158 Harmon Drive, Northfield, Vermont 5663

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Date: Wednesday, March 15, 2023

Time: 12:00 to 12:50 PM

Location: Todd Multipurpose Room, Kreitzberg Library

Name: Dr. Emily Gray

Title: Teaching History through Role Immersion Gaming


Abstract: Research shows that active, problem-based learning helps students engage more fully with course material and build critical thinking and communication skills. In game-based general education history classes, students are asked to assume the identities and objectives of real historical individuals and use primary sources to understand key issues while they try to achieve victory. Students lead the classroom, using persuasion and negotiation to solve historical problems. In so doing, they not only learn the history but also why it matters. In this talk, Emily Gray will discuss the transformational impact of role-immersion pedagogy on her classroom, the development and publication of new “games” for the Reformation and Peace of Westphalia and collaborating with students as play-testers.


Biography: Emily Fisher Gray received a doctorate in early modern European history from the University of Pennsylvania in 2004. She spent three years as a postdoctoral teaching fellow at Penn before joining the Norwich University faculty in 2007. Gray has written on the early causes and progress of the Protestant Reformation, the phenomenon of Lutheran-Catholic co-existence, and the unique aesthetics of Lutheran architecture. Her ongoing research takes place in churches, libraries and archives in the former Free Imperial Cities of southern Germany, especially Augsburg, where she lived for a year as a Fulbright Fellow. Gray serves as the vice chair of the Faculty Senate, and teaches courses in European and world history. Her favorite courses are those that involve elements of immersive role play so students can use course readings to solve historical problems in real time. She also enjoys introducing students to the delights of archival research and the wonders of rare books and objects. She has been instrumental in developing a first-year seminar for departmental majors and an interdisciplinary curriculum for the CityLAB:Berlin program. In recognition of her teaching, Gray received the Homer L. Dodge Award for Teaching Excellence in 2015.


Charles A. Dana Category I Grants are supported by an endowed fund from the Dana Foundation for the purpose of attracting and retaining faculty of exceptional caliber. Grants are awarded annually to tenure-track faculty who demonstrate superior scholarship, teaching ability, and university service.

Grant recipients participate in the Charles A. Dana Category I Lecture Series during the year in which they receive their awards. Light refreshments will be served, please feel free to bring your own lunch.

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