Department of History

West Chester University

404 Wayne Hall
Phone: 610-436-2201
Fax: 610-436-3069


Professor Brent Ruswick

Brent Ruswick

Assistant Professor of History

Phone: 610-436-2248
Email: bruswick@wcupa.edu
Office: 409 Wayne Hall

Teaching Interests:

Methods of teaching secondary social studies; history of science, especially history of modern biology and medicine, social science, and scientific social reform; history of poverty and dependence; Gilded Age and Progressive Era.

Current Research:

Dr. Ruswick's ongoing research projects include a study of unpublished eugenic research conducted at the Training School at Vineland, New Jersey in the 1910s, and a study of the medical and biographical records of intellectually disabled patients admitted to a regional hospital in the 1880s. Each seeks to understand how Americans explained and experienced social isolation and discrimination based on supposed genetic weaknesses. Future projects include a biographical study of Helen Stuart Campbell and of the influence of cooperative interpretations of social Darwinism in American reform movements. He also is working on shorter pieces concerning his experiences in teacher training and supervision, and general education pedagogy.

Brief Biography:

Brent Ruswick earned his B.S. in Secondary Education from the University of Nebraska-Omaha (1999), and his M.A. and Ph.D. in the History of Science from the University of Wisconsin (2001, 2006). Before joining West Chester University, he served the University of Central Arkansas as a supervisor of student teachers, co-instructor of the Teaching of Social Studies Methods course, and taught classes in American and world history as well as the history of science. He has published articles in The History Teacher, Journal of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era, The Indiana Magazine of History, and in December 2012 published his first book, Almost Worthy: The Poor, Paupers, and the Science of Charity in America, with Indiana University Press. His historical interests focus on the intersection of science and social reform, with pedagogical and policy interests in the reform of teacher training, certification, and evaluation.