Tim Bazemore ’82, Head of School at Catlin Gabel School

By Drew Jacobs

I recently spoke with Middlebury alumnus Tim Bazemore, now the Head of School at the Catlin Gabel School in Portland, Oregon. Tim graduated from Middlebury in 1982 with a degree in History. Early on in his time at Middlebury he studied a Medieval European History course and really enjoyed it. He remembers professor Harden Tillinghast in particular as a strong lecturer with a wealth of knowledge on a number of subjects. Tim valued studying themes and connections across different eras and cultures in the dozen history courses he took at Middlebury. He remembers the professors as passionate and friendly, often inviting students over for dinner and discussion. Ultimately, Tim wrote his thesis on 17th Century England, examining the intersection of politics, religion, and culture. He feels that his critical thinking, writing, and speaking ability all greatly improved from his time at Middlebury.

After graduation, Tim got a job with an independent school in Philadelphia. He taught 6th grade English his first year and then 7th-12th grade History for the next five years. He taught a wide variety of courses, ranging from World History, US History, and 20th Century Middle East History. After five years, Tim went to the University of Pennsylvania graduate school for his Masters in History, where he focused on 16th and 17th Century European History. Upon graduation, he took a job in a High School admissions office, realizing he had an interest in the administrative side of education.

Tim credits his History degrees for strengthening his research, writing, leadership, and management skills. These skills aided him as he spent the next ten years in a variety of administrative roles. He then interviewed and was hired as the head of school of a K-9 school in Connecticut. He worked there for 14 years, teaching a history course each semester as well. Tim stressed how his knowledge of history has helped him understand culture and contact in

each of his new positions and schools. He believes the major has led him to always ask questions and quickly recognize issues. After 14 years in Connecticut, Tim moved to Portland to become the Head of School at the K-12 Catlin Gabel School.

Upon arrival, Tim said he read 20 years’ worth of the school’s alumni magazines to better understand the nature of the community which he was entering. This is a true historian’s mindset. He taught a senior History seminar last year and hopes to teach one next year as well. Tim said that all of the schools that he has worked at really emphasize a liberal arts education. He believes his job is to help produce thoughtful, effective communicators who can then more effectively enter college and the world. Tim also pointed out that despite popular belief, his History degree has not prevented him from obtaining administrative or leadership positions throughout his career. Instead, he believes his study of history has improved his ability to do his job effectively

Marjorie Lamberti on the History of our Deparment

Marjorie Lamberti joined the history department faculty at Middlebury College in 1964, and in 1976, was the first woman to be appointed full professorship in the department. Her academic career gives great insight into the past of the History Department at Middlebury, which she strongly believes should be commended for a tradition of gender and racial diversity.

Lamberti was educated at Smith College in the 1950s and emphasizes the lasting impact of her experience at a women’s college. To be educated in an environment where her abilities and competency were “never questioned” was a unique and empowering experience for a woman at the time. She had strong role models in her female professors and felt optimistic about her prospects after college as many encouraged her to pursue graduate school and a college-level teaching career. Lamberti is careful to highlight the unique nature of her experience, as the majority of women at the time did not have such supportive families, strong female role models, and access to higher education.

After beginning her academic career at Middlebury College, Lamberti accomplished countless feats ranging from winning fellowships and grants to support her research abroad, to being appointed to an endowed Charles A. Dana professorship. She noted the obstacles that women faced in academia because “as a woman, you had to be much more competent to achieve the same level of recognition as men,” and thus she was particularly impressed by the high levels of intelligence and determination that characterized Middlebury’s female faculty in the 1960s. However, Lamberti recalled that the history department seemed to be exceptionally accepting of women, especially in comparison to other departments at Middlebury College at the time. Many women left their teaching jobs at Middlebury due to hostile work environments, as women were not respected and given the same opportunities as men. In the history department, however, several women had the opportunity to be pursue tenure track, and only chose to leave for personal reasons.

When asked whether or not female students experienced these obstacles and hostilities, Lamberti was proud to say that she always tried to encourage women in her classes and empower them the same way she was encouraged at Smith. With a proud grin on her face, she remarks that she is “in awe” at what women at Middlebury today are able to accomplish. “Women today are so self-confident and assertive,” she exclaims and points to the “Fat n’ Hairy: Ways I’m Failing the Patriarchy” display currently in the lobby of Davis Family Library, “you never would have seen that in my day!” The cards, described by Lamberti as “sparkling,” are filled with women unapologetically declaring ways they are failing the patriarchy, ranging from challenging the institution of marriage to receiving an education.

