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Explore America

Photo by: Henoc Kivuye


Through a new class being taught by Associate Professor of History Matt McCook, the student body will get to learn firsthand about the history of the great nation we live in today.

Exploring America is a new travel and history course that will be offered every spring, in which students will travel to different locations in America each year.

“This year we will travel to various historic sites in New England,” McCook said. “[This includes] the Freedom Trail in Boston; John Adams’ and John Quincy Adams’ homes in Quincy, Mass.; Lexington and Concord; Plymouth Plantation; Newport, R.I.; Hartford, Conn.; Salem, Mass. and other sites in New Hampshire and Vermont.”

The class itself is only a one-hour course, so it isn’t designed to be anything more than an elective, seeing as it won’t take place of any class that is already a requirement.

The only thing that the student will need to have before taking the course is a completion of three hours of U.S. history and the approval of the history professor teaching the course itself.

Students had mixed ideas of the class and what it has to offer.

Amanda Jones, a junior public relations major said the locations visited would be the deciding factor for her.

“Depending on the locations that are being taught, that would sway me either for it or against it,” Jones said. “If the places that are visited are intriguing then yes the class will interest me.”

Dillon Byrd, a senior political science major also was a bit leery about the course itself but was excited about the opportunity to travel.

“I love history, so visiting famous historical places with a knowledgeable faculty member could be interesting,” Byrd said. “The course as it is currently doesn’t appeal to me. It’s a one hour course, and I couldn’t possibly understand why anyone would take the course unless they were simply willing to waste their money. I think it needs to be reworked into a three hour class with some extra coursework either in the spring or summer.”

However, Bryston Gallegos, a sophomore history/pre-law major thought that the class might broaden individuals’ cultural perspectives and encourage them to study abroad.

“Studying abroad is one of the most exciting and challenging experiences students usually have during their college years,” Gallegos said. “It may be the first time a student will experience many things like living in a new and different culture, traveling internationally and learning a foreign language. It provides them a new outlook and gives them a new perspective on a career.”

That is what the Exploring America course hopes to accomplish. It is meant to give the student body insight into the history of our nation and to let the individuals in the class explore within as well.

“I hope students will learn that anywhere they go in the U.S., there is history there that is worth exploring,” McCook said. “One’s understanding of our history can be enhanced by visiting the places where history was made. When you stand where the American Revolution was started or look out at the bay from where the Pilgrims lived, it all becomes much more real.”

McCook would like to make the course itself a growing tradition within the department of history and political science and for the student body of Oklahoma Christian University.

“I hope students will look forward to the trip each spring and sign up multiple times for the experiential learning,” McCook said. “I think it could really have a unifying and electrifying affect on our department and give others not majoring in history a chance to enrich their knowledge as well.”

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