History Comes Alive In SUNY Orange Classroom

MIDDLETOWN, N.Y. -- From the plight of the earliest American colonists struggling to survive in a distant and harsh land, to outmanned militias battling the Redcoats as our nation fought for independence, to the United States’ early presidents who guided our government and expanded our country, history comes alive in the SUNY Orange classroom of associate professor Michael McCoy.

Michael McCoy, associate professor at SUNY Orange.
Michael McCoy, associate professor at SUNY Orange. Photo Credit: SUNY Orange

Those students who have the good fortune of enrolling in a course taught by McCoy, an acclaimed history and government professor, can be guaranteed that history will not be boring. Neither will government, European history, Medieval studies or any of the other subjects with which McCoy has expertise. In his U.S. History I course, for example, McCoy artfully guides his students through an engaging and stimulating study of the political, intellectual, economic and cultural development of the United States from earliest colonial settlements to the Civil War.

“Mike knows his stuff, and he finds unique and creative ways to share classroom concepts,” says Paul Basinski, chair of the College’s Global Studies Department. “But more importantly, he is focused on our students. He outlines what is expected of them during the semester, provides them with the resources they need and works with them as necessary so they can successfully complete the class. He has been recognized here at the College and by external organizations for his teaching, writing and research excellence.”

McCoy, like many of his colleagues across most academic areas at the College, is a subject matter expert and a talented instructor who motivates his students to succeed. Community college professors are known to be student-centered experts with a passion for student support. McCoy is no different in that respect, but he further stands out through his efforts to fortify his knowledge and skills. Outside of the classroom, he spends considerable time researching the social, political and economic inequality in the late colonial and early republic eras, and then writes about his research for journals and other publications. Basinski says McCoy uses that research to amplify his students’ understanding of historical concepts.

Last Spring, McCoy authored a research article entitled “The High Price of Living: The Lives of Insolvent Laborers in Cumberland County, Pennsylvania, 1815-1842” for the journal “Pennsylvania History: A Journal of Mid-Atlantic Studies.” That article was awarded the “Arline Custer Memorial Award for Best Article” by the Mid-Atlantic Region Archives Conference (MARAC), which recognizes the best books, articles, and exhibition catalogues published by MARAC members in an eight-state region.

McCoy is also a recipient of the SUNY Orange President’s Award for Excellence in Scholarship and Creative Activities.

“Mike’s attention to his craft, and his mentoring of students, epitomizes the teaching and learning environment established by many of our faculty at SUNY Orange,” Basinski adds. “And, ultimately, it is our students who benefit.”

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