When I visited the display after my meeting with Lamberti, one particular card stood out to me, it said “I’m failing the patriarchy by being a good man.” While this seems rather open to interpretation, it reminded me of how Lamberti partly attributes the historic acceptance of women in the history department to the fact that many of her male colleagues recognized and respected women’s intelligence and contributions and did not discriminate against them because of their gender. She speaks particularly fondly of Nicholas Clifford, who was the chair of the department for several years during her career. Lamberti describes Clifford as a man of morals and fairness who was influenced heavily by strong women in his own life, including his highly educated mother, his wife who was a “gifted writer,” and his own four daughters.

In addition to her efforts to empower female academics, Lamberti contributed to the diversification of the history department’s courses. She notes that in the 1960s and 1970s, many universities had very Eurocentric history curriculums. However, it was the opportunity to reach beyond what we know here and now, and the “exhilaration of crossing cultural boundaries” and inspired Lamberti to pursue history in the first place. In this era, Middlebury’s history department was unique in having professors teaching courses outside of Europe and America, such as Professor Nicholas Clifford, the Asian historian, Professor John Spencer the African historian, and Professor Elizabeth Dore, who specialized in South America.

Lamberti herself had an expansive view in teaching history, and in 1971 designed a course on revolutions with a global and comparative outlook, which was the precursor to the Global Studies program at Middlebury College. Several professors in the history department pioneered many courses that reached beyond the narrow confines of Eurocentric education and created programs in Jewish, Asian, African, and Latin American studies. Lamberti was the first to introduce courses on the history of the Holocaust and Jews in Europe, which led to an interdisciplinary Jewish Studies Program at Middlebury. In the history department today, there are professors who specialize in a wide range of fields from environmental history to the Middle East, and this diversity can be attributed to the early efforts of the History Department to expand the study of history.

Through Lamberti’s extensive and colorful career, we can get a glimpse into the past and the growth of the History Department at Middlebury. The department was one of the university’s earliest advocates for women faculty, and pioneered a diverse and global outlook on the study of history. The history department continues to celebrate and embody this diversity, and encourages students to demonstrate the same curiosity, determination, and open-mindedness that Marjorie Lamberti championed decades earlier.



Digital History

What is digital history? The American Historical Association offers the following explanation:

On one level, digital history is an open arena of scholarly production and communication, encompassing the development of new course materials and scholarly data collection efforts. On another level, digital history is a methodological approach framed by the hypertextual power of these technologies to make, define, query, and annotate associations in the human record of the past. To do digital history, then, is to digitize the past certainly, but it is much more than that. It is to create a framework through the technology for people to experience, read, and follow an argument about a major historical problem. [Click here to learn more.]

Like many institutions, Middlebury is embracing the emerging field of digital history, which has important implications for public history and the dissemination of information to a popular, rather than academic, audience. While scholarship remains the foundation of the discipline, the creation of history within a digital context requires equal attention to accessibility. The digital world provides a wider audience than the discipline has perhaps ever enjoyed, and the field of digital history provides an opportunity for historians to present scholarship in an accessible way.

The  rise of digital history at Middlebury trains students to write for both public and academic audiences. As students, we want to impress our professors with sophisticated arguments and language, and the latter is often to the detriment of the former. A digital platform allows students to hone their scholarship with a focus a clarity rather than erudition. Professor Kathryn Morse, who will co-teach the digital course “Vermont Life‘s Vermont” in fall 2018, considers these courses an experiment in how to present information outside of an academic essay, a skill that will serve students both within and beyond the world of academia. “Vermont Life‘s Vermont” will explore Vermont and its cultural, historical, and environmental meanings, and contributes to an interdisciplinary effort to explore digital and collaborative methods of teaching, research, and publication.  The full course description is below:

HIST/AMST 445 Vermont Life’s Vermont:  A Collaborative Web Project

Students in this course will work collaboratively to build an online history project aimed at a wide audience.  Since 1946, Vermont Life magazine has created particular images of the landscape, culture, and recreational possibilities in the state.  Our goal will be to construct a website that examines the evolution of these images and the meaning of the state over time, paying particular attention to consumerism, the environment, tourism, urban-rural contrasts, local food movements and the ways that race, class, and gender influence all of these.  The course is open to all students and requires collaborative work but not any pre-existing technological expertise.  Morseand Newbury.  3 hrs. seminar.  HIS AMR.

Explore the following links to see examples of past digital work by Middlebury students across several departments.

The American Studies Web Museum: An ongoing project to create museum exhibits about localized aspects of American History that can be used as curricular resources.

Dances with Avatar: A winter term course taught by Professor Morse that explored stories of colonial invasion, military conquest, and environmental exploitation in the films Dances with Wolves and Avatar.

BiHall View: A website created by Jake Faber ‘16.5 to appreciate and reflect on the landscape seen from Bicentennial Hall.