The Beacon of Knowledge


Teaching Philosophy

Dr. Gavorsky teaching at Emory, 2006Coming from a liberal arts background, I am a firm believer that collegiate-level teaching should focus both on the specifics of the discipline and the general skills necessary for any intellectual activity. I can best summarize my teaching efforts in and outside the classroom as students “getting their hands dirty.” For me, engagement with history means writing history, using primary and secondary sources to develop an argument about why an event or process happened. Students coming into my courses can expect to learn not only the content of the class, but also a skill-set centered on critical analysis, engaging discussion, broad research, and argumentative writing—the combination of knowledge and practice that lie at the heart of active, democratic citizenship. Such activities are what attracted me to history, and those I most enjoyed doing as an undergraduate at Oglethorpe University, a small liberal arts college in Atlanta. I have attempted to recreate those experiences for my own students. Guiding students through a project that allows them to develop their own historical explanations allows me not only to help impart the specific knowledge of the discipline, but also the techniques of learning and writing that are the foundation of a liberal arts education.

Statement of Teaching Philosophy (November 2016) - pdf file

Courses Taught

Great Basin College
U.S. History I, to 1877 (HIST 101) [sample syllabus]
European Civilization I, to 1648 (HIST 105)
European Civilization II, to Present (HIST 106)
Africa and the Modern World (INT 349)
Roman Civilization (HIST 451)
Islamic and Middle Eastern History since 1750 (HIST 478B) [sample syllabus]

University of Alaska Anchorage
Western Civilization I (HIST A101) [sample syllabus]
Western Civilization II (HIST A102) [sample syllabus]

University of Georgia
French Revolution and Empire (HIST 4392) [sample syllabus]
Democracy in Modern Europe (HIST 4450) [sample syllabus]
Modern France since 1799 (HIST 3382) [sample syllabus]
History of Modern Science (HIST 3432) [sample syllabus]

Emory University
Scandals, Shopping and the Nineteenth Century (HIST 385) [sample syllabus]
The Making of Modern Europe (HIST 202) [sample syllabus]


Scott A. Gavorsky
Social Sciences Department
Great Basin College
1500 College Parkway
DCIT 121
Elko, NV 89801

Updated on 25 November 2016
Copyright © 2009-2016, Scott A. Gavorsky