Blue Poppy, Butchart Gardens Vancouver, May 2005  D. Skopp


Welcome to the   home page  of 

Distinguished University Teaching Professor of History

Champlain Valley Hall Room 321
State University of New York at Plattsburgh
Plattsburgh, New York 12901
(518) 564-5218   (office)
(518) 563-6592   (home)


        My professional career as an historian revolves around my life-long curiosity about myself, my family, and my world.  As long as I can remember, I have been trying to answer the three great, ancient human questions:  where did I come from?  what ought I to do, now that I am here?  and where will I be when I am no longer here?  (The last question might be asked in a different way:  what will remain of me when I am no longer here?)  At the heart of each of these questions is another, perhaps even more fundamental question:  how can we know that things are as they have to be?  For me, historical study provides the crucial insights and evidence that are necessary in order to answer each of these questions—if, indeed, they can be answered by a human being.

        I have been teaching at our College since September 1972.  I say "our" because I have done all I can to become a creative, responsible part of SUNY Plattsburgh and to make SUNY Plattsburgh a part of me, on behalf of all those with whom I have shared its privileges, joys and sorrows.  In this vein, I wrote Bright With Promise: From the Normal and Training School to SUNY Plattsburgh--1889-1989; A Pictorial History as a "birthday present" for the College in 1989.  It lovingly displays and describes the extraordinary treasures and benefits that our College has afforded thousands of students and the greater Plattsburgh community over its first one hundred years.

        I was an inaugural fellow in our College's Institute for Ethics in Public Life, under the guidance of its founding Director, E. Thomas Moran.  Through a series of grants gained by Dr. Moran, I am privileged to work actively in the Institute, as a participant in its weekly "guided inquiry" seminars with each semester's fellows, and also with a study group of faculty from Plattsburgh and from Dartmouth College.  These experiences have re-invigorated my intellectual growth and stimulated me to give the study of ethics and civic engagement greater attention and focus in my teaching.

        Among the courses I offer are introductory level surveys of European civilization (for the General Education Program) and our History Department's course on the skills and methods of historical study (restricted to students majoring or minoring in history).  I also offer upper-level courses on various themes and eras of European history--the European Middle Ages, Germany Since 1870, World War I and World War II, Fascism, and the Holocaust.  One course that spans both American and European history is my History of Education in Western Societies.  Finally, I work with students in a variety of independent studies on aspects of any of the above, especially in support of their Senior Project.  

To find out more about my courses in the current semester... 

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This page last edited on March 29, 2007

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