The Royal Historical Society takes a keen interest in promoting and developing the teaching of history in higher education. The Society’s engagement in this area is overseen by its Education Committee. The committee is drawn from members of the RHS Council and chaired by Dr Adam Budd, the Society’s Secretary for Education, who sits as an Officer on the Council.
The Education Committee works closely with education specialists in other organisations, such as the Historical Association (which represents the interests of primary and secondary school History teachers) and HistoryUK (which represents UK History departments).
Current activities in which the Committee is engaged include:
1. Masters’ Scholarships for students from groups currently underrepresented in academic History
The Society’s Masters’ Scholarships provide £5000 per recipient to support early career historians undertake a Masters’ degree in History at a UK university.
The programme, established in 2022, seeks to actively address underrepresentation and encourage Black and Asian students to consider academic research in History. By supporting Masters’ students the programme focuses on a key early stage in the academic training of future researchers. With these Scholarships, we seek to support students who are without the financial means to study for a Masters’ in History. By doing so, we hope to improve the educational experience of early career historians engaged in a further degree.
The 2023 call for applications runs to Monday 14 August. Six Scholarships are available for students beginning courses in September 2023. The Society thanks both the Past & Present Society and the Thriplow Charitable Trust for their support of one Scholarship each in 2023.
2. Jinty Nelson Teaching Fellowships
From July 2023, the Society makes available annual Fellowships of between £500 and £1250 to support the development and study of teaching practices for History in UK Higher Education. The Fellowships aim to help historians introduce new approaches to their teaching, or to undertake a defined study of an aspect of history teaching in UK Higher Education.
3. Online resources and guides for history teachers in Higher Education
The RHS Teaching Portal is a free online resource for teachers and students of History in UK Higher Education. The Portal includes more than 60 articles (text and video) produced by experienced researchers, teachers and resource providers. Articles are themed ‘For Teachers’ and ‘For Students’; and by ‘Innovative Modules’, ‘Transitions through HE’, ‘Careers’ and ‘Online Resources’.
The Portal is an important, and evolving, resource for teachers of History, and a forum for debate and discussion about the pedagogy of our discipline. Additionally, the Portal provides support in the face of unexpected challenges, such as adapting to digital learning during the lockdowns of 2020-21.
4. Workshops for Early Career Historians of Colour
The Society runs an annual Workshop offering one-to-one guidance and group discussion for early career historians of colour. Sessions cover CV writing, applications, and proposals for funded research, among other topics, for up to 30 historians at a time.
The 2023 Workshop takes place on Friday 22 September and is preceded (August / September) by one-to-one mentoring sessions. Further details of the 2023 Workshop for Early Career Historians of Colour are available here, along with details of how to apply for a place.
5. ‘New to Teaching’ Conference, with HistoryUK
The Society hosts an annual series of workshops which provide expert advice for those ‘New to Teaching’ at the start of the academic year. The event enables attendees to develop their understanding of key issues relating to teaching History in higher education: from innovations in teaching and learning to curriculum design, teaching in groups, and giving assessment.
The latest ‘New to Teaching’ Conference took place in September 2022. Videos of the eight presentations are available here.
Also with History UK, the Society supports development of the Pandemic Pedagogy Handbook, which charts shifting classroom practice.
6. Commentaries and Insights on History Teaching in UK Higher Education
The society’s Education Policy Committee also commissions occasional series of external commentaries relating to important topics in History teaching in Higher Education. From Summer 2023, the Committee begins a series of posts on the form, impact and potential implications of Generative AI for historians and History teaching.