I encourage my students to view the study of history as an intellectual challenge that not only broadens their perspective, but also helps them to master important skills that will contribute to their future professional success. The reading and writing assignments in my courses require students to think critically, form ideas and clearly express those ideas. One of my goals as a teacher of history is to help my students become informed and engaged citizens who take their civic responsibilities seriously. Since the earliest days of the American republic, the founders emphasized the importance of education in a democratic nation, which requires the participation of citizens who make informed decisions on public issues and who make meaningful contributions to their society. In today's global community, the perspective on the present provided by contemplation of the past is even more important. An understanding of history helps students become productive members of society by providing them with the knowledge, perspective and skills they need to find solutions to problems and improve the lives of others.