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History Professor Caroline Cox Receives Distinguished Faculty Award

Jul 2, 2010

Dr. Caroline CoxThe prestigious Distinguished Faculty Award is given each year to a tenured faculty member for outstanding accomplishment in any or all of the following areas: teaching, research, creative endeavors and service to the University. At the recent commencement ceremony, President Eibeck announced Dr. Caroline Cox as this year's winner.

"Caroline Cox is recognized by her colleagues as a highly skilled teacher, prolific scholar and inspirational leader, making her selection an easy decision for the University Awards Committee," said Dr. Thomas Krise, Dean of the College of the Pacific, who serves on the committee.

Dr. Cox has been a member of the History Department at Pacific since 1998, and she served as the department chair for the past four years.

A Dynamic Teacher

Dr. Cox is known as an exceptional teacher—dynamic, demanding, a great lecturer and an inspiring discussion leader. The exceptionally high marks on her student evaluations and full enrollment in all her classes attest to her effectiveness as a teacher.  "I have heard students rave about Professor Cox and have never met a student who did not like her teaching style," said colleague Dr. Gesine Gerhard.  "She sets high standards and motivates her students to put forth their best effort."

Colleague Dr. Ken Albala adds that "Dr. Cox has a rare talent both to empathize with her subjects and draw students into conversation...history majors and non-majors throughout the university tell me how they could not wait to get to class and how much they learned from her. ...she always has a cohort of ardent followers who are energized by her classes."

Former student Silvia Guzman said "her passion for teaching shows in her engaging lectures" and describes Dr. Cox as very approachable. Sophomore Elizabeth Youngberg commented, "Whether she is teaching a class in her particular field of study or a class about morals and ethics, she is very adept at not only engaging students in discussion, but also conveying ideas and questions."

Outside the classroom, Dr. Cox mentors, inspires and supports students in numerous ways; her office hours are always well attended. History major Anna Accettola '10 said, "She is never too busy to listen to an idea or give encouragement."

She has also mentored junior faculty members, spending time and effort to share her expertise. "She is always there when somebody needs her, and has lent a helping hand or words to many colleagues and students," said Dr. Gerhard.

A Respected and Popular Scholar

In addition to being an outstanding teacher, Dr. Cox is a successful and highly productive scholar. Her first book, A Proper Sense of Honor: Service and Sacrifice in George Washington's Army, was published by the prestigious University of North Carolina Press and won the LTG Richard G. Trefry Award from the Army Historical Foundation.  The book not only sealed her reputation among academics, but also gained popular following, and landed her spots on television.

The Fight to Survive by Caroline CoxHer newest book, The Fight to Survive: A Young Girl, Diabetes, and the Discovery of Insulin, has been read by a large audience and led to speaking engagements in front of pharmaceutical and medical communities. Research for the book took Dr. Cox as far as the University of Toronto and to Bermuda, where the protagonist had lived for a time. Upon receiving a copy of the book from Dr. Cox, Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who has type 1 diabetes, mailed a personal note of thanks to her.

"Caroline Cox's professional endeavors and accomplishments reflect her broad intellectual interests and abilities," said Dr. Edie Sparks, Senior Associate Dean and Associate Professor of History. "She has published and presented on historical subjects that span 300 years of history, from colonial America through the 20th century, and that go well beyond her key area of expertise, the Revolutionary War. In addition to her study of the discovery of insulin, which required her to delve into medicine, topics she has researched are as diverse as shell shock and psychiatry during World War I, art and politics in early 20th century Toronto, Canadian military history, and print culture in early America."

Her next book, Boy Soldiers: War and Society in the American Revolution, is under contract with the University of North Carolina Press and is scheduled to be published after 2011.

Dr. Cox has received numerous fellowships and prizes, including being honored with the Pacific Alumni Association Faculty Mentor Award and the Eberhardt Teacher/Scholar Award in 2009. She has twice been a Fellow at the David Library of the American Revolution and has participated in the West Point Summer Seminar in Military History—both competitive summer fellowships.

Other accomplishments include:

  • Being a commentator on programs about George Washington and the Revolution for the History Channel.
  • Co-authoring a textbook with Dr. Ken Albala, Opening Up North America.
  • Publishing several essays and serving as commentator or peer reviewer for scholarly journals.
  • Conducting regular presentations at academic conferences.

A Commitment to Service

Dr. Cox has demonstrated outstanding service to the University, serving as one of the first presidents of Pacific's chapter of Phi Beta Kappa (2007-2010) and Chair of the History Department as well as participating on numerous university committees.

Dr. Caroline Cox and Student SvenAs Phi Beta Kappa Chapter President, Dr. Cox was instrumental in expanding awareness of the country's oldest academic honor society throughout Pacific. The number of students eligible for this prestigious membership has increased dramatically during her tenure.

She commits time to professional service by organizing events for several historical societies, including the Society for the History of Children and Youth, the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture, and the Society for the History of the Early American Republic. 

In addition, she has made presentations to K-12 teachers in the Stockton Unified School District on topics related to Colonial America, the American Revolutionary Era, and War and Society. She has also presented at various institutions as a participant in several Teaching American History Grants, and she has been an invited instructor at the Mount Vernon Teacher Institute in Virginia for several years.

Dr. Jennifer Helgren, Visiting Assistant Professor of History, sums up the many reasons Dr. Cox is deserving of the Distinguished Faculty Award: "Dr. Cox is a model teacher, has been an outstanding department chair, excels in innovative scholarship, serves several professional organizations, and is involved in the community."

Anna Accettola offers her perspective: "She is not just dedicated to her subject or to the school; Professor Cox is dedicated to her students—past, current and future."

Additional Links

Learn more about Caroline Cox on her faculty page.

Curriculum Vitae