Elizabeth 'Libi' Sundermann

History Lecturer | Aspiring Athlete | Bookworm | Mom

World History I
World History II
Empires & Imperialism in World History
British Empire
Twentieth Century Britain Humanities and Social Sciences Research and Writing Seminar

 I am a full-time lecturer at the University of Washington-Tacoma where I teach world and British history. I hold BAs in journalism and history from the University of Montana, Missoula and a MA and PhD in history from the University of California, Davis.

My teaching experience includes a one-year position as an assistant English teacher for the Japanese Exchange and Teaching Program, four years as a teaching assistant at UC Davis--where I taught world and European history--and my position at UW Tacoma since 2008.

My research interests are broad but have typically focused on issues in the history of education including my dissertation, “‘Devotees at the Shrine of Progress:’ Christian-civic humanism as educational philosophy: A revisionist analysis of R. A. Butler’s 1944 Education Act," which is currently under revision for publication. In addition, a revision of my senior thesis, “Temple of Pleasure:  A History of the Wilma Theater in Missoula, Montana” (http://works.bepress.com/libisun/2) was recently published in Montana: The Magazine of Western History and “History Lab for Undergrads: A Day at the Museum,” The Social Studies at http://www.tandfonline.com/eprint/TiaYaDVuBqPfv5swhvct/full                                                        New research interests include the tentatively titled articles “Deconstructing The Wall: Pink Floyd and Post-war Angst" and “Addictive Empire: Caffeine, sugar, tobacco, and the making of the modern world.”

Pedagogical philosophy: My primary goal is to help students develop their academic scholarship in conjunction with necessary lifelong learning skills. Thus, my teaching focuses on developing students’ critical thinking skills in written, oral and visual communication, research, and historical thinking in both academic and popular media. These goals are achieved through a mixture of instructor-led lectures, group and class-wide discussions, media reviews, field trips, and research projects. I offer a variety of source materials and course assignments to engage diverse student learning styles and to help develop a spectrum of skills in each student. Currently all of my history courses are designated as “W” writing courses.    

I am also active in teaching and learning issues on campus and nation-wide, particularly recent issues relating to contingent faculty.  You can see more on this at Lecturer Affairs at UWT.

  • In 2013 I was awarded the UW AAUP “Outstanding contribution: extraordinary leadership and advocacy to advance the conditions of Lecturers at the University of Washington: Courage in Pursuit of Excellence in Washington State Higher Education."


On my Bookshelf:

An incomplete list of books I have read, want to read, and am still trying to finish!

"[She] had always suffered from a vague restlessness,                                   a longing for adventure that she told herself severely                                 was the result of reading too many novels when she was a small child."                                                                                                     Robin McKinley, The Blue Sword


  • When I am not on campus you will find me swimming, cycling, running, reading, or spending time with my husband and son. It is hard to say which is my favorite activity but I have completed three marathons, the Seattle to Portland bicycle tour, and a number of sprint triathlons as well as countless other running events and the Hell Run in Seattle. 

    My family and I enjoy camping, watching sci-fi movies, playing board games, and just hanging out together.

    Despite my history degree, I prefer fiction for recreational reading and am a huge fan of British mysteries, as well as "speculative fiction," and yes, I love steampunk!

    I also love to travel and have been to virtually every state, Canada, Mexico, Europe (England, Austria, and Italy), Japan, Thailand, and New Zealand. These journeys included visiting Stonehenge, climbing Mt. Fuji, scuba diving off Koh Tao, visiting the Vatican and seeing the Pope, cave tubing, diving with dolphins, and hiking through a rain forest. I am an adventure junkie!