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Sharon Farrell

Sharon E. Farrell
Faculty, History
5901 College Road, Room C219
Key West, Florida 33040
Phone:  305- 809-3290


Bachelor of Science in Sociology, May 1977, with minor in Crime & Delinquency
Suffolk University, Boston, MA

Master of Arts in History, May 2001, minor field in race, ethnicity and gender
University of New Hampshire, Durham, NH

Passed Ph.D  oral and written exams in history,  June, 2005
University of Florida, Gainesville, FL

Educational Philosophy

My primary job is to encourage active learning rather than the passive acquisition of facts.  Each student brings a unique perspective into the classroom based on their life experiences and those experiences enrich the study of history. Through class discussion, role-play, and questions I facilitate the consideration of different cultural, social, economic, and political viewpoints critical for global citizens. I encourage questions and respectful, sensitive debate that explores alternative viewpoints/interpretations. One of the reasons I love minority history is because the same historical event is experienced quite differently by different peoples.  Knowing this encourages cultural understanding and dialog which is so critical for global citizens. 

In order to build this dialog, students must first distinguish between fact and opinion.  A recent poll demonstrated that approximately 25% of our students do not know the difference.   Writing is one method that teaches research methods and how to organize that research into a reasoned argument that supports the thesis.  Historical writing is about a culture of evidence and logic rather than subjective interpretations. This does not mean that history is cold or distant; students often become quite inspired at the exposure of falsehoods, or hidden histories. What I am saying is that history should inspire passionate civic mindedness, but one that is supported by knowledge, philosophy, and logic.  

While history is about the past, it is critical to our future.  Traditionally history teachers were mandated to create good citizens.  It will always be about civic judgment.  However history also teaches us about the human condition, its greatness along with its tragedies and that also helps in making informed decisions. 

Professional Activities & Affiliations

  • American Historical Association
  • Organization of American Historians
  •  Southern Historical Association
  • Associations Phi Alpha Theta
  •  Phi Kappa Phi

Current Projects & Interests

 Working with the Key West Art and Historical Society
 Archiving oral history projects.