Class promotes interest beyond basic history

State Representative Abel Herrero, Commissioner Oscar Ortiz, Mark Robbins and Christine Robbins attend the unveiling of a historical landmark in November 2015. Robbins teaches the Academic Cooperative in History class.

Students who are interested in history beyond the required courses have the option to take a unique class. This course is for students who are interested in studying how certain elements in history impacted both the Coastal Bend and surrounding areas.

“The class is hands-on,” said Mark Robbins, instructor of Academic Cooperative in History. “You get projects that are developed by the students in conjunction with advice and mentorship of the professor.”

This class fits into the liberal arts major degree plan as an elective and is part of the degree plan for history and social studies majors.

Robbins said the goal in creating the class was to “fill in some of the gaps that other history courses at that time have a harder time addressing. This course seems versatile enough to do that.”

While the courses United States History I (HIST 1301) and United States History II (HIST 1302) cover a great deal of history they may not cover certain areas enough that students are interested in. Robbins said the Academic Cooperative in History course gives students the chance to focus on certain elements in history they find interesting.

“The tricky thing about the basic survey classes is that they move so quickly from learning about Andrew Jackson to moving on to the Civil War,” Robbins said. “But what if students are interested in philosophies that drove the Constitutional Convention? Or what if they are interested in how the Great Depression played out in Corpus Christi?”

Robbins said the class will accomplish three main points.

It will allow exposure to theories and methods that drive history. The class will also explore the application of history in the professional world. During this part of the class Robbins will bring students in contact with professionals who do just that.

Guest speakers, who Robbins said don’t just lecture but have conversations with students, will include local historians, attorneys, museums curators, historical archaeologist and K-12 teachers.

“That’s the nature of the class,” Robbins said, “a little bit of lecture from the professor but mainly an ongoing conversation about historical methods and the practice of history in the professional world.”

Last semester Robbins brought in a lawyer who was a history major. This allows students to consider fields that relate to history other than college professor.

Lastly, Robbins said students get to develop a project of their choosing.

“This class gives students the space to pursue a research project or even a professional application of history for a couple of months without the professor saying it’s time to move on,” Robbins said.

Students have developed projects from lesson plans to research papers that range from the battle of Corpus Christi during the Civil War, to relief efforts of other communities when the hurricane of 1919 hit the area. Robbins has even had a couple of students fill out a historical marker application to make Del Mar College an official state historical site.

Not only do students get to use local archives, the class will also use digital historical research. Websites such as, historical newspaper databases and even older issues of the Foghorn are used as research.

“I often encourage local history just because those resources are more widely available,” Robbins said. “Let’s say you’re interested in the American GI forum, well Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi has Dr. Hector P. Garcia’s papers.”

Robbins also takes advantage of field trips. Students have gone to the Corpus Christi Museum of Science & History, and to Old Bayview Cemetery to gain a sense of community history.

“This class is open to anybody,” Robbins said. “If you’re majoring in liberal arts you can throw it in as an elective.”

The only prerequisite required for this course is at least one college-level history course. If interested in enrolling search for HIST 2389-001 SP. Academic Cooperative in History meets from 11 a.m. to 12:20 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays at Heritage Hall Room 110.

For more information contact Robbins at

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