As part of my Research Methods course I spent time this week meeting with various professors to talk about my ideas for research. First I met with Dr. Jones, the director of the graduate program and the instructor of my Research Methods class. Quickly in the meeting I settled on pursuing my Virginia Tech in World War I topic and Dr. Jones agreed that this topic has more potential than others I thought about. A few ideas about where my project could go came out of this meeting. The first was to direct my research to focus more on the students at Virginia Tech and campus culture instead of focusing specifically on the institution during during the war. The second was to possibly work on a comparative study that would compare wartime Virginia Tech with another institution, possibly Hampton Institute or Virginia State University, which are both historically black colleges within the Commonwealth.
The second professor I met with was Dr. Cline, who works with the public history certificate program and has an interest in Virginia Tech history. Again, the response was very positive. Dr. Cline believed that my project had promise and was encouraged by the previous work I completed on the topic. Due to his interests and my hope to develop an exhibit in Newman Library as part of my thesis, Dr. Cline has agreed to become the chair of my research project committee. He is also open to the idea of being a co-chair/adviser alongside Professor Wallenstein.
My third meeting this week would have been with Professor Wallenstein, but he was away at a symposium. We plan to meet next week, but in previous conversations I had with him last semester he seemed more than excited about my topic.
A fourth meeting occurred with Dr. David Hicks, a professor in the School of Education and my Secondary Education adviser. His work deals mainly with teaching history and the history of education. One of his current projects is working with the American Battle Monuments Commission to develop new interpretative material for the Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery. Dr. Hicks thought that one of the most promising things about my topic was how I wanted to use Virginia Tech as a case study to make local connections to broader themes. He also supported my idea of creating a public exhibit to share my research as it would engage my work in various education classes, my work from history classes, and my past experiences working at museums.