Christopher Stiles “I became a history major because it was either that or ballet. They were the only majors with no math requirement. I can’t handle figures, and I sure look bad in tights, so history was it!”

After 10 years of teaching part time at SMC, Christopher Stiles is finally having a ‘home-coming.’ “It feels that way because I know SMC so well. And I plan to be here for the rest of my teaching career, because SMC has the best support system—for both teachers and students—that I can imagine.” Christopher adds that his approach to teaching history is a study in what humankind’s evolution has meant over the ages.

“Last summer, I taught a class where we covered the origins of all the great monotheistic religions, such as Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. We went to a Benedictine abbey and had people from Turkey, Israel, Iran, and America all sitting around a table and discussing what we could all learn from each other. This,” adds Christopher, “is what makes teaching at SMC wonderful. Every day, you encounter all these cultures here, and we can all sit down together and say, ‘Look, we all have these different belief systems. But surely we can discuss and explore what we all have in common.’”

Christopher adds that he was teaching in the SMC SEEK program – which brings older adults back to college—for his first seven years at SMC. “This is a terrific program, too, because I’ll find myself teaching a WWII class with an actual WWII veteran in the room—you can’t beat that!” Not surprisingly, Christopher also plays Renaissance musical instruments. But you’ll have to ask him about that…

SMC U.S. History Professor Christopher Stiles began full-time at SMC in Fall ’99. Welcome!

Read more stories from present and past years in the SMC Student Spotlight Archive.