A History Professor Engages Students by Giving Them a Role in the Action

The program, which has a cult following at Barnard, spreads to Smith, Trinity, and Pace

Six years ago, Mark C. Carnes, a history professor, wrapped up yet another freshman seminar feeling dejected. The young women in his course at Barnard College hadn't learned much about Plato's Republic. Discussions had been superficial. Students were bored. He was bored.

Why did the course flop? Mr. Carnes's students, he found out afterward, shrank from class discussion not because they