Krystal Frazier is an assistant professor in the Department of History. Since high school, she has strived to advocate for less vocal, but no less able students and champion the deconstruction of academic boundaries. She carried this momentum into college, where she learned to inspire critical thinking in her classmates.
“Each student is intelligent and has something to contribute to any classroom space. I am determined to honor student inquiry by cultivating critical thinking, maintaining safe learning environments and encouraging collaborative learning within and beyond inspirational classrooms,” Frazier said. “I encourage students to embrace the humility necessary to investigate historical experiences and carefully consider the contributions of their classmates. This helps students learn to respect and appreciate one another even if they disagree. I believe that how students respond to the thoughts of others is as important as developing their own, so I model active listening in ways that build student confidence and intellectual empathy.”
Frazier teaches African American History to 1900, African American History since 1900, U.S. Civil Rights History and Oral History. Her research interests are in the social and cultural history of African American communities and its economic and political implications. She also advises undergraduate history students and directs the Africana Studies program.
“Immediately upon entering (Frazier’s) office for my first advising appointment, she embraced me and offered me tea. She asked me about myself, where I had come from, what my interests were and where I saw myself,” said alumna Kathrine Gilman (BA German, History and Mathematics, 2016). “When I told her of my double major she did not roll her eyes at my interest in math, but commended me for the hard work I would put in as a double major, admired my interests in STEM and began brainstorming people she could put me in touch with. I left the meeting feeling empowered and reenergized, a frequent outcome of my encounters with her.”
Frazier earned a PhD from Rutgers University and has led the Department of History’s teaching practicum for graduate teaching instructors.
“(Frazier’s) teaching exemplifies WVU’s land grant mission by training students to get beyond the boundaries of the University and work with local communities to document the past. She brings her expertise and talent for community engagement into the classroom while instilling critical thinking skills, a broader understanding of the historical profession and sense of the importance of the work they are doing,” said Melissa Bingmann, director of public history and associate professor of history. “Because they see relevance in the course material, receive individualized mentorship and are empowered to test out these new skills in a cooperative class environment, students naturally excel in their academic study.”