% of the Spring 2020 semester. 

These final weeks of the spring semester are usually occupied with making plans for seeking summer jobs or internships and, for graduating seniors, for landing your first post-UNI professional position. Although that might seem a difficult challenge to manage remotely, the great news is that both the University and the department have many resources available to help:

*The UNI Career Services website has a variety of tips and tutorials for polishing your resume and preparing for interviews. Career Services is also offering personalized assistance at a distance through appointments via the Google Hangouts platform. To set up an individual appointment, click here

*The Department of History is also organizing two upcoming History professional development activities to help you sharpen your skills for the workplace. Each will be offered through Zoom. 

  1. For the first, on Thursday, April 16th, I'll be speaking with UNI History Teacher Education alum and current teacher Colby Grothoff to discuss how he found career success and how he puts his UNI degree to work. If you're a History teacher ed student, you won't want to miss this.
  2. For the second, on Thursday, April 23rd, I'll be joined by the Assistant Director of Career Services TJ Warren. We'll discuss tips and strategies for building your personal brand and for learning to navigate e-recruiting and professional networking. 

Each session will offer Q&A time, so make sure to take advantage of these valuable opportunities and have your own questions answered; learn from experts! Additional details, including the Zoom invitations for both sessions, will be included in next week's message. 

*Registration for Fall 2020 continues this week with Sophomores and Freshmen. Make sure to take advantage of your registration window. A number of upper-division History courses are filling steadily, so you want to be sure to claim your spot as soon as you're able. If you've missed your original timeslot, now's the perfect time to register and finalize your fall schedule. Please be aware that there is a new ubill/registration policy this spring: Due to this spring's special circumstances, the new threshold for ubill registration holds is $2,500. A student with a past due ubill of less than $2,500 (that is fewer than 180 days past due) will no longer have a ubill registration hold. 

*A special note for Spring 2020 History graduates: please see the University's page with information on graduation. On that page, you will find information about the upcoming online Commencement celebration; remember that the sign-up deadline for that event is this Wednesday, April 8.

*And finally, a tech tip for classes: did you know that you can scan a document as a pdf using your iPhone? Open the Notes app and click the icon in the bottom menu bar that looks like a camera. A menu will pop up that asks if you would like to Scan Document. Simply take a photo of your document, and a pdf will be generated that you can send by email or upload elsewhere.

I wish you all continued progress on your coursework this week, and as always, don't hesitate to reach out if you need History assistance. 

Take care, and be well,
Dr. McNabb

March 30th, 2020

Dear HIST students,

Welcome to Week 12 of the Spring 2020 semester. I hope it's off to a good start for each of you.

I want to draw your attention to some important information posted at our Spring 2020 update page on Friday (March 27). Important adjustments have been made this semester to UNI's normal timeline and policies. 

The last day to drop a full semester course without an "F" will be May 8, and the last day to change a full semester course to or from non-graded basis will also be May 8. These both represent an extension of an earlier adjustment of April 9, so you'll now have additional time to finalize your decisions, if you need it.

*If you choose to drop a course, you will need to complete the Add/Drop Form and submit it by email to from your UNI email address. All forms received from personal (non-UNI) emails will not be accepted, so make sure to follow the instructions.

*I also want to clarify a couple of points on the credit/no-credit policy, since I've received questions from a few of you already. The regular limitation in place preventing the use of Credit/No Credit grading for classes counting toward majors, minors, and the LAC has been waived for all undergraduate courses for this spring. If you choose to change from graded to Credit/No Credit during Spring 2020, you can count those classes toward any program. Credit-only classes do not impact GPA calculations. A grade of C- is required to receive the credit. See this link for additional information and for the fillable form to submit, if you select this option: 

If you found it a challenge to get back to your coursework last week, please take the time this week to re-engage in the work of the semester. Email your professors or get on Blackboard to check in, if you haven't yet done so. Practice self-care by checking in with friends on FaceTime or having family Zoom sessions, but also make sure to create some structure for each day, with specific hours devoted to your courses, so that you set yourself up for academic success. Note: if you are facing particular challenges related to internet connectivity (WiFi or data) or technology, please contact me with a description of your situation at so that I can reach out to campus resources to seek some assistance.

