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Master Teachers Profiles 2013-14

Master Teachers Program Description

Elizabeth Drummond, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of History


Elizabeth Drummond received her Ph.D. in modern European history at Georgetown University. Her research focuses on the history of Germany and Poland in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, in particular the construction of national identity and nationalist mobilization in the German-Poland borderlands in the decades before World War I. More broadly, her teaching and research aim to situate European history in a global context, with a focus on modern Central Europe, nationalism, imperialism, dynamics of global exploration and exchange, and the intersections of nation/race, gender, class, and religion.

My approach to teaching is based on my understanding of history as both a content-area and a discipline and on my broader understanding of the nature of a liberal education. I see my teaching as part of a tradition that seeks to educate not just the Western Civ student, the history major, or the future lawyer, but to help the individual student develop into a rational and ethical global citizen, who engages in rigorous and independent critical thinking about the world and who strives to realize her own historical agency. As a history teacher, I try to model to my students not only an enthusiastic interest in history but also the complexities of historical analysis. By unmasking the processes by which historians make sense of and give meaning to the past, I help students understand history not as a collection of facts but as a means of thinking about and understanding their own and other cultures, past and present. In modeling the work of the historian, I try both to challenge and to mentor students as they develop their own scholarly abilities – challenging them through the class assignments (both more traditional assignments that focus on close reading and the development of historical arguments in writing as well as more innovative assignments, in particular around the field of public history), mentoring them as they work to develop their critical thinking and analytical skills, and encouraging them to develop the sense of curiosity that marks the life of the mind.


Most students come to college understanding history as a collection of names, dates and events to be found in a book. They do not fully appreciate that history is more than the mere study of the past, the memorization of facts. As such, I strive to impart to my students an understanding of history as the process of developing reasoned arguments about the past through which we improve our understanding of people’s thoughts, actions and experiences. In doing so, I emphasize the richness, complexity, and contingency of the historical past. Students in my classes examine questions of continuity and change over time, of causality, of similarities and differences across time and space, of cross-cultural and cross-civilizational encounter and exchange, and of ideological, structural and cultural factors that informed how people experienced the world around them. In practicing the craft of history, students learn how to think and develop skills that will serve them far beyond the study of history – how to find and use a variety of sources, how to read texts analytically and critically, and how to develop and present, in both writing and speech, well-developed arguments supported by evidence.
Elizabeth Drummond Photo

Kirstin Noreen, Ph.D., Professor of Art History

Prior to joining the faculty in the Department of Art and Art History at LMU in 2006, Kirstin Noreen taught at Louisiana State University and worked at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. Her specializations in Medieval, Renaissance and Baroque art history have led to publications dealing with the ritual use of icons as well as the revival of Early Christian and medieval art in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. She has received various grants to support her research, including an American Council of Learned Societies, Andrew W. Mellon Fellowship; a National Endowment for the Humanities, Summer Stipend; and a Fulbright Grant.

My own experiences as an undergraduate student in over-crowded classrooms in Florence, a small liberal arts college in Oregon, and a large state school in Los Angeles have caused me to appreciate diverse approaches to instruction and to learning. While there is often a need to adjust to different classroom situations, I feel that it is essential to impart my own enthusiasm in the material through the development of new and innovative ways of presenting my art history course content. I have found that effective teaching must include numerous methods of engagement to help students become active participants in the learning process rather than passive recipients of information 

In teaching the Medieval, Renaissance, and Baroque periods, I have found that the material is sometimes difficult for students because it is both physically and temporally removed from their daily experience. To deal with this issue, I incorporate various site visits to local museums and integrate diverse technological approaches to make the subject more interactive and dynamic. I have found that using a range of technologies both in teaching (i.e. 360 degree views, embedded videos, virtual reconstructions) and in student assignments (the development of websites or podcasts) have made my teaching more effective. Not being a “techie” myself, the use of new technologies helps to push me out of my comfort zone, making the learning a joint process. 
Noreen MT Photo

Jose A. Saez, Ph.D., P.E., Associate Professor of Civil Engineering  


Jose is an Associate Professor in LMU’s Department of Civil Engineering and Environmental Science. He is a graduate from LMU (BS 1986, MS 1991, both in Civil Engineering). He obtained his doctorate degree in civil engineering from UCLA in 2004 with an emphasis in optimization strategies for groundwater remediation. His research focuses on environmental engineering, hydraulics and hydrology. Jose’s teaching ranges from lower division courses in general engineering to upper division and graduate courses in environmental engineering and water resources. Jose is a civil engineer registered in California. He remains active as a practicing engineer, which helps him stay current with the latest developments in his profession.

I believe that my passion for engineering is the main factor that helps me inspire my students and engage with them during their learning. I foster student learning through effective teaching that focuses on theory and practical applications from my professional engineering experience. I also focus on being available and on maintaining a friendly classroom environment. This approach allows me to connect with the students and helps them achieve the necessary confidence to tackle the challenging field of engineering.

My primary teaching goal is to assist students to become competent engineers with strong technical, decision-making and communication skills. I achieve this goal through careful preparation and continuous improvement of my lectures. I also pay close attention to the assessment of student learning and of my teaching techniques, which emphasize examples of practical engineering applications. I consider myself to be a traditional teacher, but I also make an effort to include new teaching and learning techniques through the use of real project examples, audiovisuals and laboratory experiences. For example, I often incorporate the topics covered in class into relevant laboratory experiments and projects, which I link with my professional engineering experience. I encourage my students to be an integral part of the planning, design, performance and analysis of experiments. I also extend this approach to community service projects that include engineering components and are in concert with LMU’s mission. These project applications require that students make sound engineering analyses and decisions, which they communicate through class participation, reports and presentations. In addition, I focus on being available to ensure that the students receive the best possible attention outside of the classroom. Meeting with students provides an opportunity to advise and mentor them as they get ready to embark in the engineering profession.