Rachel Goossen has been teaching history for 24 years, 20 of them at Washburn University.
The main courses she teaches are U.S. History Since the Civil War, Topics in U.S. History and Wars’ Impact on America. She also oversees the internships in the history department.
Goossen tries to keep her classes surprise-free by giving students study guides before tests, and by being available for students who have any questions.
“I’m not trying to trip you up,” said Goossen. “I enjoy lecturing, classes where we have a lot of discussion or where I’m bringing guest speakers.”
One guest speaker Goossen brought to campus this semester is a 79-year-old woman who was only a little girl during World War II in England. In one of Goosen’s classes, she talked about her memories of the time and how it affected her and her family.
Brie Bradshaw, a junior history major, commented on her experience with Goossen.
“It’s more engaging to see her write on the board, to help me know what’s important. Kind of going back to if it’s not broke, don’t fix it mentality,” said Bradshaw.
William Lacy, an auditor in one of her classes appreciates the format of the class.
“I like the way she presents in a timeline,” said Lacy. “Because that’s the way I think; and how most people think.”
Not only is Goossen a professor, but she is also a published author with family-friendly hobbies.
Professor Goossen has written “Women Against the Good War,” “When Good People Quarrel: Studies of Conflict Resolution,” “Hungry, Thirsty, a Stranger: the MCC Experience” and “Meetingplace; A History of the Mennonite Church of a Normal.”
Goossen enjoys reading memoirs, and even takes some of her favorites to her classes to teach. She walks her dog for a couple miles every single day. Also, she enjoys going to concerts, movies, traveling the world and camping.
“I really like [memoirs] because those are people’s telling of their own experiences of growing up,” said Goossen.
After teaching at a small Liberal Arts college in Indiana for four years, Goossen moved to Topeka when her husband got a job as a budgeting director for the Kansas State Capitol. She debated between teaching at the University of Kansas and Washburn University, but she got a job teaching one class at Washburn for a year and chose to stay.
“I lucked out,” said Goossen. “When you’re moving around, you don’t necessarily move to a town where there’s a university where within one year, they’re going to have an opening.”
Edited by Jessica Galvin, Adam White, Jason Morrison, Abbie Barth