Elizabeth 'Libi' Sundermann, Ph.D.


Specialty: History and Global Studies

Sundermann, Elizabeth 'Libi'

Contact information

Dept: Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences
Room: SCI 102F
Phone: 253-692-4462
Email: libisun@u.washington.edu
Web: https://sites.google.com/a/uw.edu/libisun/


  • Ph.D., History, University of California Davis, 2009.
  • M.A., History, University of California, Davis, 2002.
  • B.A., History, University of Montana, Missoula, 1997.
  • B.A., Journalism, University of Montana, Missoula, 1994.


I am a full-time lecturer at the University of Washington-Tacoma where I teach world and British history. I hold BAs in journalism and history from the University of Montana, Missoula and a MA and PhD in history from the University of California, Davis.

My teaching experience includes a one-year position as an assistant English teacher for the Japanese Exchange and Teaching Program, four years as a teaching assistant at UC Davis--where I taught world and European history--and my position at UW Tacoma since 2008. As a full-time lecturer my primary focus is on teaching, and I am interested both in faculty labor issues related to their effect on student learning outcomes, as well as teaching and learning scholarship. I also research and write on topics in history when I find time outside of my teaching and service responsibilities.

My primary goal is to help students develop their academic scholarship in conjunction with necessary lifelong learning skills. Thus, my teaching focuses on developing students critical thinking skills in written, oral and visual communication, research, and historical thinking in both academic and popular media. These goals are achieved through a mixture of instructor-led lectures, group and class-wide discussions, media reviews, field trips, and research projects. I offer a variety of source materials and course assignments to engage diverse student learning styles and to help develop a spectrum of skills in each student. I try to make sure that all of my history courses are designated as W writing courses.


My research interests are broad but have typically focused on issues in the history of education including my dissertation, Devotees at the Shrine of Progress: Christian-civic humanism as educational philosophy: A revisionist analysis of R. A. Butlers 1944 Education Act. I am currently working on a book proposal based on my dissertation. In addition, a revision of my senior thesis, Temple of Pleasure: A History of the Wilma Theater in Missoula, Montana (http://works.bepress.com/libisun/2) was recently published in Montana: The Magazine of Western History and an article focusing on my teaching methods and suggestions for other professors to incorporate museum field trips and free-choice learning into their own teaching is forthcoming: History Lab for Undergrads: A Day at the Museum, The Social Studies. I also have plans for three new projects tentatively titled Deconstructing The Wall: Pink Floyd and Post-war Angst; Addictive Empire: Caffeine, sugar, tobacco, and the making of the modern world; and Charles Lathrop Pack: the unsung hero of forest conservation.

Although my specialty field is modern Europe (Britain) my interest and expertise in world history compels me not to limit myselfor my studentsto rigid area or chronological topics. As a former journalism student and journalist and a PhD in history I believe that research, writing and scholarship should appeal to both scholars and general readers and try to write for this diverse audience.


I teach modern European history with a focus on British (mostly English) history as well as a growing number of world history courses and the required research and writing course for history majors preparing to write a senior thesis. The following descriptions of the courses I teach come from the UWT course catalog.

  • THIST 113: Europe and the Modern World Political, economic, social, and intellectual history of modern Europe.
  • THIST 150: World History I: Surveys the social, political, economic, and cultural history of the world from Prehistory to the 15th century.
  • THIST 151: World History II: Surveys the social, political, economic, and cultural history of the world from the end of the 15th century to the present.
  • THIST 260: Empires & Imperialism in World History: Examines world history of the Roman, Chinese, Mongol, Ottoman, and Modern European empires and imperialism from ancient to modern times. Themes include empire as historical pattern related to political, economics, and cultural spheres of influence and exchange.
  • THIST 375: British Empire: Examines origins, expansion, and decline of British imperialism at home and abroad. Analyzes culture, society, economics, and politics of British imperialism using scholarly, popular, and primary sources from imperialists, anti-imperialists, colonists, and the colonized.
  • THIST 475: Twentieth Century Britain: Examines twentieth century British history, interpreting Britain's global role in the nineteenth century, its decline in the twentieth, and its re-emergence as a Western leader in the twenty-first century. Covers history from the Boer Wars to the 7/7 London bombings.
  • TIAS 380 Humanities Research and Writing: Covers developing a thesis, designing an outline, doing preliminary research, writing drafts, and presenting a paper.

Selected Publications

  • Sundermann, E. (forthcoming). History lab for undergrads: A day in the museum. The Social Studies.
  • Sundermann, E. A. (2009). "Devotees at the shrine of progress:" Christian-civic humanism as educational philosophy - a reanalysis of R. A. butler's vision for the 1944 Education Act. University of California, Davis. (PhD, University of California, Davis ProQuest, UMI Dissertations Publishing, 3379636).
  • Sundermann, E. (2013). A "Temple of Pleasure:" Missoulas Wilma theatre. Montana: The Magazine of Western History, 63(1), 56.


  • Member: American Association of University Professors (UW Chapter)
  • Volunteer History Lab docent: Washington State History Museum
  • Mentor: UWT Student Success Program
  • I also frequently serve as a student intern adviser including working with the Rainbow Center and the Washington State History Museum.

Professional Service

I am active in lecturer affairs issues relating specifically to the local and national concerns of the increasing number of contingent faculty in the American educational system. I am also active in teaching and learning activities as well as student-support roles. One of my main goals in the community has been to try to foster a closer relationship between UWT and the Washington State History Museum, as well as trying to bring UWT scholarship to the local community. A few of my recent roles and activities include:

  • Moderator: Faculty Brown Bag Reading Group, Embracing Non-Tenure Track Faculty: Changing Campuses for the New Faculty Majority, ed. Adrianna Kezar
  • Chair: UWT Lecturer Affairs Committee (ad hoc under Faculty Affairs)
  • Co-coordinator (with Stephanie Lile, Education Coordinator at WSHS): Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences: Scholarly Selections at the Washington State History Museum
  • Speaker: Tahoma West Faculty Night at Anthem
  • Faculty Workshop: History Mystery Second Annual Pack Forest Retreat [for pre-major students]

Honors and Awards

  • UW chapter, American Association of University Professors, Outstanding contribution: extraordinary leadership and advocacy to advance the conditions of Lecturers at the University of Washington: Courage in Pursuit of Excellence in Washington State Higher Education," 2013.