History and Political Science Faculty

The faculty of the Harper College History and Political Science Department are committed to providing students with an excellent foundation of a liberal arts education.

Adjunct Faculty
Office: J-249
847.925.6000, ext. 3913


Associate Professor of Library Services

Courses Taught:

  • The American Experience to 1877
  • Illinois and Local History

Associate Professor
Office: I107

Michael J. Harkins teaches History at William Rainey Harper College in Palatine Illinois. His main areas of concentration include the Far East, Imperial China, English History, American History since the Civil War, and the Middle East. Recently he has developed topic courses focusing on the History of Rome, World War I and World War II. As a Historian he spends time evaluating primary source documents for use in the college classrooms. Professor Harkins holds advanced degrees in both History and Education.

Adjunct Faculty
847.925.6000, ext. 3730


Courses Taught:

  • American Politics and Government
  • U.S. Foreign Policy
  • Comparative Politics
  • The Presidency


Courses Taught:

  • The American Experience to 1877
  • The American Experience since 1877
  • History of Western Civilization to 1650
  • History of Western Civilization Since 1650

Adjunct Faculty
847.925.6000, ext. 3722

Adjunct Faculty
47.925.6000, ext. 3199


Courses Taught:

  • The American Experience to 1877
  • The American Experience since 1877
  • History of Western Civilization to 1650
  • History of Western Civilization Since 1650
  • Women: The American Experience
  • African-American History

Associate Professor
Office: I112

Work experience:

I have been a full-time instructor in the History Department at Harper College since the Fall 2000 semester. Before that I taught part-time at Elgin Community College and Loyola University Chicago. I also worked for the Chicago Public School system in the Monitoring Commission for Desegregation Implementation, an agency working to resolve issues of student segregation in Chicago.


I received my B.A. in 1994 from Manchester College with a major in history and a minor in economics. I then went on to graduate school at Loyola University Chicago. I majored in Latin American history, with an emphasis on Mexico and Argentina. I also had minor fields of study in African American History and Latino History. I received my M.A. in 1997 and A.B.D. in 1999. My research was on comparative economic development in Mexico and Argentina, focusing on the economic linkages associated with electrification initiatives. I also studied in Quetzaltenango (Xela), Guatemala at the Kie-Balam Spanish language school during the summer of 1996.

Classes Regularly Taught:

  • HST 105 Great Ideas of World Civilization (Honors)
  • HST 111 The American Experience to 1877
  • HST 121 Latin American History
  • HST 142 Western Civilization since 1650

All of the classes I teach have an emphasis on issues of minority rights and opportunities. In addition, all of the classes focus on economic and political development using a global perspective. All classes require a research paper, essay exams and student participation in class discussions.

Favorite Historians and Recommended Readings (abbreviated list):

  • Howard Zinn, A People's History of the United States
  • Eric Hobsbawm, The Age of Extremes: A History of the World 1914-1991
  • Mark Steel, Vive La Revolution: A Stand-Up History of the French Revolution
  • Walter LeFeber, Inevitable Revolutions: The United States in Central America
  • Leo Huberman, Man's Worldly Goods: The Story of the Wealth of Nations
  • James McPherson, Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era
  • Carmel McCaffrey, In Search of Ireland's Heroes
  • Harvard Sitkoff,  lt;em

Personal Interests:

When I'm not at Harper or grading papers, I try to get outdoors as much as possible. I enjoy wilderness camping, fishing, and hiking. My family and I love to travel both within the United States and internationally. But wherever I am, it's pretty much a guarantee that I've got a book or two in my hands.

Office: X-111

Assistant Professor
Office: I110

Bobby Summers is an Assistant Professor in the Political Science Department at William Rainey Harper College in Palatine, Illinois. He has a M.A. in political science from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, a M.A.T. from National-Louis University, and a M.S.Ed. from Northern Illinois University. Prior to teaching at Harper College, he taught high school for Chicago Public Schools and Illinois School District U-46.