Pioneer Spotlight: Dr. David Krugler

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Pioneer Spotlight
Dr. David Krugler
January 9, 2015

Dr. David Krugler, professor of history at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville, has been teaching history at UW-Platteville since 1997. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in history and English from Creighton University in Omaha, Neb., and his master’s and Ph.D. in history from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. His research focuses on United States political, diplomatic and urban history; and African-American history. Krugler teaches a variety of classes in modern U.S. history, African-American history, U.S. foreign relations, and historiography and research methods. When he is not teaching, Krugler enjoys bicycling, traveling with his wife and reading.

What is the most rewarding thing about going into a career in history?

For those who obtain a great teaching position, there is so much independence and creativity in designing classes. The study of history gives you so many choices, and you can go a lot of different routes.

What is the most difficult thing about going into a career in history?

It can be difficult to convince employers that earning a degree in history has prepared you for a career. This economy is built on having a set of skills that will help you do a job. You need to show an employer that earning a history degree has helped you develop analytical skills and a professional and polished writing ability, as well as the ability to take on complex problems and provide solutions.

There are many history careers that people can go into besides teaching. For example, there are careers in museum archival work and working for elected officials. There is a history alumni of UW-Platteville who has worked as editor of the History Channel Magazine.

How did you become interested in history and your specialty?

I was born into it. My dad is a professor at Marquette and my mom is a retired teacher, so education was a profession that I was familiar with. I became interested in my specialty because I was always looking for ways to let people know that the world and nation in which they live have been shaped by historical forces that we all need to understand.

Please discuss your upcoming publication, “1919, The Year of Racial Violence: How African Americans Fought Back.”

This book is an examination of violence that broke out in the United States after World War I, during one of the worst years of racial conflict in U.S. history. Almost 400,000 African Americans fought to make the world safe for democracy, but returned home to be treated unjustly. When they tried to obtain their constitutional rights against mobs that used lynching, assaults and other forms of violence to protect white supremacy, the authorities blamed African Americans for the violence, and this led to mass arrests and misleading news coverage. African Americans fought back in the streets, in the press and in the courts.

You received the UW-Platteville 2014 Faculty Award for Teaching Excellence. What did receiving this award mean to you?

It was an honor to receive this award and to join the company of great teachers here who have also received recognition. Teaching has been my main responsibility here and I enjoy it immensely. The students find new and pleasant ways to surprise me with their knowledge in my classes each semester.

To nominate someone for the Pioneer Spotlight, contact pr@uwplatt.edu. Interview conducted by Connie Spyropoulos, College of LAE.

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