IUP selected R. Scott Moore, history department chair, as the 2019-20 distinguished professor.
The IUP president’s office selects one faculty member each year to receive the “Distinguished University Professor” award, which is “based on record of outstanding teaching, university service and demonstrable engagement in research or scholarly activity,” according to the IUP website.
“It’s really sort of humbling [to be selected] because I know how much work other faculty do, and it’s amazing how many do great things and don’t receive the recognition,” Moore said.
Moore joined IUP in 2002 as an associate professor, and since has been active in on-campus organizations, researching in Cyprus, a country in the Middle East, and advancing the use of technology in the classroom and history department.
Moore can balance all of his responsibilities because he said everything “meshes well.”
“My research takes place during the summer, so in the summer, I don’t have committee work that I do during the school year,” Moore said. “It takes place usually right after the end of the semester when I need some down time from classes.”
Over the summer, Moore spends between four to six weeks in Cyprus where he is a chief ceramicist and is currently working on six different projects in various roles.
“I’m happy that when they think of late Roman ceramics on the island, they like to call me,” Moore said.
He said his teaching philosophy has been greatly influenced by his time at IUP, and he’s a big believer in the “teacher-scholar model.”
“I think that some of the best teachers have active research agendas,” Moore said. “It allows you to show your students that in your field these are the sorts of things that you do, and you can involve students in different ways, whether it’s showing them in the classroom what you do or getting them involved in certain projects.”
Even though Moore hasn’t been able to bring students with him to Cyprus recently, he said he wants bring students again in the next few years when there’s a new land survey.
“I really enjoy taking students with me,” Moore said. “You can go and live wherever you want to live for the rest of your life as long as you know what other options there were.”
Moore said he enjoys giving students the opportunity to explore those options and see a different culture.
“In 2005, I took my first group with me, and of that small group (three students), two of them had never left the state of Pennsylvania…and one had been to Ohio, which I didn’t really count as being terribly different, a little flatter. It was really nice to have them go to another place.”
Moore said he’s been fortunate that IUP has been supportive and able to help pay for students to come with him.
His initial interest in Cyprus started through his adviser at Ohio State. His adviser liked the work Moore had done as a graduate student and offered him the opportunity to help with his research in 1996. Moore has gone back to Cyprus every year since.
“I’ve had nothing but good experiences over there.”
One of the major things that Moore has tried to do with his time at IUP is push for a greater integration of technology.
“I think the thing that history needs to do more of is borrow from other fields,” Moore said. “When technology, software, gadgets are used, the thing about history is we tend to wait, and wait, and wait to make use of them.”
Moore said that some of this push comes from his background in archeology where “you’re constantly adapting things.”
“You’re not buying the perfect thing; you’re buying things you can make work. History as a discipline needs to make things work.”
“History’s more than books and pen and paper.”
Moore said that the digital history lab was a great push in expanding what history means.
The history department will have a new history curriculum in the fall, and Moore said he is looking forward to a project centered in the department, called “Digital Indiana,” which he wants to use to get different majors involved in history and to expand what history majors see as potential paths.
The “Digital Indiana” project will start by looking at Indiana County during the 1920s.
Looking beyond the next year or so, Moore said the university has some “challenges” to overcome, such as declining enrollment.
“We’re going to move a little bit a way from ‘if you’re going to be a history major either going to teach history in high school, you can go on to be a college professor, you can be a lawyer or you’ll work at a museum.’”
Moore said the history department needs to do a better job at showing students the range of possibilities that can be done with a history degree.