Jennifer McNabb

University Professor
Western Illinois University
B.A. - History
Class of 1994
Alma Mater:
Adrian College

Independent Alum of the Day

Jennifer McNabb is a Professor in the Department of History at Western Illinois University. She has been a member of the WIU faculty since 2005 and recently completed a two-year appointment as the Associate Director of WIU's Centennial Honors College. Jennifer has served as Chair of WIU’s University Graduate Council and Vice Chair of the Faculty Senate, in addition to leadership roles on various departmental and University committees.

Jennifer earned a B.A. in History from Adrian College and was named as the 2012 recipient of Adrian’s Distinguished Young Alumni Award. She received an M.A. in History from Bowling Green State University and a Ph.D. in History from the University of Colorado at Boulder with a specialty in the history of early modern England.

Jennifer is an active teacher-scholar. Her research on courtship and marriage in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century England has yielded publications in academic journals as well as presentations at national and international conferences. She has won both best paper prizes awarded by the Rocky Mountain Medieval and Renaissance Association and is President-Elect of that professional organization. Jennifer is also a member of the Executive Committee of the Midwest Conference on British Studies. She regularly presents her work to the local and regional community through the WIU Department of History Annual History Conference, the WIU Learning is Forever (LIFE) Program, the DuPage Valley Social Studies Conference, and the annual meeting of the Friends of the Macomb Public Library. She served as the Texts and Teaching Editor of the journal Quidditas for five years and currently acts as the journal’s Associate Editor. She has also authored textbook supplements for Cengage.

Jennifer’s teaching and service have been honored with a number of awards. In 2009, she received both the WIU Provost’s Award for Excellence in Teaching and the WIU College of Arts and Sciences Outstanding Teaching Award, and in 2012 she received both the WIU Provost's Award for Excellence in University/Community Service and the WIU College of Arts and Sciences Outstanding Service Award. Jennifer served for five years as faculty advisor for the Associated Students of History, which won the College of Arts and Sciences Student Council Departmental Organization Recognition Award in 2009, and was named Greek Life Advisor of the Year in 2010 and 2014 for her work with the Alpha Epsilon chapter of Alpha Sigma Tau Sorority. In 2014 Alpha Sigma Tau named Jennifer the recipient of the Helen R. Garman Award, the Sorority's highest advisor honor, and she was named the National Historian of Alpha Sigma Alpha.

My motivation

As a teacher, I am motivated to provide my students the same kind of transformational educational experience I had as an undergraduate at Adrian. I am a passionate advocate of the brand of personal, engaged teaching and mentoring that is key to the educational mission of Adrian and seek to bring that energy to my own students. I am a proud product of Adrian College: its values shaped me as a student and a person and continue to shape me as a professional educator.

My latest accomplishments

In the spring of 2014, my application for promotion to full professor was approved by my department, College, Provost, and University President, an achievement that represents the culmination of a decade of teaching, research, and service.

Next big goal

I was awarded a University Summer Stipend for curriculum development in the summer of 2015, and I will use that award to transition my introductory-level History course from Western Civ to World History to help students living in today's global society acquire a better understanding of the global past. My application for a sabbatical leave has also recently been approved, so I am bound for Britain in 2016 to conduct research in local and regional archives, and I intend to publish my findings. I also look forward to sharing my work with my students, as my research trip will give me wonderful new stories about the past to share in the classroom.

Why is choosing your own path important?

Being independent means taking responsibility for your own choices and being active in seeking your own personal and professional success. When I selected Adrian for my undergraduate degree nearly 25 years ago, some people questioned my choice, wondering why I didn't choose to attend a well-known university instead. I knew from my first campus visit, though, that Adrian would be the place I could grow as a student and find my own way. I was right. The invaluable liberal arts education I received at Adrian provided the foundation upon which I could build in my subsequent degree programs. I choose the path that led to Adrian, and that decision led me to a wonderful career, teaching the subject I love to new generations of students.

Favorite place on campus

Jones Hall, home of the History Department

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