Dolph, who retired this spring, is participating in the Fulbright American Roving Scholars exchange program, sponsored by the U.S.-Norway Fulbright Foundation and Norway's Royal Ministry of Education. As a roving scholar, he will teach Norwegian junior high students across the country about American history and culture. He estimates he'll teach at as many as 150 schools during his visit.
His presentations will focus on four basic lectures: The American Cowboy, the Klondike Gold Rush, Life in Utah, and Early Scandinavian Pioneers in America. In an effort to bring the material to life, Dolph dresses like a cowboy and uses visual props that students can actually experience firsthand.
"I take a lasso and a replica of a head of a steer, and the students can practice using a lariat," Dolph said.
His lectures delve into the history of the Stetson hat and other clothing of the period.
"I try to compare and contrast the romanticized version of events with the reality of the time period," said Dolph.
Dolph developed his love of history as a child sitting on the lap of his great aunt, who regaled him with stories of her struggles as a pioneer living in a sod house on the prairie. One of her pioneer neighbors, Ole Edvart Rolvaag, went on to write "Giants in the Earth," which chronicled the trials and tribulations of early Scandinavian settlers in the Dakotas.
For Dolph, teaching American history in his ancestors' homeland will bring the story and the experiences full circle.
For more than 50 years the U.S.-Norway Fulbright Foundation for Education Exchange, based in Oslo, Norway, has promoted educational opportunities between the two countries. The Fulbright American Roving Scholars program has proved to be very popular. In addition to teaching school children directly, the "rovers" give seminars in American studies for Norwegian teachers in the lower and upper secondary schools. For more information, visit the foundation's Web site at www.fulbright.no/default.htm.
James “Jim” Dolph, emeritus History professor
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