Bringing history to life
Enter Claire Eberhardt’s home and it may feel like a museum. From Roman coins to a 1920s driver’s license, artifacts are on display at the Yuba College history and humanities professor’s home.“I try to collect something real or a replica from every time period I’m teaching in all my classes,” Eberhardt said. “I bring it in to bring the history to life.”Eberhardt’s students have the unique opportunity to see and feel a tangible piece of history, making a connection with the past.
“You can talk about it or show a picture, but there’s something about seeing a physical thing,” she said.
When Eberhardt was in high school, she wasn’t interested in history. She felt it was a lot of learning about names, dates and facts withoutany context as to why any of it was important or relevant.
It was while she was an English major at Oregon State University, Eberhardt took a Western Civilization course that changed her viewpoint on the subject, leading her to double major in English and History.
Upon completion of a Master of Arts in History and Humanities from California State University-Sacramento, Eberhardt entered the education field at American River College (since 2009) and Yuba College (since 2018).
Eberhardt has taught all kinds of history: Women in American History, Western Civilization, California History, U.S. History, World History, in addition to humanities subjects. She also teaches Dual Enrollment classes at Yuba.
It was always the plan to be a teacher. Growing up, Eberhardt gathered her younger sister with all her dolls to sit as students while she taught from a whiteboard. After a monthlong practicum in a high school English class, Eberhardt discovered she wanted to teach at the college level. While earning her master’s, Eberhardt became a teaching assistant to see the innerworkings of the classroom, such as how professors set up their classes and what they do with assignments.
To her students, Eberhardt makes sure she’s approachable to help them achieve their goals and be successful.
“Community colleges are great for teacher
to student ratio with smaller classrooms and professors willing and able to work with students to be successful,” Eberhardt said. “We know the students.”
Outside of her assigned classes, Eberhardt is also active in several committees, to include College Council, Guided Pathways Committee, Curriculum Committee and leading the Cross Discipline Teaching Community.
“I love being able to participate in the governance aspect at Yuba,” she said. “Adjuncts don’t always get to do that kind of stuff. I feel involved and valued.”
Eberhardt was recognized as the Yuba College Outstanding Academic of the Year for 2019-2020 and 2022-2023.
“Claire brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to Yuba College and is always willing to help her fellow colleagues as well as her students,” said Page Gearhart Davis, Yuba Social Science Faculty. “She has become an invaluable resource specifically in the work she does in the Cross Discipline Teaching Community where she spends countless hours in order to provide a space where faculty can collaborate with and learn from one another.”For nearly 15 years, Eberhardt also assists with the Advanced Placement U.S. History Exam, scoring and preparing training materials for the exams each summer.
Eberhardt accomplishes all of this while also being a mother to six children (ages 19, 17, 13, 13, 12 and 11)—all adopted from foster care. Raising her six children and navigating the foster care system taught Eberhardt patience, flexibility, adaptability and how to manage chaos.
As part of Yuba faculty, Eberhardt feels like part of a community.
“I enjoy feeling like what I do matters; that I’m having an impact,” she said. “Not just teaching with students, but an impact at Yuba with other staff, the campus; that what I do has importance.”