I'll close with a couple of resources that might help fulfill some of your history needs, now that historic sites, societies, and museums are closed during our period of practicing physical distancing. Each provides links to a number of museums around the world that you can tour virtually online. If you've ever wanted to visit the Louvre in Paris or the National Gallery in London, here's your chance -- without ever leaving Iowa:  

Travel + Leisure: 12 Famous Museums and Galleries Offering Virtual Tours

Smithsonian Magazine: 10 Museums You Can Virtually Visit

As always, if you have questions or concerns, please do reach out. Best wishes for a successful week, and don't forget to get ready for your upcoming registration day.

Take care, and be well,

Dr. McNabb

March 27th, 2020

Important Updates on Policies, Procedures, and Dates

Add/Drops: While UNI temporarily shifts to exclusive online courses, the Add/Drop Form will be available to submit via email. Please send the completed form with appropriate signatures to from your UNI email. All forms received from personal (non-UNI) emails will not be accepted.

Last Day to Drop a Full Semester Course without an "F": has been changed to Friday, May 8. Students may still choose to drop courses any time prior to that date.

Last Day to Change a Full Semester Course to or from Non-Graded Basis: has been changed to Friday, May 8. Please complete the online form to request this change.

Declaring or Changing Majors/Minors: Students intending to change or declare their major or minor must complete a Declaration of Curriculum form and send it to from their UNI email address. The Office of the Registrar will then forward it as appropriate for the necessary signatures for processing.

March 23rd, 2020

Welcome to Week 11 of the Spring 2020 semester. I hope you are all safe and well and ready to finish the second half of the semester successfully. 

Many news items were released by the University last week while you were on Spring Break. It's a lot to absorb, so be sure to take some time today to read through all those messages carefully and to familiarize yourself with updated policies. For the very latest campus announcements, including important information about academic deadlines, see 

Today does mark the resumption of classes, so make sure you "check in" and find out your professors' plans for the rest of the semester. As a set of general "best practices": read and respond to emails in a timely fashion, log in regularly to Blackboard, and follow directions about other means of connecting with your instructors and classmates. Since all Spring 2020 instruction needs now to be remote for safety and in complying with various guidelines, face-to-face interactions like meeting a professor on campus for office hours won't be an option moving forward. There are many other ways to connect, though, so reach out for assistance whenever you need it.

Even as we work to complete the Spring 2020 semester, academic registration for fall semester is approaching. HIST faculty are offering a number of fantastic courses for you to consider, both with the HIST prefix to meet major, minor, and certificate requirements and with the HUM prefix. Please check out the following pdf posters for potential courses of interest and schedule fit: History Courses and Humanities Courses. And if you haven't reached out to your academic advisor yet, now is an excellent time to send an email to set up a remote consultation.     

The registration windows are as follows:

  • March 30th Graduate & Seniors
  • March 31st Seniors
  • April 1st-3rd Juniors
  • April 6th-9th Sophomores
  • April 10th-15th Freshman & unclassified

Summer registration is also coming, so use the course search function to examine the revised online offerings for Summer 2020.

I'm actually starting this week just like you, working from home. I'm following best practices to halt the spread of COVID-19 by completing 14 days of self-isolation after recently traveling out of state for a professional obligation. I have a sense of how you may be feeling, resuming the work of the semester from a remote location. It's not where I wish I could be, nor the company I wish I could have, as I'd rather us be together in Seerley, talking about and studying History. But like you, I have a job that needs to be done, and I am getting down to it, as I know you will, too. 

We're in this together, so please don't hesitate to reach out to me and to your faculty and academic advisors if you need any clarification, information, or assistance.

Take care, and be safe,
Dr. McNabb

March 18th, 2020

UNI Campus Community,

In adherence to the continued guidance from the Iowa Board of Regents as well as state and national officials regarding protecting public health, the University of Northern Iowa is making important adjustments at this time. We continue to appreciate the way in which the entire campus community has come together in order to address the disruption that we face, and especially to make certain that we protect our most vulnerable populations.

Please note the following changes since we last communicated:

