by Alex Boesch, Student Public Relations Writer
In 2020, The Wall Street Journal ranked
Cedarville University the second-best school for student engagement, largely due to faculty members who engage their students in ways that help students learn.
Now, with classes in session at Cedarville University, Dr. Robert Clark is prepared to use his creativity and skills to find new ways to connect with his students.
Helping Cedarville rank among schools such as Stanford and Harvard is Dr. Robert Clark, assistant professor of history. He not only teaches history in
traditional lecture-style methods, but will also, on occasion, break out in song to emphasize a point in his lecture.
This unorthodox method of teaching history began for Clark when he was a high school teacher in the 1990s.
Clark believes singing a point from his lesson in the middle of a lecture engages the students — and, at first, catches the students off-guard.
History Lesson: What is the Story of America? -- https://youtu.be/AA5e-
Not only does this capture students’ attention, but it also facilitates a deeper understanding of the day’s lesson.
“Viewpoints are often reflected in music,” said Clark. “It gives an opportunity to illustrate history in a way that comes alive for students. By singing period authentic music, I give a sense of what history is like at the grassroots
level. Sometimes it illustrates concepts in ways that just would not reach students otherwise.”
Clark has been intersecting music in his college lectures since he taught at Kansas State University, and now, at Cedarville.
Clark’s tendency to sing for a class three to five times a semester is heavily influenced by his musical roots.
“I was in a very musical family,” Clark added. “I sang in a quartet when I was young, did orchestra in high school and was in multiple college choirs. Music is a part of my life that can’t
help but come out in the classroom.”
While many people get stage fright or nerves over their voice, Clark embraces the intersection of music and history entirely.
“I’m never afraid to sing, even if my voice is feeling rough,” said Clark. “I will always sing songs like Bob Dylan’s “Blowin’ in the Wind” during Social Movements class. It becomes
something they can identify with the time period, and that’s what teaching history is all about.”
Nobody appreciates Clark’s full commitment to student engagement more than those sitting in his classes.
“Dr. Clark brought so much energy to the classroom when he sang,” said sophomore history student Will Galkin. “I loved his pure joy to be presenting history through those lyrics.”
While the Wall Street Journal cited how engaged students are in their studies at Cedarville University, it is professors like Dr. Clark that make learning unique and helpful for students.
Located in southwest Ohio, Cedarville University is an accredited, Christ-centered, Baptist institution with an enrollment of 4,715 undergraduate, graduate, and online students in more than 150 areas of study. Founded in 1887, Cedarville is one of the largest private universities in Ohio, recognized nationally for its authentic Christian community, rigorous academic programs, including the Bachelor of Arts in history, strong graduation and retention rates, accredited professional and health science offerings, and high student engagement ranking. For more information about the University, visit cedarville.edu.