Beverly Blois, PhD
Hello. My name is Beverly Blois and, as your instructor, I would like to welcome you to History 242. Through your study of the history of Russia and the Soviet Union, you will meet many interesting men and women and develop a familiarity with the major events and contours of the past 150 years of Russian history. In these encounters, you will find yourself thinking--in some cases--Wow, that seems like a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away! At other times, you will think "Gee, that reminds me of something that just happened last week" or "The lessons of this event sure seem relevant today." These are historians' thoughts and judgments, and in the study of history you will actually begin to think like a historian. As your guide and assistant in this weeks ahead, I sincerely look forward to working with you.
My own interest in history came from my father, who was a great reader of history. He would read to me aloud, when I was a child, and could tell wonderful stories and, seemingly, answer just about any question concerning the past. And our home was full of books. My father should have been a historian, and I have concluded, many years later, that my own career has been in large part an attempt to in a sense remedy that situation. Most of my graduate training was in Russian and Soviet history and economics, but my PhD is in higher education administration. I have been professor of history at Northern Virginia Community College for thirty years, serving the past twelve also as an academic dean. I am proud to have designed and developed the very first Extended Learning Institute course in Western Civilization nearly 25 years ago. Some years before that, I wrote the University of North Carolina-Extension Division's course on the history of Russia since 1861. My decision, toward the end of my undergraduate studies, to pursue graduate training in the history of Russia was strongly influenced by courses in Russian history taught by the late Serge Zenkovsky of Stetson University. My commitment to Russian studies was solidified by graduate school instructors and mentors at the University of North Carolina and Duke University, including Clifford Foust, Willis Brooks, David Griffiths, Steven Rosefielde, and Vladimir Treml.
Please feel free to contact me at your convenience, using the e-mail address above (this is the best way to contact me). If you call and leave a voicemail message, please include your name, which class you are enrolled in, a telephone number where I can reach you, and a short summary of your question. If you send me an e-mail message it would also be wise to include all of this information. Apart from campus or college meetings, you can find me most of the time in the Loudoun Campus Humanities Division office, room LR 304, and I am happy to meet with you there by appointment.
There is no formal in-person orientation currently scheduled for this or any other ELI course. If you wish extra credit for the Optional ELI Orientation as explained in the course instructions, I ask that you please watch the general ELI orientation video available at all NVCC campus Learning Resources and Testing Centers (this is also available from time to time as an NVCC-TV broadcast) or review the online ELI orientation website (eli.nvcc.edu/orientation), review all course materials, and then e-mail me any questions you may have.
Please remember that it is your responsibility to keep copies of your coursework and graded assignments. You may use the HIS 242 course schedule to keep track of your grades. If you should run into any problems whatsoever at any time in the course, please contact me so we can try to work things out.
Finally, please remember to make frequent use of the materials in Charlie’s History Writing Center. This site contains materials Dr. Evans graciously makes available not only to his own students but also to you and me. Again, welcome to the course and best wishes.