  • All courses will be taught online beginning Monday, March 23, and will remain online through the remainder of the spring semester.
  • Summer 2020 courses will only be offered online. Continuing and Distance Education will communicate with Deans and Department Heads about shifting classes currently scheduled for face-to-face instruction to an online format.
  • Faculty should continue to communicate regularly with students regarding how the semester will be concluded. Students should watch their email and/or Blackboard.
  • Students and faculty are encouraged to take advantage of the online resources available through the Rod Library, as well as the UNI Bookstore, which recently made more than 50,000 ebook titles available for free through May 25.
  • The Learning Center at UNI continues to offer online resources, including assistance with writing and other student work.
  • The Educator Preparation office will be communicating with students regarding completion of the necessary requirements to be certified to teach or to enter the program; waivers have been provided at the state level and we will communicate how this will impact your progress towards becoming a teacher.
Residence Halls
  • UNI’s Department of Residence will be sending communication to students living on campus this afternoon sharing additional information about the residence halls.
Student Health Clinic
  • The Student Health Clinic is moving to telehealth appointments only beginning Monday, March 23.
  • The clinic will no longer provide face-to-face office visits, but will support students via telephone and Zoom.
  • Students must call 319-273-2009 to be assessed over the phone. Clinic staff will remain available 8-4:30 Monday through Friday.
  • The Counseling Center will also provide mental health services via telehealth (through Zoom). Please call 319-273-2676 to schedule an appointment.
  • As a result of these health-protection measures, we will be cancelling Spring 2020 Commencement activities.
  • The cancellation of Spring Commencement will not impact students' ability to graduate at the end of the spring semester.
  • Spring graduates will be encouraged to participate in the Fall 2020 Commencement exercises and an email will be sent directly to Spring graduates containing additional information and guidance in the upcoming weeks.

Please visit to watch a message from UNI President Mark Nook and continue to monitor the site for additional updates.

March 17th, 2020

Based on the campus-wide response to COVID-!9, CSBS has elected to change the INSPIRE Student Research and Engagement Conference, originally scheduled for March 30, to an online showcase of student work with an accompanying printed booklet.

The deadline for abstracts has been extended to March 30 to allow students who may have been slowed down by events this week to submit their projects. As a reminder, we accept abstracts for poster, oral, and interactive presentations describing undergraduate and graduate student research, internship, study abroad, and other types of engagement. We also accept creative performances. Click here to submit:

Students will be able to submit posters for the printed proceedings. Students can also have posters, powerpoint slides, videos, and other materials included in the online showcase. The deadline for these submissions will be April 17. Online submissions will have options for UNI only or open access and for an embargo period (delay before it appears online). Online submissions will have a stable url, and all presentations will be citable though the proceedings and/or online showcase. 

More information and the form for the submission process for posters will be sent to authors in early April.

A Message from our Department Head

March 13th, 2020

Dear UNI HIST students,

I wanted to touch base with you all to provide some info and updates about how we can meet the challenges of the next phase of the semester. I know this is an unsettling situation for all of us – please make taking care of yourself and your health a priority, especially during this next week (it’s called Spring Break for a reason!). We have created a new link on our department webpage, “Spring 2020 Updates,” for the latest news as updates become available about department courses, events, students organization activities, etc. Find the link here:

*Please know that all HIST faculty and staff are working hard to ensure a successful transition to remote learning. Some professors will delivering content in Blackboard, some by email, some by additional technologies; please check your UNI email regularly for information about communication methods. Even if you’re not in the habit of using your UNI email, make it a point to log in daily. Don’t hesitate to email your professors for clarification and assistance.  

*Advising and registration: The scheduled Fall 2020 registration period falls during our hiatus from face-to-face instruction; the University will have messaging about how to proceed, so don’t worry about registration for next semester just yet. The Fall 2020 Schedule of Courses has been released this week, so you can now view and search courses online. If you didn’t have the chance to speak with your academic advisor before Spring Break, please do reach out via email for some guidance, so that you’re prepared for registration when the time comes. (If you don’t know/have forgotten who your advisor is, Cori can help, so don’t hesitate to email her!)

*Librarian extraordinaire Chris Neuhaus has volunteered to assist HIST students with library needs, especially if you’re working remotely. You can email him at to set up an appointment at Rod or to consult via email. He also worked with a few faculty members to create Library Guides for Spring 2020 courses; the links are here:

HISEU 4320 - 5320 - History of Ancient Rome

HIST 1010 - Introduction to the Study of History

HIST 1011 - Field Experience - Digital Archives and Online Primary Sources

HIST 6030 - Witchcraft in Colonial America

HISUS 4150 / 5150 - Foundations of Modern America - The United States 1877 – 1929

*Cori and I will be staffing the office throughout the interim, so call or email with any questions or concerns. We’re waiting and eager to help as needed!

Take the next week to enjoy some time with family and friends, and then we’ll “see” you on March 23 as we move into the next section of the spring 2020 semester.


Dr. McNabb

We will be adding content and providing updates continuously. Email questions and suggestions to

Also keep up to date with campus-wide news via the University of Northern Iowa Prepare site and the Graduate Student Prepare site, run by the Graduate College.