Christopher Gardner, Ph.D., History Department Chair
Christopher Gardner has been teaching at West Nottingham Academy for six years, having taught at The Gilman School for Boys and Loyola University of Maryland before. Dr. Gardner earned his Ph.D. in history at The Johns Hopkins University in 2002, having completed a master’s with thesis at the University of Edinburgh in Medieval History in 1994. He has published research and encyclopedia articles in history, as well as a number of book reviews for scholarly journals.
Dr. Gardner has experience teaching history and literature at the undergraduate level at such institutions as the University of Nebraska, George Mason University, and Johns Hopkins University. He began a move toward teaching in high schools after a period as a long-term replacement teacher at the Bryn Mawr School for Girls in Baltimore in 2011. He found working with younger students over an entire academic year especially satisfying because he had more opportunity to help them hone their ideas and interests than he could in a college semester.
His breadth of teaching interests include classical ethics, medieval literature, the art and culture of the Industrial Revolution, and the history of the Great War. He has been instrumental in launching our sophomore research project, which is based on the senior research project overseen by Dr. Kennedy. Sophomores are introduced not only to the technical aspects of writing a research paper in MLA format, but also to the discipline and pleasures of brainstorming, drafting, and honing an analytical thesis on a historical topic of their choosing.
At WNA, Dr. Gardner works with a number of upperclassmen each year, both in seminars that require research papers and in helping the students prepare their college applications. He currently teaches our senior seminar in Ethics, in which students must write essays that wrestle with the ideas of Aristotle, Confucius, and Nietzsche. Dr. Gardner also has contributed scores of recommendation letters to students applying to colleges. He is excited to work with our visiting students on the processes of writing (and thus thinking) clearly and concisely, so that students can produce creative and insightful analytical and biographical essays for college applications, as well as develop their own imaginative stories.
“Writing is like cooking. If you understand certain rules and relations, you can be wonderfully creative and inventive. If you simply throw things in, your audience is not likely to enjoy it, and you could even do some unintended harm.”