History professor Kerry Wynn leaves her impact on Washburn

Kerry Wynn is entering her 13th year of teaching at Washburn University in the history department.

Wynn started her education in Peoria, Illinois at Bradley University. She double majored in English and history with a minor in women’s studies before continuing to get her master’s degree at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign.

She has an emphasis in U.S. history after 1815, and subfields in women’s history and Native American history. Here, she became a teaching assistant and really fell in love with teaching. It changed her direction to become a professor.

After finishing up her graduate program, she spent one year working as an adjunct professor at Bloomsburg University in Pennsylvania. After that, Wynn found her way to the open position of history professor at Washburn University in 2006.

“My favorite thing about Washburn is that faculty and students collaborate. There is always discussion, and during the interview process I noticed the relationship is much different than other places. The relationship is much more functional,” said Wynn.

Wynn loves the size and community of Washburn specifically, because she feels that most of the students she works with are passionate, dedicated and thankful to be getting their education.

Her favorite course that she is teaching this semester is Women in U.S. History. This class focuses on women activists in Kansas from the 1970s-80s. The students research and study these women and then create a media aspect, such as a podcast, on the women they are studying.

Another way that Wynn is involved on Washburn’s campus is through the honors program. She became the director of the honors program in 2017. Before taking the job, Wynn was very interested in this program due to its scholarly nature and the opportunity to interact with students that prioritize academics.

“I was interested in the honors program and the idea of the university having an intellectual community. I have students at Washburn that can compete with any student across the nation,” Wynn said. “They’re fabulous and they’re interested, and they’re curious, so I wanted to make sure that I could do my part in creating opportunities for them.”

Since taking the position, Wynn’s main goal has been to innovate and multiply the honors courses that are offered each semester. Each member of the Honors Program is expected to take one honors course each semester. There was a very small amount of classes offered and not much variety in the classes before. Now she is focusing her attention on getting faculty to take on more innovative and interactive courses for the Honors Program.

“A lot of students have worked hard to be here and it shows, and they continue that work ethic into their classes. I really enjoy being in a classroom where students ask questions and have things to say,” said Wynn.

The newest course that was offered this year, specifically for the honors program, is called Living Symphony, taught by professor Rebecca Meador. This is an interactive course that is focused on hands-on activities. The class regularly takes trips to the Topeka Symphony to see shows over the meaning of life and speak with the performers.

Wynn has made an impact on the students and curriculum at Washburn and pushed it forward in innovative ways. She is a valuable member of our community.