UWEC History professor receives Distinguished Professorship award

History professor Robert Gough is the 11th scholar to receive the Maxwell Schoenfeld Distinguished Professorship.

Gough, who has a bachelor and a master’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania, joined the UW-Eau Claire history faculty in 1981, where he was able to work with professor Schoenfeld, who the award is named after.

“I knew Max, he was a very good professor and scholar,” said Gough. “To receive an award that is named after him is an honor.”

Schoenfeld was a history professor at Eau Claire from 1964 until his death in 1996, according to a university press release.

Gough said his research is about teaching as an occupation in Wisconsin from 1900 to 1950 and how “teachers constructed their careers.” He has been working on this research for nearly 10 years.

“This award will help me finalize this research, present in conferences and get it published,” Gough said.

Junior Courtney Anderson, a student in Gough’s Colonial America class, said she finds his class very interesting and informative.

“He encourages us to think about the lectures and readings and starts informative discussions,” Anderson said. “I respect him because of how knowledgeable he is, and I think he does a very good job passing on the knowledge he has.”

Gough said winning the award was important for him because it makes him a better professor and is a good reminder of what a great professor Schoenfeld was.

“Schoenfeld was very popular,” Gough said. “The award keeps his name alive and encourages the other recipients to try to model themselves on him.”

Gough published other research as well, in particular a book called Farming the Cutover: A Social History of Northern Wisconsin, 1900-1940.

“There is no better single source for northern Wisconsin in the early 20th century than his Farming the Cutover,” Oscar Chamberlain said.

Anya Piotrowski, a first-year graduate student in the history

department, believes Gough deserved winning the award.

“I think he is a wonderful professor,” Piotrowski said. “He is clearly a very qualified professor, or I don’t think he would have been chosen.”

Chamberlain believes Gough’s current research in education “can provide an important new perspective on Wisconsin education in the first half of the 20th century.”

Chamberlain also said this award is very important to help fund
scholars in their research.

“Given the current economic challenges, that funding is more important than ever,” Chamberlain said.

Gough said this award will also help him when he goes to
Philadelphia in two weeks, where he will be presenting his research to the History of Education Society.