History department welcomes new chair

Katelyn Eddington, Contributing Writer

History professor Sace Elder became the new chair of the history department on July 1 after teaching at Eastern for 15 years. 

She said she believed becoming the department chair would be the next step and challenge in her career and when it was announced, she said she felt humbled. 

“I felt pleased that my colleagues thought highly enough of me that they had confidence I could do it and that the dean and provost also had confidence in me,” Elder said.  

Elder said the hardest and longest thing she thought about when she became the department chair was leaving the collective bargaining unit, Eastern’s chapter of the University Professionals of Illinois.

She said she has been a union member since she was a graduate student at the University of Illinois and she was on the EIU-UPI executive board for the last three years.  

She said another challenge that comes from becoming department chair is not having as much of an opportunity to work directly with students.

Elder is a modern German historian by training and teaches Modern Germany, History of World War I, Women and Gender in Modern Europe, History of Human Rights, Modern World History and the Introduction to Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program.  

“You have to find the time differently, it doesn’t happen quite as organically as when you’re teaching full time or coordinating a program and teaching,” Elder said when talking about her new position. 

She said she is working to stay in touch with students, which is important to her. 

Myrtle Trazo, a graduate history student, said Elder is a phenomenal educator and is dedicated to the well-being of her students.  

“She isn’t just involved, she’s very involved in the history department,” Trazo said. “She’s also a very active member on campus. She’s always wanting to improve what’s out there in terms of education.”

As for the future, Elder said that she and the history department are in full planning mode for upcoming events. 

In November, both the history and English departments will partner up for the James Jones Lecture Series. 

In February, the department is having its annual History Careers Day and from May 9 to May 31 Elder and Christine Eydt-Beebe, the chair for the foreign languages department, will lead a study abroad trip to Germany. 

Katelyn Eddington can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected].