Former Bancroft Prize winner hired as TCU history professor

Former Bancroft Prize winner hired as TCU history professor

An award-winning professor with enough academic accomplishments to fill a 16-page resume came to the university seeking a smaller student body and a more personal connection with students.

Alan Gallay was hired this semester as the Lyndon B. Johnson Chair of U.S. history, an endowed chair position in the history department that supports research and teaching.

Formerly a professor at Ohio State University, Gallay said he was attracted to the university because it was smaller and more personal. With a student body size close to 60,000 at his former university, Gallay said he felt like he was not able to interact with students and faculty as well as he could at a different university.

“I wanted to be at a really good place that would be around 10,000 students,” Gallay said. “Then you get to know everybody, and it’s not so bureaucratized where you’re constantly interacting with people that you can’t possibly know.”

Gallay said the smaller student body will allow him to teach students in more detail, particularly within his area of research. The majority of Gallay’s research focuses on Native American slavery in Colonial America. 

Gallay said winning the Bancroft Prize for his book "The Indian Slave Trade: The Rise of the English Empire in the American South, 1670-1717", has been his greatest professional achievement.

Peter Worthing, chair of the department of history and geography, said the Bancroft Prize is a major award in the field of American history and, in his opinion, better than the Pulitzer Prize.

Worthing said he would describe Gallay as a “dual-threat” instructor, meaning he does substantial historical research and works well with students. Along with Gallay's Bancroft Prize, Worthing said the hiring of Gallay gives the department more clout and recognition.

"The fact that Dr. Gallay is here is an indication that TCU and this department have moved forward quite a bit," Worthing said. "I think it's kind of a feather in our cap as well."

Lisa Barnett, a doctoral student in Gallay’s graduate seminar on the Atlantic world, said she likes his teaching style of combining lecture and discussion.

“Not only do I appreciate that Dr. Gallay is teaching us the subject matter of the Atlantic world, but he teaches the Ph.D. students to be better writers and better teachers,” Barnett said.

According to a university press release, Gallay held several positions, including the Mellon Faculty Fellow at Harvard University and a Fulbright Lecturer at the University of Auckland, New Zealand.

He is a publisher of multiple books. His most recent publications include "Colonial and Revolutionary America" (Pearson; 2010) and "Indian Slavery in Colonial America" (University of Nebraska Press, 2010), an Outstanding Academic Title by Choice magazine.