Jiacheng Liu, Ph.D., 2016
February 5, 2017
At present, I am an assistant professor in the History Department at University of Northern Colorado, where I teach Asian history and work on my first book manuscript on actresses and urban publics in early 20th century Beijing.
I have found my PhD training in history at Carnegie Mellon very helpful for my academic career. Perhaps more than anything I’ve benefited from the History Department’s commitment to interdisciplinary scholarship. I was trained in ways that reached beyond disciplinary boundaries to engage with various theories and methods from anthropology, performance studies, and gender studies, etc. The ability to address a subject matter from a variety of perspectives allowed me to move beyond the scope of dissertation to engage with innovative ideas and embark on new research projects unsupervised by advisors.
I also appreciate the department’s commitment to prepare students to become excellent classroom teachers. For several years, I taught a number of classes first as a teaching assistant and then as an instructor, which allowed me to reflect consciously on student learning and seek effective pedagogical strategies. My teaching experience at Carnegie Mellon turned out to be invaluable in equipping me to handle the challenges I have encountered in UNC classrooms.
Last, though certainly not least, the History Department provided an intimate community in which graduate students supported each other and faculty members were generous with their time and energy. A few professors with whom I worked closely (Prof. Donald Sutton and Prof. Paul Eiss in particular) have been an unfailing source of intellectual inspiration and personal guidance throughout my years at Carnegie Mellon and beyond. I have been looking at them as role models as I seek to inspire my own students at UNC.