Michael Welsh received his Ph.D. degree in United States history in 1983 from the University of New Mexico. Among his fields of research interest are the history of the American West and Southwest, American Indian history, the environment, ethnicity in America, the history of American education, and the U.S. Constitution. He has taught at the University of Dayton, the University of New Mexico, Oregon State University, Cameron University (OK), St. John's College (Santa Fe, NM), and has taught since 1990 at the University of Northern Colorado, where he holds the rank of professor.
Among his publications are 21 scholarly articles and book chapters, plus four published monographs: The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Albuquerque District: 1935-1985 (University of New Mexico Press, 1987); Dunes and Dreams: A History of White Sands National Monument (National Park Service, 1995); A Special Place, A Sacred Trust: Preserving the Fort Davis Story (National Park Service, 1996); and Landscape of Ghosts, River of Dreams: A History of Big Bend National Park (National Park Service, 2003).
He has submitted for publication a manuscript entitled, West Side Stories: Land Use and Social Change in Albuquerque’s Petroglyph National Monument Area (Texas A&M University Press). Other manuscripts include a biography of Dr. Martin Candelaria (1897-1995), the first Latino professor at the University of Northern Colorado; a study of environmental change and public works projects of the San Francisco District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (1980-2000); and a study of the South Pacific Division of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (1840-1995), which includes their work in the Great Basin, on the West Coast, and in the Pacific Rim.
Most recently he has directed two contracts with the National Park Service to conduct oral interviews on land-use patterns of the Cache la Poudre River Heritage Corridor (2002-2004), and also supervise the preparation of an interpretative guide to the Poudre River (due September 2006). He also has completed an environmental history of Rocky Mountain National Park for the NPS, along with a series of oral interviews of superintendents.
Other duties in recent years for the UNC History Department and the historical profession have included coordination of the master’s degree program, observation of student teachers of history and social sciences, coordination of summer institutes in Advanced Placement U.S. History, and a two-year assignment as book review editor for the list-serve H-WEST (itself a member of H-Net). He also has supervised graduate research assistants for the UNC Sports History Archive Project, and for the Homeland Security Task Force. His committee service includes chairing the advisory board of UNC’s Native Student Services Center (NASS).
Dr. Welsh has won a $2 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education's Presidential Academies for American History and Civics Education Program. According to the DOE, “This program supports...workshops for both veteran and new teachers of American history and civics to strengthen their knowledge and preparation for teaching these subjects.” Welsh is overseeing a partnership between UNC and the Navajo Education Technology Consortium in the Four Corners region to promote the teaching of American history and civics there.
During Spring 2014, Dr. Welsh is teaching the following courses. Printable syllabi are available below:
- HIST 101: US History 1877-Present
- HIST 224: History of Colorado
- HIST 328: The US West 1846-Present