Dr. Clive Siegle expressed gratitude for being honored with the 2018-2019 Excellence in Teaching award for full-time faculty. He teaches U.S. History I and II at Richland and is credited in the textbooks used in class. Siegle has only been teaching full time since 2011 after teaching part time in the 1990s.
Siegle earned his doctorate in history from Southern Methodist University (SMU) when he was already in the golden years of life. He holds a master’s in international affairs from George Washington University and a bachelor’s in history.
Siegle said he really enjoys teaching history. “It’s not storytelling in a fiction sense but history itself. It’s the ultimate reality show,” he said. “Hollywood couldn’t script it if they tried, and they do try a lot of times. A lot of time you think ‘No way this can’t be right!’ But many times, it is right and you know Hollywood embellishes it to be sure!”
Siegle explained why he enjoys the subject. “History in and of itself, any history, is full of interest and full of life. It’s us and it’s the story of [life] whether you are teaching Chinese history or American history and if it’s told in a narrative sense then it’s hard not to like it.”
Siegle has had at least three different careers. He worked in the hunting and fishing business, the magazine business (as editor and chief for Game Trails) and in the oil business as the data manager in exploration and producing for the oil giant Exxon/Mobil.
“I enjoyed all of them. I can’t say that I ever had a job that I didn’t like,” he said.
“I have always enjoyed history, but I have had a full career outside of teaching,” he said. “I did not begin teaching until I had worked in the business world for 25 years.”
“When I was about 55 years old, give or take, I had been teaching adult education courses at SMU and I liked that but you can’t make a living at it. And so I had a full-time job and did this on the side and I had realized that I wasn’t getting any younger and if I was ever going to do this [teaching], I best get with it [because] you got to have a Ph.D. So I had to go back to school and get a Ph.D”
That course of action took about five years at SMU. He was already in his 60s by the time he had entered the full-time teaching field.
“I was getting parallelly close to retirement age,” he said laughing.
According to ratemyprofessors.com, Siegle’s students have rated him nothing short of awesome. He conducts his classroom by using real-life artifacts, including a dart used by Native American tribes and a cannon ball he keeps in his office that was used by the Confederacy.
Siegle expressed gratitude to Richland for hiring him full time in spite of his age. “This will be the last job that I will ever have,” he said with a smile.