History Majors Scramble to Graduate

Danny Reinan, Staff Writer


After a tumultuous year, Professor of Medieval History and former Honors director Phillip Adamo announced his retirement from Augsburg University on September 1st, 2019 via his blog. However, because the announcement came just four days before fall semester classes began, students who were enrolled in Adamo’s fall classes had to find alternative ways to fill their graduation requirements.

History majors are required to take either an ancient or medieval history class to graduate, and Adamo is one of the only professors to teach either kind of class at Augsburg. With Adamo gone and students already registered for classes, many students were uncertain of how to proceed.

One such student was Tate Barton, a History major who had planned to enroll in one of Adamo’s now cancelled fall classes.

“Phil’s retirement was the worst possibly timed thing in existence,” said Barton. “The required class he was supposed to be teaching disappeared, forcing those enrolled to find another course fitting the requirements for Medieval History. There was an entire summer to figure things out and he decided to leave at the last minute.”

Another History major who was caught off-guard by Adamo’s retirement was Jackson Gerber, who was told only two days before classes began that his class was canceled. “Phil Adamo’s Medieval Studies class had the ability to fulfill three requirements within the history major, which is what I was hoping to get accomplished when I enrolled in that class in the spring,” Gerber said. He was able to switch into a class that would fill one of the three requirements, and is attempting to get the other two waived from his major because of the unexpected change. If the waiver is rejected, Gerber will be forced to take two additional classes. “The initial shock of having to find a replacement for that class and the amount of unknowns created a lot of unwanted anxiety to begin my senior year,” Gerber said.

Although the change has understandably provoked frustration and anxiety, the History and Medieval Studies departments are dedicated to helping their students graduate despite these obstacles. Medieval Studies director Michael Kidd declared his dedication to supporting students in his program during this time of upheaval in an interview with the Echo.

“I am committed to helping current Medieval Studies majors find a way to complete their degrees on time,” said Kidd. “It will probably require some creative solutions that involve substitutions for requirements no longer offered. We will identify a path forward for each student on a case-by-case basis.”

Gerber feels confident that students within the History department will be equally well-supported. “The department is a little hectic right now…but they have a strong leadership group that has been very helpful in trying to solve problems that have come up because of this turn of events,” he said. “They have been open about understanding the predicament that this has put us history majors in and are adamant that they will do everything they can to help us through this situation.”

This article was originally published in the September 27, 2019 issue.