Fideler retires as one of Lesley's eminent History scholars
Paul Fideler’s forty-five years at Lesley University constitute an enviable record of distinction as an eminent historian. His teaching excellence, strength of scholarship, cultivation of meaningful interdisciplinary linkages across history, philosophy and religion and contributions to the History profession all constitute a compelling passion. At Lesley he made a decades-long push for liberal arts majors, culminating in his leadership role in the report, "The Liberal Arts in the University: A Glass Half Full and Half Empty" (2002) and in the development of the history major. His commitment to professional leadership beyond our campus (e.g., past president of both the New England Historical Association and The North East Conference on British Studies) brought distinction to Lesley and honored Paul’s scholarly contributions to History as a discipline.
He has represented unwaveringly certain core values: the importance of challenging students and introducing them to the best and most up-to-date thought and scholars in his field; service to the college and larger scholarly community that tells important truths, not shirking from difficult issues.
His selection as a Fellow of the American Council of Learned Societies
speaks to his reputation as a distinguished historian. His scholarship
includes a 1992 edited work entitled Political Thought and the Tudor
Commonwealth, (Routledge), followed by the 2006 monograph Social Welfare
in Pre-Industrial England: The Old Poor Law Tradition (Palgrave
Macmillan), soon to be joined by "The Poor, Civil Society, and Welfare
in Early Victorian Manchester."
As a teacher, Paul offers his students
complex, challenging courses at every level, from the first-year on.
His syllabi give fair warning to students that they will be engaging in a
demanding, adult exploration, that they will be asked to perform and
engage at their highest ability. A student of Political Philosophy
wrote, “The readings were difficult and the papers and essays were
challenging as well. I am thankful for having had the chance to be
challenged.” Students respect the degree of challenge in Paul’s courses
and rise to meet it. He has represented unwaveringly certain core
values: the importance of challenging students and introducing them to
the best and most up-to-date thought and scholars in his field; creating
new curriculum that reflects and furthers the best ideals of a liberal
education and a changing world; service to the college and larger
scholarly community that tells important truths, not shirking from
The body of work that Paul has produced and shared
throughout the world, his contributions to his profession and his
generous mentorship of secondary school history teachers and
professional historians, and his service to Lesley University, in
virtually every leadership capacity, speak to his passion for the
liberal arts and his belief in their centrality to the larger world of
academia and society.
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