Associate Professor Alan Christy

Undergraduate Director of East Asian Studies, leader of the ROUTES project, and winner of the 2012 John Dizikes Teaching Award.

May 17, 2012

ROUTES in action: Alan Christy, Kyle Wojnar, Terry Randolph, Tosh Tanaka (from left).

Alan Christy is a dynamic and celebrated teacher in the department of History here at UC Santa Cruz. Professor Christy is known for teaching many popular courses in History, including: Early Modern East Asia (40A), World War II Memories in the U.S. and Japan (80Y, co-taught with Alice Yang), Tokugawa Japan (150B), Modern Japan (150C), and The Japanese Empire, 1868-1945 (150D), among others. He is also the Undergraduate Director for the UC Santa Cruz East Asian Studies program. 

Over the last two years, Professor Christy has been the faculty leader of the student project ROUTES: Digital Humanities Learning Through Interconnected Individual Stories. This unique undertaking arose from Christy's HIS 150D (Japanese Empire) offering in the Winter quarter of 2011. Of the forty students taking this course, thirty were so inspired by it and its unique structure, focused on student involvement and active learning, that they have continued on with the project through present day. ROUTES is focused on designing an interactive education platform in various types of media for students and educators to connect directly with the materials and stories that create the history that they study. Besides the app they are busy developing, this project has also led to a group trip to Japan, a rough archive of biographical research, and "an epiphany about challenging the status quo of the learning experience."

Of his experience with ROUTES, Professor Christy has said: 
The work I’ve been doing with the ROUTES team has been, far and away, the best teaching experience I’ve had in my career. I feel grateful to them. I mean that in all sincerity, and in full recognition of the extra work this has entailed. The team we built, the experiences we shared and the things we learned have helped me to get far closer to being the teacher I dream of being.

This year, Professor Christy was nominated by ROUTES students, faculty, graduate students, and many others he has inspired and touched in his professional career for the John Dizikes Teaching Award in Humanities, which he was then awarded by a committee of his peers. In his nomination, these students and colleagues demonstrated that Christy's work as a teacher has been successful on many fronts: inspiring undergraduates to do cutting-edge research, teaching graduate students how to mentor undergraduates and formulate their own research topics, guiding our staff undergraduate advisor on how best to connect with students, promoting serious collaboration with colleagues on pedagogical and intellectual questions involving digital humanities, and exploring connections between teaching and Divisional development work by attending to the importance of public history.